Trollbeads Inspiration: Honey Bees




Don’t you adore the new Trollbeads Honey Bee Spacers?!  I am so enjoying them, and am using them on everything from Fantasy Necklaces and bangles to chain bracelets and even the new Ring of Change.  Just one Bee at the bottom of a fantasy necklace beautifully balances a bead on its wings, for a complete design in a snap.  A pair of bees frame a bead for a simple but dramatic bangle.  It’s an instant design maker with fabulous flair.

IMG_1970Full disclosure demands that I admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for Bees.  I’ve always identified them as being a special totem animal to me… Industrious, useful, working for the good of their family and community, and in harmony with nature… these are creatures that are inspiring and well worth emulating.  Historically virtually every culture has revered bees as being a very magical and special part of nature.  The Kalahari believed that the bee played a key role in the creation of the first human.  The bowstring of the Hindu god Kamadeva is said to be made of bees.

IMG_1969Bees figured prominently in the myths of the ancient Greeks, with several gods being affiliated with the tiny creatures.  Apollo, the sun god, is said to have acquired his powers from the Thriae, a trinity of bee goddesses that were far more ancient than the familiar pantheon of Greek gods. Among the later, classical Greek gods Aristaeus was the god of beekeepers.  In ancient Egyptian mythology the tears of the god Ra are said to have become bees.  These are only a few examples of the importance of bees in ancient and indigenous cultures… they have been revered from the beginning of humanity.


IMG_1968Today we read almost daily of the plight of the bee.  With our increasingly industrialized farming techniques, bees have become a commodity and a cog in the farming machine.  Their hives are transported from one side of the continent to the other, rushed from one crop pollination to another.  The plants they hover over are sprayed with complex fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, that impact not only on their immediate health, but modify their DNA to change the way generations of future bees function.  Bees are under physical and biological stresses that we are just beginning to understand – and they need our support in order to survive.  Imagine our world without bees… Consider the profound impact on our farms, our gardens, our wild places.



These remarkable little creatures have been quietly working in the background for millennia, making our world a better place.  Perhaps it is time that we saw them with some of the reverence that was paid to them by ancient peoples.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Copper Spacer”, “Unique Glass”, “Translucent Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Unique Glass”, “Black Gold”, “Tigers Eye”, “Unique Glass”, “Honey Bee Spacer”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Honey Bee Spacer”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Blossom Bead”, “Golden Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Copper Spacer”.




Trollbeads Challenge Day 13


Today I’m tackling another design challenge that I have visited in past years.  I thought it would be interesting to see how the finished bracelet would look and feel with the recent updates to my collection.

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IMG_1913Over the past couple of years I have made a conscious effort to add certain shapes and sizes of silvers to my personal collection.  I’m very particular about each silver – it has to have a meaning that makes me happy, but it also has to function well for the way I like to build my bracelets.  I tend to make balanced compositions, so that means that pairs of silvers are useful.  However, with very few exceptions I tend not to actually buy duplicate designs, but rather prefer to find patterns that are complementary to each other in both theme and dimension.

IMG_1919Luckily for me, Trollbeads tends to have a few relatively standard size grades within which they produce a number of designs.  For example, “Jugend””Carved Flowers””” and even the “Rolling Troll” all have a similar form and size, so they work well to balance each other in a bracelet.  I often use “Ball of””Sweater” together for the same reason.  One bead that I simply had to twin in my collection was the “Bee on Hive”… it’s one of my favorite silvers, as it features the Bee image that I take as my personal emblem.  It’s soooo useful to have that one pair for bangles, necklaces and so on.


IMG_1915I like to group silvers not only by appearance, but also to some extent by narrative theme.  For example, I usually place my “Ball of Yarn” and “Sweater” together on a bracelet along with my “Spider”.  I like to think that the spider is a crafty little knitter of webs.  Similarly, I place my “Frogs”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird” and two “Happy Fish” on a design together for a wetland sort of a theme.


Perhaps the most relevant habit that I usually employ, however, is that I always…*nearly always* mix the glass or stones in with silver.  Occasionally I might make a bangle with only one metal bead.  From time to time I might make up an all-amber or all-glass bracelet.  But all-silver?  Nope.  Only for the challenge!  It’s a tough one for me, as it’s missing the colour elements that are my comfort zone.  It’s also very tricky to build all-silver while creating a sense of order to the design.    This year, with the addition of more size pairs, I think I’ve managed to design a bracelet that I would make and wear again.

It has a very comfortable amount of movement on the bracelet, which results in a very fluid feel in the hand.  It’s satisfyingly heavy and I am enjoying wearing it today!

