The Bead Lady of Menlo Park

Fifteen years ago, Menlo Park resident Marilyn (no last names in this post!) left her job at Klutz and found herself with tons of plastic beads from various projects. She started throwing them in her front yard, which was made up of crushed granite. The rocks set off the beads nicely.

“When we’re here — we split our time between Menlo and Sea Ranch — I replenish the yard a couple of times a week,” she says. “I get new supplies by haunting the local thrift stores. It takes me a while to sort through them all — I don’t want to put out anything that’s harmful or unsafe.”

Interspersed with the beads are other treasures like bracelets and watches, which two of The Bead Lady’s “customers” —  Zoe and Lauren — spotted hanging from a garden hose on a recent visit. “I love finding the treasures,” said Lauren, “but it’s also fun to gather up the beads and make necklaces at home.

The Bead Lady reports that she has a solid group of both boys and girls that hear about her via word of mouth and call her home variously Treasure House, Cat House, Bead House, and Gem House. “Some parents have rules about how many beads their children can gather,” said Marilyn. “But rules or not, the kids are great. We all have a good time.”