I spent hours and hours making a bracelet for my friend Jen. I stayed up til dawn making a clasp that would connect and cover the ends of a braided strand of leather and grosgrain ribbon. When Jen, who is a jewelry designer herself, came to dinner, I had some questions for her. What were these little silver geegaws that were in a stash of supplies she had recently sold to me? Oh, those, she said. Your use those to cover up little knots of thread or other things that don’t look good.
Jen didn’t know the technical name for these beautifying clamps. I dubbed them “cache-misères,” after the French term for anything that hides a mess underneath. The two words literally mean “misery-hiders.”