30 Day Challenge: Day 25


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.


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…


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!


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”.


30 Day Challenge: Day 12

IMG_9455A cooler shade of blue…

IMG_9453Today’s bracelet is a re-imagining of one of my semi permanent designs… I say “semi” because if there is one thing this Challenge has taught me, it’s that no design in my bead box is entirely sacred.  However, my deep teal blues and golden amber and stones have drifted back together countless times, and it’s one of the palettes that I like to be able to reach for several times a week – so it’s definitely a fixture.


Today I decided to rework that design and take inspiration from the navy glitter and white longevity symbol bead shown above.  It’s a favorite bead, and one that I feel is a little lost on the teal and gold design.

IMG_9450I centred the Longevity, and then worked my way out, focusing on teal, deep blue and white.  I used the same array of silvers as before, as they are satisfyingly heavy and subtstantial, without taking up too much length of the bracelet chain.  I was pleased to see how much more prominent my blue and white Kimono beads are in this revised design…

IMG_9454Navy Glitter is almost copper!

IMG_9451The deep dark navy “Blue Desert” shown above is so very glittery that it almost reads as copper!  I couldn’t resist its charms, so I thought I’d better put one other deep blue and warm toned bead on the opposite side, just to provide balance and make sure it didn’t look mismatched with the other cooler beads.  I used this Azure Bubbles – which I

IMG_9452normally “read” as purple and vicuna – but somehow I think it works in this application.  Finally, I tapered both the glass and silvers, trying to place the larger beads closer to the middle of the design, and popping the tiniest “Small & Beautiful” glass right at the very end.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”,  “Limited Edition Auspicious” (World Tour Series Hong Kong), “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Jugend”, “Sapphire”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Azure Bubbles”, “paradise Birds”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Artisan Labradorite”, “Rolling Troll”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Labradorite”, “Carved Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac – Rooster”, “Unique Glass”.  Artisan Labradorite Tassel by Melanie Matthews.


30 Days – 30 Designs: Tartooful Design Challenge 2015

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It’s almost May – and dedicated Tartoofulers know that means that it’s almost time for the Tartooful 30 Days Design Challenge!  Will you take the challenge with us this year?


What if you started fresh… free from preconceptions about how your bracelets should look.  What could you create with your beautiful beads?


So here’s how it works:

1.  Photograph your current bracelets, so you can always put them back exactly the way they are if you want them back.


2.  Take everything apart and arrange it on a play tray or similar tool, so you can clearly see your design kit.  In effect, you will create an artist’s palette for yourself, using your beads and jewelry components.


3.  Play!  Create a new bracelet every day for 30 days.  The next morning, take it apart, place all the beads back on the play tray to create again with a fresh eye.  (Don’t forget to take a daily photo so you can always rebuild a certain arrangement again in the future.)

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May 1 – 30th will be the third year of the 30 Day Design Challenge…

…and every year I find I come to know my collection, and myself, just a little better through this simple creative process.  I can’t wait to get going, and see what evolves this year.

Finally, this isn’t just about me – I would LOVE to have as many of you as possible to take the challenge with me this year!  Let’s share the results of your wild design experiments on our Instagram feed (@tartooful #30daychallenge) or Facebook page so that we can all enjoy them and be inspired.  If you don’t “do” social media, simply email them to me at tartooful@gmail.com and I would be delighted to post the photos on your behalf.

Get ready, get set… go play!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cosy


IMG_7650For those of you who haven’t been to Vancouver in November, there’s really only one thing you’ve missed:  enormous quantities of rain.  It’s November, and right on schedule, we’ve entered into a months-long  period of what feels like solid rain.  I’ve been to other parts of the world, and when it rains there, it’s simply a matter of waiting it out.

IMG_7648 For example, in New Orleans during the early Summer it rains pretty much every day.  In the morning it’s lovely, then early afternoon the thunderclouds roll in and a little while later there’s a downpour.  It rains for perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, then grudgingly stops and slowly clears for another gorgeous clear evening.

IMG_7658In fact, it’s so predictable that folks there simply stop what they are doing the moment it starts to rain.  The streets are emptied as everyone has a coffee and a beignet, and watches the rain outside.  Very civilized.  Didn’t I look like a fool, standing there alone in the rain slick street, wondering where in the world did everyone go?


Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in Vancouver.  If we stopped for a coffee and a doughnut here on the West Coast, and waited for the rain to stop, not only would we never get anything done, but we would all be fat and twitchy.

IMG_7649The answer is to bundle up… tall boots, rainproof coat, no-fuss hair and a cosy sweater render us invincible against the rain.  Even today, in the kind of rain that causes natural disasters in many parts, I was puddle hopping in nothing more than a wool sweater.

IMG_7655The inspiration for this bracelet is my favorite, “Mom Made” Fishermans’ Knit cardigan.  The handspun wool is so thick and naturally water repellent that it easily functions as a coat on the wettest days.  (Although it does smell charmingly like a damp sheep).  Everyone needs a sweater just like mine.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Bow Lock”, “Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Hear 4 You”, “Scirocco”, “organic Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Mistletoe”, “Cosy”, “Labradorite”, “Cosy”, “Mistletoe”, “Unique Amber”, “Organic Bubbles”, “White Paper Fold”, “Water”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Liquid Light

There is a beautiful group of transparent and light-filled beads in the gallery right now… I think they would make an amazing composition, one that truly felt light liquid light.

It’s one of Trollbeads great design strengths that they are able to create beads that appear to be lit from within… they use the silver or gold core of the bead to reflect the light back out, through the glass.  The result is a shimmering, beautiful piece that never bores.  Perhaps the most amazing of these designs is the “Diamond Bead with Gold Core”, pictured above.  This is a tour de force of design, with the light beautifully reflected from the gold core, glistening through the perfectly cut crystals.  On any bracelet it would be an absolute showstopper.

Other outstanding examples of this light-trapping technique include “Dichroic Ice”, any of the clear striped designs, such as “Light Blue Stripes” or “White Stripes”, and most recently, “White Petals”.

These beads are most effective when paired with intricately patterned silvers that offer a wonderful juxtaposition of texture and colour – such as the “Cherry Blossom” above…



You. Are. Unique.

You’ve chosen to take the time to check in our little blog… and we appreciate it!  (Thank you!)

That’s why you’re invited to an exclusive Trollbeads event – only at Tartooful.

Thursday, 21st of July 2-4 pm

Bring two of your Trollbeads to trade with other collectors, (if you wish!)
& browse our selection of the new

Universal Unique Series Beads

Unique People, Unique Beads.

RSVP Tel 604.924.0122  email  tartooful@gmail.com


Trollbeads Inspiration: Leather Bracelet for Summer

This beautiful composition on a leather bracelet is soft, subtle and so easy to wear for summer.  It’s the kind of colours that work for everyday here on the West coast, but has an understated glamour that makes it satisfying and far from boring.

We started with a soft blue leather bracelet by Troll.  These pieces have two leather strands that are joined to make a double bracelet.  They are intended to be worn with only a few beads, spread loosely around the piece for a more casual feel.  The bracelet may be worn tight to the wrist, but most people prefer the a little looser, both for comfort and for aesthetics.  These bracelets are a wonderful way to display a choice few beads…perhaps a colour composition for which you only have a few beads, or simply a few favorites on which you’d like to focus… I chose a leather bracelet in the longest length possible, as I like to wear my bracelet on the loose side, and that way I have the flexibility of also being able to wear the leather strand as a necklace!

But enough about the leather, and on to the beads themselves…

Clockwise from clasp:  “Silver Lace Lock”, “Harmony”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Ruby with Gold Core”, “Brown Desert”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Golden Cave”.

It’s only a few beads, but together they have real impact.  The soft raspberry of the ruby is echoed in the depths of the “Golden Cave” and “deep Bubbles”.  The bronze of the “Golden Cave” and the coppery shimmer of the “Brown Desert feel warm and offer a perfect colour complement.

