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A scrapbooking colour story in red, white and aqua

scrapbooking challenge :: red, white and aqua colour story
scrapbooking in red, white and aqua :: colour story
This article was originally printed in volume one of the Scrapbook Inspirations Ideas Book, which is now out of print. It was probably my favourite column to work on over the years and I’m thinking it’s about time to bring it back and write more about colour stories here on the blog. So I’m going to start with this from the archives, and you’ll find a challenge at the end of this post, of course. And please let me know if you think this is something that should appear here more often. Oh, and it was for a spring issue, so do excuse the few references to winter ending and spring coming to life!

scrapbooking in red, white and aqua :: colour story
It’s only right to start with red: it’s the colour that means so much and can never be ignored. When I was a little girl, I always chose the red crayon first. In my precious box of sixty-four shades, burnt sienna and ultra green stayed perfectly intact indefinitely while red’s wrapper was torn down to nearly nothing from being sharpened time and time again. I chose red for my school bag and my sneakers and bows in my hair. Its allure so many years ago is a mystery, and I have strayed to other favourites over the years, but red is that constant: always there, always ready to pack a punch. As a teenager, I paired red with black to seem a bit rebellious. My first car was a very faded red Ford Escort. I dyed my hair to include streaks of red that were far closer to a red crayon than any hair colour ever created by nature. Eventually I grew up enough to embrace red as something a little less riotous and a bit more sentimental: red velvet cake, Christmas cards and perfect little love hearts.

Aqua is something a little more new. It was never the favourite crayon (though it wasn’t ignored either) and it has never appeared on my personal top five list at any point in my life and yet I am in love with its perfectly crisp balance to red. Blue but not blue, and lovely in shades from rich turquoise to a pale hint of summer sky and everything in between. It’s the colour of the sea in those magical places most of us see more often in travel brochures than with our own eyes. Between sea and sky, it’s certainly a dreamy colour. For every bit of warning symbolism that comes from the red of stoplights and danger signs, aqua offers a calm alternative. Red says panic, aqua says forget about it and head to the spa.

Then there’s white: the colour that gets ignored. We see it constantly throughout the day but we rarely discuss it as a design choice. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone to say white was their favourite of all the colours. I think we rebel against white cardstock in the scrapbooking world sometimes. Many of us were introduced to scrapbooking with just one option for the background: plain white cardstock. When we discovered other papers — colours and patterns that could also become the background — we stepped away from the white cardstock and so rarely head back. I’ll admit I still don’t like white cardstock unless it has a texture — just a little something to make it special. Despite all this, white has its own meanings that are pretty important — things like innocence and purity make white our obvious choice for baby clothes and wedding dresses, but its neutral perfection also gives it that stark look of an empty canvas waiting to be filled. I love the look of white floor boards topped with white furniture, a popular look in Scandinavian homes to maximise the light while also making it easy to change the decor by just making changes to accessories.

scrapbooking in red, white and aqua :: colour story
Red, white and aqua together make a whimsical twist on patriotic colours. If the red, white and blue of the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes can be regal and official, then red, white and aqua becomes playful and youthful and reminds us to embrace a bit of our childhood with our creativity. This combination seems like a way to bend the rules without the out and out breaking them attitude of dark red and black. Three colours that say life is full and happy and not to be taken too seriously.

scrapbook page
How does that translate to paper? Without any further instruction, I asked Laura to scrapbook anything she wanted in red, white and aqua. The resulting page includes that balance I had in mind — life is full of good things, like how she is looking forward to her wedding and how her husband-to-be will start a new career at the same time, but of all the other things she could mention in the journaling, she also includes his upcoming stag weekend as a planned highlight for the year! I blame the aqua: it’s almost like that striped paper reminded her to embrace some of life’s crazy-fun times as well as those big universal milestones.

scrapbook page Yes, that page is creased and damaged. It’s totally my fault, as it was in a box of ‘these need to be sorted into albums’ pages for months. At least it wasn’t totally destroyed. But seriously: I am loving putting pages straight into albums now. Can’t say it enough. Right, back to the article.

