PRT085 – The Many Faces of Neutral

Neutral has changed over the years. In this episode, we’re talking about our thoughts on what neutral means in scrapbooking. Come listen!

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  • Shannan

    Haven’t had the chance to listen yet (I’m at work) but I find this soooo timely! I’m a digital scrapper and was going through my “neutral papers” folder on the computer last night. There were just too many papers in there so I divided them further into grey, black and neutral. But then as I’m going through each one, I’m thinking is this neutral? is this orange? or brown? and I started getting really confused about what “neutral” was! Hope this podcast can help!

  • Thanks for reading my question about storing minibooks. I currently have a basket, but it’s overflowing…so I suppose the rotation idea would be nice. Although I’m not a rotation kind of girl – I like having everything together in their “place.” I probably just need more space!

  • I’m curious to know if it does — please come back and tell (and be honest!).

  • I really enjoyed this show!  I love using really subtle patterns (especially in cream or kraft) as a neutral… and will stamp my own if I can’t find the look I want.  As for my preferred neutrals, I use white, cream, kraft and chocolate equally- it totally depends on the photos and/or the patterned paper that I want to use. 

  • Wendy O

    I loved this episode, well all of the episodes, but I think that this is a great topic.  I find myself veering away from whites, blacks and kraft.  There are so many other colors and subtle patterns that can be used as a neutral.    Great discussion.

  • Lzepponi

    1st, thanks for reading my question about Tim holtz’s die cut/stamp combo a couple weeks back. I was so excited!
    2nd, I had to laugh as I listened to today’s podcast about getting away from “themed” papers as I sat scrapping my snow pics on guess what? red paper with embossed glittered snowflakes!!! Although I don’t want to use the old themed papers of sunglasses and palm trees over the entire sheet, I hope we will not lose (what I consider) classy fun themed papers. I feel like I need to defend “theme” scrappers. Birthday parties, 1st milestones, Christmas and the need, want to document these events is why I started and keep scrapping. And I like the themed papers that go with them. They take the guess work out of what to start with when beginning a LO. (at least for me)
    As always loved the show! All my favorite panelists!

  • I’m a digiscrapper too so I always find the themed vs non-themed discussions interesting. A LOT of digiscrap stuff is themed, but not every paper would be themed (like Nantucket etc). Of course the cost of producing dgiscrap paper is no where near the investment in paper products. I wonder if all the theming is to get a hook for people to justify buying them? Digiscrappers never ‘run out’ of paper so they have to be lured into buying more papers somehow!

  • Lucrecia Gray

    Another great episode! In response to the comment about spending the same amount on a smaller number of items vs. a larger grouping or kit: I’d much rather spend $10 on items I’m pretty sure I’m going to use all of rather than $10 on things I’m not sure if I will use some of it.  Smash book is a good example of this.  A lot of options that can all work together, you pick and choose which ones you think you will use and purchase only those.  Let’s not talk about how much I actually spent on that though, ok? 

  • Melissa Lytle

    This was such a fascinating episode. In the last couple of years I’ve been involved in the Modern Quilt Guild and have been so thrilled to find so many great scrapbook paper designs translated into fabric (Basic Grey, Riley Blake, Cosmo Cricket, Adorn It to name a few).  So many trends and issues like organization and design crossover into both hobbies.

    This concept of using solids as neutrals is very prevalent in modern quilting at the moment. Not only is solid fabric in a wide variety of colors being used exclusively and with select prints, but Basic Grey Basics, Basic Grey Grunge, and textural prints are popping up every where.

    One big topic I hear discussed a lot is the fact that using solid fabric will help quilts be a bit more timeless as opposed to using a print that everyone obviously recognizes from a particular year. I assume that this would be the case in scrapbooking as well. We can still use colorful papers as neutrals but if they aren’t covered in themed prints maybe we won’t look back on our pages 10 years from now and think how outdated they are.

    That’s why using themed paper is so great for cards. Their lifespan is a bit more limited and not necessarily intended be archived, so to speak. They’re given away and meant to be enjoyed for a shorter amount of time than a scrapbook and you can go wild and crazy with trendy designs, papers, and embellishments.

    I see neutrals as being designs that play well with others and are timeless. Solids, textures, polka dots, tone on tone, stripes. I think they can be in any color or combination. In fact, I’ve completely with author and quilter Freddy Moran when she says,
    “Red is a neutral. I’ve never met a single color that didn’t look
    better with red. My definition of a neutral is the color foundation on
    which other colors can be built.”

    I’m definitely a print gal. Color and design are always the first things that pulls me in. But I’m definitely beginning to appreciate what neutrals can do for you. Thanks so much for having the discussion on the podcast. I hadn’t really given serious thought to how I could apply neutrals to my scrapbooking before.

  • Kitywink

    Loved the show today! I had to laugh at the part about navy blue, I have been scapping for 11 years and If I could have I think I would have used navy blue on every page! lol I don’t know why but I think it makes everything look better.I especially like blue and white together. maybe I should have been a
    Thanks again for a really great show.

  • I was sorry to hear you don’t think vintage is going away anytime soon.  I see it in more and more collections.  It just isn’t my style and it is hard for me to use.  My Kids are getting older and I mostly scrapbook about them and so their pictures don’t fit in the cute kid style and nor the vintage styles.  I guess I will need to try the B side and see if that will work and use my digital die cutter for embellishments.  Thanks for bringing us this great show each week I really enjoy listening to it over and over!

