LE Designs Blog Monthly Events

LE Designs Blog Monthly Events
1st Thursday of the month - A review of a craft product
2nd Thursday of the month - Craft room inspiration
3rd Thursday of the month - Stamp set/die cutter review
4th Thursday of the month - A craft room storage idea
Any 5th Thursday in a month - *GIVEAWAY*

Thursday 2 April 2015

Uniko Studio challenge 19, CASology 140 & Time Out Challenge 28

Uniko Studio Challenge 19 - Above sketch (optional) and Anything Goes

Time Out Challenge - To CASE the above sketch with a twist

Hello all,

Is has been FAR too long since I last did a blog post, let alone enter a card challenge. Life has been absolutely hectic over the past few months (in a good way) but that is for another time. I am short on blogging time as the boys are now on holiday for Easter.

Straight on to my card then….It's happened again, I've become hooked on a technique and I'm going to use it to death in various combinations. I first tried this technique just the other night and it just worked amazingly and so I couldn't help but make a different card, in keeping with this challenge.

The technique is the chalkboard effect! It is SO amazingly simple to achieve, but yet the results (in my opinion) are just immense!

So, I began with a folded to A6 piece of white card stock as my base card. I then cut a piece of black card stock to 13.85 x 9.5cm. I used my Crop-a-dile to chomp the corners - this makes the base card look like it is a frame.

I embossed in white two flowers from Uniko Studio's Flower Power 2 set twice on the black card and once on a separate piece of black card - I wanted one I could cut out and raise up on foam pads. I also used leaves from the Pure Florals: Chrysanthemum set too, again embossing them in white.

Next I mixed some white water-colour paint with a small drop of water (you need to keep the paint fairly thick). I painted inside the flowers and leaves with the paint, dried with my heat tool and then gave a second coat. I find that this gives a much better base if done twice.

Once dried, I then coloured the flowers and leaves using Spectrum Noir pens. You will find that you have to use darker colours than you think in order for them to actually show up. I coloured two of the flowers pink and the third in purple shades. I used two colours of pens in order to give a bit of shading. I cut out the third flower and added it raised up on pads between the other two flowers.

Originally I was thinking of laying my sentiment over the top of the flowers, but it masked them too much. I decided therefore to heat emboss in white a couple of sentiments from Clearly Besotted. I feel these work really well with the overall style of the card.

Prior to doing any embossing, I used an embossing pad by Woodware to avoid any stray pieces of embossing powder. The downside of this normally is that on dark card, it can leave a bit of remaining powder - this was not a problem in the case of this card, because I was going to be wanting it like that anyway! Once everything was added to the card, I then took a piece of white chalk and rubbed it on its side over the surface of the card and rubbed it in to the card. This leaves behind a kind of 'wiped chalk board' look. The way the flowers have been painted then coloured on to the black card, leaves a kind of chalky look too which is perfect for this card.

The card was finished off with a few sequins in the centre of the flowers and also on the main card just to add a bit of interest.

I am SO pleased with this card and it is definitely going to be added to my new card collection for selling in my Etsy shop :-)

Best of all, it fits in to three different challenges this week! I used the sketch from Uniko Studio, used black and flowers as per the lovely inspiration card given at Time Out and finally, these are beautiful spring flowers as per the 'spring' theme at CASology.

I hope you like it and please do say hello in the comments. Any feedback so very much appreciated.

Thank you for looking,
Laura - LE Designs

Thursday 15 January 2015

Craft Stamp review - Visible Image Butterfly stamps (Large and Small)

Good morning all and welcome to my first review of the year. Today I am going to be taking a closer look at the Visible Image butterfly stamps. These have become one of my most favourite and well used stamps. I have used it in multiple ways over the couple of years I have owned the stamp and it features in many of my 2015 collection of cards. Lets have a look at them now and see how the stamp was used.

 In this first card, the butterfly was stamped in black, shaded using spectrum noir markers and then carefully fussy cut out. The Butterfly body was given a row of pearls and then the body was glued down to the backing card, with the wings being pushed up (This is my favourite way to display this stamp as you will see!)

 A similar example where the butterfly has been stamped, shaded and then cut out is this card. What I love about the stamp is that the butterfly is so amazingly detailed, but yet the outline is so simple and very easy to fussy cut out.

In this example, the butterfly was embossed in a row on the backing card and then a further embossed butterfly was fussy cut and added in 3D style to the top of the centre butterfly. In this example, it was the small butterfly stamp used.

And finally, from my 2015 collection of cards, this butterfly was embossed in black on to vellum and then coloured with spectrum noir markers on both the front and the reverse. This made the colours stand out so much more, but yet still retain that translucent feel.

I have to say, I would never normally use a single stamp for four cards in a collection, but I actually feel that with this stamp, each way of using it makes it look completely different, as though it is a different stamp being used.

It is not just my 2015 final collection that has featured these amazing stamps - I also have special commissioned cards as well as some competition entries.

As you can see, it can be used as a background stamp, masked and painted over, embossed, stamped, fussy cut out - the possibilities are endless!

