Trollbeads Inspiration: Citrus


It’s the orange time of year…

7The time of year when we all dust off our best pumpkin, citrus and cinnamon coloured beads and create combinations to honour Thanksgiving, Fall Equinox, Back to School, Harvest Moon, Halloween and the warm low light of Autumn.  Every season has its colour mood, and no question that no matter how you like to celebrate Autumn, with subtle earthy browns or stark ghostly black and white – orange is the queen of the Fall palette.


5The arrival of a group of spectacular yellow glitter uniques, as well as a punchy new olive glass colour had me eagerly anticipating this annual ritual even more than usual.  Olive has traditionally been a bit of a tricky colour to find in the Trollbeads collection… there have been a few beads with cool, blue-olives, but very few with a true, acid soaked sort of an olive green.  I was delighted when we received a few precious uniques with this very fresh colour and immediately resolved to combine them with rich golden yellows and tangy oranges for a fantastic, citrus take on Autumnal orange.

6A bracelet with this much texture, rich colour and visual energy needs a few places designed for the weary eye to rest, so I showed restraint, and kept silvers minimal and calm.  The silvers in this combination create colour groupings that are meant to be viewed as a whole… then suggest a pause to the eye before moving on to the next group.  For that reason I selected simple, abstract silvers of a similar size and shape that would quietly fulfill their role and not demand too much of one’s attention when viewing the bracelet.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll tree lock”, “Green Prism”, “Summer Ltd Edition”, “River of Life Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Nomad”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Soul Artichoke”, “Glass Unique”, “Masala Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Moroccan Cushion”, Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Luminous Facet”, “Glass Unique”.

All beads shown currently in stock at Tartooful.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Autumn Pinks


Have you begun to transition your Summer bracelets for the new season?  Even if you’re the sort of terribly organized and decisive person who creates forever bracelet designs, there’s always room for a seasonal “tweak”….


In some cases, to “winterize’ a pink bracelet design I’ve played with chocolate browns, rich cinnamon tones or greys.  They’re all great solutions, depending on what sort of pink you have to begin with.  In today’s project I’ve utilized some of the beautiful new designs from the Autumn Trollbeads collection.  They’re a subtle blend of hues, with soft buff tones, glittering copper and hints of pink, purple and blue.


They demand similarly subtle companions, and are the perfect way to create a soft pink bracelet that transitions gracefully from late Summer to Autumn.  Try layering this type of bracelet with an all amber bracelet, or a copper bangle to give it even more of an Autumnal feel.

When creating this design, I began with Fragile Purity, as I liked the way it set the palette of soft pink, with just a touch of light mossy green.  That unabashedly pretty bead is framed by two of the new collection additions, “Soul of Sunshine” and “Nature Unity”, which right away take the edge off the “pretty pink” and make the design so much more subtle and interesting!  Note the way that the pink brings out all the hints of pink, green and blue that are hiding in these fascinating beads…


This Rainbow Bridge just begged to be a part of this design.  It possesses the perfect blend of green, apricot, plum and even hints at blue around the edges.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Carolina Jessamine Clasp”, “Unique Glass”, “Freedom Feather”, “Desert Rose”, “Nature Unity”, “Pink Conch”, “Ornamental Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Soul of Sunshine”, “Fragile Purity”, “Nature Unity”, “Unique Glass”, “Wisdom Weed”, “Rainbow Bridge”, “Blossom Shade”, “Soul of Sunshine”, “Royal”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

How do you transition your bracelets through the seasons?


Trollbeads Inspiration: Late Summer Blooms


IMG_0605The other morning when pottering in the back garden I came across this big, beautiful oriental lily in full bloom!  I had completely forgotten that I planted these bulbs… so it was a wonderful surprise.  It is a showstopping plant that has the most intoxicating fragrance, and glistens in the sunshine.  What a treat, especially in the late Summer garden, when so many other plants are now past their very best and looking just a bit tattered.


IMG_0602Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to create a “Late Summer Blooms” inspired bracelet.  The arrival of this beautiful, retired Tibetan Series glass bead provided the starting point.  “Kyang” features a delicate shell pink base with a whimsical black and white overlay, and mandarin dots that nestle into the wave of black and white.

IMG_0604I often see this bead placed on bold black white and orange compositions… it is lovely there too – but I thought I would try it on a bracelet that brings out the lovely shade of pink on its base.

