30 Day Challenge: Day 17


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!


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.


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”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cathy’s Copper & Pomegranate Update


IMG_4560One of my favorite combinations that I like to toss together is what I call my “Copper and Pomegranate” bracelet.  It’s evolved many times, changing as beads come and go, but the mood stays the same, and I never tire of wearing it.  It;s been written up lots of times in this blog, if you’re interested in seeing the older versions.

IMG_4563Last week Cristi gave me the gift of a unique bead that she had spotted… she knew as soon as it caught her eye that it was perfect for my collection, with warm golden yellow, my very favorite apricot shade of pink, and a delicious touch of lilac.

IMG_4561It inspired me (as she knew it would) to try adding my Lavender Jade to this combination, and isn’t it wonderful?  The new bead settles the lavender in nicely, and pulls the entire palette together in a most satisfying way.  I can’t wait to try using it for an exuberant easter coloured bracelet, with all soft pastel notes, as well!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp” (retired form), “Rosa Pearl”, “Bee on Hive”, (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Spot” (retired), Artisan Glass (Made by Yours Truly at a Trollbeads Academy), “Shortcut” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Rose Quartz”, “Custom Made Pink Armadillo”, (made by Georgina Black of Trollbeads Canada at our September 2013 Charity Event), “Unique Amber”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Red-Pink Prism” (retired).

Thank you again for the new addition to my collection, Cristi… I’ll treasure it.


Trollbeads Design Lesson: The Nitty Gritty

rackStep 1:  approach the rack…

starting-pointRecently I’ve had a few messages from readers, asking for more insight into the process by which we compose a bracelet here at Tartooful…. We don’t keep to any kind of a strict system by any means, we simply play with colours until they “feel” right to us, but we thought we’d try to share a little more about our approach.

choose-rodsToday I was inspired by this retired and pretty “Aquarium Pastel”.  I like to pair this bead with light blue and apricot, rather than the usual expected chestnut browns.  This results in a lighter than air and very unusual palette.  I started by pulling some rods of beads that had possible candidates for the bracelet, and placing them altogether on a play tray.

first-groupPlacing  the inspiration bead in the center, I worked outward, adding beads one by one.

At this point I felt like it needed to feel a bit more Autumnal, so I added a few beads with soft grey and even black elements to deepen the palette a little.


“Traces” does a good job of combining the blue and grey, and Kathy Perras’ artisan “Siberian Tiger” adds a little “va va voom”. (purr!)

final-groupingNow it’s time to add a little silver…

traces-closeA few more beads here and there to fill out the bracelet… a few silvers that are roughly balanced for style and size… and a rearranging of order and we are at the final bracelet design.  I chose the retired “Zodiac Star” first..

siberian-tiger-closeI picked it for the perfectly coral coloured carnelian stone at it’s heart.  “Endless” is graphically punchy and interesting, and matches it well for size.  I chose “Three Siblings” for it’s abstract shape that complements “Endless” so well.  Finally I added “Bead of Fortune” as it matches “Three Siblings” so well with its long narrow shape.


light-blue-gold-closeWhen choosing the order of the glass I work outwards from the center of the bracelet.  I do this because I like to try to make sure that the few beads at the center are able to set the tone and palette for the bracelet as a whole.  I find that when I am wearing the bracelet those are the beads that I tend to notice the most, so I want to get those  just right.

pick-a-lockAfter the center beads are sorted I add beads in the two main colour families, trying to alternate the colours so that each bead is able to complement its neighbour.  I don’t match the beads on each side perfectly, but I do try to make sure that they are balanced in visual “weight”.  Imagine the design on an old-fashioned scale.  The larger or darker beads are “heavier”.  I also tend to have the largest beads at the middle of the bracelet and work downwards in size towards the ends of the chain.  Finally I choose a clasp that I think suits the overall theme of the silvers or the season.  In this case I wanted to be sure to set an appropriately Autumnal tone, so I added the “Trolltree” lock.


There you have it… the “nitty gritty” of playing together a new bracelet design at Tartoooful!