The stamps themselves are very high quality. They come in their own CD style pocket with the picture of the stamp in front. Despite using mine frequently, they still retain their perfect shape and sharpness of details. Mine have discoloured ever so slightly as would be expected - to me, this is a sign of a well used stamp! These are so reasonably priced, coming in at just £3.49 for the large butterfly and £2.49 for the small butterfly. I would suggest purchasing both because there have been a number of times that I have gone to use the big one and realised for that project their is not enough space and so have been able to go straight for the smaller one.

No review would at all be complete without creating another card - I tried to look and see what I hadn't done with them yet and I decided to try a bit of water colouring and partial cutting! By water colouring, I mean the really simp cheating way of using distress markers!

I began with a piece of A6 white card and folded it in half - I was wanting just a mini card. I inked up my large butterfly with Pine Needles distress marker and stamped it at an angle on my card, with the tip of the wing right up to the edge. 

I created some watercolours by drawing a squiggle of both pine needles and forest moss on my craft sheet then added water. As I began adding this to my card, the stamped image also reacted with the water and the lines began to soften. I also added a few specs of pickled raspberry too in order to add a bit more colour. I tried not to add too much before leaving to dry. Once partially erie, I decided to add a light colour wash around the butterfly just to add a bit more dimension. It was then left to dry completely.

Afterwards, I used my paper cutter to slice a portion off the card at the top and bottom of the butterfly and then fussy cut the rest out.

The finished card was given some sequins to add the final touch of sparkle and of course a sentiment propped up on foam pads.

The finished result - another successful 'Visible Image Butterfly Card.'

Thank you for joining me and I hope this has inspired you to purchase these stamps!

Laura xx

Thursday 8 January 2015

Happy New Year

Hello and a very Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a wonderful festive period. I was so busy with my two boys and family so it really was a total shut down at LE Designs hence why I have not blogged in so long. I am afraid that I also missed some of my weekly Thursday posts but I'm sure you will all forgive me!

I am also flying in at the last minute to say that this week's post will also be put on hold, but I promise to be back next Thursday with a stamp set review, if not before.

Do join me soon when I will update you all on the latest from LE Designs HQ. Lots to tell…..!!

Laura xx

Thursday 27 November 2014

Craft Room Idea - Sentiments

Good morning all,

I hope you are all well. It has been a really busy couple of weeks at LE Designs HQ with orders coming in for various different cards, the launch of my 2015 collection and some rather exciting news coming soon…..

Back to today's blog post though. I hope you enjoyed my review last week of the Uniko Studio 'A Gift for You' stamp set. This really is a versatile little set that I would highly recommend. Today, I'm going to be looking at an idea that might make things a little easier in your craft room.

I don't know about you, but I always tend to concentrate on the images of my card first and then decide which sentiment to use. It can sometimes take time to find the right one though as often you have multiple 'Happy Birthday' sentiments. Often too, I know which one I want, but trying to find which stamp set has that 'one' in, is a search! I have come up with a solution to both of these problems.

Last time I did a craft room idea which was the CD boxes turned stamp storage, I told you to keep the printed acetate sheets from the stamps sets….well this is why. I wanted to create 'sentiment reference cards.'

I started off with the remaining pieces of card from the squares used in my CD (now stamp) boxes. I cut rectangles 5cm x 12cm.

I then did the same with acetate sheets - 

I did a search of my scraps box and found some various colours of card which I cut at 5cm x 14cm. 

It was time to then gather together the printed acetate sheets I had - 

I began with one type of sentiment 'Birthdays' and working my way through the sheets, cut out any birthday sentiments.

As each was cut, I then attached it with tape on to one of the acetate rectangles and on a card rectangle, wrote the stamp company/set this sentiment came from.

Now as you will see, this only works so simply for the companies that have printed acetate sheets with their stamps. I wanted to do this with all my stamps and so for the others, I embossed the stamps on to the acetate. I used my Woodware Anti-static pad which helped a little with the static, but acetate is a nightmare!!!

I then punched a hole in the corner of all the layers ready to put a ring through.

(As you can see, I don't have many layers yet as I am just starting this project!!) On the coloured sections of card, I wrote the 'theme' for my sentiments...

I then added my layers to the split ring. These are by far the best solution as they can easily be opened and added to.

So what do I now have - a set of reference cards if you like with all my sentiments (or at least I will do, once I'm finished.) I have tabs that allow me to go to the 'theme' of sentiment I am looking for, I have the sentiments on acetate so I can position them on a card to see how it looks and then I have the details of which stamp set this sentiment has come from. I can see this resource being invaluable to me.

This will be able to hang on a hook ready to act as a reference point.

Clearly not this one though - but as you know I am in my 'temporary' studio until we eventually begin converting our garage!!

I really hope you have found this helpful and is a resource you could see yourself using too.

As always, comments so very much appreciated.
Laura xx

Thursday 20 November 2014

Uniko Studio 'A Gift for You' review

Good morning everyone and thank you for joining me for another review. This time, we are going to be looking at the 'A Gift for you' stamp set from Uniko Studio.

