30 Day Challenge: Finale

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IMG_9818Day 30.  Can you believe it?  The month has passed in a flash.  I have so many more ideas now than a few weeks ago… my collection will likely stay in a state of flux for some time, before my bracelets settle into new semi permanent arrangements again.

IMG_9817As expected, I haven’t gone back to my “before” photos even once, and have no interest in trying to recreate old designs.  I have too many things I want to try!  Of course, the 30 day challenge is an extreme situation… daily pressures and timetables prevent most of us from creating an entirely new composition each day.

IMG_9821Even if we did have the time, some beads simply sing too beautifully together to take them apart!  The distilled wisdom to take away at the end of this month long exercise is to go play and have *fun*.  There’s absolutely no wrong way to do this!

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IMG_9820Finally, a heartfelt thank you to all the ladies who have played along with me over the course of the past month.  (If you haven’t been to our facebook page to see their gorgeous designs, be sure to take a peek at the album… ) Ladies, your encouragement, support and beautiful designs have inspired me more than I can say.  Thank you to each one of you for all your time and energy!

I hope to seem lots of you in person at our upcoming Trunk Show – if you are in our area on Trollbeads Day – Saturday June 6th – be sure to come by the shop from 10-2 and say hello!

C.

 

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 26

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IMG_9797I can’t believe we are at Day 26 already… where has the month gone?!  I find myself super inspired these last few days, with tons of great composition ideas that I would love to stuff into only a few last posts.  Today I am inspired by a relatively new bead of mine – the little pink and sand coloured unique at left.  With that bead in mind, I chose to create a

IMG_9796pink and grey bracelet design, using various shades of each colour.  I don’t often find my raspberry beads and my warm, pale pinks on the same bracelet, so this is a bit of a departure for me, and a fun treat for me to wear.  It’s too easy for me to fall into the trap of “But the best beads to go with this are….” I find I almost make up rules for myself,

IMG_9795habitually putting this bead opposite that, or a certain set of beads together.  I’m finally at the point in the challenge where those rules have really truly gone out the window and I’m seeing more possibilities than ever.  Today, this confection of a bracelet is only for one day… so it doesn’t matter if I have enough of both pale pink and raspberry pink to create full bracelets of both.  Today I will simply choose a few of each, and wear them together.

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I usually think of my Sapphire as slate blue… but with such a subtle shade, it’s all about context.  If I place this bead near other blues, it reads unquestionably as blue.  Here, with other cool greys dotted about the bracelet, my eye is tricked into seeing grey.

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I usually find other partners for both of these pale pink and gold beads… but today they make a perfect pairing.

IMG_9798I’ve always loved the softest side of this “Pink Desert”, and treasured it for its somewhat unusual expression.  For today’s bracelet I’m so glad that it has a bit of variation in it, and hints of raspberry in some spots.  It nicely ties together the various shades of pink in this design.  This is one bracelet that will definitely make an encore appearance after the challenge!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Rose Quartz”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Sapphire”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 25

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IMG_9777Today is a bit of a seasonal conundrum… What to wear on a cool and rainy day at the end of May?  We have been blessed with an absolutely gorgeous month, with day after day of perfect sunshine and warm breezes.  I’m feeling a bit spoiled by all that perfection, and the inevitable turn to cooler weather has me a bit dazed.

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IMG_9778It’s a good thing that we have a bit of drizzle again, as the gardens and forests are feeling too dry and thirsty for this time of year.  But still – what to wear?

Well, you can see the result of my morning deliberations.  I decided to go with a chocolate and lilac combination.  Lilac feels spot – on for the season…

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IMG_9776The neighborhood lilacs are so fully in bloom that I can smell their amazing perfume even through the fragrance of the warm wet rain on the cedar.  I think every garden in my area must have at least one, blooming madly this week.  However, purple alone, or with cooler colours like green, blue, white or pink just wouldn’t have felt right for today.

IMG_9775  The addition of the toasty, cinnamon-y, chocolate-y browns helps to bring this lilac back down to earth for a cool and rainy West Coast day like today.  I quite like this combination, and could see myself making it up again to wear at almost any time of year.  My paler purples, in particular, tend to get the most playtime in Spring and Summer – so I’m pleased to have a new combination that will help to bring them out through the Autumn and Winter as well!

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Limited Edition Chess Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Frogs” (retired), “Elfbead”, “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Rolling Troll”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Aurora Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “Spider”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Silver Bead with Garnets”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Pastel Agate”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 24

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IMG_9768Yesterday when I was looking at the old photo of my original collection of Trollbeads, I couldn’t help but notice that all the beads that had shuffled out of my collection early on… were shades of green!  I shouldn’t really have been surprised, as I’ve so often created a composition with green – only to re-do it sometime during the day to remove

IMG_9767the green elements.  I love to look at green, but for some reason find it harder to actually wear it.

