Trollbeads Inspiration: Lily of the Valley… and Cookie.


IMG_9480I’d like to transport you to my morning garden, where just a short time ago I went walking, camera in hand, in search of Trollbeads design inspiration.  It had rained overnight, so fat pearls of water dotted the leaves.  A glittering chandelier of raindrops hung precariously from the tree banches above and occasionally scattered to the ground when the

IMG_9475moved by a breath of air.  The comfortable perfume of warm cedar surrounded me, rising up from the mossy path with every step.  A banquet of potential images before me… but what to photograph to share on the blog this morning?  The blush of the Rhododendron?  The last velvety blooms of the Primula Auricula?


IMG_9462No… those aren’t quite right for today… Suddenly I spotted the first, perfect Lily of the Valley, blooming in pristine white on rich green foliage and was stopped in my tracks.  In some ways the lily of the valley is rather like a Trollbead… Best enjoyed in intimate quarters, the closer one looks the more one is rewarded.  It’s subtle perfume can only be enjoyed when very near, and its tiny blossoms are quite magical in their intricate detail.  Crouching down, I cradled my camera and focused… and THEN:


“Hello, furry one… ”

IMG_9465Meet Cookie.  Not what you’d call the brains of the operation, but very social, very gregarious and very soft.  She has limpid green eyes, absolutely excessively large whiskers and a determination to enjoy as much human attention as possible.  There was no way that a lousy flower was going to get more attention this morning than her.


IMG_9473Dodging and weaving around this single minded and surprisingly nimble cat, I managed to get one good shot of the flower, and quite a few of the cat.  (Surprising in her nimbleness because of an old war injury – note the carefully carried paw…)  I decided to pick my battles… go with the flow… and take this opportunity to shamelessly post the cat.

IMG_9478When I arrived at the gallery this morning to review the photos I found myself smiling at the laptop screen… the Cookie photos are such fun – and the one and only shot I ended up getting of the flower is just right for a bracelet design.  It took no time to play

IMG_9479together a crisp white and emerald green design from current Tartooful stock that feels to me like my walk in the garden this morning.  The two “World Tour Denmark Anemones” beads are a perfect colour match, and almost feel as though they glow from within.  I added a few touches of gold for the rays of sunlight, and a few glistening, transparent glass elements for water drops.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Flower Lock” (retired form), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2012”, “Unique Glass”, “Dandelions”, “Unique Glass”, “White Stripe”, “Strawberries”, “Limited Edition Anemones” (World tour Denmark), “Milky Quartz”, “Limited Edition Anemones” (World Tour Denmark”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “The Diamond Bead, White”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Limited Edition Christmas 2012”, “Unique Glass”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Green Prism”.

Really, the only thing that is missing… is the cat.

Don’t forget that Tartooful is now offering a special, Mothers Day gift with purchase of a Trollbeads Umbrella… but only while supplies last!


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: Little Frog and the Night Sky

IMG_9050Five frogs call this necklace home…

IMG_9054Once upon a time there were five frogs, who all lived together in a round pond in the deep and leafy woods.  They swam in the green coloured sunshine all day, eating mosquitos and playing “pass the bubble” together.  At night they found a cosy spot and curled up together in a circle.  They would whisper froggy stories to each to each other as they drifted off to sleep.  It was a happy way for a frog to be, and a sweet life.

IMG_9056 Green Jasper is subtly rich…

IMG_9055One evening, as the frogs went to settle into a leafy nook to get sleepy, they realized that the smallest frog of all wasn’t tucked into the story circle.  Where could he be?  They called to him.. “Little Frog?”… but no answer.  They were curious frogs, and just a little concerned, so they popped out into the dusky light to find their friend.

IMG_9058It didn’t take long to find him.  There he was, just above their sleepy hiding spot, sitting on a leaf and gazing in rapture at the darkening sky.  “Little Frog”, they cried, “what are you doing?  It’s time to be sleepy and we missed you!”.  The little frog turned to his friends in amazement, and said “I was a little late, chasing one last mosquito… but look – have you seen this?  Just look at the sky.  There is the most beautiful thing there, sparkling in the dark…”

IMG_9052Looking towards the sky, the little group of frogs saw, for the very first time, a star.  They became very quiet, and sat together with their friend, watching with wide round eyes.  The first star of the evening glowed brightly, and over the next few minutes the sky darkened from grey to pale and then sapphire blue.  Finally, the sky was velvety black and sparkled with the infinite host of stars that can only be seen deep in the leafy woods and far away from human places.  The beauty of the night sky gave the little frogs so much joy that deep in their green and slightly clammy breasts, their hearts seemed too full.  Little Frog’s amphibian heart could bear no more, so he started to sing softly, just to let out some of the joy.  One by one his friends joined in, and together they sang the happiness of the beauty of the stars.


Nowadays, if the evening is clear and fine, the five frog friends always sit out for just a little while to sing joyfully with the stars before curling up in their sleepy hiding spot.  On rainy nights they still enjoy a cosy, froggy story, but nothing makes them happier than to sing goodnight with the stars.  In fact, if you go very quietly to the round pond in the deep and leafy woods just at dusk, you too might hear the frogs’ star song…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Necklace in Blue


IMG_8670We’ve had lots of questions this Spring about Trollbeads Leathers… how do they work?  What do they feel like?  How to size?  What colours are available and so much more.  I think perhaps some of our collectors are mulling leathers as they offer a completely different

IMG_8661way to design with, and enjoy the beads we all love.  Today I thought I’d play with one of the newer leather colour combinations:  Cyan & key.  This teal and navy leather really pops, whether you compose a simple, neutral coloured design with mostly silver, choose beads with just as much oomph as the leather itself!


