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: Limited Edition Blue Quartz II

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Today we’re photographing and uploading uniques into our online shop, tartoofultoo – but of course we can’t resist stopping to play a little along the way!

IMG_0048You could dive right into this colour!

IMG_0047Working through the rods, some particularly juicy violets and peacock blues caught my eye… in no time at all there was a little stack of beads that were just begging to be played together into a fresh composition.  To my surprise, the new limited edition Blue Quartz from this Summer’s Sunbeam Kit fits right in.

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IMG_0046See how great they look, framing the Amethyst at the heart of this composition?  It’s a fascinating shade of blue, that just seems to adapt to so many colour palettes.  Here a few key beads tie together the rich blues and purples of the design… Some of the uniques are essential elements, but equally so are the “Violet Petals” from last

IMG_0049Fall’s limited edition, and production beads “Aurora Flower”, “Moonlinght Bubbles” and the “Whitecap” pictured at left.  I was delighted to find silver beads with dichroic accents that beautifully enhance the overall jewelled look of the bracelet.  Their precious drops of purple, sapphire and turquoise help to make the whole thing shimmer!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “gentle Waves”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “three Flowers”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Shanghai Dragon”, “Limited Edition Blue Quartz”, “Amethyst”, “Limited Edition Blue Quartz”, “Paradise Birds”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Trinity”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “Three in One”, “Whitecap”, “Unique Glass’.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Limited Edition Blue Quartz

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IMG_0065Goodness… what a party that was!  Thank you to all you amazing ladies who came out, messaged, tweeted and phoned in to help make our Trollbeads Day 2015 so much fun!  I hope that all of you had a great time at the event, and are now happily ensconced, playing with all your beautiful new treasures!

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IMG_0063Melanie and I were having such a lovely time, chatting with so many of our favorite Trollies, that we almost were distracted from the new releases… (*Almost*)… With not one, not two but three new releases in June, there’s a lot to keep track of.

IMG_0059First came the City Series of beads with complex and fabulous silver designs for Amsterdam, London, Rome, Shanghai, Seoul, New York, Tokyo and Capetown.  These delightful treats are only available worldwide until the end of June, after which you will have to find each bead only in its home country.  We have some of these lovelies in stock, and

IMG_0060can still fill your wish lists, but time will run out quickly, so let us know if you’d like any of these and we will be sure to save you some!

Next came the immediately legendary Trollbeads Day 2105 Limited Edition Glass.  We are currently out of stock on those lovelies, but let us know if you are still searching for that elusive creature and we’ll do our best to fill orders if at all possible!

IMG_0057Finally, the Limited Edition Summer Stones series launched for 2015… and there are some great beads in this set!  We’ve taken some time to play this week, and there are so many colour combinations that benefit from the addition of one of these stones.  The Citrines are gently lovely, and blend effortlessly with everything from pastels to

IMG_0055Ambers.  Howlite is a welcome addition to the collection of White Trollbeads.  Often in all-white combinations, texture and clarity become the focus, so Howlite with its distinctive grey veining and shape offers a fresh new option.  Orange Agate is brilliantly beautiful and will be drop dead gorgeous with jewel tones such as turquoise, emerald green, lapis blue or rich royal purples.

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Carnelian shows a wonderful range from light honey to nearly blood red, all of it so natural and warm.  It is particularly well suited to earth toned bracelets, but is surprising and so beautiful with peachy pinks as well.  The matte finished Green Agate will play perfectly with all the beachy tones that we West Coast ladies love… and some of the less-patterned examples have a subtle, teal look to them that will be wonderful with favorite beads such as Black Flower Mosaic and Azure Bubbles.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Swn Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Aqua Edge Petals”, “Blue Quartz”, “Florence”, “Shanghai Dragon”, “Labradorite”, “Whitecap”, “Green Jasper”, “Dragon Egg”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Blue Quartz”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Royal”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”.

Finally, there’s the Blue Quartz… which is precisely the colour I like to call “Beautiful Blue”… not quite Tiffany, not quite Bird’s Egg… it’s perfect with the Aqua Edge series of glass and just sings here among mossy greens!

All beads shown here are currently in stock at Tartooful.  If you see something irresistible, drop us a line at tartooful@gmail.com!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 23

IMG_9791Continuing on on the manner in which I began…

in-the-mannerToday I came across an old photo of my very first few Trollbeads… A couple of beads that are in the photo are no longer in my collection – someone must have fallen in love with them along the way – but most of them are still in regular rotation.

IMG_9786My Very first bead was this “Silver Mountain”.  I remember that it mesmerized me immediately, and there was no way I could resist its charms.  With its’ unique blend of earthy texture, palest aqua blue, and shimmering silver – it was a visual feast.  I still adore it, and find a place for it on so many of my daily bracelet compositions.