I am a huge fan of Uniko Studio products. My very first set from them was the Pure Florals Chrysanthemum set.

I have used this set SO many times and it never fails to impress me. It would have been really easy to do a review of this set, but I decided to push my own boundaries somewhat by taking on a stamp set that I own, but have actually hardly used - A Gift for You.

As you can see, this set features a number of sentiments, a present, a positive and negative bow, and some sequins stamps.

Before I go on, lets first of all talk about Uniko Studio. This company was founded and run by the lovely Beverley Brown. On the website Beverley explains a bit more about the company.

'Uniko Studio is a small company based in the North East of the UK. Uniko Studio specialises in surface pattern design & clear stamps for the hobby market.
Uniko Studio will feature high quality photopolymer stamps designed & manufactured here in the UK, and if things go well we will branch out into other crafting supplies.
Since starting & graduating from Cleveland College of Art & Design, with a first class honours (BA) degree in Textiles & Surface Pattern Design I knew that my new path in life would be a creative one. Since a young girl I have been creative & I have enjoyed the hobby of making cards for as long as I can remember! During the final stages of my degree I focused my projects on designing clear stamps for the hobby market with a clear focus of starting the company once I graduated.
So here I am … Uniko Studio! I hope you will join me on this adventure & enjoy the NEW stamp designs from Uniko Studio.'
Each of the stamps sets from Uniko Studio come in the most amazing packing - a DVD case. This keeps your stamps completely safe and are perfect for storage purposes. You can see how perfectly they store on my shelves….

All these stamps are completely ready to use as soon as you get them - not need for any preparation of the stamps like I have had to do with some other companies. They are strong and so easy to work with. Just be really careful with any of the tiny stamps - like the sequins ones in this set. I am terrible for losing small stamps!!!!

As I said, I have hardly used this stamp set so I was looking forward to trying something new. I had previously used a couple of the sentiments and I really love their simplicity. Sometimes you want the images on your card to be the main focus and so these sentiments allow for this. A couple of examples of cards I have made with them are….


In both these examples, these simple sentiments were exactly what was was needed.

Now on to using the stamps. I decided to create a really simple card to start, using the present as the main image. I used my favourite monochrome colour combination.

I began by stamping the present image on white card. For stamps like these when there is going to be a lot of black, I always use Versafine Onyx Black ink. I find this is the only one that gives a really true dark black image.

I did the same with the bow and then fussy cut both out.

For my base card, I used a white A6 card with a black and white mat - I find this creates a really crisp looking card.

For the sentiment, I decided to use a strip of black card and heat emboss the sentiment in white.

As you will see, I forgot to use my Anti Static pad first so I had specks of EP left around the sentiment! You can see a review of this wonderful product here. I re-did this again, using my Anti Static pad first!

The present was given some foam pads on the back and then the card was assembled.

And the finished result….

I love how clean and simple it is, yet just really nice. It is also one, because of the simple colour scheme, that could be used as a masculine card too.

I decided for the next card, to keep with the same colour scheme, but this time to make the sentiment the main focus. I really love the stamp that is HB 2U and I used this along with the Happy Birthday stamp.

I began by stamping Happy Birthday down the card - again using Versafine Onyx Black ink, for that really crisp print.

Yes, I made a bit of an error in judgement when stamping the third line - I did in fact do a new card to amend this! After the Happy Birthday's I stamped the '2U' part of the 'HB 2U' stamp in red.

This was again assembled on a white and black base card.

Such a quick and simple card, but one that says all it needs to!

For a final card using this set (for now!!) I decided it was time to use colour and bling! I have got a favourite card layout just now which I used again, and also my favourite technique of paint splatters. I began with a white base card and added a 2.5cm strip of white linen card down the left side. I then cut a  piece of turquoise card to slightly overlap the linen card. I was desperate to use turquoise and white as the present reminds me of a very special little blue box with white ribbon!!
I added paint splatters of white perfect pearls to give a glittery shimmer on the card. 

I used the present again, but this time heat embossed in white on to more of this turquoise card. These was fussy cut out again.

The sentiment that seemed most appropriate in this case was the "A Gift for You' one which again was heat embossed in white, directly on the the turquoise card.

One stamp I hadn't used yet, were the sequins. These are so lovely, but for me sequins should be sparkly and so I had to find a way to achieve this!

I stamped the larger of the sequins in Memento Teal Zeal randomly over the turquoise card, and then added a small crystal to the centre of each. I got my sparkle.

The card was assembled and the finished result is a glittery card. This would be so perfect for putting a gift voucher inside!

Well, I don't know about you, but I am super impressed with this little stamp set. I was so glad I sat down and gave it some real loving as I can see there are lots of possibilities with this set and at a price of only £4.95, it is an absolute bargain. You can find this stamp set on the Uniko Studio website here.

Thank you so much for joining me, I really hope I have given you some inspiration for this set. 

Don't forget to check out our Craft Room inspiration post from last Thursday where we look at the AMAZING room of Maria Elena, and do join us next Thursday when we will be giving another craft room idea to make life in the craft room easier.

Many thanks,
Laura xx