Heading off to mountains of white snow and skies filled with aqua is quite possibly my favourite week of each year. I pack a small camera in the pocket of my jacket so I can take pictures and the occasional movie of our time on the slopes, but I soon realised that meant most of our skiing photos look very similar and there are only so many times I can scrapbook my awe of mountains and my amazement when I come home intact. I decided I would start scrapping these photos before I decided what angle the journaling would take, and put that red, white and aqua colour palette to work. While I was finding little bits and pieces in my scrapbooking stash to bring it all together, I realised the reason I look forward to these trips so much is because it is such a release from our daily lives when we both work more hours than we care to admit and are constantly driven by deadlines and things that need to be done. Even when we do have a day off or a holiday, we don’t switch off from the real world in the same way that we do when we head up the mountain. Things look differently there and work differently there and we adapt to forget all about any routine other than catching the first lift in the morning. Red and aqua strikes again: acknowledge that life is full of serious stuff, but we also have to take some time to just play now and then.

scrapbook page
As we move away from this very cold winter and into a hopeful spring, my notebook is filled with flowers too. Predictable, I suppose, but charming nonetheless. I’m scrapping a few flower shots that remind me it os the time of year when things happen quickly and it’s important to get out there to see the world in bloom. This spring is all about flowers that seem just a bit special and surreal — twisted and stitched from fabrics, ruched and brightly coloured from paper. Beaded, pearled, buttoned and bedazzled in a way that takes something that looks so special occasion and make it perfectly acceptable for the every day. The return of fabric papers to the scrapbook world after an absence of a couple years made me break out those older sheets and try something new. Ripping away the adhesive backing leaves a fabric that is printed like a quilting cotton but with a very different texture. I tried folding it softly into flowers to no avail, since the fabric just seemed too course to ever relax in quite the right way. A bit of play with taking that rigidly folded and wrapped fabric flower and essentially destroying it with the iron creates a look I love: that very same fabric now relaxed with frayed edges and stitches to hold in place. The same technique works with regular fabrics to create a similar but calmer look like the red flower here.

scrapbook page
Of course, it only takes the slightest change to create a completely different mood when it comes to colours. Replace the crisp white with a softer vintage cream and it tells an entirely different story. This family photo predates me, but I can still see so much that I do know in that picture. I’m not sure exactly when it was taken, but it reminds me of spring, with the combination of trees that are still missing their leaves with warmer weather that encourages short sleeves and putting cardigans away for a few months. Warming the colours with cream and off-white always works with older photographs, and I love the mix of that same trendy ribbon flower with something older in the pinwheel backing made from folding old book pages into tiny accordions and gluing them together in a circle. Something a little modern in the satin ribbons, something a little older in the crocheted lace. One thing I come back to often in my notebook is balance — how to have just enough of this and still have time for that and so forth. But making a single page is about balance too — a little pattern, a little plain, a little room for embellishment, a little room to breathe.

handmade cards and paper flowers
I’m not the only one thinking flowers recently. I asked Kirsty what red, aqua and white would inspire in her creative work and she came back with the sweetest of notecards and a bouquet of paper flowers topped with buttons. Perfect for spring and no green thumb required — and she’ll even show you how to make them. Find the paper flower tutorial from Kirsty here.



scrapbooking in red, white and aqua :: colour story
So now your challenge might be obvious! Create a project in red, white and aqua!

One entry will be selected to win a prize pack of assorted scrapbook goodies. Entries close at midnight next Sunday (21st August 2011).

Feel free to use the comment section to chat about this challenge, as the entries should go in the linky widget!

13 August 2011



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102 Comments for A scrapbooking colour story in red, white and aqua

  1. Penny Says:

    I think more on colour combos would be great I often find myself going back to the ones I know work rather than trying something new. I know I should challenge myself and your help could be just what I need to make the first step to more daring layouts.

