Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Specialty Brads and a Philosophical Question

Brads come in lots of shapes and sizes, and when they were popular, there were lots of tutorials on using them and even altering them. I watched an employee at a brick-and-mortar stamp store heat-emboss a brad to change its color. How cool is that?!!?

Turns out, not very. I did the technique and used the brads on a scrapbook page. The pressure of the book (and it was a small one) caused the melted embossing powder to crack and peel off the brads, leaving the page looking a mess. Urg.

I never bought brads in any shapes except round and square, but I did purchase a bunch of gemstone brads, which are very pretty...and also very, very thick. So thick that they won't really work on scrapbook pages or mail in regular envelopes. But they are pretty, and I have a few left, so here goes.

Here, I was able to use up six of the round gemstone brads, three blue and three lavender. I'll give this card to someone in a package or in person because it would get totally mangled in the regular mail.

As pretty as these embellishments are, they are not practical for my ordinary stamping (mainly cards for my use and OWH), which brings up an interesting point. What embellishments should we buy for our stash, and which ones should we buy only as needed for special projects? Honestly, I never really thought about this before...which explains why I have so many blasted brads still hanging around after all these years.

Your answer to this question will be different from mine because your "ordinary" crafting is likely different. You might scrapbook more than I do, or make altered art or home decor pieces that allow for 3D embellisment. Perhaps you don't care about the added cost of sending your works of art in the mail using bubble envelopes, or perhaps you hand-deliver your creations to people in nursing homes or hospitals.

Please share which embellishments are useful to keep in your stash and which ones languish unused, saved for a "special" occasion (but really just taking up space and cluttering up your drawers!). I'll bet one stamper's clutter is another's must-stock item!

Useful for me: craft floss, twine, and lots and lots of self-adhesive rhinestones
Clutter for me: buttons, brads, hardware

Your turn!

stamps: Papertrey Ink Everyday Blessings, Beautiful Blooms
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone brads, dimensionals


  1. Oooh you've got me thinking now Susan! I think brads kind of sit around in my stash too to be honest! I have to have ribbon and twine though, oh and Liquid Pearls!
    Your card is lovely and a great way to use up your brads! :)
    Lizy x

  2. I mail almost every card I make, and I refuse to use more than one stamp! So I pretty much require flat embellishments - ribbon, self-adhesive lace or tape, and twine. That's about it. I don't even like to mail self-adhesive rhinestones because I feel like they'd slip or get smashed.

  3. Useful for me: stickers, ribbon and twine, and lot and lots of paper. I freely admit to being a paperholic; an addiction I will not give up : )

    Clutter for me: eyelets, stickles (to a certain degree), and those giant, fat flowers that won't even begin to fit in an envelope. Why did I buy them???

    I'm desperately trying to use up as much of my stash as I possibly can...so far it's working pretty well. You'll have to see what I did with eyelets on my post tomorrow. Your good influence. You have an impact. Bev

  4. My clutter also include eyelets, brads, ribbon, buttons, flock, Jolee's stickers, and decorative scissors. Rarely use any of them these days. I went through my ribbon drawer a month or so ago and purged about 50 spools of the decorative 3/8" ribbon I used to buy impulsively at Michael's. Got rid of most of the single-colored grosgrain, too. I haven't used enough of my Liquid Pearls to justify my stash.

    I still use regular twine and baker's twine, 1/8" & 1/4" silk ribbon, seam binding (but not in that big and scrunchy bow way), self-adhesive bling, Stickles, and loose glitter, too. I just bought a bunch of glitter tape that's probably destined to be next year's clutter. I have a few rolls of Washi tape that I use to keep my dies in place when rolling them through my Cuttlebug (a tool that I can't live without).

    I used copper brads on a masculine card about a month ago. The recipient loved the card and he had no idea that brads were "out" in the paper crafting world. That was a lesson for me to use my older stuff. If it works for the design, use it.

    Great cards this week, by the way!

  5. I need to purge my embellishments. I am a stamp-ink-paper kind of gal and need to accept that. Buttons, brads, jumbo eyelets all look pretty in their storage container but don't get used. I've finally forced myself not to buy fabric unless I have a particular project in mind for it. Should do the same with stamp embellishments.

  6. Most of my cards are for Operation Write Home, or mailed to friends and family, so I'm always looking for mailable, glitter-free options. Twine, strips of ribbon, embroidery floss, for instance. I have a small assortment of buttons, which I love because they're just so pretty to look at, but I never use them, especially since I bought some button dies. So far I've successfully resisted the oversized store-bought embellishment temptations.

  7. Stickles. That's pretty much it. I'll send you my left over brads since you're doing so well with them! At least I would if I could afford the shipping! lol! I also have an embarrassment of ribbon.

  8. I use stickers, buttons, baker's twine, ribbon, glitter and rhinestones. (I just found out that sequins are now in, but don't plan to buy any because of my rhinestone stash.) Occasionally, I use brads, Stickles and Washi tape. I have a small amount of eyelets which I have never used. I got them in a grab bag box several years ago.

  9. Great post! I'm going to bookmark it, so that I can read the comments again with a cup of coffee.

    List of too much I have & want to use: brads, eyelets

    List of too much I have & don't use:
    stickers, letter stickers, rub ons, ribbon, buttons, dimensional flowers and, sadly, Distress Stickles (I thought I needed every colour!)