I chose a handful of delicate pink beads to accompany this venerable design… a “Rose Quartz”, “Engraved Romance” and this glittering heart unique.  All the pinks glow with a warm hue.

IMG_0608Warm pinks for the Late Summer Sun

IMG_0603There is no mistaking this pink composition for a Spring bracelet – it feels like pinks that have been toasting in the hot Summer Sun for months and are on the brink of turning for Autumn.  To gently transition these pinks to late Summer and hint at the Fall season to come, I added lots of warm espressos and hits of chocolate.


IMG_0606I love the way that the espresso uniques chat nicely with the hint of black in the centerpiece “Kyang” bead.  I didn’t want to add too much orange to this composition, but alluded to and echoed the mandarin dots in the Tibetan bead with the amber tones of the small and beautiful uniques that help to give a finishing flourish to this bracelet.


  Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Flower Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Pink Petals”, “Unique Glass”, “Desert Rose”, “Royal”, “Limited Edition Summer 2014 Flourish”, “Engraved Romance”, “Kyang” (retired), “Rose Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2010”, “Summer Dot”, “Art Deco”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

All beads featured today are currently in stock at Tartooful., 604-924-0122 or drop by and pay us a visit in the village!




Trollbeads Inspiration: Dress Up Like a Tree

red-cosy…What Trees Know

red-cosy-danglelooking out the window at the garden this morning one colour stands out.  It’s clear that the trees and plants in my garden know a thing or two about dressing up for this season.  Everywhere there are flourishes of rich ruby red.  It’s in the lacy leaves of the maples, in the berries dotted about, and in the last stubborn flowers of the year.

red-cosy-berryThis warm and winter-y colour always inspires me… From cosy knit sweaters on a crisp morning, to woolly plaid blankets thrown over a comfy chesterfield (that’s a sofa for you non-Canucks…)  to my cranberry coloured duffle coat with antler toggles…

red-cosy-front…It’s all very “Autumn”.

Wonderful, isn’t it?  Really, for me, red makes up for the fact we’re going into the dark months.  This is the time of year that I wear my red-pink-cinnamon bracelet the very most, and I just love it every time I put it on.


This bracelet is one we made up for display at the gallery… so if there’s anything that catches your eye be sure to look for it at Tartoofultoo online shop – or give us a ring at 604.924.0122 or drop us a line at





Trollbeads Inspiration: illuminated green


looking out my window this morning I notice that there’s a different feel to the green that surrounds me at this time of year.  It’s a combination of a few things, I think…

photo-8Here in Canada the light is low in the sky and the shafts of morning light shine right through the delicate, late leaves.  With the busy patterns and myriad  shapes it feels like a cool quiet cathedral, framed by verdant stained glass.  Even though many of the leaves are still brilliantly green, the angles and depth of shadows are unmistakably different than in the Summertime.  We’re aware of how tenuous this last gasp of green is, that it could blow away in the next brisk wind.


limeWith these Autumnal greens fresh in my mind, I designed a bracelet with a range of woodland hues… moss, vine maple leaves, rocky pathways, cedar bark and forest shadows inspired the palette of this composition.  It’s the colours and textures of the “West Coast Rainforest”, but the imperfect Autumn version…

old-earthThe new “Aqua Edge” series of beads finds a perfect home in this design, giving a satisfying “edge” to greens that otherwise might feel too clear and cheerful.  I like having natural stone designs on this bracelet, and the “Dalmation Jasper” feelslike a creekside pebble.  Artisan glassmaker Kathy Perras’ version of “Old Earth” strikes the right note.

lime2This retired “Lime” gives that top note of acid green to the bracelet.  I wouldn’t want to infuse the design with too much of this showy colour, but just a little gives it bit of energy and interest that just wouldn’t be there if it were simply soothing and sedate forest greens.  Too much would evoke too tropical of a feel… a little is just a sunny highlight.