  2. Fay Says:

    My daughters bedroom are those colours, love the combo, will get to this first thing in the morning.

    More colour stories would be great.

  3. Scrapdolly Says:

    Love love love this colour combo. Won’t be able to play until Tuesday but will def have a go as it is lovely

  4. Sarah S Says:

    I’m struggling with this one because I don’t usually scrap in such bold colours. But, I will do it, I’m determined. I’m off to try and find the right photo now which may have to be converted to B&W. Not sure I could manage to add another colour into the mix x

  5. Sabine Says:

    Thought that would be difficult, because these are not my usual colours and how should I match this to my Norway-photos I want to put in my album right now…?? But I have just found the perfect photo and papers! :-))

  6. Jill Says:

    Great article! Love the color combo!! Thanks so much for the challenge!

  7. Mel Says:

    Never would I have picked these colours to go together but love them.

    And colour stories are a great idea for your blog.

  8. dogmatix Says:

    Remember this article sighs in wistful rememberance of a great magazine :)
    I think I may have a photo that would be great for this. Not sure I have any aqua though….o, just had a thought …back to my crop weekend notebook.
    U know, it is fun scribbling in my notebook every now and then. The girls at work keep giving me strange looks lol but I feel very much involved because of it yay
    Only problem….I am giving myself heaps to do on Mon and Weds…eeeek!

  9. Jennie Says:

    Turquoise is my fave colour and aqua is a great version of it.
    I am a yes vote for colour themed blogs, I liked the history behind your choices.

  10. Helen Says:

    I love this colour combo! I could use this for snow in december pages or my boys summer holiday pages! Would love to see more posts about colour combinations – I find them very inspirational.

  11. Rachel Says:

    Thanks Shimelle, I’ve had the best days scrapping in months. I don’t have a blog to upload but so far I’ve done, 1.the sketch from last night, 2.the sticker challenge, 3.the papercutting challenge(& i managed to use your July 6×4 photo love with this) and 4. the start from this paper layout.
    I’m happily stritching squares for the grid layout as hubby watches footie. I’d lost my mojo but thanks to you I’ve found it again.

  12. Kristin Says:

    Since I am new to your blog I am not totally familiar with all your content and frequent stories and ideas you sure, but love this idea of sharing a color combo. The red, aqua, and white really do look stunning together! I don’t know that I have any aqua in my stash, so probably won’t be participating in the challenge, but am definitely making the mental note to look for an opportunity to use these colors together in the future.

  13. Linda S Says:

    This is great! I have never done a challenge that is just a color combination. This is going to be fun….oh the possiblities!

  14. anneberit Says:

    I’m not really into red as a color, but love it in combination with aqua. Looking forward to work on this tomorrow.

  15. kate bucci Says:

    I remember this article, and it inspired me then…definitely going to do another page in these colours. Although, this weekend I am mostly working on a holiday album which is kraft/pink/green so I’m not sure where this’ll fit!

  16. Trisha H Says:

    Two colors I rarely use at all, much less together! A real challenge! I like it.

  17. Sarah S Says:

    By Jove, I think she’s only gone and done it :D LO is linked x

  18. marianne Says:

    You have a wonderful way with words Miss Shimelle. I wanted to roll around in all that red and aqua lovliness but instead I will try to create a page. These challenges are wonderful!

  19. Kim Strother Says:

    I made a page with these colors a long, long time ago and never tried it again. But come to think of it I love that page…so I’m happy to give this combo a go again!

  20. Lydia Says:

    This is one of my favourite colour combos – love any excuse to use red, actually. I’d love to see more colour combo challenges on your blog, as well.

  21. Jane Says:

    Would really enjoy seeing more of these types of articles on your blog Shimelle. I like working with various combinations of colours and it is really amazing the different “feel” you can get to a page just by colour choice. Will be very happy playing with red, white and aqua today.

