Adventures in Bead Shop Hopping

Day 2 and 3 of my First Weekend Ever Bead Shop Hopping!

Bead Shop Hop

My progress as shown on the passport, map, and charm bracelet

At the close of the first weekend of my first-ever bead shop hop, I have already amassed a treasure trove of beads and beading supplies as well as many free gifts and freebies. I love the excitement of the hunt, and to me that’s what this bead shop hop is. You don’t always know what you’re hunting for, but you know that it will be located along the route that includes these 22 bead shops. I haven’t even visited half of them yet, but the only shop I had ever been in before was the first one, where I learned about the event. Much of the adventure thus far has been discovering new shops and the different things they all carry. It’s a great way to discover new beads, beading techniques and styles, as well as knowledgeable people.

As you can see on the map, there are still 4 more stores in my region that I haven’t visited yet, although the farthest ones are more than an hour away in completely different directions! Here is how my journey has progressed so far:

free beads and jewelry

My freebies and goodies!

Here is most of the free stuff I got at the stores I visited this weekend. Some of the stores had fun games to play to win prizes, and other stores just give away free stuff when you buy something.

Day 2: The Bead Bar: 50 Shades of Grey

Beads I bought

Minty green beads, Czech daggers, Japanese magatamas, TerraCast samples

The Bead Bar was a cool little store. It’s book theme was 50 Shades of Grey. The charm that I got there was a cute little pair of handcuffs. They had a very nice, tasteful display in the center of the shop for the book’s theme as well as the gift baskets the shop is offering in prizes. I found a few nice things here, including some mint green beads I had been on the lookout for since spring. I also found a nice selection of Czech daggers to experiment with. I like that the shop offered some for sale by the bead so I didn’t have to commit to an entire strand! This shop also offered several different make and take projects. I chose to make a bracelet with Super Duo beads. It was a quick project and yielded a very nice looking piece of jewelry.

Super Duo Bracelet

Bracelet I made at the Bead Bar

Day 3: Oskadusa, Solana Beach

I started off bright and early Sunday morning…well it was noon, the start of the bead shop hop hours. My plan was to get to all of the stores in San Diego county, it seemed do-able in the 5 hours available to me. So I started off with a nice drive up the coast to a Solana Beach store called Oskadusa. The theme there was The Little Mermaid, and the owner of the shop was dressed fittingly in a mermaid costume. The charm I got was of course, a mermaid. It was a great theme for the touristy beach town location it is. They had a great selection of beads, especially sea glass and other unique pieces with a distinct ocean vibe. I found some great colors of  beads that I hadn’t seen anywhere before. I also picked up the make and take project, an “ocean waves” bracelet. I’ll post a photo when I get that one made. I did pretty good at this bead shop, and was soon on my way to the next one!

seed beads

Fun Finds at Oskadusa

Next Stop: Ocean Sky Beads, Carlsbad

beads and trinkets

Treasure Trove from Ocean Sky Beads

This Shop was one of the most fun that I visited so far. As soon as I walked into the door, the Mad Hatter greeted me, and soon after that I was approached by the Queen of Hearts. She dared me to a “game of wits” as she put it. The wager was a selection of charms that I got to keep after correctly answering a rhyming game. It was great fun, she even spoke as a true queen should! They also had croquet outside which I did not have time to do after shopping. Bead stores are so deceptive in that they are small and so you don’t think you will spend much time there. However, once you start poking around a bit, you find that there is too much to see! This store had a lot of charms and metal pieces that took forever to go through, but well worth the time. I especially like the flower charms I picked out. They seem very Alice in Wonderland to me. In case I forgot to mention, this shop’s theme was The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll. The charm was a very detailed white rabbit, and the charms I won also went along with the theme. Along with my purchase I got a substantial amount of free gifts–about half the stuff in the picture that shows my freebies. Needless to say I was quite pleased as I left this shop

Next stop: Ocean Sky Beads (again?!), Oceanside

glass beads

Glass flower beads, starfish crystals, seed beads, and more

Although this shop shares the same name as the first one I visited, it was not nearly as nice. The people who worked there were very friendly, but the shop itself was small and hot. They didn’t have as much inventory either. However, I did find some great glass beads that I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere, and an interesting strand of wooden beads. It just goes to show that you never know what you will find after a little digging! This store’s theme was Charlotte’s Web and the additions to my bracelet were a cute pig charm as well as a spider and web charm. I did also get a lot of free things here too. They had a county fair themed area in the back of the store where you could play games to win prizes. All in all it was a fun stop, but it was too hot to not have air conditioning, even on the coast!

Last Stop of the Day: Dancing Bear Indian Trader

By this time of the day, I was starting to get tired and this last shop was quite a ways from the previous ones. Fortunately, it was also in the direction of home. Like the other bead stores, I had never been here before, and I was again pleasantly surprised by what I found. This last store had the Harry Potter theme and I got a wizard hat with a magic wand dangling from it. The store was very creative with this, when you walk in they assign you a “house” after making you choose a numbered stick. They also have a competition set up amongst the “houses” and the one with the most points at the end of the Bead Shop Hop will get the biggest coupon discount. To earn points for your house, you have to successfully complete a game. The house I chose is RavenClaw and the task was to find a raccoon hidden somewhere in the store. I really liked how they used the theme to its full potential. I feel like I got the Harry Potter experience! This store was unlike the others since it obviously has a lot of Native American stuff in it. They also had a nice selection of glass crystals and seed beads. Once I got into that section, it was all over for me! I also picked up a box of Harry Potter “Every Flavor Beans” which include such flavors as booger and vomit for people crazy enough to try them.

Japanese Beads

Wonderful selection of beads and supplies!

So as you can see, my day ended with a bang, or at least a lot of beads that I will have to find something to do with! Hopefully I can even complete some projects once I get some free time. That’s not going to happen soon. Next weekend I will try to make it to 14 stores. I’m going to have to start hopping and not shop so much if I can even hope to accomplish this goal. Even if I don’t make it, I will have fun trying…and exploring orange, san Bernardino, los angeles and ventura counties!




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