A Day in the Life – Behind the Scenes at the Big Bead Show

Yesterday was one very long day for the team at the Big Bead Show – up at 4am, on the road before 5 – quick break at Beaconsfield Services (how did we cope before that opened, in the olden days when the last stop before London was Oxford?)

The drive from the M25 to Sandown Racecourse is lovely, along the Thames and past Hampton Court Palace.  We always look out for people rowing on the Thames, a little moment of watching something calm and quiet before the hectic day ahead.

We arrived at Sandown just after 7.30.  The hall doesn’t open until 8 so we unloaded the van right by the doors so that we could get in as fast as possible once the doors opened.  By five to eight there was quite a large group of exhibitors all hanging around – we must look quite a strange sight with our bags, boxes, boards and bleary eyes.  When the doors are unlocked it is like a slow ‘first day of the sales’ moment as all the waiting exhibitors rush forward as fast as their various beady burdens will let them.

Once in it was heads down and get the job done time.  Julie started on set up, getting the tables sorted and all the bottom cloths on.  Then the big boards go up – these are heavy and have to be clamped to the tables.  While Julie was doing this the rest of us got all the stock into the hall.  Christine is in charge of bauble kits and all things Christmassy, Pat looked after the electrics and got all the lights up, and the all important socket for the card machine, and Lisa had the trickier than it looks job of setting out the bead trays.  They are quite the jigsaw to fit together, they come off the van in a random order and need to be sorted and colour co-ordinated as best as possible in the time available.

A quick hello to Elizabeth, the fabulous lady at Bead Magazine who organises the show, and then back to the display.  Having got the basics out we now had to put up trees and twigs and decorate them with baubles, stars and angels; necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earring stands went out too, and suddenly it is 10 o’clock, the doors are open and we have customers, lots of them, asking questions and it takes a minute or ten to work out where things are, bags, cash box, brain cells!

The first couple of hours flew by, we saw lots of friendly faces, chatted about new designs, met Vicky the new editor of Bead & Jewellery Magazine who is super enthusiastic and was wearing some wonderful beady creations of her own designs, sold things, re-stocked, and then there was a little lull, phew, comfort breaks all round, and then it all got very busy again and suddenly it was quarter to three and Julie rushed off to teach her workshop.

By 4.30 the hall was quite quiet, we had seen several ladies who had been in Julie’s workshop and had really enjoyed it, and we were starting to tidy up and get ready for breakdown.  It is amazing how much mess you can make behind a stand in just a few short hours.  Empty bags and boxes, coffee cups, water bottles, all needed to be cleaned away before we could start breaking down the display.

Break down was hectic, re-packing the van as neatly as possible but never as neatly as it arrived, back on the road, home at 9, van unpacked by 10 … and today we get to sort it all out, stock check, tidy, re-organise, re-stock and get ready for the show in Harrogate next weekend!

I realise I have said very little about the hours that the show is open – that is because it all passes in a complete whirl.  It really does seem that no sooner have you set up than you are breaking down again, the day completely flies by.  We have our moments though, Christine completely lost the ability to construct sentences mid afternoon while talking to some ladies about dragons – they were fabulously understanding and we’re pretty sure we worked out what we were doing in the end. Christine was then revived with strong coffee with extra sugar in the hope she wouldn’t talk complete gibberish to anyone else!

The best thing about shows is meeting lots of people, there are loads of familiar faces at the Big Bead Show, there are people completely new to beading who want to get started, there are mail order customers who we finally get to meet – it is lovely to put faces to names, and there are the other exhibitors, many of whom we have known for years and it is great to catch up with.

If you were at The Big Bead Show we hope you all had a lovely day and if you are coming to the Harrogate Bead Show next weekend we look forward to seeing you there!

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Shows This Week – Alexandra Palace and The Big Bead Show

This is the week where we get all too familiar with the wee small hours of the morning as we travel the country bringing our van of beady lovelies to various shows.  Yesterday Kevin had a lovely day at the Cardiff Bead Show, although he’s not too keen on getting up at 4am it was good practice as tomorrow is set up day for the fabulous Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and he will once again be on the road before most of us are even considering getting up.

The Knitting and Stitching Show is an amazing show, with lots of tempting things to buy and fabulous galleries of work to inspire you.  Vicky and Ellen who will be on the stand with Kevin this year both love all sorts of crafts and will undoubtedly be bringing more bags away than they went with!

The Knitting and Stitching Show runs from Wednesday to Sunday this week and we are on stand L26 in the great hall.

The Big Bead Show is our third show of the week, next Saturday Oct 14th.  Julie, Christine, Lisa and Pat will all be on the stand and Julie will be happy to sign any of your Spellbound books on the day.  Julie is also teaching in the afternoon – the class is fully booked so no last minute places available this year – so she will be off the stand from 2.45 until 4.15.