  22. Angie Gutshall Says:

    Such fun colors together! And yes would love to see more post like this ;)

  23. ConnieC Says:

    I tend to stick to the same colors, so would also enjoy more articles like this.

  24. Shannon H. Says:

    So many great examples!

  25. Jennifer Grace Says:

    I’ve tried this combo before, on a snowy page, and I loved it. I shall give it a whirl again, possibly with a non-scrapbooking project. I like the addition of book papers so will try to include that too!

    I think more posts about colours would be fabulous!

  26. Carrie Says:

    Love the combo and colors in general – would love to see more posts!

  27. Kristin Says:

    Well, the challenge I thought for sure I wouldn’t be participating in turned out to be my first completed one! I’ll have to wait until the morning for better lighting (it’s 10:30pm here in Seattle) so I can take a picture to upload onto Two Peas. I just used scraps that I had on hand and think it looks ok. The colors worked for some pictures I already had printed. I am having a blast. I’ve never shared any of my layouts before and had to create a Two Peas account so I can share them with you all. :) Maybe I’ll work on one more challenge before heading to bed! We’ll see…

  28. Bunnyfreak Says:

    Love how these colors turned out together.

  29. Be(e) Says:

    I would love it if you made the Color Stories a regular topic on the blog! I’m sure it would be one of my favorites!!

  30. Sanna Says:

    Loved this challenge! Such a great color combo. I´m with Be(e) on this one :-)

  31. lynn Says:

    Lush colours. I really enjoyed your colour class you did a few yesrs ago Shimelle. Would always welcome stuff on working with colour.

  32. Chipper Says:

    I seem to have a love-hate relationship with red. I love red, but can’t wear it anywhere near my face or I turn into Rudolph. For my 13th birthday I begged my mom for a 50’s inspired skirt and petticoat. She made them for me in red with white polka dots. Oh how I loved that skirt, but could only ever wear it with a white shirt. I always wanted red in my hair, but as a teen my hair was too blonde to take the colour without it turning orange! (I wonder if it would work now I am older … hmmmmmm)

    Now aqua and I are def friends. I love the sea and was fortunate to grow up near beaches of white sand and beautiful clear water on a sunny summers day. Switch that to winter and the sea became a beautiful dark stormy green-blue.

    This IS going to be a challenge! I have been avoiding challenges of this kind as I am trying to use up all my old stash before I buy too much new stuff. Guess I am going to have to go hunting for red and aqua :-)

  33. Mary Buttons Says:

    I really enjoyed this one its one of my favourite colour combination

  34. Kim (toomuchstuff) Says:

    I have always thought I was good with color. Still, I loved this post and I’d like to see more color stories like this. While the red/aqua/white is one I’ve tried before, I often seem to stick with a group of tried and trues: a lot of olive green, cream, black/brown, blue and barn red. I’d love to hear more about yellows and oranges and purples.

  35. Kirsteen Says:

    I think this might be one of my fave colour combos ever!! And I can clearly see myself in a bright and breezy kitchen with white kitchen units, accessoried with these colours :p I have a good imagination since our kitchen has tiles with baskets of fruit on them! (they were here when we moved in, just saying :p). Can’t wait to try this out on a page.

  36. Jenny A Says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never scrapped this color combo before. Where have I been?! I love this! Just finished my layout and off to upload it!

  37. sam Says:

    what fun i’ve had thanks to a lovely lady on here called sarah i have just completed a digi layout and the colours worked so well,

  38. Louise Wood Says:

    Fabulous challenge. Yes do more colour challenges PLEASE!! My quickest LO yet, done in under and hour, now off to tidy work desk before I tackle the next challenge.
    Thanks Shimelle.

  39. Zahra Says:

    What gorgeous example LOs – don’t think I’ve ever scrapped this colour combo before, but have just managed my first!

