Friday, March 24, 2017

Find Your Magic - New Inspirational Design Now Available!



Hi friends! Last year I wrote a blog post entitled, A Meditative Sketch: Find Your Magic, where I featured the above illustration. It's a simple drawing that came from my heart, and it's become one of my very favorite creations. It's so simple but I think it flows so well. I love everything about this design - the shape, the flow, the color, and the message. 


I decided to add some color to it and then create some products with the artwork so that I could share it. You can now find this design in my Soiety6 shop!


Here are just a few examples of this new design on a few different products. All are available in my Society6 shop so be sure to check them out! The floor pillows are so cool!





iPhone and iPod cases as well as skins and laptop sleeves and skins are available in all different sizes too



These canvas pouches are SO cool! You can get the three different sizes pictured above, or the three together as a set. Check them out!



I just love the pillows! There are square, rectangular (like the one above) and large floor pillows that you can order in circular or square.



Metal travel mug is also available in ceramic, and of course also available as a traditional coffee mug :)




Throw pillow (indoor or outdoor, and different sizes available)

I hope you like them! Let me know what you think.

Also new...TWO other collections...I just finished a collection of amazing eye-candy scales from mermaids, dragons and serpents, and maybe I'll feature those in a future blog post, but they're available right now in my Society6 shop.

 I've also been working on a collection of forest-inspired designs and I think they're really neat. I'm so excited about these new designs and have been working on them daily. It's been a nice little break from jewelry making, and it's so refreshing to mix things up and allow my creativity to go in a few different directions. 

Here is a little preview my Forest For The Trees collection, which I will be adding more designs to shortly! Click the image below to see more and be sure to let me know what you think.



Visit me at Society6



I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase 
at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




All artwork, article and images copyright ©LauraBethLove2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Design In My Society6 Shop - Bohemian Spirit Mandalas on Aubergine



Yay! I love how this design turned out! Hi friends! I wanted to take a minute to share the latest design that I uploaded to my Society6 shop this morning. It's a pen and ink drawing of three mandalas entitled Spirit Mandalas, and it looks especially pretty on the pillows. 

The background is a deep aubergine, like the deep purple-plum color of an eggplant, and I think it's a really elegant combination when paired with the ivory colored artwork. This design is perfect for Boho decor lovers! 

Here are just a few examples of this new design on a few different products. All are available in my Society6 shop so be sure to check them out!






Wall tapestry available in 3 sizes!



iPhone and iPod cases as well as skins and laptop sleeves and skins are available in all different sizes too



I just love the pillows! There are square, rectangular (like the one above) and large floor pillows that you can order in circular or square


I hope you like them! Let me know what you think!

also new...




Visit me at Society6




I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




All artwork, article and images copyright ©LauraBethLove2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Painting Through A Blizzard And Learning As I Go



Thank goodness we didn't get the 26 or 27 inches of snow they were calling for Monday night into Tuesday (we got a managable 12 to 13 inches instead) but we still settled in to wait out the storm. I filled the birdfeeder and hung the suet and then made a big pot of white chicken chili (I used this recipe and it's now a family favorite) along with some honey cornbread.  The birdfeeders and suet brought out every bird in the neighborhood and it was neat to see a few woodpeckers (check out this video on my Instagram that I took of a Downy Woodpecker) and all sorts of other birds. 


Sam keeping me company as I do a sketch for another watercolor painting. 




I drew out a rough sketch to use as a guide.




I kept it pretty simple and only used three colors, this was the first layer.




The next day I added some details and her hair.




Drying.




I probably could have added more paint or more details but I'm trying to avoid over-painting.




I'm pretty happy with the results. I've never had any kind of formal art training so I am just kind of teaching myself and am learning as I go. 



At this point I would rather just observe and figure it out myself instead of being told I am doing something wrong or right, or be shown the way someone else says I should do something. I think it allows my art to be free and without limits or rules because I don't have to worry about any of those things I can just purely express. :)




I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




article and images copyright ©LauraBethLove2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How To Choose A Soldering Iron For Jewelry Making




Hi friends! Today I'm going to talk about soldering irons used for making soldered jewelry. In this article I'll give you some helpful tips for how to choose the right soldering iron for jewelry making, and I'll also explain why I recommend a 100 watt soldering iron for jewelry making.  

This type of jewelry - that is, jewelry made with a soldering iron - is sometimes called "low temp soldered jewelry" and the term "low temp" is used to differentiate this type of soldering from "high heat soldered jewelry" which would be jewelry that is made with a torch and a flame, such as when you are torch soldering sterling silver. That type of soldering requires an open flame. 

