Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Make Your Own Artisan-look Ear Wires ! August 18, 2014

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These are easy-squeezy, with just a few basic jewelry tools

and purchased ball head pins.

 I started making these pretty early in my jewelry making life, mainly to save $$$.

For work in sterling silver, I work the same process,

but with my own torch made ball head pins.

You’ll need:  20 – 22 gauge ball head pins. I used brass and silver plated for these.

Chain-nosed pliers, round-nosed pliers, nippers (wire cutters),

round stick pen or pencil, file or cup bur.

Optional: bench block and hammer


For simplicity and because none these steps is particularly difficult,

this is another pictorial tutorial.


ear wires 2


Ear wires 1


Ear wires 3


Ear wires 4


Ear wires 5


Ear wires 6


Ear wires 7


Ear wires 8


****This hammering step also work hardens the wire and adds stability to the shape****


Ear wires 9


Source for 21 gauge silver plated ball head pins: Goody Beads

Under 3 dollars a package.  A bargain on any planet !


A Pictorial Tutorial! July 2, 2014

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(If you are looking for the Pearls, Pearls, Pearls Blog Hop, go HERE.)

I’ve been asked to get a tutorial up for these fun and colorful Boho-style earrings.

Simple and, hopefully, comprehensible !

So here goes…

With this advisory…be sure to count and recount the beads

on your wire to check your pattern BEFORE you finish

the  final wrapping!

A very painful lesson learned…

I like to mix matte colored seed beads with some shiny

or iridescent ones for visual contrast/interest.

The variations are endless!

Boho earrings



STEP ONE   Gather materials…

Step 1


Step 2




step 4





step 5





step 6





Step 7


Now grab your favorite summer maxi dress or jeans and a t-shirt

and go make yourself a pair…or two or three !


Or you can drop a comment on this post for a chance

to win a ready-made pair for yourself!

Giveaway closes on Tuesday, July 8th.

Winner’s choice of one of these pairs !

seed bead 2

yellow seed beads

Good luck my friends !



Quick Button Necklaces June 16, 2014

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Cindy Wimmer recently posted a quick and easy button pendant tutorial. HERE.

Got me thinking about my small stash of buttons. I love buttons.

Even have a Buttons, Buttons Pinterest board. HERE, if you’re interested.


                                                                                                Cindy’s adorable samples

I rediscovered two very pretty clear ones in my button box that look like cut glass.

One was paired with a faceted crystal drop for a simple lariat style necklace.


button lariat


Since these pretties seemed to have a vintage flair, I dug out a sterling plated spoon handle thingie I had played around with awhile ago. I had sawed off the spoon end and tried to smash it flat for a pendant. A total wreck. Threw that away.

I had better luck with the handle end. Flattened the end and used some mighty force to bend the end into a bail. It went into a drawer for a year until I found it yesterday.

Thought it just might pair nicely with the button.


Button charm Spoon



And I probably should not be sharing this next item with you…

because if you all play along, it might decrease my chances of winning some of these goodies

from the Art Jewelry Elements team.

My better nature prevailed!

They are hosting seven days of give aways starting today…Whoot!

Seven days of artisan made components to create with.

Today there are two chances to win…

Kristi's component

from Kristi Bowman-Gruel


Porcelain shell charms 1

from Suburban Girl


Go HERE to see for yourself!



February Wrap-up February 26, 2014

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So it’s the end of the month and time to post a little something about my year long Personal Pinterest Challenge…Don’t Just Pin It, Make It.

I made a deal with myself to try one new recipe and one crafty pin each month.

So here it is for February.

Crafty me…I knew this was something I wanted to try the moment I laid eyes one this.  Painted wine glasses.  I pinned so many great tutorials on how to do this, I had to create a new board for them all.

I chose to go the quick, easy, no fail polka-dot route, using some round sponge stamps from Martha Stewart (a deal at Michaels with coupon).

If I had used only basic acrylic paints, it would have been even faster with a low temp heat curing in the oven. However, I loved adding some transparent glitter paint with the turquoise and needed to go the loooooong, 21 day air dry method.

But so worth it, because I looooove them!  I now have a set of four.


Here’s the tutorial.

Now, on to the recipe and it’s a good one!

This was a recipe for Parker House Rolls from an episode on Martha Bakes.

One of the grands, Jenna, had seen it and asked me if we could try it out.

How could I refuse?

Sadly, I did not have the presence of mind to snap photos during the process, but let’s just say there was lots of flour flying around the kitchen.  AND, there is butter in the dough, between the layers, and brushed (we drizzled) over the tops when they came out of the oven. Now, that’s a dinner roll!

Here’s a pic of the finished product and too bad for you that this blog does not have smell-o-vision, because it was divine.

