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Rita's Favorite Things
Rita Hutchinson: Marketing and product development specialist, jewelry purist (mixed metals are great, mixed qualities make me twitch), dabbler in almost all techniques, bead and tool hoarder, baker, pool player.
Rita's comments about a few of her favorite jewelry making supplies:
#05-750-13-152 Metallic Blue Crystal Skull Bead This bead says "rock and roll". The metallic blue color is a great complement to this angular skull design. Make simple earrings with these beads.
#27-399-01 Barrel Shape Mirage Bead Mirage Beads are a fun reminder of the mood rings I remember as a child. These can be incorporated with other types of beads or simply strung on gossamer floss, for a fun color-changing bracelet.
Comments continued below!
#21-880-102 Botswana Agate Round Bead Botswana Agate is one of my favorite gemstones. The greys and whites are a nice neutral, and the occasional unexpected hint of pink adds to the allure. This is another stone that has become harder to come by lately, but I've got a good supply all stashed away.
#30-533 80mm French Barrette Real french barrettes make a real difference. The spring is built into the barrette design, so it doesn't pop loose. I've been known to wear one of these without any decoration in the warehouse on a bad hair day.
#61-459 7" Spring Bracelet These don't look like much from the picture, but they are a great product. Our original source closed down, so we didn't have these for 5 years or so, but now they are back and great for a variety of bracelet styles. I'm hoping to record a short "how to assemble" video one of these days.
#34-569-01 Sterling Silver Angular French Hook Earwire Just a little different, the angular earwire makes your jewelry stand out from the crowd. This is a nice sturdy design with a modern look.
#40-099-15-3 Silver Plated Rollo Chain Rollo is one of my favorite chain styles. I wear a sterling rollo chain bracelet every day. Silver plated chain is a more economical option and can be cut and finished off to whatever length you desire.
#40-092-04-MSMatte Silver Plated Shell Dangle ChainShe sells seashells by the seashore. This charm chain with seashells is great for dangly earrings with some crystals added in for color, or make a lush bracelet instead and sell them in town, in the country, or by the shore.
#47-405-20 20-gauge copper wire This raw copper wire comes in gauges from 10 to 30. Use the thick sizes for wire shapes, and the thin sizes for wire wrapping. It takes patina like a dream.
#60-230 Epoxy 330 I don't really trust glue, but when I have to use glue, this is the one. I can mix up a small amount, and find that the bond is long lasting, and dries clear.
#60-240 Hypo Cement The pinpoint applicator on hypo cement makes it ideal to use to seal a cloth knot when stringing. It can be a bit tricky to get the wire back into the nozzle, but it keeps the tip clean so you don't have clogs the next time you want to use your glue.
#64-999-4287 Brass Floral Pattern Sheet This is great to cut into strips for layering and riveting, or to cut out shapes with a disk cutter or saw. The all-over pattern is different than anything you can create by texturing, and adds interest and depth to your designs.
#64-981-20-100 Copper 6x1" 20-gauge sheet This pre-cut copper strip makes a great start to a cuff bracelet. Texture it, Etch it, Paint or Patina it, Layer on it, Rivet it. The possibilities are endless. (If it bugs you to have a green wrist, seal the inside with renaissance wax or spray sealer.)
#61-130-05-021.5mm Black Greek LeatherGreek Leather is such a nice material to work with. The color doesn't flake off, and the size is remarkably consistent for a handmade item. Besides, black goes with everything.
#51-810-10-40 Scarlet Leather 1" Cuff Bracelet What can't you do with a leather cuff bracelet? I have stamped these with staz-on ink, colored them with patinas and alcohol inks, sewn embellishments on them, punched and riveted to them, and sometimes even wear them "as-is". The two snaps allow them to fit, even if you have a bigger wrist.
#61-720-49-87 Beadalon .018" 49 strand When you are using quality beads and findings, you want a quality stringing material. This size beadalon fits most of the beads that I work with, and drapes wonderfully.
#63-528Ultra Polishing PadsI have introduced dozens of people to this little wonder item. The ultra polishing pads are great on all types of raw metal. There is a micro abrasive imbedded in the foam, and they work even after they are black all over. The multi-pack and reasonable price allow you to include one with each customer purchase as a bonus, too.
#66-216Bead Mats, set of 10 Fluffy bead mats remind me of vellux blankets and save me from losing beads and findings for a project. You can even line a cheap cookie sheet with one of these for each project you have in the works. Great value!
#69-275-xx Wubbers full size jewelry pliers (-02, -03, -09, -31)Wubbers full size pliers are so comfortable to work with. The longer handles don't strike the flesh part of my palm and cause my hand to hurt, plus the polished jaws are great for preventing damage to your wire. Editor's Note: Rita cheated here! She listed 4 items but counted it as one item. =)
#65-507 Heavy Duty Flush CutterDon't ruin your other cutters. Get a pair of these, and use them for memory wire, and heavy gauges of other wire styles.
#69-380 Xuron Tapered CutterThis cutter works great for trimming the ends of wrapped wire loops. It gets in where you need and doesn't leave a sharp end.
#24-928 Sterling Flower CupThis flower cup is great to sew on to mixed media designs and leather strips. I like to use a crystal bead on wire, or a fancy headpin as the flower center. You can make a pair of post earrings look much fancier by slipping these on the post before you put them in your ear. It's a win-win product.
#69-245-44 Spiral Metal StampI love spirals. I picked the spiral metal stamp, as a favorite item, because it works as a design element or a background texture. Check out lots of great spiral charms, too!
#69-385 Stubby Brass HammerThe stubby hammer is my go-to for metal stamping. I feel that I have better control of where I am hitting, and the brass will keep your stamps from becoming damaged. Try this out for yourself.
#51-750-150-0 Brass 1-1/2" Domed Cuff Bracelet I like this brass domed bracelet as a base for so many projects. It can be punched, riveted, etched, and painted, or use it as a backing for beadwork. If you want to prevent your wrist from getting green, apply some renaissance wax or spray sealer to the inside.
#05-328-04-921 Madness Crystal Jam It was hard to narrow down my favorites among these exclusive mixes of Swarovski Crystal, but I like the song "Madness" by Muse, and I like this assortment of neutral colored crystal, too. They make great accents to a design that needs just a little sparkle.