The breakthrough came during the original 30 day challenge, two years ago.  By the end of that month I had realized how very useful golden yellows were as complementary tones and neutrals.

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IMG_9770I’ve never thought of myself as a yellow person, even had an aversion to it… but there is no doubt that the golden yellows of Trollbeads… murano glass, natural stone… amber… somehow those yellows are different.  These colour elements enhance blues, greens, purples, reds, pinks, even whites.  In this case I’ve created a framework of golden yellow to hold a handful of greens that delight me – in limited quantities.

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The whole design is inspired by the distinctive central bead, a clear golden glass with an aqua green flower floating in its depths.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format),  “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Bead of Fortune”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Trollbeads Day 2014 Limited Edition”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Two Trolls – Limited Edition”, “Golden Quartz”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Unique Amber”, “Neither Fish Nor Troll”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 22

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Today I looked around for inspiration and found… Teemo!

teemoThe photo at left was taken in the garden yesterday morning. Looking at it once again, I was struck by the sweet face of our dog Teemo.  Teems has the classic “Merle” colouring of her Australian Shepherd Mom,  which means she has a dizzying pattern of freckles in shades of grey, black, walnut brown and white.  I thought that a “Merle” bracelet – or at least one with the colours of merle… would be a wonderful, neutral bracelet that I would enjoy wearing every day.

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IMG_9712…But how to give it that little extra touch that says “Teemo”?  In the end I decided that the most distinctive feature of Teemo, (other than her dangerously good looks – lol) is that she is always tuned in and ready to work.  She listens constantly, trying to figure out what she can do to make her humans happy.

IMG_9713She guards us against squirrels and raccoons that might dare to tiptoe on our fence… she fetches balls for us, she does all sorts of useful tricks, she greets all the customers at the shop.  Work, Work, Work.  She is the hardest working dog in the dog biz.  So I thought that the best way to say “Teemo” with this bracelet was to exceed your expectations, and go the extra mile, making a second bracelet to pair with the first.

IMG_9718Simple silvers and a peacock pearl…

IMG_9714These two bracelets could be worn together or apart… on their own, or stacked with an armful of other modern silver pieces.  They would make a great everyday combination, which would work with practically everything I own.  Lots of my favorite beads ended up in this design, including my three Labradorites.

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You can see straight away how much I wear some of these beads – look how worn my very first Labradorite is now!  It’s practically become a cabochon.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Chess Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Blue Desert”, “Brown Dot” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Spot” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “White Steel”, “Sapphire with silver core”, “Switzerland World Tour Mountain Crystal”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Shortcut” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Black Spot”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Scot Bouwens Artisan Bead”.

What a good dog, Teemo!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 20

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IMG_9688Today I tackled a little project that I’ve been wanting to try for a while… Ever since one of our lovely ladies mentioned a bracelet idea involving massive tribal silvers and all ivory coloured glass, I’ve been wondering if I could create something in this vein from my own collection.  I don’t currently have much in the way of tribal silver beads, but working with what I already had, I have found that between my unique alabaster ambers, glass and silver I can create a full bracelet!

IMG_9696Thank you to Melanie for the Gift of this Centerpiece Bead

IMG_9690In this bracelet design there are a few colours still peeking through in the various dot beads… but perhaps over time I will be able to find more of the ivory glass or unique alabaster ambers so that I will be able to create a full, completely cream coloured design.  In the meanwhile, I am enjoying those touches of  colour.  For silvers I tried to pick “interesting” designs that held some intrigue for the eye.  Normally I prefer silvers that are calm and flow easily past the eye… but this relatively stark design felt to me as though it needed additional detail to catch the viewer’s gaze and slow down the process of taking in the bracelet.

IMG_9693Thank you to KT for the Gift of this Treasured Bead

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Sandi” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Neither Fish Nor Bird” (retired), “Light Blue Dot” (retired), “Linited Edition Trollbeads Day 2014″, Unique Amber”, “Brown Dot” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Limited Edition Two Trolls”, “Turquoise Dot” (retired), “Bead of Fortune”, “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Cells” (retired), “Grey Armadillo” (retired).

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 19

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IMG_9674This… *THIS* is why I continue to do the annual 30 Day Challenge. 

This combination would never have happened if it weren’t for this creative exercise. Isn’t it wonderful?  I can’t believe that I have had so many of these beads for so many years, and have never thought to put them together.

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IMG_9675I’ve certainly built lots of gold and purple bracelet designs with our ladies… but this one is a little different.  This is not a regal, rich metallic gold and deep purple – but rather a frothy concoction that is shot through with lots of light creamy tones.  The butterfly is right at home here, as are my grub and various scale patterns.