Of course, the true star in this group is the “Ruby with Gold Core”… this unusual bead is truly extraordinary.  It’s colour is unlike anything else in the Trollbeads collection, and is instantly recognizable as something very special.  The rspberry colour is rich and deep, with tiny flecks of sparkle in its depths.  Like most of the precious stone beads, it is faceted, and catches the light to give life to its colour, showing flashes that seem pale pink to burgundy. If you haven’t had a chance to see this bead in person, do stop by the shop while we still have one in stock and see it for yourself.

(The other bead shown above is the diamond bead with gold core – a glamazon of a bead – it’s also in stock and I’ll chat more about it tomorrow!)


Trollbeads Inspiration: Orange!

The orange side of the Trollbeads spectrum is perhaps an acquired taste:  these are not the first beads that I was attracted to in the collection, but lately I’m finding them totally delicious.

Some of the citrus-y beads that I’m loving in this combination:  “Pumpkin”, “Honeydew Amber”, “Golden Cave”, “Troll with Big Feet”, “Power Chakra”, “Sun Circle”, “Rainbow”, and “Red/Purple Chess”.  Golden Cave is perhaps an unexpected addition here, but the bronze-gold leaf in this bead looks wonderfully orange when paired with other colours of that tone, and the lilac is a perfect complement.  The “Troll with Big Feet” has the perfect blend of orange, green and lilac shimmering in its dichroic stone.  The glistening feel is echoed in the “Rainbow” and “Honeydew” beads, which both feel like liquid light.



Trollbeads Inspiration: White Hot Trinity

All the glass Trollbeads have their own distinct personalities and expressions, but once in a while something really different arrives that truly stands out.

This time, it’s a “Trinity” silver bead, with its beautiful dichroic glass inserts.  The unusual element in this case is a pearly white shade of glass in one of the glass dots!  It’s almost like a white opal, with pale, delicate colour shimmering in its depths.  The other two colours are soft and pretty blue and lavender…

Seeing this unusual treat of a bead, I was inspired to create a “Summer Whites” bracelet around it:

clockwise from far right:  “Light Blue Dot”, “Pink Prism”, “Cherry Blossom”, “White Steel”, “Summer Jewel, Big”, “Milky Quartz”, “Zanzibar”, “Rose Quartz”, “Trinity”, “White Bubbles”, “White Petals”.

Light and airy… it’s just the thing for our newly arrived summer sunshine!

to contact tartooful:  604.924.0122 or tartooful@gmail.com


Trollbeads World Tour: USA

Our neighbours to the South are fortunate to be the most recent stop on the Trollbeads World Tour!  Announced this week are four new beads that will be available for sale only in the USA… Trollbeads says,

“Visit a welcoming land filled with diversity, love and the pursuit of happiness. A place where one can experience energetic cities that never sleep and peacefulness of golden deserts of the old west. And visit the Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., home of the iconic White House, where history is made!”

The “Pursuit of Happiness”  bead is available in both silver and silver& gold versions, and is sure to be a popular choice… it’s reminiscent of the glass smiley beads that Trollbeads released a few years ago.  The “White House” is a powerful symbol for the US, but rocked as it has been by political scandal over the last few decades, it’s not a bead I would particularly want on my bracelet.  I can see the appeal of the “Old West” cowskull bead, especially if one called the Western States home, or even if one was on holiday in that area.  However, the real star of this collection has to be the “Star Spangled Bead”, with it’s crisp red and white stripes, and perfect little white stars dropped onto each bud, it’s dramatic and a fun interpretation of the iconic US flag.

Hey Trollbeads!  How about a Canadian stop next time around?!  (Everybody likes Canadians, right?)  Trollbeads has already put a few good Northern images in the collection – the “Ice Bear” is very Canadian, and “Jasper” is a spot to visit for any tourist to the Canadian Rockies.  “Labradorite” is named for the Canadian Province of Labrador…  But what kind of images would we like to see in a new Canadian collection?  Perhaps a gorgeous glass that evokes the Northern Lights?  Perhaps an intricately wrought Maple Leaf in silver?  Perhaps one of our distinct animals – a moose, beaver, polar bear, Canada goose or loon… Or maybe an amazing blue glass (think “Earth” – but blue!)  that pays tribute to the three oceans that border our land… and of course, one can’t forget the national sport of hockey?  This last idea would have to be handled verrrry carefully to avoid being silly.

Next time?