Democratizing creativity part II: cute useless things

Ok, I get that Hell-Mart should not be the first choice in looking for creativity. But what about stores that specialize in creative pursuits? Those stores also seem to be suffering from the same virus. All you need to do is walk into any Joann, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and you will be assailed by what I call ‘cuteness-overload.’ I usually end up running out of the store in utter frustration because everything is so cutesy and the same, as if crafting is just about making cute useless things. 

This all started with the rise in the scrapbooking phenomenon a few years ago.  I tried unsuccessfully to get into scrapbooking, but I just could not justify spending that kind of money of what to me was such a frivolous pursuit. Don’t get me wrong,  I think Scrapbooking is useful, but the myriad buttons, brads, ribbons are other doo-dads are not. 

At first I was really into all the supplies, then I started to get overwhelmed by them.  I couldn’t even make a page because it was all just TOO MUCH. I didn’t know where to start with all the stuff.  No offense to avid scrapbookers, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

I totally understand taking an everyday item and making it pretty, I do. But, the cuteness overload has at times made me feel like I was wasting my time with the extra foofiness.  Case in point: a few months ago I made cupcakes for my kids’ teachers. I went all out, taking the extra time to make cupcake wrappers with each teacher’s name on it. Guess what? Not one teacher commented on the cute packaging. I doubt they even noticed. They did however comment on the deliciousness of my cupcake.

My point? Yes, cute packaging can be wonderful, but it’s not necessary. The craft industry however tirelessly works hard to tell us that if it’s not cute, we haven’t put in the effort, and how else do you show your love if not by putting in the effort?

up next Part III:  Creativity Kits (really?)…

7 thoughts on “Democratizing creativity part II: cute useless things

  1. Jane says:

    Oh boy do I feel you on this whole post! I love and admire other people’s scrapbooks, but the thought of doing one myself with all that stuff….overwhelming!

  2. Eliss says:

    I can’t lie…I love the cutesy stuff 🙂 I’m an ultra “girlie girl,” and I love pink, robin eggshell blue, lace, ribbons, etc. However, I like for things to be simple and have an essence of elegance to them…with a splash of color.

    Scrapbooking, knitting, and crocheting are my favorite hobbies, and I’m against going to Walmart for my supplies. Target costs too much, and they’re becoming so “fake” that it makes the final product look horrible. I’m wanting to invest in a Cricut so that I can personalize my scrapbooks better.

    • AfroMartha says:

      @Eliss…
      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the cute stuff too! It just gets overwhelming sometimes. I think the cricut is great, but if you want to personalize even more, I would get a cutter that allows you to cut whatever shape you want without cartridges.I have a Silhouette by Quickcutz and I love it! I want to scrapbook, but I just can’t sit still long enough, and all the little parts overwhelm me, lol.

      @Libby,
      I will definitely check out your link, thanks.

      @Jane,
      I would love to scrapbook, but it is overwhelming. Maybe if I sat down and really try to make friends with all the cute stuff? lol

    • AfroMartha says:

      @Eliss…
      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the cute stuff too! It just gets overwhelming sometimes. I think the cricut is great, but if you want to personalize even more, I would get a cutter that allows you to cut whatever shape you want without cartridges.I have a Silhouette by Quickcutz and I love it! I want to scrapbook, but I just can’t sit still long enough, and all the little parts overwhelm me, lol.

      @Libby,
      I will definitely check out your link, thanks.

      @Jane,
      Maybe if we tried to make friends with all the cuteness we might be less overwhelmed? Lol

  3. Heather says:

    I know what you mean! I am a scrapbooker, well until I too got overwhelmed..I donated my entire stash of supplies to the Make a Wish Foundation. You know what, I don’t regret it a bit. Now Im really enjoying my more “useful” crafty pursuits – building, repurposing, refinishing things I want to use in my home.
    Oh and I cant even do Wally World or Target for craft supplies – the kits just kill me!

  4. Rosette says:

    I’ve noticed that a “cute element” is overwhelmingly present online these days. Sometimes, I like mine “cute”, but most times, I prefer classic and sophisticated (and even that definition varies according to the person).

    This post reminds me of something I was taught in design class: “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should”. Sometimes, less is more.

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