The aroma lingered in the kitchen for days…which was a lot longer than these rolls lasted.  Yum!

Jenna's Rolls

Jenna and the Parker House Rolls

T and J Rolls

Taylor and Jenna patiently waiting for them to cool a bit.

Yes, these were a lot of work and time.

I don’t have a fancy mixer with a dough hook, so lots of kneading by hand.

But, the final result was so satisfying in many ways,

especially the time spent in the kitchen with ones you dearly love.

And because this is after all a jewelry blog, here’s a look at some cool copper buttons made in my adult school metals class this session. Made from 24 g. sheet metal…cut, file, sand, texture, patina, polish, seal, and more polish.

copper buttons

And a bracelet made with one of these guys…

     with chalcedony and two of those gorgeous lamp work beads by Studio Juls.

Meantioned Juli Cannon’s bead work before, but it’s well worth repeating!

Lovely beads to design with for sure.

copper button bracelet 2



And an embossed and bezel set copper pendant…with a t-i-n-y opal.

 Teacher Charlene and I dug through every box and bag of stones in the cupboard to find a stone small enough to fit the bezel cup.  NEXT TIME, I will have the stone first, before I start the project!

Opal set pendant

Next week I hope to share a bit about our metals class challenge project

                                                        …and boy, is it interesting…


Tuesday Morning Tutorial and Invitation~ May 21, 2013

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Good morning!

I’m so excited that Love My Art Jewelry just posted the invitation to their 3rd Boot Camp.

I’ve participated in their first two and had a fantastic time of learning and fun.

This one is all about wire work!

If you have never tried this before or even if you are a veteran at working with wire,

do go check it out.

This group of artisans provide inspiration, tutorials and encouragement

to stretch your jewelry making repetoire by adding some new skills

or looking at new ways to apply ones you may have already  mastered.

 Their first post also includes a tutorial on the traditional method of rustic wire wrapped briolettes.

I have posted before my struggles with neatly wire wrapping these types of stones and beads,

so I’m going to post a little tutorial here with an alternative way to do this

that I have found suits me better.

 This is NOT my discovery…but in searching for some help, I came across someone else’s tutorial.

Sadly I don’t know whose, but will continue to search out the original and amend this post.

If you know who might have posted this first, I’d be grateful for a name.

 I am indebted to this creative soul for helping me get more comfortable with wrapping up brios,

because they are beautiful additions to jewelry when done well.

That said, this style of rustic wraps is a favorite of mine for two reasons…

First, they don’t have to be perfect!  In fact, imperfect if perfectly wonderful!

Secondly, I absolutely love the effect of oxidizing both copper and sterling wire

with all the interesting nooks and crannies in the wrapping.

This is only my second photo tutorial, so thanks for bearing with me.

For this tutorial, I used an inexpensive faceted glass briolette and 22 gauge copper wire.

Supplies and tools needed:

large briolette

dead soft wire that comfortable fits through the brio holes


    round nose pliers

   chain nose pliers

step 1

Step One:  Cut an 18 inch piece of wire and make a wrapped loop on one end with only two wire wraps.

(note:  If you are making earrings, I’d highly recommend doing them at the same time,step by step.

I’ve found that I have better luck achieving more similarity in the pair of briolettes when I do this.

Actually, this is great advice when making anything in pairs or multiples.)

step 2

Step Two: Insert the wire into the briolette and

bend the loop to sit just above the very top of the brio.

step 3

Step Three:  With your fingers or pliers bend the loop to ‘sit’ upright on the top of the brio.

step 4

Step Four:  Bend the wire end up to cross the wrapped loop.

(note: you could finish the wrap up here and have a simple wire wrapped briolette)

step 5

Step Five:  Begin wire wrapping down the brio and stop when the wire covers the side holes.

These wraps do not need to be perfect, but serve as an under layer, covering the brio.

step 6

Step Six:  Now, the fun part! Begin loosely wrapping the wire back up the brio,

criss-crossing a few is great. Finish with a tight wrapping up under the top loop.

step 7

Step Seven:  Oxidizing with Liver of Sulphur or some other agent is optional,

but I promise you that it will give an amazing finish to this style of wire wrapped bead.

These are the finished pair of earrings with a dark oxidized finish on the copper wire.

blue wraps


If any of you decide to give this tut a try, I’d love to have some feedback…

was it helpful or not, too much or too little info, something needs more clarity???

 Or anything else you’d like to tell me, I’d be ever so grateful!

Again, I’d love it if you all hopped on over to the Love My Art Jewelry blog

and checked out their post on this great opportunity to learn more about the art of wire work!

They will be posting some great lessons and techniques over the next month or so.