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: Pistachio & Candied Violets


This subtle and pretty bracelet makes me think of the gently sweet treats of my childhood…

pistachio6Think Baklava, dripping in orange blossom honey… warm pistachios sitting in the sun in a bustling spice market… and candied violets, perched delicately on florentines at a fragrant tea shop… these are the old fashioned and faraway treats that come to mind.

pistachio3Making a trip to the local tea shop was a coveted treat.. a reward for a good report card, or perhaps a birthday celebration.  I can see the little curved glasses full of strong tea the colour of amber, passed quickly and nimbly from table to table on a steel tray with a tripod handle.  The glass is elaborately decorated with fairytale tendrils of shimmering gold.

pistachio7So magical to the eyes of a little girl….The tea is too hot to drink right away, so take a moment to inhale the tea’s perfume.  While you’re waiting,  pick a sugar cube from the little plate on the table.  Each cube is decorated with a curl of icing, this one like a pink rose, that one a tiny violet.  Pop a crunchy square of sugar into your mouth…

pistachio5then gingerly sip the scaldingly hot tea through the sugar cube so that it melts into a sweetly bitter mouthful.  Heaven.  The best part is that sitting there on the edge of the round wooden bistro chair, swinging my legs above the polished floor, I felt so very grown up.


Sweet treats, indeed….



Trollbeads Inspiration: RT’s rare golds & greens

The second, remarkable bracelet designed by tartooful customer RT is  made up of a palette of unusual, warm greens and yellows.  It showcases a wonderful group of rare and one-of-a-kind beads that together form a powerful composition.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Mexico Lock” (retired), “Lotus”, “Three Monkeys”, “OOAK Amber”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Bead of Fortune”, “OOAK Glass”, “Heart Chakra”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Frog King, Limited Edition Germany”, “Crown Chakra”, “Lucky Dragon”…(sorry he slipped upside down!), “Banana” (retired), “OOAK Glass”, “The Midgard Serpent”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Earth”, “Power Chakra”, “King & Queen” (retired), “Happy Fish Gold & Silver”, “Lotus”.

In this composition I like the way the buttery yellows are artfully married with the more brilliant tones in the “Power Chakra” and in particular “Banana”, which can be very tricky to integrate into a design.  The range of greens, from the soft “Chinese Jade” to the intense “Earth” all work well together, in part because of the fun, dotty green glass OOAK, and also perhaps because of the range of greens and golds found in the dichroic glass.  It’s wonderful to watch RT as she selects a bead for one of her complex bracelets, as she makes it look so effortless, but her choices show such artistic flair.

Thank you again, RT for letting me photograph your collection, and share them on this forum…