Searching for a crafty way to celebrate your child’s birthday or challenge your Scout troop or church group? How about a jewelry-making party?
Girls and boys enjoy these creative get-togethers at the Bead Boutique in Irvine, a full-service bead shop where they may select from among 500 different beads, most of plastic, to make take-home trinkets at in-store worktables.
The 90-minute parties, for 5- to 13-year-olds, are orchestrated by store owner Patricia Abahusayn. She shows the kids how to make two pieces of jewelry--options are necklaces, bracelets, earrings (pierced or clip-on) and anklets--and completes each piece by attaching metal clasps or other findings.
The cost is $25 for the session, plus $5 per child for materials, typically paid by the parents of the birthday celebrant, Abahusayn said.
The parties provide a good introduction to beaded jewelry for timid souls, and they are also fun for the initiated.
Sarah Romano, among the latter, recently rang in her 11th year with nine bead-loving friends.
“I made a necklace and earrings,” said Sarah, a sixth-grade pupil at Vista Verde Elementary School in Irvine. “We got to see what each other was making,” thus her sister and a pal were able to make matching “friendship” anklets.
Another benefit to the sessions is that they allow parents to “avoid the house altogether,” Abahusayn said. The Bead Boutique is in the Irvine Marketplace, so children may be dropped off at the shop and they can then walk to one of several nearby restaurants or ice cream parlors for birthday frivolities or, as with a Scout troop, simply food and drink.
Many such eateries “are familiar with the Bead Boutique parties, so they’re accustomed to taking groups,” said Abahusayn, who can accommodate as many as 26 jewelry-makers at a time.
Boys sometimes attend girls’ parties or have their own, at which leather and wooden beads are the preferred materials, she added.
Abahusayn, a mother of four and a former teacher, started the parties while running a bead store in Saudi Arabia, where her husband worked for the government. (The family moved to Irvine when the Persian Gulf War erupted in 1991.)
“The day I opened the store,” she said, “a parent came in and said, ‘This would be a great place to have a birthday party because kids could sit down and work.’ So I said, ‘When do you want it?’ ”
When school’s in session, Abahusayn books up to seven parties a week--four on Saturdays, two on Friday and one on Wednesday afternoons. She recommends making reservations about six weeks in advance.
“During the week, after school is better,” she said. “Saturday the store is packed.”
The Bead Boutique is at 4187 Campus Drive, suite M-172, in the Irvine Marketplace. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. (714) 725-0468.