pythonI couldn’t resist the lure of this Unique Glitter Python for this bracelet.  It’s big, dramatic and beautiful.  I love everything about it… the deep, clear & luminous green background… the acid touched vicuna patterning, with aqua edge on each one.  Finally, the crowning touch of just a hint of glitter on each one.  It’s one of the nicest pythons I’ve seen.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Acorn”, “Unique Amber”, “Planet”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Labradorite”, “Aqua Edge Triangle”, “Sweater”, “Classic Unique”, “Lime” (retired), “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Triple Pearl Black”, “Green Jasper”, “Diamond Bead, black”, “Classic Unique”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Aqua Edge Triangle”, “Dalmation Jasper”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Autumn Splendour”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Black Silk”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Vermilion



berries4What a wonderful word “Vermilion” is… doesn’t it conjure up rich, illuminated medieval paintings and incense scented Chinese import shops?  It summons frescoes of Pompeii, shimmering icons in their complicated frames, and stacks of red carved snuff boxes tucked among lanterns and bamboo baskets.

berries3It’s not a commonly used word today, and not many people know that it originates from the Latin word, “Vermiculus”, meaning “little worm”.  Very odd, I know!  Long ago this mineral based pigment reminded people of a natural dye that was derived from an insect, the Kermes Vermilio, and somehow the name stuck.


Many years ago I had a Latin teacher (yes, I’m that old…) who loved to uncover the Latin roots of lesser known English words and expressions.  She’d pounce on each one like a long lost treasure, and pronouncing each syllable with care would exclaim, “Good Word, girls… Good word!”… My old Magistra would have approved of this word…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Large Berries”, “Saffron Facet”, “Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Leopard”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Three Siblings”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Peach Flower”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Autumn Harvest

Nature shows itself in its most precious colors.
Beauty surrounds us.

Trollbeads has just given us another inspiring bracelet design, and so apropos to the season:  Autumn Harvest.

We’re delighted to see that they selected some of our favorite beads for their design… and also some beads that are not used as often as they should be.  For example, the “Silver Bead with Garnets” is subtle and lovely… but we so rarely see it on our clients’ bracelets.  I have one on my red and pink composition, and it pleases my eye every time I look at it.  It’s also good to see a “Winter Jewel, Large” placed in this design.  It can be tricky to integrate, with its unusual colour combination – but here they’ve made peace with the blue element simply by including a “Flowers on Indigo”, with its wink of blue within each blossom.

I love the delicious combination of hot pink, red and orange… very spicy!  Lots of us acquired the Netherlands’ “Orange” glass this Summer – it would be perfect for this type of design.  I’d like to play with a series of armadillos in creating this palette, as well… orange, crimson and raspberry would make a yummy trio.

How clever to have placed the “Large Berry” not so far from the end, followed by a “Small Berry” to taper to the end of the bracelet.  I like placing the knobbly silver beads such as these together on a composition, but for some reason it’s never occurred to me to place them in a neat sequence like this.  I must keep this in mind!

This Bracelet includes:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Belly Chakra”, “Drifting Seeds”, “Autumn Whorl, 18k”, “Golden Cave”, “Winter Jewel, large”, “Silver Trace, Pink”, “Amber Unique”, “Bouquet, 18k”, “Caramel Sunset Amber”, “Silver Bead with Garnet”, “Root Chakra”, “Golden Quartz”, “Large Berry”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Bright Red Prism”, “Small Berry”.

Very inspiring….


PS …Three more sleeps until the Trunk Show!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Blue Transition

Many of us who have soft, beach-y blue bracelets have enjoyed their sun bleached feel over the warm and bright Summer…. My palest blues, mixed with ivory and silver, were my constant companions over the past few months.

Now that the clouds and dim mornings are back with us I’m feeling the need to add a rich note to prepare my favorite blues for winter.  I want it to feel a little darker, a little more serious, maybe even a little more formal.  We recently tackled this design challenge with one of our lovely Trollies, MS…

We reached for some of the Autumn 2012 collection to add to her soft blue bracelet… “Wave of Dreams” ably transitions between light and dark, with a wide spectrum of blue and touches of warm vicuna, gold and even a hint of violet.  This complexity makes this bead design endlessly fascinating to me, and a welcome addition.

Dichroic glass shimmers with countless shades of blue, offering another way to bridge the spectrum of light to dark.  Its rich and luminous tone feels warm and luxurious, just right for the months ahead.  The indigo tones of “The Eye” and “Flower of Dawn” add additional depth to the revised bracelet, and help to balance the “Wave of dreams”.