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IMG_9788I decided to design a bracelet using my original beads as much as possible, and complete the design in a similar aesthetic with more recent acquisitions.  The photo at left shows my first silver, a Heart that was selected for me by my then-sweetheart-now-husband, Greg.  It’s satisfying simplicity works nicely with my next choice

IMG_9785of silver, the now retired “Sparrow”.  As soon as I saw this sweet-faced, chubby little bird I knew I had to add it to my bracelet in memory of my Mother.  She loved to sit at her comfortable kitchen table and look out over her bird filled garden.  She waged a hilarious battle with the fat squirrels who liked to raid her well stocked feeders.

IMG_9782Bee on Hive

IMG_9789Of course, I wanted my bracelet to not only reflect the ones I loved, but also a little of my own essence as well.  I’ve always identified with the Bee as a personal symbol…. Bees are busy, useful, little creatures that spend all their time working in our gardens to take care of their family, making good things from of little bits of plant that we barely even notice.  I’d like to be more like a bee!  I chose a now-retired “Bee on Hive” to remind me of my core values…

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Peacock Pearl”, “Light Blue Dot”, “Unique Glass”, “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Sparrow”, “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Artisan Stone”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Silver Mountain”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “Van Gogh – World Tour Netherlands”, “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Brown Dot” (retired), “Rosa Pearl”.

It’s hard to believe that my earliest beads and I have been together on this Trollbeads Journey for seven years, now… goodness where has the time gone?!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 15

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IMG_9539Today I was playing about with my Trollbeads blue sapphire… I was Experimenting with various other tones, and exploring to see what sorts of colour companions were possible.  It’s a very soft grey-blue, a shade with which I play all the time – but in the 30 day challenge, there’s always the possibility of one more fresh idea!

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I had never placed these three beads together, and I quite liked it!  It was the kernel of an idea.

IMG_9540I pulled all my inky blues and all my lilacs and purples, and began to play.  This was a super easy design to compose and balance… Some bracelets are so natural that afterwards one sort of shakes one’s head and think… “Well, DUH”.  This was one of those bracelets.  I had ample beads in each colour family, and truly, it “built itself”.

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Entirely wearable… how can I never have made this bracelet?

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IMG_9537I love the way the pale shimmering blues in the Aurora beads are accentuated and enhanced by these slate blues – but absolutely not overwhelmed.  I find this colour combination easy and natural, but not boring or expected.  I’m delighted with it, and am sure I will play with this pair of colour families again.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic lower Clasp”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Neither Fish nor Bird” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Rolling Troll”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Sapphire”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Clown” (retired), “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Unique Glass”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.

C.

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.

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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.

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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.

C.

30 day Challenge: Happy Mothers Day!

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IMG_9504Today I tried to pick beads as if they were flowers, and turn them into a bouquet that I can wear on my arm!  I tried to hold images of my Mother in my head as I was playing this together, and take my cue from her exquisite taste… I often pick beads more for their aesthetic than their meaning, but for today’s bracelet I really wanted to think hard about each addition, and to include both elements for greater meaning.

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IMG_9503I knew there must be flowers, for my Mother’s amazing garden.  “Van Gogh” brings blossoms into the design.  The Sparrow is for the bird feeders in Mum’s garden, and their flocks of feathery visitors.  Mum used to love sitting at her kitchen table, watching the birds enjoy her beautiful garden – and she waged a quiet war against the fat

IMG_9507squirrels who grew even fatter on her luxurious bird seed.  The “Bee on Hive” is for the bumblebees who loved her garden so well, buzzing amongst the tea roses, clematis, bergamot and honeysuckle.  All these silver designs seemed perfectly “Mum” to me… but the “Sweater” and “Ball of Yarn” are perhaps the most meaningful of all.

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IMG_9502My Mother could make incredibly perfect things with her hands… she spun, wove, knit, embroidered, quilted, and crocheted with love, creativity and passion, creating textiles that truly were art.  I’m very lucky to still have and enjoy many of the beautiful pieces she made.  On a previous Mothers Day I wrote about a very special Sweater of hers… If you’d like to see her work, take a peek.  The “Ball of Yarn” and “Sweater” beads are an homage to my Mother’s skilled hands.

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IMG_9501Finally, after taking care over the selection of very special silvers… it was time to pick a palette of colours that would be equally meaningful.  I toyed with several possibilities, but in the end I found that a subtle, soft array of apricots, blues and greens felt right.  It brings to mind the natural colours of the flowers and foliage in her garden, as well as the timeless Liberty prints that she favoured for Summer dresses and scarves.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Lock” (retired), “PInk Prism”, “Bee on Hive”, (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Van Gogh” (World Tour Netherlands Series), “Rosa Pearl”.

To all of our very special ladies… those of you who are Mothers and Grandmothers, caring for your families – as well as those of you who quietly mother so many others, taking care of loved ones as if they were your own – thank you for all you do.  We see how hard you work, and how much you care.  You are appreciated, cherished and loved.

Happy Mothers Day!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 4

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IMG_9395Today is a bracelet that feels very comfortable to me… I am sure that I have made up bracelets nearly the same as this on many occasions, but it’s a colour combination that continues to draw me in, and I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you.  There’s something magical about the combination of apricot and periwinkle.  I find the cool and warm tones to be complementary, and make each other even more beautiful when combined.  It’s the same thing with aqua and lilac….