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Trollbeads Inspiration: Merry Christmas!


“The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus” By Ogden Nash

In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn’t anybody’s joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.

In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies’ reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn’t any Santa Claus.


Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying ‘Boo’ at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
‘There isn’t any Santa Claus!’

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.


Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
‘Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn’t any Santa Claus!’
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
‘There isn’t any, no there’s not!’

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez’ ribald mocking.


He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of ‘Don’t,’ and ‘Pretty Please.’
He howled, ‘I don’t know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!’
‘Jabez’ replied the angry saint,
‘It isn’t I, it’s you that ain’t.


Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
‘Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don’t scare me, it doesn’t’
And suddenly he found he wasn’t!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.


The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.


All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

Merry Christmas, One and All!




Trollbeads Inspiration: Mint Julep


Mint Green.  It’s a conundrum for me… I love to look at it, but so rarely actually *wear* it.  I find it appealing, but oh so sweet.  Its’ straightforward, clear prettiness is nothing like the hazy, muddy tones to which I am so often drawn.  Perhaps it’s just too cheerful?  Ridiculous, right?  So I sat down to create a design that uses lots of that gorgeous minty green, but in a way that would be delicious even to a soft colour addict like me.  I looked for inspiration and thought of a mint julep – lots of mint, but with a dash of bitters….


IMG_9388I felt spoiled for choice when selecting the minty greens… so many beautiful designs from which to choose!  I  found a super soft and beautiful “Amazonite” as a key element for the bracelet, and added an “Anemones”, as well as two designs from the Spring 2015 series.

IMG_9386“Spring Wave” adds a nice texture contrast to the floral of “Anemones”, while “Seabed” echoes the gold that dots the metal beads.  My goal was to “cut” the sweetness of the green with lots of subtle neutrals, and amplify the impact of the gold to give the overall looke of the bracelet design a grownup edge.  With closer inspection, sophisticated patterning such as found on the swirled and glittered butterfly unique delights the eye.  Greyed browns such as “Smoky Quartz” and the Limited Edition “Christmas 2012” glass, ground the composition, and give it some visual heft.

IMG_9383Lots of mint, but with a dash of bitters…

IMG_9385Finally… the gold.  Of course, gold is pretty much always a good thing – but here it really does take the bracelet to another level.  The iconic “Daisy Bead”, with it’s perfectly imperfect petals… the incredibly detailed retired “Nightingale”, the ying & yang of the “Happy Fish”, the luscious leaf patterning of the “Flowers” bead…(They never show the leaves in the stock photo…) …they’re all gorgeous.  Even one of these beads is a showstopping presence, so a whole group of them like this is just stunning.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Heart Lock”, “Seabed”, “Happy Fish Bead, Silver and Gold”, “Unique”, “Black Gold”, “Anemones”, “The Nightingale”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2012 Glass”, “Amazonite”, “Milan”, “Spring Wave Bead”, “Blue Desert”, “The Daisy Bead”, “Black Silk”, “Unique Glass”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Flowers Bead, Silver and Gold”, “Unique Glass”.

All beads shown in today’s blog post are in stock at Tartooful as of 28 April, 2015… do drop us a line if you are tempted!  604-924-0122, or see you in the Village…




Trollbeads Inspiration: Easter Dragons


IMG_8821This Easter, Trollbeads has created a very special set of treats for us… Eschewing the usual clutch of chicks, ducklings, bunnies and other reasonably harmless creatures, the witty designers at Trollbeads instead decided to create a collection inspired by the somewhat more dangerous “Traditional Easter Dragons”.

IMG_8822What’s that you say?  You weren’t aware that Dragons were an Easter Tradition?  Hmm.  No.  Me neither… but then I always serve the “Traditional Easter Ham… burgers”.  And that seems to work, so hey – why not Dragons?  I can see the rationale… after all, they do hatch out of eggs, and regardless – I rather like dragons.


IMG_8827Today I’ve imagined a bracelet that might delight a new baby dragon… With soft warm pastel pink for Spring, and lots of glowing gold it’s just the thing for a dragon nursery.  Perhaps when this dragon grows up it will want to decorate it’s cave with subtle greens, rich wines and lots of jewel tones… but this playful baby still likes shiny, sparkly

IMG_8825things and pretty shades of pink.  (It’s a good thing for us, because I happen to like those things, too!)