  40. Julia Says:

    I love this colour combination and have used it a few times. I was going to scrap the giraffes on a brown page but I think this gives the photos a really fun feel :)

  41. Sara Taylor Says:

    I really enjoyed this layout and finally found a reason to scrap a cute picture of my youngest DS. Thanks Shimelle!

  42. ninarsku Says:

    one of my favorite color combos! thank you for the challenge!

  43. Kristin Says:

    Just added a link to my layout!

  44. Natalie Says:

    Hmmmm, well this is my favourite colour combination, and matched the holiday photos I’d freshly printed off – easiest challenge ever! Thank you Shimelle :) x

  45. Brenda B Says:

    This is a great color combination – not one I would have come up with on my own, but I’m sure I’ll use it again!

  46. Georgia Says:

    I will definitely be using this color combo again. I would never have picked it, as others have said, but LOVE how it looks.

  47. AllisonLP Says:

    oh boy, this is a challenge. red and white I can do. Aqua?? oh dear…

  48. Kate Says:

    Love this colour challenge…cant go wrong with aqua one of my faves :0)
    Kate x

  49. wendy Says:

    I loved this colour combination and the fact that I was able to use up some of the growing pile of scrap for the red and white. The photo on my blog is not showing the colour properly – the lights in my scrap room are really not good enough for evening shots

  50. Kirsty Says:

    This colour combo is fantastic. Both yourself and Laura have created gorgeous LOs using it.

    I’m not sure how much of these colours I have in my stash (then again my stash is rather large) but I shall have a wee peek this week and see what I can rustle up! I don’t think it will be a patch on yours but I can live with that :)

  51. Lisa-Jane Johnson Says:

    Gosh I remember this article so well! I still have my well thumbed SIs. Laura’s LO prompted my love of red and white polka dot paper and any time I see anyone using it I ask where they got it and show them her layout because I want to do it! It was back when I started scrapping and like many other people, I wish we had such a great magazine still. Yes please to more colour combos – I’m beginning to think I am colour blind as my combos are hideous at times!

  52. Kim Strother Says:

    This was one of my favorite challenges so far. I love the layout I made and think this color pallet is fun and energetic. I’d love to see more color challenges on your blog!

  53. Cynthia Says:

    This challenge was so much fun! It really stretched me creatively, as I normally don’t use these colors together, but I really liked the outcome!

  54. ann Says:

    So much fun! I’m definitely using this color combo again! Thanks Shimelle!

  55. Jackie H Says:

    I’ve just added a link to my layout. I enjoyed this challenge using a photo I’ve scrapped before and it’s quite a different result this time!

  56. Jenny A Says:

    I finally got this done! I love this color combo! I can’t believe I’ve never done this before! I will be using this color combo lots!

  57. Jenny McGee Says:

    I made this card Sat. at an Open House. How fun. Thanks.

  58. Michelle OKeefe Says:

    Another fun one that I know I will return to again to use Red, aqua and white. I love how it came out. Thanks, Michelle OK

  59. Kim Strother Says:

    I wasn’t able to post on all the blogs, but I was really inspired by this color combo and every ones take on this.

  60. Marie Says:

    Loved the color theme! Thanks for the challenge!

  61. Natalie Elphinstone Says:

    I love this combination and how very versatile it is.

  62. jessica c Says:

    Great color combo! I’ve linked up..

  63. Sarah Goodyear Says:

    I really love, love, love this! Especially the detailed explanation. ( that’s the best part!) I would so love to see more of this, but it must have the story, etc. to go along with it! Otherwise, one could go to multiple color combination web sites, but none of them give me this sort of inspiration. Thanks!

  64. emma clark Says:

    perfect colour combo for my must scrap picture!! thanks Shimelle xxx

  65. lynn Says:

    Thanks for this lovely challenge and all the information and photos. May do this one again, as I found another suitable photo.

  66. Mandy Says:

    I never use these colours so it was a huge challenge but I enjoyed it in the end and I’m happy that I got to scrap a christmas page

  67. So.Creative Says:

    A new and a great experience for me to melt these colours! Thanx for that inspiration Shimelle! My layout is posted ;-)

  68. Jacky S Says:

    Not colours I would have chosen….but they work so well together.