IMG_9392This bead is always the center of this colour combination for me.  It’s rare these days to find a unique glass Trollbead that is utterly, completely unique – but I think I just might have that elusive creature here.  I’ve scoured all of the online shops, blogs, forums and groups and have never been able to spot another bead quite like this one.

IMG_9396When playing together this combination I wanted to focus on a feeling of soft, glowing light… so I selected as many opalescent, translucent Azure Bubbles as possible, added smooth, luminous chalcedony and a healthy helping of coral toned uniques with lots of clarity and light play.   The bubbles in glass uniques always feel to me like pearls.

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IMG_9394Creating a strong framework of beads that are very translucent allows me to add a few select designs that are opaque, without it changing to overall feeling of lightness.  Here “Takma” settles in comfortably among the periwinkles and corals, giving every appearance of being super easy to play with… (Don’t believe it – this can be a tricky bead!)

IMG_9393 Finally, one of our favorite beads with chameleon tendencies:  Blue Desert.  This one has a broad area that feels distinctly golden and coral, with only a little edge of blue on either side.  The glitter makes it feel even more golden, and gives a nice contrast in texture between the other translucent and patterned glass.

IMG_9397This palette is so forgiving, with lots of scope within each colour family, so playing together a bracelet like this is a relaxed and easy process for me.  With such gentle colours, and so many subtle tone on tone transitions, perfect balance becomes less important.  It’s really just about finding beads that fit the dreamy mood.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Limited Edition Chess Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Cells”, “Blue Desert”, “Takma”, “Round Chalcedony” (retired), “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Round Chalcedony”, “Chocolate Parrot” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Limited Edition Family of Mushrooms” (World Tour Lithuania Series), “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”.

Do you have a colour palette that is your “comfort zone”?  Do share!  Don’t forget to post your creations on @tartooful Instagram #30daychallenge or on Tartooful’s Facebook Page!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 3

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day3-detailToday I decided to play with combining beads that I had traditionally thought of as coral, with beads that I had always considered to be golden yellow.  As always, the challenge is helping me to see the true colours and potential of my beloved collection – and it turns out that the “corals” and “golden yellow” are really in the same family!

day3-detail3I first discovered the amazing power of yellow as a complementary tone in my first year of the challenge.  By the end of those thirty days it seemed I had found a use for my few golden ambers on virtually every day, and it was clear that I should find and acquire a few more special yellows to expand that part of my collection.

day3-front-detailAs you can see… a few more did indeed find their way into my design kit, and over the coming days I’d like to explore some of their potential.  Perhaps a pure yellow design?  Hmmm.

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day3-detail2In this case, I added just a hint of very subtle blue, using our familiar friend, “Azure Bubbles” and a rather interesting pair of “Blue Deserts”… I can’t resist the combination of slate blue and golden yellow, but in this case the emphasis is not on the few scattered blues, but rather on the various tones and textures of the yellows.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” – (retired format), “Aber Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Unique”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Van Gogh”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Quartz”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Zanzibar”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Bee on Hive” (retired),  “blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Glass like Water

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IMG_8762Have you ever looked out across a calm stretch of water and been reminded of the clear smoothness of glass?  Well, today when I designed this bracelet I thought the reverse: that the glass looked as clear and liquid as water…

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IMG_8758There’s something magical about glass… looking into it, touching it, photographing it – there’s a visceral reaction that one experiences when interacting with it.  Perhaps it’s simply the shimmering beauty… or maybe it’s the knowledge that it was born out of fire in a complex artistic and chemical process…

IMG_8761but I think that there’s at least a possibility that we subconsciously associate glass with water.  When you hold a glass bead up to the light, doesn’t it feel to you as though you are somehow, miraculously, holding a droplet of water?  The monkey part of my brain never fails to be delighted and gobsmacked just by the appearance of it.

IMG_8759Today’s bracelet is meant to evoke the tranquil mood of a calm, quiet, early morning ocean.  The soft blues and greys are the sky and water, meeting in an invisible line at the horizon.  The Dichroic glass dots of “Trinity” are the flashes of light that sparkle on the edge of the water’s waves as they rise and fall gently in the morning sun.

IMG_8760There are pebbles on the beach at the edge of the bay that shimmer wetly in the morning light and the sun’s rays are already warm on your face, despite the early hour… it feels like the break of what will become hot summer’s day.  Later, the blues may deepen to a blistering turquoise and the yellows may become citrus bright and sharp… but now, the light is still velvety soft.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Lock”, “Crown Chakra”, “Beach”, “Rolling Waves”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Silver Trace, Beige Blue”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Chalcedony”, “Ocean”, “Honey Dawn”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Mountain”, “Gentle Waves”, “Scirocco”, “Unique”.

C.

PS Don’t forget that this week we are participating in the Spring Bracelet Event! Select a decorative lock priced CAD$48-$72 and receive the sterling foxtail chain valued at CAD$48 at no charge.  Purchase your lock online at Tartoofultoo Online Shop and simply let us know in the notes which length of chain you prefer, or Email us at tartooful@gmail.com or ring us at 604-924-0122 for a personal touch.