Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Trailing Roses February 20, 2015

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This month marks the first anniversary of one of the best monthly jewelry challenges around…WE’RE ALL EARS over at the Earrings Everyday blog.  I’ve missed out the last few months, but am excited to join in today and help celebrate their first year of earring joy. Love that the sponsors come up with such unique inspirations each month…textiles, photos, paintings, architecture… And for busy people, each monthly challenge has a quick turn around time.  The inspiration is posted the first Friday of the month and the blog hop is the third Friday.  And who doesn’t l-o-v-e earrings!

This month is no exception. Lim Zhi Wei combines her lovely paintings with real flowers, especially roses, to create something special. View more of her work here.

You could say that people are waiting impatiently for Spring to arrive!







I decided to create a couple of pairs of Trailing Roses earrings using 24 gauge annealed steel wire and tiny glass pearls in pink and white.

The wire, when cleaned with steel wool, was an antique silver-gray that I thought went well with the pearls. It is also stiff enough to add needed structure to the earrings while maintaining a delicate look.

Finished with oxidized sterling ear wires.

white roses










Pink roses


When you want to give yourself a little treat, hop over to see what other jewelry artists were inspired to create from this lovely inspiration piece.

At Earrings Everyday.  Enjoy!




“What is that smell?!!”, he said… February 2, 2013

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It’s a very good thing that today was warm enough to keep

the windows and doors open most of the afternoon.

Especially when I started using the Renaissance Wax to prepare some annealed steel wire.

And if that smell wasn’t enough to vacate the premises,

I needed to oxidize some sterling ear wires with the Liver of Sulphur, too. Yuck!

Despite this noxious mix in the air, I did manage to get some jewelry  finished.

   He made the decision to stay out in the garage for the afternoon,

which is probably where I should have been in the first place.

large pearls

Ann's bday present

flower charms


abalone ovals

cobalt twig wrap

As much as I love making jewelry,

there are a few minor things that I don’t look forward to…

    like using stinky Live of Sulphur and the scrubbing with steel wool.

Are there  any tasks that are necessary to what you love to make,

but that you don’t particularly enjoy?


EEK! August 26, 2012

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I looked at the calendar the other day and it hit me hard…in the next two months, there are three big jewelry selling opportunities.  La Mesa’s Octoberfest, another South Park Walkabout, and my church’s Holiday Market (expanded to two days).  And I will be traveling over four of the next nine weeks.  EEK!

For the last three months, my workshop has basically been packed away in the garage, gladly making temporary room  for our daughter’s family, as they awaited purchasing their new house. However, I have certainly not kept up very well with my jewelry inventory and production.

So yesterday, I commandeered the kitchen counter and started to work.

Here are a few of the finished pieces.

Oxidized copper, dyed howlite, orange jade

Brass, copper, silk ribbon, glass, and metal charms

I feel like I am getting back into the groove. This is the first of many productive sessions, I hope!


Boreas by Waterhouse April 10, 2012

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This painting, Boreas, by John William Waterhouse (1903), is the challenge inspiration at the Art Bead Scene blog this month. Boreas was the purple-winged Greek god of the north wind.  I love this idea of using a piece of art to inspire jewelry designs…it could be the mood, colors, setting, subject of the piece.  This one in particular has so many different options beginning with a beautiful color palette, perfect for the steel wire I’m currently using.  The female figure stands firm against the strong wind…her thin inadequate wrap a beautiful blue gray…the small pale gold daffodil tucked into her hair is a hopeful sign of the fullness of Spring approaching.

Here’s my entry, a necklace reworked, with the addition of a beautiful ceramic butterfly, and lamp work bead pendant, mixed with sari silk and wind whipped steel components.

A close up to appreciate the two gorgeous art beads purchased at The Bouncing Bead today.  Thanks, Kristi, for helping in the search for the perfect beads!


New Steel April 9, 2012

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A little package came in the mail the other day with new steel in smaller gauges, so now I can go to town with some wire wrapping.  Although there is a good amount of cleaning the wire with sand paper first, I am in love with the dark gray color. This pair of earrings has wonderful spring green lamp work beads and tiny Czech glass beads at the top.  For once, the background is not the wooden porch rail usually used in photographing my jewelry.



Contrasting Elements April 4, 2012

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Steel is hard, rustic, and durable.  Silk is soft, rich, and fragile.  These two materials go together well in this necklace, I think.  I’m still getting to know the annealed steel as a jewelry material. As hard as it is to work with physically, it certainly makes strong, sturdy components that one doesn’t need to worry about coming apart.  The red crystal links will be earrings with another crystal dangle or necklace components.


Love the deep, saturated colors with the dark gray steel, don’t you?


On Second Thought… April 2, 2012

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Infinitely better…

The addition of the black sari silk and handmade clasp gives this piece more of an eery vintage feel I was going for.

Someone also commented that the ribbon reminded her of the hair ribbon Alice wore.

Curiouser and curiouser…

Also finished up some earrings and a pendant necklace with the other steel/paper components:



Real Steel Minus Hugh Jackman March 27, 2012

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More time recently to get to know the dark annealed steel wire from the hardware store.  It’s definitely not as easy to work with as sterling or copper, but the finished look is very much to my liking.  The wire required an intense scrubbing with steel wool to get as much of the black coating off as possible.  Then the harder work of manipulation, especially with the tornado links. Some time with a hammer on the bench block. Then, about 20 minutes in the tumbler. Finally, another scrubbing with the steel wool to get as much ‘definition’ in the design to come through. Finished up with oxidized sterling silver chain, head pins, and ear wires. Whew!


Weird Weather Today March 18, 2012

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Crazy weather this weekend here in Southern California. Driving home from the store this afternoon, I had sunshine, hail, wind, sunshine, and then, rain, all in about five minutes time.  A real weather concoction…so that’s what I’m putting up in this post today, too…a concoction of pieces I’ve been working on.  First up is a necklace with brass findings and featuring one of the paint “patina” butterflies.

Next, I read about this cool material, dark annealed steel wire, on Deryn Mentock’s blog site, where she kindly let everyone in on a big secret about the source of this great stuff…Ace Hardware store.  Do check out her blog, Something Sublime, and see how she uses it in her jewelry designs. Gorgeous!   This package has 50 feet of 19 gauge wire and was less than 4 bucks.  Lots to play with.  It’s a bit harder to manipulate than copper, but love the color, especially after you buff off some of the black coating.

      It also comes in other wire gauges.

And last, two pair of earrings with the steel wire.  The wire also forged nicely with the hammer and bench block.