a beautiful little life…

Summer-Memory“Summer Memory” Original art by EA Klann, oils on canvas, 40″x60″ CAD$4900 2015.

The shift has happened, and even before the calendar tells us us it is so – Autumn has arrived.  Here on the West Coast of Canada we are back to cool temperatures, with dark mornings and steady drizzle that has breathed life back into our Summer parched gardens and forests.  It’s a contemplative time for me.  It’s a season with start-of-school memories that inspire positive change and fresh starts.  It feels like a good time to reset priorities and make sure that I am creating the “beautiful little life” of my daydreams.

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I’m not an epic person… I’ve never striven to live large, exude drama or be the center of attention.  Rather, I cherish the quiet details.  I find that for me the difference between average and extraordinary is always in the details… for example, when selecting a car, all of the many options included ample power, demonstrated safety standards and comfort.  The one I fell in love with also was an evocative shade of blue, had controls that felt like an extension of my hands, and a minimalist aesthetic in the cabin.  Another example… Every morning I drink my morning cafe au lait from a Timo Glass – the most perfectly practical and elegantly restrained design of drinking vessel I know.  Details.  It’s always the same for me… whether it’s something as significant as a car, or as simple as a cup, I find divinity in the details.

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So… the “beautiful little life” is all about tending for the details.  One by one, day by day they all add up to a life that is lived with care, and savoured day by day.  Today, on this rainy day, I am focused on that…

C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Dreamy

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IMG_0700Today I once again went searching for a little colour inspiration in the beutifully illustrated pages of the Trollbeads book “Trollbeads: An Icon in Jewellery Design”.  Of course I found a great many images with wonderful palettes to consider, but in the meditative mood of the quiet gallery today I was attracted to one that

IMG_0704featured a patch of Black Mondo Grass.  The light surrounding the inky grasses is misty and blue in hue, a delicate palette into which I couldn’t wait to dive.

I started with a stunning “Blue Desert” that is a dark slate blue, with an area on one side that lightens to a subtly transparent claret.  The generous dose of glitter in this bead helps to further warm the overall look.

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IMG_0705This is currently a tricky bead to partner, (although when the Autumn Collection launches it will find lots of beautiful companions), but I placed it opposite the “Flowers on Indigo” as it also has that delicious combination of deep sapphire and claret.

IMG_0698To ensure that the mood of the bracelet stayed light and airy I added multiple dots of white:  a “Denritic Agate” that is nearly pure white, one of the Summer Stones “Howlite”s, a couple of wonderfully shimmering “Dichroic Ice”, and of course a “Diamond Bead, White”.  The Two faceted “Chalcedony” further add to the light, glowing look of the design.

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IMG_0703I love the way the light plays in this particular Azure Bubbles – it has taken me great restraint not to add it to my own personal collection!  I find it fascinating that in some lights I can see a clear layer of amber glass, yet when I look directly at the surface of the bead, it’s not green at all.  It’s a wonderful example of why I always Look at a bead sideways, and into the light….

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Clasp”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Chelcedony”, “Silver Whorl”, Diamond Bead, White”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Howlite”, “Blue Desert”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Chalcedony”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Angels Feathers”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Grey Prism”.

All beads used for design currently in stock at Tartooful.  tartooful@gmail.com 604-924-0122.

C.

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Trollbeads Inspiration: A different light

IMG_0517Aquarium Pastel Takes on a Whole Different Look

IMG_0515In today’s bracelet I play with the same Aquarium Pastel bead that was recently featured on a coral bracelet.  However, today’s bracelet has a completely different look than that one… today my goal was to show how various contexts and  compositions can dramatically change one’s perception of a given bead design.

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IMG_0514As I mentioned in the previous entry, I shied away from Aquarium pastel in the past, as I wasn’t enamoured of the idea of a chocolate and turquoise combination.  Over time that colour combination has actually grown on me, but in the meanwhile I found other ways to feature this fascinating bead.  Birds’ egg blue and coral offers one beautiful setting for this bead, but so does today’s even more subtle combination.

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IMG_0513I resisted the temptation to add lots of warm, terracotta  touches to this composition. Instead I decided to keep it cool with lots of icy blue, nearly black browns, and hints of mossy green.  I selected knot work patterned silvers that are minimalist and simple in order to maintain a wonderfully calm look for this understated bracelet.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp”, “Grey Prism”, “Sandstone”, “Unique Glass”, “Three in One”, “Unique Glass”, “Silver Mountain”, “Labradorite”, “Path of Life”, “Milan”, “Traces”, “Cliffs”, “Three Siblings”, “Unique Glass”, “Aquarium Pastel”, “Limited Edition Christmas in Hawaii Glass”, “Lucky Knot”, “Grey Wolf”, “Ancient Palace”, “Unique Glass”.

Beads taken from in-stock Tartooful stock.

C.

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 18

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IMG_9662Today’s bracelet was inspired by my dear friend Gillian, and her exquisite taste. On a recent visit she spotted my collection, lying strewn about on a tray, and sat down to have a play.  In no time at all she had teased together a design that contained every one of my sparkle beads!  I never think to use just one design category of my beads in this way, and immediately thought that I must give it a try….

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IMG_9660The designs with metallic sparkle are among my favorites in the collection… I think I first picked out a “Blue Desert” for myself… but Brown and Pink followed soon after… and of course since Spring of 2014 there are so many gorgeous, sparkling designs from which to choose.  In addition, there are the various designs that include gold or silver leaf – silver mountain and Golden Cave are fixtures on most of my bracelet designs.

