My Trollbeads Today

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Usually my bracelet compositions last a few days or a couple of weeks at most… but I have been in love with this combination for months.  Even with the change in seasons, this bracelet still is on my arm several days a week.  I’ve added one here, edited another there, but the basic theme of slate blue and honey gold continues to delight me.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Peacock Pearl” (Limited Edition), “Family of Mushrooms” (World Tour Lithuania), “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”, “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Jugend”, “Unique Amber”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Golden Quartz”, “Auspicious” (World Tour Hong Kong), “Labelled Labradorite – suspected Sapphire…”, “Brown Desert (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Rooster” (Limited Edition), “Azure Bubbles”, “New Unique 2014 – Blue Galaxy”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Russian Pink Amber” (limited Edition).

The whole thing was inspired by the pair of richly ribboned, pale blue and toffee coloured “Azure Bubbles”.  (These days it always seems to start with an Azure…) Then I purchased the darker Azure that is in the center of the bracelet when I was in New York in September.  During the Autumn the navy “Blue Desert” appeared in a shipment at Tartooful… two of the Ambers were timely gifts from beloved Tartooful clients…. and so it goes, a new bracelet came together.

I have kept the silvers understated and slender, to allow the focus to stay on the beautiful range of colour in the glass, stone and amber beads.  I like the repeated shape of the silvers, as it gives a little rhythm to the bracelet.  As always, I have given the center of the bracelet to larger beads that set the tone, and have gently tapered the size of the beads to the tiny amber unique and the “peacock Pearl” at either end.

What are your Trollbeads today?



Trollbeads Inspiration: Playing with Pebbles


9These days I am wearing a bracelet that is a joyful mix of colours… soft blues, copper, amber, and hints of green all blended together in a whirl of our beloved, sparkling deserts and Azure bubbles.  I’m worrying less about perfectly matched colours and just enjoying the overall mood.  It’s rich, but subtle, and every single bead gives me joy.


3I decided I wanted to build something from Tartooful’s beads that had a similar feel… and today’s bracelet is the result.  I played with a pair of “Pebbles” and gave them the unlikely companion of a “Honey Dawn”.  The trio of warm buttery yellows in this design find their way onto so many bracelets at Tartooful.

4They add a lovely complementary tone to pinks, blues, greens, purples, neutrals… such useful beads!  The various “Azure Bubbles”, scattered about the bracelet, offer continuity of colour around the design and set up a satisfying rhythm.  Isn’t it fun to see so many in one composition?  Even though these ones are all in a

5similar vein, each one has its own distinct personality and look.  Another bead that I haven’t played with in a while is “Fossils”.  This lovely example arrived and reminded me that I must seek it out more often.  It is a beautiful aqua grey colour, with coppery dots and a moonstone-like shimmer over the whole design.  Fascinating… Here on the misty grey West Coast we so love the designs that Scott Bouwens created for Troll!


Don’t forget to look at the sides of your “Azure Bubbles”… it offers a completely different view!


All Beads from Tartooful Stock.  Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Clasp”, “Grey Prism”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Fossils”, “Will”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Drifting Seeds”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Pebbles”, “Honey Dawn”, “Pebbles”, “Transformation”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dewdrops”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Three in One”, “Blue Desert”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Purple Prism”.

6I can’t finish without a little note about the “Blue Desert”… these chameleon beads change so often, and we love to see what new surprise Trollbeads has made for us.  Like “Azure Bubbles”, I consider this bead to simply be a category of unique, as every on may be dramatically different.  Last week these were practically navy – this week they are lilac!  I currently own three of the blue:  a navy, strongly glittered one, a medium blue, and one that is the colour of pale green jade.  I treasure all three,  and I have no doubt that over time a few others will join in…