  69. Jen M Says:

    A new colour scheme for me, but one I love, love, LOVE! Really pleased with the layout – thanks Shimelle red, white and aqua rocks!

  70. Sinead Says:

    Not a colour combo I would have immediately thought of but I love it – thanks Shimelle! Perfect for my photo of the London Eye.

  71. Bethan Says:

    Loved this challenge gave me the chance to use red. I collect it but never use it.

  72. Lizzie Says:

    I love this colour combo – it’s so fresh and happy! Very appropriate for summertime and I have scrapped it with a couple of my favourite seaside photos!

  73. rockchickhelen Says:

    Great colours, love it!

  74. ellen Roberg-Askim Says:

    Finally some cloours for those photoes!

  75. Ann Says:

    Absolutely loved this challenge and had just the photos! Thanks!

  76. Amanda Says:

    Definitely a challenge as I don’t usually use red. Thank you for getting me out of a scrapping rut, and making me look again at the paper I have.

  77. Mel Says:

    Loved the colour story challenge.

  78. Jill S Says:

    Fun challenge!

  79. Jennifer Says:

    I definitely need to use this color combo more often – that rd & teal together is fab! Thanks!

  80. Alison Says:

    Such a fresh combination of colours – loved this challenge – thank you!!!!

  81. Louise Says:

    great challenge Shimelle, just posted my layout Xx

  82. j.leija Says:

    All linked up!

  83. Jo Says:

    My first time for using this colour combination and I loved it, will definately use it again :)

  84. Virginia Says:

    Shimelle this one really took me out of my comfort zone (the one I didn’t even know I had) and I completely and utterly adore my finished layout – thank you!

  85. Jenny Says:

    Great combo of colours plus I had good photos already printed that fitted well, Thanks!

  86. Rachel H Says:

    I love this color combo… fresh, fun, and versatile! Thanks for the inspiration.

  87. Lynne Says:

    Lovely colours. Thanks for giving me the courage to use them

  88. Michelle Easters Says:

    Loved this one and am loving doing your challenges Shimelle thank you :)

  89. Lisa-Jane Johnson Says:

    Perfect colour combo for wintery non-Christmas layouts. Totally LOVE that layout by Laura.

  90. Nancylee Says:

    Yay! I finally posted my first challenge and it’s almost over. Thank you thank you Shimelle: i got to scrap a lot so hope to post more….

  91. Immi Says:

    Loved using these colors!!!

  92. Peggy Says:

    Well, that’s it for me this time ‘round. I didn’t manage to do all the challenges, but it’s been a challenging week in a lot of ways, some of them rather nasty.

  93. Shannon H. Says:

    Finally finished my page. This was a hard color combo for me but I like how my page turned out.

  94. georgina Says:

    great combination and I had the perfect photo

  95. Jennie Says:

    Finally finished it, I started it last sunday and finished it this sunday. I loved this challenge and I am as pleased with this layout as any I have been in a long time.

  96. Debbie Wilby Says:

    Struggled to find red anything as it’s not normally a colour I use but now I’m really liking it and need to buy buttons!!!!!!! Love the colour combination!

  97. Ali Says:

    Love love love this combination, and serendipity led to having some of this paint just lying around needing to be used. Cheated using kraft, but still love it.

  98. Gemma Says:

    perfect for some seaside pics :)

  99. Natalie G Says:

    A great challenge and a great colour combo. I’d love to see more of these challenges…. we like to keep you busy Shimelle!

  100. Lorna Says:

    Thank you for these great challenges. They have really inspired me to blog again and share my layours. I love this colour combination.

  101. Louise Pettman Says:

    I loved how retro this LO looked.

  102. AndreaHB Says:

    Not my favourite colour combination but I loved how my lo turned out. thank you for made me think outside my box!

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