IMG_9661When creating today’s design I started by centering a focal bead by Trollbeads designer, Scot Bouwens.  This big, beautiful bead is one that I most often use on a Fantasy Necklace, but this bracelet concept is custom made for it!   I framed it with a pair of “Blue Deserts” that display the phenomenal range of expression that is be found in this design.

IMG_9664Sparkle Beads love to Bathe in the Sun.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired Format), “Unique Glass”, “Plait” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Bead of Fortune”, “Blue Desert”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Spot” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Artisan Bead by Scot Bouwens”, “Blue Desert”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Brown Desert” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Golden Cave”.

Thanks for the inspiration, Gil!

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: Day 11

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Today’s bracelet is another twist on my Pomegranates & copper colour combination – but this time instead of going light, I’ve gone dark!  Today is decadent Raspberry and rich Chocolate for a delicious bracelet.  The saturated clarets, berries and reds of this bracelet

IMG_9443could be overwhelming for me – I usually lean towards the West Coast water colour tones.  However, when I teased this combination together I was delighted to find that the addition of the deep natural browns seems to soften the impact of the cherry tones, making it much more wearable for me!  This will very definitely be back together again after the end of the challenge…

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IMG_9442It all began, of course, with a Ruby.  (as so many happy Troll Tales do…) I placed it right in the middle, where it could hog the spotlight the way Rubies like to.  I framed it with a couple of interesting, muddled up browns for texture and shimmer… Hard to believe that the bead at right is an Azure Bubbles – and then just took it from there!

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IMG_9441Funny thing… I like to try to imagine the artisans who make our beads… and I have an imaginary scenario that I play with in my strange brain, where some artist is slightly disgruntled about the retirement of “Brown Desert”.  After that lovely bead was retired I noticed quite a few ultra-dark examples of “Blue Desert”, as if somewhere there was a glass artist who just wouldn’t let go of the brown!  Continuing in my silly fantasy story:  perhaps after he was told to stop making deserts he decided to start making “Brown Bubbles”, and the above bead is the happy result!  Silly, I know, but it makes me happy.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Red-Pink Prism” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), Scott Bouwens Artisan Glass Bead, “Unique Glass”, “Tigers Eye”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Ruby with Silver Core”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Spot” (retired), “Smoky Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Bee on Hive” (retired), Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

Trollbeads News: Christmas Uniques Now at Tartooful

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IMG_7724We just received the prettiest little kits of Christmas Uniques!  So. Much. Fun.  Each kit contains three glass that coordinate nicely to play together on your holiday bracelet… and many of them will linger year ’round, too, as there is a good blend of abstract patterns as well as Wintery themes.  We’ve also uploaded individually photographed Christmas Limited Edition glass for 2014, with Christmas Trees, Snowflakes, stunning three dimensional florals and rich red bubbles to tempt you.  Take a peek at them all on our online shop!

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Cosy

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IMG_7650For those of you who haven’t been to Vancouver in November, there’s really only one thing you’ve missed:  enormous quantities of rain.  It’s November, and right on schedule, we’ve entered into a months-long  period of what feels like solid rain.  I’ve been to other parts of the world, and when it rains there, it’s simply a matter of waiting it out.

IMG_7648 For example, in New Orleans during the early Summer it rains pretty much every day.  In the morning it’s lovely, then early afternoon the thunderclouds roll in and a little while later there’s a downpour.  It rains for perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, then grudgingly stops and slowly clears for another gorgeous clear evening.

IMG_7658In fact, it’s so predictable that folks there simply stop what they are doing the moment it starts to rain.  The streets are emptied as everyone has a coffee and a beignet, and watches the rain outside.  Very civilized.  Didn’t I look like a fool, standing there alone in the rain slick street, wondering where in the world did everyone go?

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in Vancouver.  If we stopped for a coffee and a doughnut here on the West Coast, and waited for the rain to stop, not only would we never get anything done, but we would all be fat and twitchy.

IMG_7649The answer is to bundle up… tall boots, rainproof coat, no-fuss hair and a cosy sweater render us invincible against the rain.  Even today, in the kind of rain that causes natural disasters in many parts, I was puddle hopping in nothing more than a wool sweater.

IMG_7655The inspiration for this bracelet is my favorite, “Mom Made” Fishermans’ Knit cardigan.  The handspun wool is so thick and naturally water repellent that it easily functions as a coat on the wettest days.  (Although it does smell charmingly like a damp sheep).  Everyone needs a sweater just like mine.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Bow Lock”, “Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Hear 4 You”, “Scirocco”, “organic Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Mistletoe”, “Cosy”, “Labradorite”, “Cosy”, “Mistletoe”, “Unique Amber”, “Organic Bubbles”, “White Paper Fold”, “Water”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Designing with Dramatic Silvers

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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!

C.

Trollbeads News: Collectors’ Dream Sale Now On!

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.34.01 AMMake a wish… It’s true – every collector’s secret wish just came true:  a big, beautiful Trollbeads Sale!  This never happens.  So quick – make a list and check it twice, because Trollbeads introduced prior to 2014 are now

ON SALE 25% off!

but only until July 15th, so don’t delay!

We have to exempt a couple of things – such as gold (sorry!)… but most things are included.  If you have specific queries get in touch either by phone at 604-924-0122 or email at tartooful@gmail.com and we’d be happy to answer all your questions, and help you to find the perfect additions to your personal collection.  If you prefer to browse our online shop, please enter coupon code “Dreamsale” to receive your 25% discount.

sometimes dreams come true….

C.