Trollbeads Inspiration: Midsummer Blues


IMG_0506We are well into the long and lazy days of Summer, with little herds of happy kids roaming the village, ice creams in hand… We’ve had months of dry weather, with skies that show of every shade of blue over the course of the day.  Everyone who can possibly swing it has scuttled off to their waterside spot… beach, river, pool or lake…

IMG_3283Where is your favorite place in the sun?

IMG_0504Dendritic Agate feels like beach pebbles…

IMG_0506The most common Trollbeads design request through these balmy months is to “lighten and soften” existing blue bracelets.  It’s natural… over the Summer I reach for soft, breathable linens and cottons in sun bleached tones of grey, aqua, chambray blue and white.  It’s all the colours that can be found on one of our West

IMG_0507 Coast beaches:  water, sky and sand.  For a bracelet or necklace, the same organic soft shades satisfy, and feel just right.

Today I’ve created a West Coast beach inspired bracelet using beads that are currently in stock at Tartooful.  I’ve leaned heavily on the “Rocky Beach” kit by West Coast designer, Scot Bouwens…


IMG_0505You’ll find two of his beautiful, subtle designs framing the central Dendritic Agate, and a third close to the end of the bracelet.   I added a pair of our beloved “Azure Bubbles” that add a rich, organic note.  Khaki greys are cool but earthy, and the various touches of brilliant cerulean blue evoke a Summer Sky.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dragon Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Beach”, “Paradise Birds”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blue Agate”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Scarab”, “Stone Flower”, “dendritic Agate”, “Sand Beach”, “Scarab”, Milan”, “Blue Agate”, “Cliffs’, “Etruscan”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Magical Lamp”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Designing with Dramatic Silvers


The new Trollbeads collection for Autumn 2014 includes dramatic silvers that are each tiny works of art in their own right.  I’m fascinated to see the intricate detail that can be contained in each design, and love the impact that they make on a piece of jewellery…


IMG_6963There is, however, a bit of a trick to it.  Too many patterns, too many clashing shapes, too many forms to decipher – it can all be a bit much for me to wear on my wrist.  I find that my eye loves to dive into the details of Trollbeads…whether it’s a complex glass unique, or a

IMG_6958storytelling silver, the genius is in the details.  My eye pauses to savour each element as I glance at the bracelet.  If there are too many elements, I feel as though it requires too much of my attention and energy to wear the piece.


IMG_6965…So how to wear and enjoy these dramatic and complex new silver designs?  I find that if I pair them with beads of calm mood, it works better for me.  The calm colours of “Silver Mountain”, “Azure Bubbles” and “Sapphire” are just right as a zen foil to the riot of pattern found in the silvers on the featured bracelet.

IMG_6964These glass beads are far from boring…. on the contrary, their swirls and earthy patterns are endlessly satisfying to me.  However, their lack of structured pattern and calming palette are just the thing to make highly patterned silvers feel sophisticated… Much better to fascinate with understatement, rather than hit the viewer over the head visually.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Trinity”, “Silver Mountain”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Ganesha”, “Sapphire”, “Giant Lotus”, “Moonbeam Facet”, “Giant Lotus”, “Moon Ocean”, “Cornucopia”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Silver Mountain”, “Black Silk”, “Three Flowers”, “Blue Desert”.  (All beads in stock at Tartooful)

IMG_6962… I can already hear some of our talented collectors and designers replying to me… and yes, sometimes “More is More”.  I am not immune to the charms of the big statement, and I’ve been known to make the odd one myself… This entire blog entry is not really meant for you ladies who

IMG_6961already completely understand the appeal of the big statement silvers, and who dive right in to enjoy their beauty.  (You know who you are!)  (RT!)  This blog is for the rest of us… we’re the ones who fall in with love these silvers, happily take them home, place them on bracelets, and then take them right off again before leaving the house.

…So let’s see those “Ganeshas”, “Jugglers”, “Seers”, “Buddhas” and “Mouse (Mice?) on Cheese”… show me your fresh designs featuring your biggest, baddest and most beautiful silvers!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Simply Unforgettable


Simply Unforgettable.

We keep a copy of the Trollbeads coffee table book in the gallery, and even though I have read through it so many times, I still find inspiration in its pages.


IMG_6709Isn’t this a marvellous quotation by Lisa Aagaard?  It offers a tiny glimpse into the depth of her appreciation for her chosen medium of glass.  Whatever small understanding I have of the glass of Trollbeads… it must be dwarfed by the massive, masterful comprehension of the Trollbeads designers.  Only with a deep vision like this can collection after collection of phenomenal designs be created.

IMG_6703Three greats:  “Azure Bubbles”, “Dewdrops” and “Blue Desert”

IMG_6704Reading the words over once again, I think that here Lise has elegantly distilled the ongoing appeal of the glass.  This is the secret:  every time one glances at a favorite glass bead, one savors again the beauty and the detail of the design.  The subtle, shifting colours, the way the light seems to glow from within, the magical bubbles floating in the

depths… it all adds up to a delightful experience.  Aren’t we lucky, to be able to carry with us such a lovely little moment, to be enjoyed again any time that we choose?


This simple pleasure never fails to delight me…

IMG_6713What truly astonishes me, however, is how much I enjoy other peoples’ bead collections.  In other words, I don’t even need to own the bead in order to have that lovely visual experience.  It’s a simple, uncomplicated appreciation of something truly lovely.  It just makes me happy.


…Happiness on a silver chain… simply unforgettable.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 2


Day 2 and I had an idea that I had been wanting to try for some time… so today was the day.

IMG_5582I’d always hankered to experiment with a composition made up purely of “Azure Bubbles” and “Desert” beads.  I knew I had just enough in my personal collection to pull it off, but somehow had never taken the time to sit down and give it a whirl.  (Note to self, be sure to remember to take the time to stop and sniff the beads…)

IMG_5586So today I was feeling almost smug, as I sat down to try what was surely going to be a stunning combination.  However.  Instead I think I learned the first lesson of this year’s challenge…. because I wasn’t exactly stunned with the result!  Don’t misunderstand me:  I love love love every single one of these beads.

IMG_5583I received lots of compliments from ladies who saw it at the shop, and on paper it ought to be gorgeous.  However, I’m just a little…. underwhelmed.  Even bored…. with the overall effect.

IMG_5584I think it might be that these beads are pretty all together, but in my opinion really sing when given something with a little contrast to make them pop a little more.  I usually combine the softest Azures with other slate blues and lots of clear, honey ambers, and I think that the complementary golden tone makes the Azures simply glow.

IMG_5580So… lesson learned.  Moderation can be a good thing, and Azures play nicely with others!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Coastal Hues

kidsSkookumchuk Narrows

emeraldwaterA recent weekend away with the children reminded me of the rich inspiration to be found here on our West Coast… The way the beams of sunshine illuminate the emerald waters of the bay at left… the acid contrast of the new growth on the trees… The soft grey of the granite, dappled with shadows and every kind of moss and lichen imaginable… Oh, the moss!  I LOVE the moss.  I just had to indulge in a series of photos, just to capture a fraction of the colours and textures of the moss.

moss1Moss Joy

lichen1Over the years I’ve cultivated satisfying carpets of mosses in the front garden, but I’m gobsmacked by the carpets of moss to be found on the arid rocks of the Sunshine Coast.  I’m particularly delighted with the aqua green-grey specimen above, which I’ve only seen in a very few spots in BC.  Isn’t it the most beautiful colour?  It’s like “Silver Mountain” Moss.  I’m almost as entranced by the delicate aqua of lichens that hug the seaside rocks… again, a most wonderful shade, and so inspiring.

play10Inspiration Found

play8Freshly recharged and newly inspired, it was easy to toss together this bracelet using the lush colours that filled my head.  Perennial Tartooful favorites such as “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Magical Lamp”, “Blue Desert”, and “Silver Mountain” all help to set the natural, West Coast tone.  Note how the band that circles “Traces” feels like the

play5stones on the beach, or perhaps the rough bark of the trees… The tapestry of pebbles on the beach is captured in “Fossils”, with its wet look and gently rounded accents.  It looks the way pebbles appear in shallow tidepools, with their shapes softened through the water.  Recently we’ve been ordering this bead very frequently, as there seems

play6to be a fantastic color variety being produced.  Individual examples range dramatically from plum, to slate blue, to silvery green, down into grey and of course, lots of warm coppery rusts.  Newcomer “Ancient Palace” gives a hit of rich blue to help balance “Traces”, and captures the blue of a clear sunny sky on the Sunshine Coast.


play4“Silver Whorl” makes a wonderful nod to one of the natural wonders that we saw on this trip: the changing of the tide at Skookumchuck Narrows.  There, one can see the wild eddys and whirlpools that form when the tide rises and rushes to balance a two meter difference in height between the ocean and the inlet.

play9… You knew I couldn’t resist “Azure Bubbles” for this design, didn’t you?  Nope.  In fact, I selected two of these beauties for this bracelet design, and placed them right at the heart of the bracelet.  I always try to place the beads that I want to set the tone right in the middle of the bracelet.  Whether it’s to create a certain theme, or to really

play12savor a favorite bead, I find that the center grouping ends up being the most prominent.  Sigh… love the way that the light glows amber through these “Azure Bubbles”, I had to share two images of them!


play7Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “grey Prism”, “Chalcedony”, “Rolling Waves”, “Ancient Palace”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Jugend”, “Moon Ocean”, “labradorite”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Silver Whorl”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Paradise Birds”, “Fossils”, “Silver Mountain”, “Three in One”, “Blue Desert”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Unique”.  (Handmade Tassels of Green Jade, Labradorite and Chalcedony by Tartooful’s own, the very talented Melanie).




Trollbeads Inspiration: HO’s Azure Aurora


heather8This bracelet belongs to one of our beloved Trollies, and when we saw it recently, we found it so inspiring we asked if we could share it with the readers of the blog.  Here we find a masterful combination:  she has managed to combine two of our favorite beads  – Azure Bubbles and the faceted Aurora in a gorgeous, tone-on-tone composition.


heather6To achieve harmony in this design HO has incorporated a wide range of shades from palest rose to deep lilac.  This allows both the milky iridescence of the  Faceted Aurora and the richer purple tones in her Azure bubbles to find homes on this bracelet.  In addition, taking her cue from the greyed green found in the Azure Bubbles, HO has

heather9utilized a natural olive tone as her complementary colour.  You’ll find touches of it in many of the beads on the bracelet, from the detailing on the uniques, to the patterning on the mosaic beads and of course the gorgeous Labradorite.   This thread of greyed olive gives the design a lovely sense of continuity and rhythm.

heather7It also adds interest and subtlety to what could otherwise possibly have felt predictable.  A couple of hints of slate blue complete the palette… seen here in a glittering Blue Desert but also found in a couple of uniques.  This further incorporates the various shades found in the Azure bubbles, and sets this bracelet apart.


I find compositions with two main colours much easier to design than ones with three or more – so I know how tricky it is to create a multi colour bracelet such as this one, that is so beautifully balanced.


All beads from HO’s private collection.  Clockwise from clasp:  “Stories of You Limited Edition Lock”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Angles Triangles” (retired), “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Labradorite”, “Three in One”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Pink Desert”, “Baby’s Breath Limited Edition”, “Faceted Aurora Limited Edition”, “Baby’s Breath Limited Edition”, “Amethyst Summer Stones Limited Edition”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Three in One”, “Purple Fusion” (retired), “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Organic Hearts”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blue Desert”, “Classic Core Unique”.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring composition with the readers of the blog, HO!C.

PS. We are expecting another shipment of “Stories of You” Starter bracelets, which include the Limited Edition Lock shown above, as well as the Faceted Aurora at the heart of this design… They are so beautiful, and great value.  If you still don’t have one to call your own, be sure to email us and reserve yours right away… 604.924.0122 or

Fun and Games with Trollbeads… Cathy & Cristi’s Collections.

rack-closeNow that’s a nice rack.

azuresBad Troll jokes aside, we had some serious fun at Tartooful today.  Cristi and I both brought our collections to work today so we could lay them all out on play trays and do some hardcore designing.  It had been ages since we had taken the time to treat our own collections to the same design process as we offer our customers… In fact, I don’t think we have ever laid the two collections out side by side before!  Today, it was “fun and games with beads” at Tartooful.

racksCristi is on the left… Cathy is on the right.

blue-green-featherWe came up with a number of new combinations that we hadn’t tried before – many with beads that we’ve had for years.  We always find that starting from scratch with the beads laid out like a palette allows one to see the potential with fresh eyes.  We’ve shot a number of them and will share them with you over the next few days.


petalsNot surprisingly, our collections include a wide variety of diverse designs and colour groups, so we were able to make lots of very different compositions. What did shock us was that the first two bracelets we designed were very similar in look and feel.  They were so close that it prompted us to go go through our play trays and find all the twins…

labradoritesNot only were Cristi and I surprised at how many bead designs we have in common, but we were also shocked to realize how many of our bead stories carried common threads… and as everyone knows the stories behind the beads are at the very heart of the matter, and often even more important  than their appearance.

Where, when and how one comes to own a bead is a critical part of the collection acquisitions process.  Was it a gift?  A purchase on holiday?  Bought to celebrate a special occasion?  Or perhaps even to mark a difficulty overcome?  Those kids of associations add so much to the meaning of a bead, and transform it into an irreplaceable talisman.

The top row belongs to Cristi, the bottom one belongs to Cathy.


Left to right:

  • Rosa Pearl:  gifts to each of us from beloved Trollie friend, Nadine.
  • Mountain Crystal – Switzerland World Tour:  Couldn’t resist these lovelies, we bought them for ourselves.
  • Heart:  First Trollbeads bought for each of us as gifts by our then-sweeties, now-husbands.
  • Azure Bubbles:  Cristi found hers at Tartooful, Cathy found hers at Trollbeads NYC on a holiday.  What are the chances they would look so identical, and how did we not notice until now?
  • Carved Flowers:  Cristi’s was a gift taken from Cathy’s bracelet… Cathy bought hers for herself afterwards.
  • Blue Desert:  Cathy’s is a nice shade of grey bead that she fell for… Cristi’s very rosy version reminds her of her Dad’s Cinnamon toast.
  • Trollbeads at the Beach/Violet Petals: Gift from beloved Trollie friend, Lisa.
  • Pack of Cards:  Gifts given by Trollbeads Denmark at Las Vegas Academy, 2012.
  • Labradorite:  Cristi received hers as a Christmas gift from Tartooful, along with a fantasy necklace a few years ago.  Cathy has had her battered but beloved version for four years, and bought it for herself.
  • King and Queen:  Cathy bought hers on hearing of the bead’s retirement.  She also bought one for Cristi, and gave it to her when Cristi became engaged to her now-husband, Chris.
  • Blue-Green Feather:  Long time favorite beads of both of us – we bought these for ourselves individually.
  • Blue Desert:  These very-navy versions of this favorite bead are quite recent.  We bought em, and we love em.
  • Sparrow:  Cristi bought one for her and another for her Mom, as a gesture of Mother-Daughter love.  Cathy bought one in memory of her Mother who passed away in 2004.  We didn’t know that we shared this bead story until today.
  • Classic core unique:  Cathy’s version was a gift from Trollbeads when she visited Tivoli in Copenhagen.  Cristi’s was a gift from Cathy on the plane ride back from the Trollbeads Academy in Las Vegas 2012.
  • Happy Fish:  We both fell in love with this bead for the story ascribed to it by Trollbeads.  Cristi received hers as a gift from her parents when she moved to the West Coast.  Cathy’s is on loan to her from her eldest Son’s collection.
  • Grey Armadillo:  We each bought these for ourselves… a gorgeous retired design that makes its way onto so many compositions.
  • Peacock Pearl:  A nice little Christmas surprise for Cristi from Cathy. Cathy had a less pleasant surprise when she recently lost her original Peacock Pearl, so she just replaced it for herself.

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 9.10.56 PMUp next… a closer look at these two peacock toned bracelets!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Between Troll Friends

We’ve often spoken of the family of Trollbeads… On so many levels Trollbeads really does feel like a family:  The Aagaard – Nielsen Family that creates the magic… The Tartooful Family here in the village, with our kids, and dogs perfectly at home in the gallery… and of course the Trollie Family that we appreciate so much.  Our Trollie family spans the globe and means so much to us.

The story of this bracelet is the story of two friends who find themselves far apart, but continue to share in each others interests through the magical world of Trollbeads.  MS and RR share photos and inspiration with each other send each other remarkable beads for gifts.  You’d have to be a very good friend to give up the gorgeous Azure bubbles pictured at left, but that’s exactly what MS did for her dear friend RR.

Before she sent it off we took the time to arrange it on a bracelet featuring many of the beads that are already in RR’s collection, just to see how it would all look together.  It was so pretty, we did a little photo shoot so that we could share the with you, the viewers of our blog…

Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Clasp”, “Light Blue Stripe”, “Jugend”, “Desert Flower”, “Silver Mountain”, “Forget Me Not”, “Diamond Bead White”, “Azure Bubbles”, “White Stripe”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Rose”, Light Blue Gold”.

The new addition to RR’s already lovely collection will look perfect nestled among its soft blues, airy whites and warm khakis.  The Azure has just the right shade of light blue and touch of sand to complement beads such as ‘Desert Flower” and “Light Blue Gold”.

A beautiful bead, and a beautiful “Trollfriendship”…


Trollbeads Inspiration: EM lightens up for Summer…

The lovely EM has created a delicious new bracelet with sunshine in mind… this Ivory and soft green combination is as refreshing as a mint julep on a hot summers day.

The new design was inspired by the addition of two wonderful new beads to her collection.  The “Azure Bubbles”, pictured at left, is as distinctive as any example of this bead we’ve ever seen… with soft green to sand tones blended with light blue and mere hints of indigo, it is the keystone bead that adds cohesion to the entire composition.

The other new addition to the collection is a crystal clear, pale honey coloured, faceted amber unique.  We’ve seen only a very few of these faceted ambers, and they never fail to take our breath away.  In this soft and subtle design, the pale golden colour feels like liquid sunshine and plays beautifully with “Silver Trace, gold”, on the opposite side of the bracelet.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Clasp”, “Grey Prism”, “Green Jade”, “Alabaster Amber Unique”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Silver Mountain”, “Honeydew Faceted Amber Unique”, “Waves”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Mermaid”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Black Silk”.

One of the great pleasures of Trollbeads is the ability to create and recreate original jewellery compositions from one’s collection… and EM makes such wonderful use of her beads, making new and original bracelets often.  We always look forward to seeing her latest designs!