  10. Thank you, Susan, for the question! Amazing how even in a small stash, there are unused things languishing in corners ... brads, eyelets, paper flowers, lots of DP and a spool of very thick linen twine. Useful things are twine, floss, ribbon, self adhesive gems and pearls, stickles and liquid pearls ... and now I'm feeling the urge to have a clear out! Anita :)

  11. oops, forgot to say ... lovely quote on such a pretty card! Anita :)

  12. I have some beautiful glitter brads but, yes, they are too thick to mail. I also have buttons, eyelets and beautiful hardware, but all too thick for mailing or OWH. My favorite ribbon is the seam binding from Zipperstop. It is soft and gorgeous colors. I also have pearl and rhinestones that are just flat enough but I have to put decorative packing tape across the back of the envelope to keep them from piercing the envelope. I think I will pack up some stuff for our local children's home as I do my purging!

  13. I'm loving this topic this week! I had brad and eyelet fever a few years ago and now feel like they are reproducing in their little containers. Before I forget, I wanted to share this post from something I stumbled on in Pinterest this morning - same brad topic: (http://scrapbookandcardstodaymag.typepad.com/scrapbook_cards_today_blo/2012/01/have-a-brad-or-two-in-your-stash-have-a-look.html)

    I've been wanting to move in the direction you suggest today - only buying "specialty" embellishments for a specific project but every time I sit down to go through my box I get that anxiety. . ."I just can't let that go! It's too cute and what if I need it some day?" I'm doomed.

  14. Must-haves: ribbon, pearls, rhinestones (and of course paper, stamps, watercolour pencils etc.)
    Clutter: eyelets, stickers, brads, flowers.
    Every now and then I´m brave enough to actually throw things away that have collected too much dust. But it is very hard to do!
    Thanks for the question and for getting me thinking and looking at my boxes again...I might just start clearing out my stash tonight.

    Greetings, Christine

  15. Oh a great discussion. It seems that a large number of us have eyelets that we don't use. I have again, every size and colour. I even have an eyelet setter that hasn't seen the light of day for years. Maybe you could do a session on using eyelets? My other unused embellishment is many, many paper flowers.
    What I do use: ribbon, pearls, rhinestones, Stickles, and of course paper. But whenever I do a project I never have the right colour of ribbon or paper. Strange.

  16. Thankfully I totally resisted the eyelet and washi tape trends so never bought any of those!

    Embellishments I love and use: self- adhesive gemstones and pearls, glitter, Stickles, Stardust pen, narrow ribbon and twine

    Embellishments I have and don't use and need to purge: wide ribbon, buttons, brads (the odd time I decide to use a brad, it takes forever to remember where they are!!)

    I love the blue and mauve you used on your card, and also the sentiment - very appropriate in the spring when I watch all the plants in my garden coming back to life!

  17. I think the only two embellishment trends that I tried and just didn't quite get are: big, giant paper flowers and flocking. Thankfully I purged them from my stash years ago and never looked back.

    I LOVE how you're using up the brads in your collection. The brads look like little bits of candy.

  18. Mists! I am not into misting. Why did I buy those? I don't mind 3D stuff. I like it, in fact.

    I've gotten rid of my eyelets, too, mostly due to laziness on my part. I hated having to set them.

  19. That was a thought provoking question! I got rid of all of my eyelets years ago. I think brads and buttons are going soon. I have lots of bulky flowers that I hate to not use, but I mail my cards or sell them, and no one wants to spend extra on postage!I like ribbon , bling, and self adhesive lace. I am becoming hooked on Washi tape. Im trying to think thinner cards!

  20. I use A LOT of buttons. I love them for flower centers, and butterfly bodies. Brads are also useful for butterfly bodies. Eyelets, however, are not terribly useful.

  21. I don't know if this is an embellishment or not, but flowersoft is something in my stash that is not mail friendly, therefore I never use it. What was I thinking? Well, to be honest, I wasn't. . .

  22. I suppose everything I have could go one way or the other at any given moment. I don't follow trends too much (which is probably obvious since I like brads). Even paper, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, overruns part of my storage area and is superfluous. Some of it even falls into the ugly category, but I tend to hold onto it for making cards with my nieces and little neighbor buddies. I haven't gotten into using stickers or any bulky embellishments. I did buy some flowers that are probably better suited for corsages. What possibly made me think they would be a great embellishment for cards? The kids really like them on their ugly paper cards, so I keep them. I do use buttons for flower centers and have used some vintage buttons a friend gave me to make bracelets for our group of friends. I've purged and donated flocking, chunky glitters (which I understand are kind of trendy), stamps that are just "too cute" for my taste, but I admit that it is hard for me to get rid of things. It's a continual struggle. Not too surprisingly, I don't miss the items once I get rid of them. I'll try again tomorrow...or the day after...or maybe next week. When I'm in the mood, watch out or you'll likely be hit with flying objects.

  23. Love this topic, sorry to be late to the game. I had to have eyelets in every color and shape when they were rage, paper flowers in large containers full from when they were popular, jars and jars of buttons that I just had to have, and metal edged tags by the drawer-ful. Those would be my don't need 'em now things but I did use eyelets and flowers a lot back in the day. I'm tired of them now though. I have a huge bin of washi tape and suspect it is more a collect than use thing. I have a lot of bling (adhesive backed rhinestones) but I am using that currently. I go through phases of what I like on cards and use almost exclusively that for a long time. Oh, I do ribbon too, but often as a strip across a card with the tails glued under a layer--meaning not as a bulk bow. This post has made me want to do a purge, probably because I'm not home right now. I'll get home and look at all my stuff and think, "Too much work!"


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