Low temp soldered jewelry does not require an open flame. It only requires a soldering iron. It is also sometimes known as "soft soldered jewelry" but I think "low temp soldered jewelry" is a more accurate title. For the sake of this article, when I say "soldered jewelry" I am talking about jewelry that is created by using a soldering iron. 

An example of soldered jewelry - the metalwork around the hearts is soldered 

You can buy soldering irons in different wattages. Look at any stained glass catalog and some jewelry making catalogs, and you'll find soldering irons called "irons for the hobbyist," or "irons for  professionals," or "craft soldering irons," etc. But exactly what kind of soldering iron do you need for making soldered jewelry? 

First of all, I get tons of emails from people who want to know what brand soldering iron they should buy. In my books I have recommendations for wattage but not for brands. Why? Because brand is a matter of personal preference. 

Do I have my favorites? Sure I do. But I've only ever tried a couple different brands of irons so I really can't tell you which is the best. It wouldn't be fair to the ones I haven't tried! But I can tell you this: you get what you pay for. 

Soldered jewelry - from my book, Boho Chic Jewelry

If you buy something very inexpensive called a "hobby soldering iron" that has a low wattage, you won't be able to get good results with it. How do I know this? Because first of all, it won't reach a high enough temperature to melt lead-free solder, and that's what you have to use to make jewelry. 

Most soldering irons are made for the stained glass industry and so they are made to melt lead which is used to create stained glass, and lead melts at a low temperature. Because we are making jewelry we need to use lead-free solder. Lead-free solder melts at a higher temperature than lead does, so you need a higher wattage iron to be able to work with lead-free solder.

Note: If you use lead solder to make jewelry you are making poisonous jewelry. Using lead to make jewelry is against the law and you could get in much trouble for this. How do you tell the difference between lead solder in jewelry and lead-free solder in jewelry? First of all, The weight. Lead solder is heavy. Second of all, the finish. Lead solder can be polished to a super shiny finish that has virtually no visual imperfections. Lead-free solder will often have a hazy spot here or there and that is just the nature of the beast. It still will polish up to a nice shine with a little bit of elbow grease. Another way to tell whether it is lead or not is to simply do a lead test on that you can buy at a hardware store. And be advised, even if you put a patina on it or other coating, it is still lead and it is still against the law to use it in jewelry. So my point is, never use lead to make jewelry. Only ever use 100 percent lead-free solder. 

OK, so we have established that you need a high wattage iron so that it can melt the lead-free solder. I recommend a 100 W soldering iron. Sometimes people write to me and ask where they can find one, but all  you have to really do is look on the Internet. Can you use an 80 watt iron? You might be able to, but you might not get as nice of a finish on your jewelry and it might not look as professional. Have you ever seen a piece of soldered jewelry where the metalwork is full of lumps, bumps, and sharp peaks? That is because they did not use the correct temperature - and probably not the correct watt iron - to solder. 

So if you can, get a 100 watt soldering iron. You will also need a rheostat which is used to adjust the temperature of your iron. You can buy soldering irons that have these built in or you can buy an external one that you plug your iron into. I recommend the external one, but again that is my personal preference. I think they work much better and I think it will prolong the life of your iron in case the rheostat breaks you can always get a new one if it's external. If the rheostat is built into your iron and it breaks, you're kind of out of luck. 

Soldered jewelry - from my book, Boho Chic Jewelry


I talk a lot more about soldering in my books, Boho Chic Jewelry and Soldered Alchemy. If you are just starting out with soldering I highly recommend that you start with the Boho Chic Jewelry book. The Soldered Alchemy book is my second book and it is a bit more focused on using solder in a different way, so I always tell folks to start with Boho Chic Jewelry. There you will also find my tips and techniques for decorative soldering and you will learn how I create those perfect little solder droplets to decorate my designs. 

If you're already a soldering pro, then you definitely need to check out Soldered Alchemy. It will change the way you see and use solder and you will be amazed when you see these new techniques! And if you didn't know, I also have workshop DVDs of one project from each book, but I highly recommend reading the books first, then watching the DVDs. (there are links to the books and DVDs on the sidebar to the right of this article.)

Soldered jewelry - from my book, Boho Chic Jewelry


If you've never soldered jewelry before, or even held a soldering iron, this might seem like a lot of overwhelming information, but it really isn't. Soldering is super fun, and if you have only ever worked with beads or wire and have never used heat to make jewelry, I definitely recommend giving soldering a try. You don't have to go directly from "cold wire" working to using a torch. Try soldering iron soldering! Once you get the hang of it you will be addicted!

You can do so many things with a soldering iron! What's especially neat about it is that you can solder items that you wouldn't be able to solder with an open flame torch, such as glass and plastic - which would break or melt from the flame of a traditional torch. So there are definite benefits to soldering iron soldering!