“Moon Ocean” has long been one of my favorite blue designs, and I am delighted that the new series provides a number of complementary beads that offer even more design options for it.  In this composition it shimmers with a blue and gold glow that gives a jewel box richness to the bracelet.  The textured surface adds a wonderfully tactile interest.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic double lobster clasp”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Three Flowers, silver”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Hong Kong World Tour Auspicious”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Blue Desert”, “The Eye”, “Summer Jewel, Small”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Flower of Dawn”, “Carved Flowers”, “The Eye”, “Silver Mountain”, “Jugend”, “Moon Ocean”, “Azure Bubbles”.

Do you have a bracelet that needs to “warm up” for Autumn?  Come see us to play and let us help you redesign your favorites…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Warm Whites

Lately we’re loving the warm side of white… soft, warm vanilla shades that give us Vancouverites a shot of light in the middle of our dark winter, without feeling chilly.

Cristi has had soft ivory beads on her bracelet for a long time, and lots of us have been inspired by its lovely mix of blue, grey & warm white… in fact, variations on that colour theme are consistently among our favorite designs…

Some ivory beads are hard-to-find retireds – such as “Chai Bud”, “Blue Dot” and “Green Dot”… Many that find their way onto Tartooful’s bracelets are uniques, and others such as “Beige-blue dot” and “Alabaster Amber” have been part of the regular collection and very simple to find on display at tartooful.

In the most recent series of retirements it was announced that “Beige Bubbles” will be leaving the collection, but relatively new beads, such as “Conch”, “Urchin”, “Fireflies”, and “Organic Stripe” provide lots of inspiring fresh designs to create compositions that feature warm white.

A number of beads that are not, in fact, warm in tone at all are valuable additions to compositions featuring ivory… soft whites with a touch of cool colour offer a complementary tone… Natural stones such as “Rose Quartz, “Rosa Pearl”, and “Green Jade”… Glass such as “Grey Wolf”, “Dichroic Ice”, “White Petals” and “Silver Mountain”… and recently retired and already mourned, “Chalcedony”…

Another intriguing complementary colour for warm white is apricot… this subtle shade is very tricky to find in the Troll collection.  The best example probably is the “Pink Prism”, but some “Pink Desert” have a very warm cast to them, and some “Honey Dawn” turn out very rosy.  I particularly like the combination of warm white, gold, apricot and warm grey – such as natural faceted stone, “Labradorite”, “Grey Prism or or even some examples of “Smoky Quartz”.

Are you inspired by Ivory?


A year in the life of my bracelet…. 2011.

January 2011

2011 was an unexpectedly busy year for my bracelet.  Up until the beginning of this year I had one bracelet to which I made subtle changes with the season or my mood – a little more cranberry, or a little more aqua… A neutral base palette allowed me the freedom to redesign my bracelet by changing only two or three beads.  Looking back, it’s amazing that I was able to resist expanding my little collection for as long as I did…

September 2011

But seeing so many gorgeous compositions at Tartooful started to make me rethink my neutrals… and then the clincher was the release of the Autumn 2011 collection.  A very special “Blue Goldstone” came along with an endearing dimple on one side and extra sparkle, and I was hooked on the idea of a beautiful blue and grey bracelet.  I already had most of the beads, so with the addition of only the “Blue Goldstone”, an “Azure Bubbles”, “Black Flower Mosaic” and a “Moon Ocean” a whole new bracelet was born.  (Of course, since that time, there have already been changes:  “Beach” and “Moon Ocean” went home with customers who really loved them…)

October 2011

So this left me with a common Trollbeads design dilemma:  what to do with my little bowl of “leftovers”?  They were all beads I loved, I just needed a palette that would pull them all together.  Once again, inspiration came from my customers’ creations.  Beautiful works by NO and MS earlier in the year came to mind, and I started putting together my “Copper & Pomegranates” bracelet.  This bracelet makes me smile every time I look at it!

December 2011

Old habits die hard:  in December I was craving a little “redesign”, so I decided to see what all the new beads could create if blended together on one bracelet, et voila!  The sunshine & ice bracelet, pictured above.  It was perfect for those clear, cold, blue-sky days that we had that month.  It was fun to try something new, but my two bracelets are safely back together again now.

That’s the wonderful thing about Troll:  complete creative freedom to redesign on a whim… It’s endlessly fascinating.