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IMG_9669I began with the idea that I’d like to play around with my two favorite scale patterned beads on one design.  I placed them in the middle with a silver between them, then changed my mind and decided that they needed another glass to knit their colours together.  This Unique Glass Wave, with its chameleon tendencies,

IMG_9670came to the rescue as usual!  With the colour theme now firmly in place I simply worked my way out, pulling lots of creamy yellows and lilac purples to build this design.  When I was finished, I saw how much I liked the lightness of all the touches of white and cream… and so to finish the bracelet, as a finishing touch I added the pair of Grey Armadillos to further emphasize the lightest tones.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “grey Armadillo”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Jugend”, “Takma” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Paradise Birds” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Rolling Troll”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Auspicious” (World Tour Hong Kong), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Grey Armadillo”, “Issey” (Retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac”, “Unique Glass”, “Pink Prism” (retired).

This is absolutely one bracelet that I will build again to enjoy after the Challenge!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 18

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IMG_9662Today’s bracelet was inspired by my dear friend Gillian, and her exquisite taste. On a recent visit she spotted my collection, lying strewn about on a tray, and sat down to have a play.  In no time at all she had teased together a design that contained every one of my sparkle beads!  I never think to use just one design category of my beads in this way, and immediately thought that I must give it a try….

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IMG_9660The designs with metallic sparkle are among my favorites in the collection… I think I first picked out a “Blue Desert” for myself… but Brown and Pink followed soon after… and of course since Spring of 2014 there are so many gorgeous, sparkling designs from which to choose.  In addition, there are the various designs that include gold or silver leaf – silver mountain and Golden Cave are fixtures on most of my bracelet designs.

IMG_9661When creating today’s design I started by centering a focal bead by Trollbeads designer, Scot Bouwens.  This big, beautiful bead is one that I most often use on a Fantasy Necklace, but this bracelet concept is custom made for it!   I framed it with a pair of “Blue Deserts” that display the phenomenal range of expression that is be found in this design.

IMG_9664Sparkle Beads love to Bathe in the Sun.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired Format), “Unique Glass”, “Plait” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Bead of Fortune”, “Blue Desert”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Spot” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Artisan Bead by Scot Bouwens”, “Blue Desert”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Brown Desert” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Golden Cave”.

Thanks for the inspiration, Gil!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 17

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IMG_9548Today I decided to take a number of the beads that I used to create the orange and green bracelet, and re-interpret their colour in a completely different combination.  Ta-Da!  The beads that comfortably assumed the role of orange yesterday, are now playing the part of rich apricot to pink.  Such clever little beads!

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IMG_9546I started, as usual, in the very middle and selected beads that would set the tone for the entire bracelet design.  The central trio is sparkling and shimmering in shades of apricot and ambered pink.  Delicious!  Working my way out, I picked “Sweater” and “Ball of Yarn” – generously sized, round silvers that I find balance each other nicely.

IMG_9550Absolutely love this coral and glitter unique…

IMG_9547The silvers on my bracelets provide the framework on which I build groupings of glass or stone.  The silvers give me the ability to balance the colours on the bracelet according to what I have on hand.  For example, if I have more pinks than orange I might make sets of three with pinks on the outside two and orange only in the middle.

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired Format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Pink Desert”, “Issey” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Artisan Champagne Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater”, “Goldstone” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Golden Cave”, “Takma” (retired), “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 16

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IMG_9573I had to laugh when creating today’s bracelet…

In past Challenges I have struggled to work with this Bright Orange Armadillo, and have gone to great lengths to find a combination that I could wear for even just one day.

IMG_9565However, when I went to tackle this once-yearly bead and wrestle a design into place again this year, I found it unexpectedly easy.  Something has definitely shifted in my taste, because this year I seemed to have all the right beads to comfortably tease together something wearable and pretty!  It made me wonder, what has changed?

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IMG_9567For me, one of the rewards of the challenge is that it has given me a much greater understanding of my own taste.  There are colours that I don’t necessarily love on their own that play key roles in my designs, because of the way they complement the tones that I really do adore.  Take, for example the caramel yellow unique in the photo at left…

IMG_9568… Or the “Chocolate Parrot” at right.  These are beads that one or two years ago would not have turned my head.  I admired them in other peoples’ collections, but didn’t yet fully understand how beautiful they would make my soft sage greens and slate blues.  Now I am happy to find one of these essential beads to help gel my palettes.

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IMG_9566Another lesson learned from past Challenges is that it’s perfectly ok for me to have multiples of one bead pattern.  Intellectually I understood the value of patternmaking with multiples, but my thrifty Scottish heritage still whispered in my ear that it might be better to spend my bead bucks on a new design.  Between the addition of a few, key multiples (Azure Bubbles, Labradorite, Blue Desert…) and a handful of useful neutral and complementary beads… I am finding this year’s Challenge flows more easily than ever.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Golden Cave”, “Plait” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Quartz”, “Artisan Labradorite”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Chocolate Parrot” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”.

C.