The Big Bead Show is the ideal place to top up your stash and there are also workshops, demos and make & takes going on throughout the day so plenty to see and do!

and then, phew, we can get home, get a little rest … but not too much as we need to sort out, re-stock and pack the van again to go to Harrogate for the Bead Show at the Great Yorkshire Show Grounds on Sunday 21st.

Exeter Westpoint here we come – show starts tomorrow!

It has seemed oh so quiet here at Spellbound but the design and show teams have been working frantically behind the scenes to get everything ready for the Autumn.

As I type the van is somewhere on the M5, stacked full of Spellbound goodies, and hopefully by about 8am Julie will be setting up tables and starting to get a very bare stretch of hall looking all sparkly and packed full of beads!

The show team for Exeter this year are Kevin and Vicky and they are looking forward to seeing you all again.  (They are also looking forward to watching Strictly on Saturday!)

There will be lots of lovely new kits to see at the show and our brand new brochure will be out too.

and if you can’t get to Exeter we will be launching lots of new kits online and in the shop over the next few days, keep an eye on facebook (where we will be highlighting a new kit every day over the next couple of weeks), and the website for more news

Absolute Beginners – Start Here!

This week we have launched a fabulous Starting Simple Stringing new kit for beginners, and a new web page all about learning new techniques by making beautiful jewellery too.

Starting Simple Stringing is a kit that makes seven pieces of jewellery – two bracelets and five necklaces, and takes you step-by-step through several different techniques so you can start to build up your beading skills in simple steps while making beautiful jewellery.

Available in a choice of Pastel, Peacock or Midnight colour ways.

Our other big launch for the week is

absolute beginners

There are lots of free patterns to download and a jargon buster glossary too.  With patterns including seed beads, Tiles, Diamond Tiles, Nib-Bits and Twins there is plenty here for everyone. Whether you are starting out and need a helping hand, fancy trying a design with a bead you’ve not used before, or would just like to make a new design check out our Absolute Beginners Page.

10% off Delica Palette Collections and a bit more news for National Beading Week

National Beading Week has arrived! 

Running from July 29th to August 6th, National Beading Week is the brainchild of the Beadworkers Guild, and is aimed at bringing beadworkers together. Whatever your skill level, from complete novice to longtime beader there is something for you. For more information about events running nationally (and for the first time this year, internationally) check out the National Beading Week website here: http://www.nationalbeadingweek.co.uk/

What is happening at Spellbound?

One to One workshops – We are running special taster workshops for National Beading Week and they have been booking up very fast.  We have just a few spaces left now on Thursday and Friday.

What are they?  If you would love to have a go at beading but just don’t know where to start they are perfect.   Just book a time slot with one of our expert tutors and they will take you through making either a pair of earrings, a floating necklace, a bracelet with a choice of fasteners or a small bag charm.

Sessions need to be booked in advance, cost £5 and you get a £5 gift voucher to spend in the shop when you come for your taster workshop.
For more info see the Workshop Page

Beginner bracelets small bag charmBeginners earrings
Also for National Beading Week – if you book one of our regular workshops being held this week (Revelling in Rivolis is on Saturday August 5th and there are still a couple of places left) you will also receive a £5 gift voucher to spend in the shop when you come for your workshop.  Pre-booking is essential for all workshops – see our workshop page for full details

Coming Soon – a new Beginners Page on the website

Kit Giveaways – one beginners kit for each day of National Beading Week, (nine kits in total) to be given away via our Facebook page or our email newsletter- sign up via our website.  Three kits are currently up for grabs over on Facebook and they will be given away on Friday.

Delica Bead Giveaway – One lucky customer will win a pack of Rainbow Glazed Delicas (worth over £50), just visit the shop or place an order any time from July 29 to August 6 to be in with a chance to win.

On the TV – two programmes on Create & Craft –
This Monday, July 31st, Julie was on at midday with a brand new programme all about needle and thread beading – if you didn’t catch her live it is available on the Create & Craft website to watch until Sunday night.

Still to come – Julie will be back on TV on Saturday August 5th 9am with a programme all about wirework

Discounts – for the whole of NBW, July 29 to August 6, there will be 10% off
Seed and Bugle Beads
Miyuki Cube Beads
Twin Beads
Size 15 Seed Beads (Miyuki and Matsuno)
Delica Palette Collections
15s palette Collections

Discounts will apply in your basket online, at the till in the shop.

Stunning New Free Downloads – join us on the Silk Route for some truly sumptuous jewellery

This beautiful collection of jewellery was inspired by stories of the silk route – market stands piled high with spices, multi coloured silks, rich fabrics, gorgeous textures, and sparkling jewels.