  • Funny how I opened my Martha Stewart Living for September to page 150 randomly to page 150 and there is a decorating article on painting the edges of doors a bright accent color. “A vivid pink or citrus stripe is also easily tempered by a neutral base color such as gray, or a deep shade such as indigo.” So, it is a trend to use a base of something low key with more vibrant in home decor and fashion as well as scrapbook pages. You’ll note that Martha did not refer to navy (deep indigo) as a neutral. I agree with May – a staple, a classic, not a neutral. Love the color combos that went with this magazine article a magenta (hot lips by Benjamin Moore) paired with a medium warm gray (cement gray, MS); Mimosa by MS paired with Navy (Hudson Bay by Benjamin Moore) and a luscious gold called Melon from MS paired with a light cool gray (Elephant’s breath by Farrow-Ball). All great inspiration for pages. 
    Kayleigh Wiles often uses a gray base to her scrapbook pages. I think that stores are getting more tuned into what their individual market really is, basically what sells in their store. After all, the economy is bad and the LSS that are surviving are the ones who have figured out what works in their market. My LSS has a large altered arts section and they do have a card section but still carry a huge amount of traditional scrap products (very up-to-date merchandise) in beautifully arranged displays. Product moves at Green tangerines, you cannot count on some things being re-ordered. They know their customers like the latest and greatest.As to white, it looks fresh and modern without the sticker sneeze. It’s popular among fans of Karen Grunberg, who almost doesn’t use anything but white card stock as her base.I think scrapbooking follows color and fashion trends. Indigo and denim blues and black are emerging as basics.There is a trend to realism in color, a lot of talk of authenticity and soft romantic realism. Tree and grass green, rustic red and earthy oranges, earth colored neutrals like sediment grey, camel, and khaki. Yellows tend to be gold or mimosa. It will be interesting to see how these trends get interpreted in scrapbook products. Honest is a word I’ve seen a lot in fashion and design. Interesting! (at least to me). I think there is always a place for themed patterned papers. I just think as scrappers get more into the art of their hobby they are not always used quite like in the past. Those papers do help reinforce themes. Sugartree makes a huge line of just themed papers. They are available at a lot of places on-line (just not at the store that the Sugartree site links to, interestingly enough).Of course, one has to find the style one is comfortable with. Like Christine, I’m rather into patterned paper and more patterned paper. And texture, texture is important to me. We are influenced by trends, though. After all, trends determine the products available to us. Maybe why I like Canvas Corp products. The trend is the authentic neutrals like the canvas and chalkboard. Of course, those have the texture I love.I did like Nancy’s comment about using anything and Christine’s about making things your own. Of course, with stamps and mediums we can transform so much. I think the recent pairing of companies like the Color Connection with Prima, Tattered Angels and Pink Paislee speak to manufacturers recognizing our interest in making our products more useful for any project.I laughed about the discussion about the Eiffel tower. Now, I HAVE been to Paris so I adore the abundance of this theme that helps me scrap in a “thematic” manner, LOL!As always, adore the picks. Some like the Heat Tool and the Mistables that I use already and the digi papers and buttons that I will surely buy!Thanks for PRT, always a fun spot to my week!

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree.  It’s not that I hate vintage, rather I find it kind of, well, dare I say, inauthentic to our time?  For example the Tim Holtz keys that you see on everyone’s pages.  I see the value of using one of his keys, they are attractive, but they’re not “your” key.  For me, I think 10 – 20 years from now, my kids would rather see the house key they used everyday on a page, than a Victorian reproduction, no mater how beautiful.  I’m in my forties, and I wish I had some of patterned paper/ephemera that captured my childhood in the 70’s.

  • Yeah, I really liked that you didn’t have to be all of that in one package!!

  • I’m really interested in your point about the talk of honesty and authenticity in our fashion. Those are characteristics our culture values right now, so I love seeing that being translated into fashion. Like you said, we’re all influenced by trends in some way because the trends decide our choices. In addition to that, the trends come from the views and values of the current culture, so in many ways they reflect our cultural inner thoughts outwardly.

  • Ginny

    Another great episode!  I think grey is another up and coming neutral because of it’s popularity in home decor. I too like the versatility of double-sided patterned paper.  I tend to use more of the B sides than the main patterns. I’ve noticed companies bringing out whole lines of basic patterns, too.  Some examples are Bella Blvds “Sophisticates” line and Echo Park’s “Dots and Stripes” collections.  

  • Grohcm

    Very fun to listen to while I clean and organize my scrap room. TY Christine for the link.

  • I was just thinking – you could think of neutral as plain colors, because everything seems to be patterned paper…are there many people how actually use plain cardstock? Maybe that is how navy or red CAN be neutral-esque :P

  • Really enjoyed this discussion on “neutrals.” I think it’s a challenge for a lot of us to not think of “neutral” as something white, off white, kraft etc.

    Thanks too for discussing my question on the ribbon packing for a crop. It occurred to me while listening that in general, I’ve been packing my ribbon to go not for ME but in the event someone else needed some. I’ve always left “some” behind but taken most of it with, always with the thought that if I need something left behind, I can add it later. It’s very likely I will be bringing very little ribbon with me this time around. To add to that, I sorted by color and discovered that I have very little ribbon that will complement the pages that I have planned this time around! Thanks again!