Soo Ling Beads & Beading, 1162 Dundas West, 416-588-1994
If the knitting epidemic of the not-so-distant past has infected you with craft fever, you are gonna love spring's massive trend of DIY jewellery. Before you start, score a dose of inspiration by peeking into, like, any fashion magazine on the stands. (Don't forget to marvel at the designer prices.) Then boot it to Soo Ling Beads to recreate your memories-of-summer-camp-themed accessories.
Providing crafters with reasonably priced beading paraphernalia for more than 20 years, Soo Ling - now in the hands of sisters Diana Seto and Irene Wong , who've been working at their family-owned business since they were teens - is headquarters for all things related to the art, from how-to magazines and equipment like pliers and needles to every type of natural and synthetic string and bead imaginable. Earring clasps? They've got 'em. Ditto the semi-precious stones, pearls, crystals and vintage stock. Seriously, now, put away that half-finished poncho and get to it while the trend is hot.
Wong's picks: Chunky glass beads, 25 cents each; vials of glass seed beads starting at 75 cents each; 16-inch strand of tiger-eye beads, $7.95; 8-inch strand of flat oval jade beads, $6.95.
Look for: Large mother-of-pearl leaf pendants (wicked as earrings), slices of brown agate (amazing on a leather string as an insta-necklace), all sizes and types of semi-precious gemstones and an expansive selection of (so-right-now) wooden beads.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 6 pm.