Trollbeads Inspiration: Tapestry


742c341c5cd3a8a87f9ebd0323160c2cThere is a spectacular and subtly beautiful, fifteenth century tapestry in the Cluny Museum in Paris entitled “The Lady and the Unicorn”.  Chances are, even if you haven’t had the gift of an afternoon wandering the clositered walls of the museum, you will be familiar with its now iconic imagery and colour palette.

tapestry3After I made up this bracelet I realized that this colour combination reminds me of that amazing tapestry… with warm natural golds, subtle shifting blues, rich textures, and cool verdant greens.. all gently aged. It’s not a technical palette, but rather one that formed organically and running on pure instinct.

tapestry6The stars of the bracelet are unquestionably the pair of Golden Caves at the heart of the design.  These particular examples are among the biggest and pinkest we have ever seen, and truly amazing.  I wanted to build the entire bracelet around them, surrounding them with beads that worked with their organic feel, without being overly “matched”.


tapestry7Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Black Silk”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dew Drops”, “Golden Cave”, “Trinity”, “Golden Cave”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Transformation”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Snowy Woods


photo-11when I was little I was was exposed to poetry for the first time by a wonderful volume, filled with classic compositions and amazing, contemporary illustrations.  It’s inspired in me a lifelong love of poetry, and I still have the book, somewhat battered but beloved.  When my own children came along I spent hours reading to them from these old pages, sharing favorites such as “Jabberwocky”, “The Tiger” and “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” on to a new generation.


IMG_4552One of the pieces that stayed with me over the years was this one that describes a quiet moment in at the edge of a snowy forest.  Today this poem is coming to life in front of me, as the snow is softly falling all over Vancouver.  My front garden is a wild patch of woods, and looking out my kitchen window I feel as though I am in the poem.


IMG_4556Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

IMG_4554To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

IMG_4555The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

IMG_4553Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Sigh.  It’s still just as shivery-beautiful as the first time I read it.
This bracelet is just the right mood for today… with a slate grey sky, silvery ice crystals clinging to the feathered edges of last autumn’s leaves and the earthy browns of all the trees, reaching through the falling snow.

all beads from Cathy’s collection…


An Azure Obsession

All of our Trollies know that Cristi and I have what we could term a mild obsession with “Azure Bubbles”….You only have to look at the most recent version of my blue bracelet to see that it’s a favorite bead – there are not one, but two dramatically different examples on this bracelet alone!  (And my green bracelet has one of its cousins, “Organic Bubbles”…)

So for our most recent shipment, we requested a big beautiful batch of “Azure Bubbles”, to fully explore the huge range of colours, textures and tones.  This morning we have 10 different Azures on the display… but of course before they were put into stock I just had to make up a play bracelet, and hold a little photo shoot!

How.  Much.  Fun.  Is.  This!

What a luxury to have so many of these gorgeous glass to play with… I always thought that there was enough variation among this one pattern to justify having it alone on a bracelet, but of course I had never before had the opportunity to experiment and actually try it!

Green, purple, grey, brown, terracotta, indigo, sand, vicuna, pink, lavender, and cerulean blue are all hidden in the depths of these beads.  Just when I think I’ve got a favorite “look” for these beads, I come across another one that is totally fresh again, and I change my mind.

Perhaps its the Pacific West Coast  speaking in me that makes me love the indistinct, wisps of colour and the subtle, blue on grey on plum on green so much.  They have all the colours of a West Coast beach, with the cool grey sand, big surf ocean and storm swept sky.

It’s going to be such fun over the next few days, trying these beauties on all the different bracelets that come in for the Mothers’ Day Special Pricing Event.  I have a feeling that there will be so many unexpected palettes that sing with the addition of one of these designs…

Clockwise from clasp: (This will be fun)  “Lace Lock”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Planet, Small”, “Azure Bubble”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Zodiac Bead (retired)”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Happy Universe, gold & silver”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Endless”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Planet, Big”, “Azure Bubbles”.

“Tiny bubbles…. make me feel happy….”

Come and see them while they last!