Patterns for all of these designs are now free to download – just head over to our new Silk Route page to find out more and download your patterns.

In other news

Giveaways there are more still to come in our Birthday month including four kits that will be up for grabs later today – two on Facebook and two via our latest email newsletter.

Sample Sale – if you are heading to the shop we have had a bit of a clear out of our made samples and there are lots of pieces of jewellery for sale at bargain prices.

National Beading Week is just around the corner and as the aim of the week is to get more people into beading we have lots going on with that in mind.  More news on that will be coming along in a day or two including one on one workshop taster sessions.

Back on TV – Julie will be on Create & Craft on Monday July 31st at midday with a programme all about getting into beading, or trying new stitches – absolutely perfect if you would like to try something new with needle, thread and beads …

and if needle and thread beadwork is not your thing, Julie will also be on a 9am on Saturday August 5th with a wirework programme

Birthday Sale Now On

Our Beautiful Bumper Birthday Sale is on now until midnight Wednesday July 19th

Online there is 10% off

Spellbound Kits*
Spellbound Simples Kits
Miyuki Kits
GL code Glass Beads
Ceramic Beads
RG code Glass beads
Wooden Beads
Spellbound Books
Metal Beads
Tools

*and the small print – Excludes the amulet and wall hanging kits, special orders and the Poppy pin kits.
SEL /project packs are not in the sale.  Discounts apply to instock items only and will not be applied retrospectively to items that go out of stock during the sale.

Sale In our Shop in Lichfield – there will be 10% off retail packs of pretty much everything – findings are not in the sale but pots of seed beads, twin beads, bugles, single packs of Delicas, reels of wire, thread, glass beads, facets, kits and crystals are.

Sample Sale in the shop – we have had a big tidy up and found that we have lots of made jewellery samples – tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches are all in there and prices start at just £1.

Giveaways – keep an eye on our facebook page or sign up to our email newsletter to be in with a chance to win one of the goodies we are giving away this month

Free Download number two – last week our first free download of the month was the Fabulous Florals, a rather lovely collection of jewellery and for this week, moving into seaside mode there is the lush Crest of a Wave necklace.

Crest of a wave

This necklace is the new addition to the Marina Collection – lots of patterns for holiday jewellery and all free to download

Birthday Shenanigans at Spellbound this July

This month we are celebrating our 33rd birthday at Spellbound with a few freebies and some new stuff – and first up I hear you asking, what are we giving away?

For Everyone:- There are sweeties for all this month – call into the shop, or place an order online, and sweeties will find their way into your package.

For the lucky one (or two) a day:- Also, for one shop customer and one mail order customer each day there will be another little surprise making its way into your package – we have a bumper package of Preciosa goodies that we will be giving away over the course of the month including beady pens, sparkly pencils, stylus’ and an assortment of jewellery made using Preciosa specialist beads.

For Everyone:- New Free DownloadFabulous Florals.  Julie has once again been playing with beads, this time taking a pack each of floral mix and leaf mix and making an abundance of floral jewellery.  There are plenty of ideas on the download including

1 bunch of necklaces web

these beautiful necklaces.  You can buy a pack that contains all the beads and findings you need to make up to 25 necklaces and bracelets and 10 pairs of earrings; buy a pack each of the leaf mix and the flower mix and add seed beads and findings from your stash, or use the designs to inspire you to dig into your beading stash and make a whole new summery jewellery wardrobe.

Two lucky winners:- buy in the shop, or mail order this month and you will go into a prize draw to win one of two £35 Spellbound gift vouchers.  We will pick the winners at the beginning of August – one shop customer, and one mail order customer.

Visiting the Shop?:- The free beads bucket has returned, there are all sorts of beads and findings in the mix, and for every £15 you spend you can choose a bag from the mix.  *Shop customers only, while stocks last.

Completely Random:- There will be giveaways popping up here and there during the month, the first was announced on our email newsletter that went out yesterday, others will appear on email and Facebook later this month, so keep your eyes open and you may just be a winner.

Good luck everyone!

Louisa’s climbing Mount Snowdon!

lou photo

On Saturday July 1st, Louisa and a bunch of intrepid friends will be climbing Mount Snowdon. She is doing this to raise money for Simons Heroes, a local Midlands charity that raises money for children with life limiting illnesses. She will be climbing up the Rydd Ddu path and coming back down the Snowdon Ranger path.

If you would like to sponsor Louisa, we have a pot in the shop that you can drop some money into, or you can sponsor her directly via her Just Giving page here. Many thanks to anyone who can spare a few pennies for this worthwhile cause!