10.4.06

The General Bead

Darryl and I just got back from S.F. It was a fun trip - we did all the usual stuff: watched the sea lions, window-shopped, stuffed ourselves with clam chowder bread bowls and Ghiradelli chocolates. I'll be posting some pics later, probably on myspace. For now, I just wanted to tell you about my trip to the General Bead (the website doesn't do it justice, but I'm giving you the link anyway).

I read about this colorful and funky bead store in a shopping magazine and was intrigued by the photos: rows of colorful beads and the clerks with colorful hair. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the bead stores in Sacramento (and I haven't visited them all, I'm sad to say), but I had yet to visit a store as "phycadelic" as this one. The bright colors and cluttered appearance made the store seem homey (it reminded me of my own workspace). And you can't help but stare in awe at the two fattest cats you've ever seen in your life, laying lazily on the counter.

I found the downstairs to be a bit intimidating, however - everything was hanging on the walls - some of it you help yourself to, but the majority of it is kept in boxes behind the counter. While I found some interesting things down there (wish I had gotten some of those belt buckle blanks), it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I have container after container of findings and semi-precious stones. I wanted something more, something vintage, something plastic, something gothic, and something fun! And so I made the treck upstairs to the unknown.

The upstairs was a haven of plastic, vintage, czech glass, and the most beatiful buttons and sequins you have ever seen. It was, dare I say, bead heaven. I wandered around aimlessly, not sure what direction to look, but began pulling little packages off the walls and dropping them into a small basket, one by one. Almost every package was marked $1 - for about 4-8 beads p/ package the price wasn't too bad. But that was before I was told about the "upstairs special" - spend $30 on beads upstairs, get $20 free. Now, how can you pass up a deal that good!

The clerks were friendly and helpful, as well as entertaining. I had no trouble picking out $50 worth of beads and I got my colorful flowers, fruit shapes, dice, skulls, and much much more. The prize - a large string of opague white czech glass - beautiful! And *gasp* only $3!

The verdict: For a fun experience, and an even funner and funkier bead selection that won't leave you broke, make a trip to the General bead! 637 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.



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