Note: for my complete suggested materials and tools list for soldering, check out my book, Boho Chic Jewelry.


I hope this article was helpful and informative. Please leave me a comment below, and let me know what you think of soldering! Also let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see on my blog, and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I will be adding new jewelry making and craft videos as I make them!




Check out my book, Boho Chic Jewelry

I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




article and images ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Monday, March 6, 2017

My 4 Favorite Things For Today - Monday March 6th




It's kind of hard to think of four favorite things first thing in the morning on a Monday morning after staying up too late the night before but here goes... :D


1. Hot chocolate. I gave up sugar for the past two weeks  - not completely, but I cut back about 85 percent because I felt like I was overdoing it lately. I love sweets so that was a tough one for me, but I needed to stop and kind of reel things in a bit to gain some perspective on how much sugar I was consuming. 

I don't drink soda or juice but I do use sugar in my coffee and tea - both of which I drink a lot! Basically all day! I believe in all things in moderation, and I guess it was time to moderate how much sugar I was eating or drinking. That being said, my big splurge for the weekend was real hot chocolate that I made with 1 % milk and of course lots of marshmallows. It was amazing. :)

2. The elephant necklace with gemstone beads. I made and sold one of these over Christmas, so I thought I would make another one. I just love the colors of these stones (left to right Phrenite, Ruby Jade, Garnet, Iolite, Larimar, and Fluorite). I just love Iolite!  

I wrapped them in silver wire and then hung them from a leather cord. This type of jewelry making (beading/wire wrapping) is a nice change from the china jewelry that I make all the time. Sometimes my hands and mind have to do something new for the sake of variety and creativity.

3. Making homemade Chicken Marsala. This week I made homemade Chicken Marsala for the first time ever for my girls and it was awesome! I even slow roasted bulbs of fresh garlic to make garlic mashed potatoes as an accompaniment. All I can say is it was divine. 

I used this recipe from Epicurious (still my favorite place to find amazing recipes) and tweaked it to taste as I cooked, making double the sauce. If you ever cook anything from Epi make sure that you read all the reviews first before you start. I've found lots of great advice in the reviews and comments. 

I used this recipe as a guide for making the mashed potatoes but I used regular potatoes, extra garlic, and half and half instead of the heavy cream. They were amazing. 

4. Trying my hand at watercolor painting. Here's the first ever face/eye that I painted, and I think it turned out pretty good. At least it did until I started over-painting it! I am learning. 

I like doing small drawings for fun and painting those, and I've found that I really like painting faces. It's interesting to see how when you paint a face, a personality starts to emerge. It's kind of mysterious!



If there is anything in particular that you'd like to see just leave me a comment!



I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns



©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Crystal Cluster Watercolor Illustration: New Video On My YouTube Channel!






Hi friends! I just uploaded a brand new video to my YouTube channel so please check it out, give it a like and be sure to subscribe. 

For this project I used watercolor paper, pencil, Micron ink pen, and Windsor & Newton watercolor paints, but you can use whatever you have on hand. 

Who isn't crazy for crystals? They're fun to paint (and super easy too!) so I thought I would try my hand at painting my own (Yes, all of my videos are my first-time try, learn as I go!) 

I started with a pencil sketch to get the shapes on the paper, and then I used watercolor paints to color my drawing. I used very little paint - I wanted my crystals to be predominantly purple, so I used some different tones of violet, and then here and there added a bit of blue and then just a whisper of yellow and green to give my crystals that iridescent glow. 

Once my drawing was finished I added a quick sketchy outline in black micron ink. Check it out below!










I hope to do a few jewelry making videos in the near future so be sure to check back! 

If there is anything in particular that you'd like to see just leave me a comment!





I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns



©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Thursday, March 2, 2017

New Video On My YouTube Channel: Space Feather Illustration




Hi friends! I just uploaded a brand new video to my YouTube channel so please check it out, give it a like and be sure to subscribe. 

For this project I used watercolor paper, pencil, Micron ink pen, and Windsor & Newton watercolor paints, but you can use whatever you have on hand. 

Feathers are super-popular right now in art and illustration so I thought I'd share my own version...the space feather :) 

I start with a pencil sketch to get my shape on the paper, and then I bring in the big guns (black ink pen) to go over the outline and add the designs. Using simple lines and circles and a few spirals I fill in the feather areas thinking up the designs as I work. 

Once my drawing is finished I add a little bit of watercolor paint just to give it a blush of color.

I added the script lettering so that you could see how you can easily fancy it up by adding an additional line on the down-stroke, and then fill it in with a little bit of watercolor paint to tie it in nicely with your painting. 

I hope to do a few jewelry making videos in the near future so be sure to check back! 

If there is anything in particular that you'd like to see just leave me a comment!



















I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns