Trollbeads Inspiration: Midsummer Blues

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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…

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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.

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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”.

C

Trollbeads Inspiration: Playing with Pebbles

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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.

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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!

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

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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…

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 26

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I’m really scouring my collection now.. with only a few days left in the design challenge I am trying to ensure that I’ve explored every bead!  Looking over the playtray this morning I realized with a shock that I had not made very good use of my blue and white Kimono Series bead.

IMG_1623I love everything about this bead… starting with its semi matte, yet velvety finish… to it’s subtle colours and unique pattern.  It has found its way onto lots of my designs and I’m surprised to realize that I haven’t included it in many bracelets over the past month.  I didn’t want to make a simple blue and white themed bracelet…

IMG_1620So I decided to take inspiration from this bead – “Sandstone” by Scott Bouwens for Trollbeads’ Spring 2013 collection.  It includes a range of blues, from very soft to a subtle denim shade, as well as creamy sand and richer chestnut browns.  This natural palette feels very “West Coast Summer” and is easy to play with.

IMG_1613I began with three natural stones at the heart of the bracelet, that together set the palette for the bracelet.  Labradorite, Chalcedony and Smoky Quartz shimmer, glow and sparkle without being showy.

IMG_1622I’ve used this bead in so many ways over the past month, but it feels perfect here as well… this “Christmas in Australia” limited edition is placed opposite the Kimono Bead on the bracelet.  With a similar overall intensity, and partnered with other soft blue beads it “weighs” the same and keeps the design balanced.

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I’ve chosen to use mostly my slender silvers on this design, as there were so many glass and stone that I wanted to integrate!  I particularly like how the retired “Blue Dot” echoes the dichroic glass inserts of the retired “Carved Flowers” on the opposite side… and I also like the matched “Bee on Hive” (one of my early and favorite silvers), near the ends of the bracelet. 

…Only four days left!  I have too many more ideas…

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Sandwashed and Sunbleached

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IMG_1071It would be hard to pick just one stone from the recent release that is the most beautiful, but Green Rhyolite is proving to be a perfect fit for the sunbleached and stonewashed palettes of many of our ladies’ Summer bracelets.  It has a fascinating  range of soft sage greens, sandstone, copper and cream.

IMG_1072This chameleon stone has an array of so many colours in its complex veining, it is sure to find its way onto warm and cozy Autumnal bracelets at the end of the Summer as well.  Today we play with bird’s egg blue, sage and bleached driftwood.  We take inspiration from one of Scott Bouwens’ Pebble Beach designs, “Sandstone”.

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We began this design with a rich green toned “Labradorite”, framed by “Traces” and the “Ice Blue Diamond”.  These can be tricky blues to balance, but this composition’s neutral tones are very forgiving, and allow these two showstopping beads to take the limelight.

IMG_1077The perfect, flat lighting of my photography studio box doesn’t bring out the flash in this Labradorite the way that natural light does, so I thought I’d better try to capture it in a beam of sunlight to show it off to you… We always encourage our Tartoofulers to take the Labs outside to check for flash, as it is so elusive in artificial light.

IMG_1075This “Conch” is unusual, as it has a very thick top layer of soft grey, clear glass.  From the side it is dramatic!  (See below) We selected a pair of silvers that mimic the overall oval and rounded shape of the glass – an effect that I personally enjoy.  Here the limited edition Chinese Zodiac “Ram” is tucked between “Conch” and the “Ice Blue Diamond” bead.

IMG_1074“Paradise Birds” is another oval silver that is luxuriously heavy and textured in its design.  I like to balance this particular bead with Jugend or the now-retired “Carved Flowers”, and it’s also lovely with other “budded” silvers such as “Winter Berries”, ‘Urchin”, “Large Berry” or either of the “Planets”.  Isn’t it fun to be able to take a really close look at the ribbon of ivory that encircles “Traces”?  It’s so reminiscent of “Cozy”.

IMG_1070(There’s that “Conch” on the left – isn’t it amazing?!)

Overall, this is a composition that I would love to be able to wear this Summer, and it’s inspired me to freshen up my own soft blue bracelet… I think that one of the yummy new Green Rhyolites will have to find it’s way into my collection!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Seahorse Lock”, “Silver Mountain”, “Green Rhyolite”, “Sandstone”, “Urchin”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Universal Unique”, “White Paper Fold”, “Paradise Birds”, “traces”, “Labradorite”, “Diamond Bead, Ice Blue”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac Ram”, “Conch”, “Green Rhyolite”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Large Planet”, “Green Rhyolite”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Grey Prism”.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: The Beachglass Bracelet

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IMG_0347Have you ever combed a pebble seashore for beach glass?  Those softly beautiful little gems, frosted by years spent among the waves and the rocks, are always a tiny shock as one scans the pebbles.  Mostly we seem to find little green ones, sometimes a white, or an amber brown one.  For a few years following the Tynant water craze I found cobalt blue ones, but they seem to have disappeared now.  However, the most precious and rare ones on our beaches are a gorgeous azure blue.  I’ve never received better gifts than handfuls of painstakingly gathered beach glass… smooth, warm and slightly damp from a child’s eager little hand.

IMG_0348Like those little glass gems, this bracelet started out as quite another thing, but has evolved beautifully into this seashore inspired design.  Originally this bracelet incorporated various pastel designs, and while lovely it wasn’t sitting quite right with its’ owner, local Trollbeads collector KT.

IMG_0349We took some time to play with various palette options, and finally settled on this gentle combination of subtle greens, ivory, and a touch of azure.  One of KT’s signature design elements is to always have a touch of an unexpected colour, to prevent a bracelet design from being too predictable.  In this case she has added two touches of lilac towards the clasp, which gives the design a little extra interest.

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This bracelet makes wonderful use of some of KT’s rare and desirable beads, that she blends artfully with production design items.  For example, in the photo above she has combined the production “Inner Glow”, “Urchin”, “Fireflies” and “Green Prism” with the uber luxe unique alabaster amber and one of the recently released Cream Galaxy or Meteor beads.

IMG_0344Clockwise from clasp:  “Small Flower Clasp, “Green Prism”, “Fireflies”, “Unique Cream Galaxy”, “Unique Alabaster Amber”, “Silver Urchin”, “Inner Glow”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Unique Ivory Chess”, “Starfish”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Bubble”, “Ivory Unique”, “Jellyfish”, “Unique Ivory dot”, “Organic Bubble”, “Inner Glow”, “Frogs”, “Chai Bud” (retired), “Wildcat” (retired), “Green Dot” (retired), “Turquoise Prism”.

Thank you, KT for allowing us to photograph and share this inspiring design…

C

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Trollbeads Inpspiration: Beautiful Beach

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“Beach” is an easy bead with which to fall in love… with a lovely liquid shade of blue, and shimmering gold in its depths it just begs to be held up to the light and admired…

DSCN6217Cristi’s Cuban honeymoon photos of a perfect white sand beach inspired us, so  we thought we’d create a bracelet showcasing this favorite bead design…

We added lots of appropriately ocean themed silvers, including this slender and graceful “Happy Fish”.

DSCN6220We love the “Mermaid” for her sunny disposition, as well as her curvy lines… She’s a sweet and sexy little bead!  Here she’s shown with a lovely “Wave of Dreams”.  The wave is one of those bead designs that shows a huge range of expression, varying from very light and sun bleached, to rich and jewel like in its palette.

DSCN6219Speaking of changes… “Cool Dusk” has changed dramatically over the past year or so.  Remember when this bead was first released?  It had almost equal parts of blue and yellow, and the outer blue layer was very deeply grooved.

DSCN6223Now this revised design has only a mere hint of blue over a thicker yellow band, so the overall effect is much more of a chartreuse green.  The ridges have been reduced, for a much smoother, more liquid appearance.  As much as I liked the original design, I find the new appearance quite lovely and am enjoying the change.

DSCN6218Of course, everyone’s favorite fish bead is “Pisces”.  This timely arrival shows two fish wrapped around each other, to form the round bead shape.  Similar to “Happy Fish” and the “Fish Clasp”, the scales are beautifully and finely detailed.  I personally love this design and like to feature it regardless of the  Zodiac month.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Beach”, “Coral Branch”, “Cool Dusk”, “Silver Urchin”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Mermaid”, “Sand Beach”, “Beach”, “Treasures”, “Beach”, “Sand Beach”, “Pisces”, “The Eye”, “Starfish”, “Cool Dusk”, “Happy Fish”, “Beach”.

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Trollbeads News: Spring 2013 Collection

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The long awaited Spring Collection from Trollbeads is finally here! They’re once again created truly fresh, original designs, with so many palettes for us to play with…

rocky-beach-kitThere are two delicious glass kits, with dramatically different moods. The first, the “Rocky Beach Kit” is destined to become a favorite for our West Coast collectors, as it features all the soft greyed blues, warm and subtle browns and delicate ivories that are so avidly sought after. designs such as “Sandstone”, “Stone Flower” and “Sand Beach” are reminiscent of Northern waters and sun bleached driftwood. “Pebbles”, “Fossils” and “Cliffs” are fascinating, with irridescent layers of silver peeking out from slates, rusts and warm greys.

The designs are totally fresh, with patterns, shapes and forms that nobody has been able to create before. This impressive, technical approach continues in the other new glass kit, the “Happy Summer Kit”.

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Deceptively simple in its appearance, a close inspection of this unabashedly pretty kit reveals the prowess of Trollbeads’ glass artisans. Note that each of the delicate blossoms floating in the two flower designs has three different coloured petals. The two budded beads are mesmerizing, with so many possible colour combinations… “Beige Moonstone” ranges from lightest ivory and a wisp of blue, to a warm golden tone with violet punctuation marks. “Coral Opal” might be a blushing peach, or a punchy blood orange with carnelian dots. The two striped beads, “Strawberry stripe” and “Beach Ball” do a wonderful job of pulling together all the various shades and providing a cohesive palette.

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Amazing. We are going to have so much fun with these little lovelies!

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DSCN5371But wait, there’s more! Silver beads with images of spring flowers, home, love, and fun in the sun. Not one, but two new clasps with playful dolphins and seahorses… and a new decoration for our earring collectors, with a graceful curl of a seahorse. Most dramatically, there is a new butterfly pendant that is going to be a must have for so many necklaces – and even bracelets – this Spring.

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Of course, they wouldn’t leave us without a new stone, as well… and this one is stunning: “Dendritic Agate”. I had never heard of it either, but I am very glad to make it’s acquaintance. A little research reveals that it is a challenging stone for a lapidary to cut, as the fern-like inclusions form at unpredictable spots in the stone, and thus can be hard to beautifully reveal. Famed Russian jeweller, Faberge favored setting this subtle stone with the contrasting sparkle of diamonds… Perhaps we will have to learn from his expertise and try a composition that does just that? Dendritic Agate is believed to help one to better relate to, and appreciate the natural world, and is associated with protecting & restoring the earth, rain, abundance, healing, and creativity. It is further said to enhance emotional balance… all truly worthy and remarkable qualities… and a beautiful stone that will add a lovely, subtle note to so many of our bracelets.

Be sure to enjoy all the individual designs at Tartoofultoo Online, and if you’re close to the village come see them in person, and let’s play! Stay tuned as we take the new bead designs out for a spin, and try them out in compositions with some of our favorite Trollbeads…

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Tropical Getaway

 

The clouds only returned to the North Shore a couple of weeks ago, but already we’re missing our sunshine… We’re in those doldrums between the release of the Autumn 2012 collection and the fast approaching, fabulous Christmas 2012 Trollbeads collection.  For those of you Northerners who also are craving a little light, join us for a little tropical getaway… courtesy of RT’s “Bahamas Bracelet”.  So sit down, cuddle up to your coffee and take a few minutes of warm relaxation….

This bracelet was inspired by a spring trip to the beautiful Bahamas… clear blue water, white sand beaches, palm trees swaying in the warm wind… ahhh (I’m in my happy place…)

You may recall that we took a peek at this bracelet, back when it was barely a whisper of sand on a beach towel….

Where else to begin, than with a perfect “Beach”?  This one really is deep and luminous, with a generous dose of rose gold sparkle.  Behind it you can see RT’s high contrast “Urchin”.

RT’s design trademark is a predominance of extraordinary uniques… and this bracelet is no exception.  This intensely blue and textured unique was one that we found just for her on our Spring trip to Trollbeads’ own Tivoli, in Copenhagen.

This unique is brings to mind the regular collection design, “Urchin”… it has the same creamy background, and the same budded dots – but on a very different scale.  These dots are tiny and widely spaced, giving this bead the look of a “Baby Urchin”… So sweet!

This crisp turquoise and white bead is so perfectly tropical, it makes me yearn for gauzy printed sundresses, crisp cotton beach towels and a killer bikini.  It’s interesting to note that this is the only bead on the bracelet that includes pure white – all the other whites are in fact a warmer ivory tone.

This amazing unique sings on this composition… so unusual, and such a great colour combination!  RT’s “Mermaid” is right at home in these warm waters, as are a number of other appropriate silvers… “Pisces”, “Palm Island”, “Crab”, “Treasures” and the “Fish Lock” all complete the beach theme of this design.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Pisces”, “Classic Unique”, “Conch”, “Blue Fizz”, “Joyful”, “Urchin”, “Beach”, “Treasures”, “Blue Stripe”, “Classic Unique”, “Palm Island”, “Conch”, “Classic Unique”, “Crab, “Classic Unique”, “Classic Unique”, “Mermaid”, “Classic Unique”, “Turquoise Ribbon”.

Well… it was a short getaway, but so worth it.  Please return your seat to the upright position and ensure your tray tables and belongings are stowed in preparation for landing back in our cold & soggy hemisphere…

Thank you for flying Tartooful Daydream, (and thank you RT!)

C.

 

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…

C

Trollbeads Inspiration: Secret Beach

One of the secret joys of Summer on the North Shore is that we have so many little pocket-sized neighbourhood beaches dotted along the coastline.

These “Secret Beaches” don’t have concession stands or lifeguards… but they’re pristine, quiet, private and just a little wild.  They’re the perfect spot to take kids and dogs to simply lose an afternoon.  There’s one not too far from our home where you can beachcomb, tidepool, swim or simply sit and watch the eagles fish.  There’s always a couple of border collies for Teemo to play with, and the kids adore playing at the edge of the freshwater stream that parts the fine pebbles of the beach.

These places are closely guarded community gems… With parents bringing their children to the beach where they played as children, and meeting with other families with whom they’ve been been friends for generations.

It doesn’t take much to prepare… must haves include:

  • water
  • blanket
  • bucket and a shovel
  • snacks… (we prefer cookies…)

I should add one other thing:  optionally, a camera is a good thing, because afterwards you’re going to be so glad you went…

Your skin will feel sun kissed, windblown and golden… your hair will have a little ocean salt in it… and you’ll have sand in your shoes for a week.  In other words, you’ll wish that you had snaps to remember that timeless Summer afternoon.

I’m always amazed at the rich colours I capture with my camera on these days…  we think of our beaches as grey, but the truth is they are a textured feast of purple, green, blue, brown, green and so much more.   Very “Azure Bubbles”, isn’t it?

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock, sterling”, “Seed Bead” (Africa World Tour), “Wildcat” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Drumbeat” (Africa World Tour), “Organic Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Green Jade”, “Waves”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Urchin”, “Blue Desert”, “Spiral”, “Labradorite”, “Unique”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Drumbeat”, “Beige Blue Dot”, “Unique”, “Seed Bead”.

C.