I very much like this new collection… a Dragon Lock feels like a very natural addition to the collection – in fact it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t already there.  It’s beautifully designed, with a long, sensitive neck

IMG_8824that wraps in an arc to make the large side of the lock.  The face is somewhat reminiscent of the “Lucky Dragon”, as though they might be dragon cousins… The tail wraps more tightly around to form the small side of the lock, and ends in a heart shaped point.


Most importantly, from a functional view, it’s a great lock which is easy to open and close on both ends and very comfortable to wear.

IMG_8819I find the new Easter dragon charming, with a sweet face and lovely little baby wings on its rounded back.  It curves around into a ball to wrap around the bracelet, and has interest on all sides.  The Dragon Egg is perhaps my favorite part of the new series – and given how good the other designs are, that is significant.  The egg is a larger bead, and

IMG_8826feels very satisfyingly heavy and smooth.  It is wittily conceived and designed, with a dragon scaled egg that looks innocuous at first glance.  A closer, second look reveals the little gap in the egg shell on one side, and the clawed dragon foot beginning to scrabble out.  Clearly, this is one egg that will not be hatching a fluffy chick.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dragon Lock”, “Pink Conch”, “Easter Dragon”, “Pink Gold”, “Golden Quartz”, “Pink Desert”, “Dragon Egg”, “Rose Quartz”, “Unique Amber”, “Pink Petals”, “Lucky Dragon”, “Pink Petals”, “Unique Amber”, “Rose Quartz”, “Dragon Egg”, “Desert Rose”, “Unique”, “Engraved Romance”, Easter Dragon”, “Pink Conch”.

The sense of humour that is evident in many of Trollbeads design projects continues to delight me… who wouldn’t love a bead that brings a smile to one’s face every time it catches the eye?  These dragons simply make me smile…

Catch your “Traditional Easter Dragons” now online at Tartoofultoo or for a personal touch email me at or ring the gallery at 604-924-0122.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Dear Yellow


IMG_8575Dear Yellow,

I get it.  I really do… and I’m just sorry that I didn’t see how amazing you were earlier in my time as a Trollbeads collector.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I haven’t fallen in love with the odd shade of yellow… (Remember that custard yellow baby nursery?  And then there was the short lived sunshine yellow kitchen?)

IMG_8574However, I think if I was honest I was just a little nervous of such a strong colour.  I do like my nice safe misty greys.  Not too long ago I came across an online photo of an incredible yellow bracelet.  It was Chinese Royal Yellow, and completely unapologetic about it.  None of this “Complementary colour”, “Blended in” nonsense… it was just pure, unadulterated and gorgeous… yellow.


IMG_8576What’s more, there was very little pattern on the beads themselves… no cute florals, animals, polka dots or stripes.  Very clean, modern and almost tribal in its aesthetic, it was powerfully beautiful.  It took my breath away, and made me begin to rethink yellow.  I’ve begun gathering big bold yellows and plan to place them together onto a bracelet design once I’ve found enough that I truly love.  Today I’m playing with a range of yellows that I found among Tartooful’s stock… including some surprising candidates, that I don’t usually think of as yellow… “Black Gold” in this case shows more gold than black… an extraordinarily light and bright “Luminous”, and even a “Blue Desert” that is really a “Yellow Desert”!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Black Gold”, “Neverending”, “Silver Trace, Beige Blue” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Live Love & Forgive”, “Dewdrops”, “Unique”, “Heart Conch”, “Orange Steel” (retired), “Transformation”, “Lucky Clover”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Unique”, “Path of Life”, “Luminous”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Third Eye Chakra”, “Unique Amber”, “Midgard Serpent”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”, “Lucky Knot”, “Unique Amber”.

So.  Sorry Yellow, I won’t underestimate your allure ever again….



Trollbeads Inspiration: Transition


IMG_6933We’ve all been there…

this morning I stood before my open closet, completely bewildered as to what to wear.  Today was the first day of school for our North Vancouver kids, and right on schedule, we woke up to a grey and rainy day.  After what felt like an unusually long and beautifully war and clear Summer, we are

IMG_6934finally, really, settling in to Autumn.  So.  What to wear?  It’s not really cold yet, and the sunshine of the past season hasn’t quite faded from mind yet.  On the other hand, the leaves are starting to turn around the edge, the dark is coming earlier and earlier, and the shop windows here in Edgemont Village are filled with Autumnal treats.

IMG_6936I will never understand how I can be so flummoxed by this every time the seasons change.  It’s as though I completely forget what I used to wear.  What felt good this time last year?  Surely those pieces must still be hiding in my wardrobe?  I envision myself updating them artfully with a well chosen accessory, and sailing out the front door a vision of seasonal style… and one day that may actually happen.  Today however, I do have a few good ideas on how to transition one’s Summer bracelet to a wonderful, early Autumn composition!


Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.23.41 PMMost of us have fallen in love at some point or another with some of Trollbeads’ gorgeous turquoise toned beads.  Here I showcase a range of beads in that lovely colour, including the Spring collection’s “Ancient Palace”, a couple of yummy uniques and the

IMG_6939very tricky, limited edition “Daydream Blossom”.  I took the cue from the blossom bead, and added a range of spicy tones.  For these I reached for my favorite golden and cherry toned ambers, as well as the new “Brown Yellow Chalcedony”.  Two of the new faceted beads for Autumn of 2014 offer complex pattern and a touch of sparkle.  The overall look is still warm and full of sunshine, but the rich chestnut tones and deeper teals mark this as an Autumn composition, not Summer.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Spiritual Temple Lock”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Unique”, Unique Amber”, “Rolling Waves”, “Luminous Facet”, “Unique”, Brown Yellow Chacedony”, “Transformation”, “Unique Amber”, “Daydream Blossom”, “Unique Amber”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Ancient Palace”, “Unqiue”, Lotus Top”, “Unique Amber”, “River of Life Facet”, “Turquoise Prism”.

All beads currently in stock at Tartooful.


Trollbeads Inspiration: AV’s Golden Armadillo


Feast your eyes on this gorgeous, golden concoction.

av5This stunning composition was inspired by AV’s recent acquisition of a pair of Limited Edition Green Purple Armadillos.  It was a smart decision to purchase two of these dramatic beads, as they can be tricky to match in a design… I use mine in partnership with my retired Green Armadillo, and I’ve seen some uniques that have a rich pistachio

av3tone that could work… but it’s an unusual shade of green in the Trollbeads collection.  I like it all the more for that!  On most bracelets the two armadillos would steal the show… but here they have stiff competition.

av2Not only do they share a chain with a brilliantly sparkling pair of unique faceted ambers, but also a trio of warm, gleaming gold beads.  Simply spectacular….

av4I love this palette of acid green, gold, amber and warm red-based purple.  We’ve helped to build many compositions with this essential group of colours, but it never becomes ordinary.  It’s satisfyingly rich, and so vibrant…

Yet organic and absolutely wearable.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Silver Stopper”, “Green Purple Armadillo”, “Mesh, 18k Gold”, “Unique Amber”, “Third Eye Chakra”, “Forget Me Not, 18k gold”, “Purple Stripe” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Knot, 18k gold”, “Green Purple Armadillo”, “Silver Stopper”.

Thank you to AV for sharing her lovely bracelet with the readers of the blog…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Genius.


This play-by-play courtesy of one of our genius customers.

He says:  “Hey, is that a new Trollbeads Bracelet you’re wearing?”


She says: “Um… which one?”

He says:  “The gold one”.

She says:  “This One?!  Ugh.  You say that every single time I wear this.”


He says:  “Oh… I’m so sorry… I guess it’s just that it looks really nice…”

Game Over.



Trollbeads Inspiration: The “Magpie” Bangle

golden-combinationThe Magpie Bracelet

golden2This bracelet is pink and gold and sparkly and shimmery and shines like the stars.  (Ladies, I can see you drooling from here…)

However.  You may be asking “Why Magpie?”… I’m calling this one “The Magpie” despite a total lack of black & white, feathers, beaks or wings…

blue-desertbecause it’s the perfect bracelet for creatures that are attracted to shiny things!  Magpies are common birds that are cousins to the crow.  Quirky and intelligent, they are notoriously attracted to shiny things and will shamelessly pilfer them.  They can’t help themselves, they just get a little silly when faced with a perfectly shiny morsel.  Their nests are beautifully littered with trinkets, foil wraps and carelessly stored jewels.  I confess, I’m a magpie.  Anything with a little shimmer, a little hint of shine and sparkle, and I am in.


This golden bangle, with it’s sugary confections of pink and blue deserts, as well as the Diamond Bead with gold core… well, it’s lust at first sight for me, and simply makes my magpie heart sing.


PS.  We love the fresh slate to navy tones of the new Blue Deserts… gorgeous for this Winter.  They’re so dark and warm, they’re almost Brown Deserts.  It’s like someone in the atelier at Trollbeads just decided they missed the brown ones too much, and that they were going to start making them again, and simply call them Blue to stay under the wire.  Fabulous.  They’re a “must have” – regardless if you already have one in another shade.  Bravo to the unruly artisan at Trollbeads!