Monday, January 17, 2011

Feel free to ignore this tangental, ultimately insignificant rant.

I have to let it out somehow. I know it's trivial, and most of you will think I'm a little crazy.

But I hate the word "embellishment."

Actually, I only hate that word when used in the context of crafting.

For those of you who started crafting before you knew that it was called crafting; or for those of you who fell in love with crafts by picking up random materials from around your house and glueing, taping, stapling, clipping them together or by finding new uses for junk laying around your house or discarded by others--do you ever feel that sometimes "crafting" has become a bit

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you will likely only become increasingly annoyed with my post. Stop reading now.

When I was little, I used to sit around with my friends and make "art projects." That is what we used to call it in the olden days. At least that's what my peeps called our often misguided but honest attempts to create stuff.  I later learned I was a "crafter" and that all the little things I found around the house and added to my projects were called...(drumroll please)..."embellishments." Buttons, ribbons, cut outs, magazine clippings and stickers now had their own grandiose group label. No longer appreciated for the beautiful, simple, individual objects they were born to be, they now only obtained value by being added to something else to make that something else even prettier. Their only role in life now, was to embellish other creations. How's that for a slap in the face!

I think it sounds sort of snobby and dare I say slightly classist? Embellishment as I remember it used to be a word we used to describe an object that itself beautified something else of which it was not part. For example, "This Matisse painting is exactly the embellishment that I was looking to add in my living room to give it that artsy feel." Or embellishment referred to an exaggeration, usually by an author or story teller, which made the story more appealing or entertaining.

I think that the word embellishment as used to describe buttons and other scrapbooking "add-ons" is a marketing ruse to try to get you and me to pay more money for simple little items we could find for pennies at the drug store, hardware store, fabric store, or in our junk drawers. It's a way to get us to believe that these are objects we need to purchase rather than make; to buy rather than gather from our home or our friends. A fancy name for objects that, rather than be celebrated and collected for their uniqueness, now come in artificial, environmentally-damaging, perfectly plastic-wrapped containers in uniform colors, sizes or shapes, without variation. These embellishments are necessary, we are led to believe, in order to create the "perfect" card, scrapbook, gift, or craft. I, myself, have been lured into buying a box of embellishments (buttons) from a designated craft store, only to be laughed at pitifully by my mother/sister/friend upon disclosing how much I paid for said embellishments. "Those are only buttons! You paid how much for those plain little buttons?!" OK, too much. Never again.

Even those cheapo, not-as-many-as-were-advertised, smoke-smelling, discolored buttons I purchased on ebay made me feel better about my money spent than those generic, oh-so-perfect, ideas-included, rip-off buttons I bought at that chain, overpriced (unless you obsessively cut out their weekly coupon) craft store (you know who you are!). You can tell how inexplicably angry I am by my overly long sentences, can't you?

OK, so by now you either think I am nuts or you are rethinking the word embellishment, or you realized all of the above long ago. But being the solution-oriented person I am, I have investigated some possible substitutes for the word "embellishment" in the context of crafting. They are, in no particular order:

adornment - beautifier - decoration - garnish - frill - doodad - ornament - trim - enhancement - frou-frou - enrichment - add-on - supplement - addition - addendum - attachment - accessory - extra


Yes, I vote for doodad. I know I certainly would not pay $6.99 for a pack of 10 doodads. Would you?

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