IMG_8660I was inspired by the arrival of the new Limited Edition Italian bead, “Party Time”.  This lovely glass has a light glitter base layer, with a thick of clear glass and a blue harlequin pattern.  Hints of aqua green and blue soften the overall look and make it a cinch to combine with all the new, green and turquoise Spring bead designs.


IMG_8663This dotted unique is one of my all time favorite beads… I can’t begin to describe how perfect it is… the blue isn’t quite turquoise, which makes it so much more interesting!  The dots are all just a little bit off kilter too – plum, not purple… vicuna, not yellow, teal, not navy… I just seems to have it’s own quirky little personality, and manages to go with a

IMG_8667ton of colours!  It goes particularly nicely with this yummy butterfly, with it’s cool batik wings.  I was also delighted to be able to place a kite patterned bead on this design that beautifully echoes the Italian Party Beads… such similar colours, just a twist on the same motif.  Note how the blues and greens just glow in the dichroic glass dots of the silvers?  Delicious.


IMG_8662When I composed this piece I intended that it be able to be worn two different ways… I put the Trinity all by itself on one strand of the leather, thinking that it would hang separately if the leather was being worn as a necklace.  Isn’t it perfect how the beads pull the lower strand down just enough for it to create that graduated look?  Of course, one could also wear this piece as a bracelet, simply by twisting the two strands together messily and wrapping the whole thing around the wrist twice.





Trollbeads Inspiration: Watercolour Pink & Green


IMG_8568Often I find inspiration for a bracelet in the colours locked inside one tiny glass bead.  Today I was mesmerized by an exquisite, aqua and peach, water coloured unique.  The colours are so delicious, the and the shimmer of the light on the patterns simply magical.  The rest of the bracelet design came together in a flash!


IMG_8569It used to be quite tricky to find warm toned pink glass in the Trollbeads collection, but over the past year there have been a number of lovely new additions to the production collection.  The new warm pinks, such as “Desert Flower”, “Pink Petals” and “Engraved Romance”make it easier than ever to create a pink design that glows.

IMG_8567I also utilized some of the designs that have long been favorites… “Pink Gold” and both faceted and round “Rose Quartz” help to complete this design.  To complement the aqua green tones in our unique inspiration bead, I placed a beautiful “Amazonite” at the heart of the design.  Other touches of spring green are dotted about the bracelet…


IMG_8570I reached for one of the stars of the new Spring Collection, “Seabed”, and balanced it with “Desert Rose”,  another sparkling murano glass design on the opposite side of the bracelet.  A wonderfully budded unique gives textural interest, and seems to be echoed by the “Spiritual Adornment” nearby.  I found a delicate little iris patterned unique to balance the original inspiration unique, and completed the bracelet with a pair of prisms in perfect shades of pink and green.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Green Prism”, “Unique Glass”, “Desert Rose”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Engraved Romance”, “Seabed”, “Rose Quartz, round”, “Narcissus of December”, “Amazonite”, “Pink Petals”, “Spring Wave”, “Violet of February”, “Pink Gold”, “Unique”, Rose Quartz”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Seabed”, “unique”, “Pink Prism”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Bracelet Envy


IMG_8553It’s happened to all of us… there are so many beautiful bracelets out there, it’s inevitable that one see a bracelet that belongs to another Trollie, and and fall  head over heels in lust with it!  Online there is a feast of images available to view for design ideas, and the key is to run with the inspiration, and create something that is uniquely yours.

IMG_8581My Refreshed Purples

IMG_8554The topic arose this week as I decided to refresh my teal and purple bracelet for Spring, lightening and softening to a lilac and mossy aqua combination.  I had it with me at the gallery and more than a couple of our ladies lamented that they would love a bracelet like that – and what a shame that the beads were from my private reserve…

IMG_8559but the truth is, a similar combination can easily be created using an array of current production and unique pieces.  Most ladies have a number of beads already in their collections that they could use as the base of the composition, and would only have to tweak the design with a few new additions to create a very similar look!

IMG_8555To build a soft lilac and cool green bracelet for Spring I reached for a nice soft Labradorite and a starting point.  Like eveyone, I do love the Labs that show a big diva flash, but even understated ones are a gorgeous shade of greyed blue green that works into nearly everything that I design.  Two labs firmly set this design’s mood.

IMG_8560I placed one of the newest designs in the collection right in the middle of this bracelet… I love the new Mother’s Garden pendant, and think it’s fabulous either on a necklace or on a bracelet such as this one!  With a soft oval shape and an appealing vine pattern, it’s a beautiful centerpiece for this design.  I cradled a “White Petals” (Which isn’t white at all, but a misty lilac…) in the new pendant, and I do like the effect the petal shapes give, allowing lots of light to come through and show off the silverwork.  Working my way out from that beginning, I blended and handful of soft lilac uniques with beloved production beads such as “Purple Flower Mosiac”, “Purple Prism”, “Grey Prism” and “Magical Lamp”.  It took no time at all to build a doppelganger for my own bracelet that has its own distinct personality.


Clockwise from Clasp:  “Large Flower Clasp”, “Purple Prism”, (such a pale, water colour version – isn’t it pretty?) “Unique”, “Hearts Galore”, Unique”, “Limited Edition Kimono”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Dandelions”, “Labradorite”, “Limited Edition”, “Mothers Garden + White Petals”, “Unique”, (LOVE this one…) “Labradorite”, “Mothers Bouquet”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Magical Lamp”, “Unique”, “First Signs”, “Unique”, “Grey Prism”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Candy Heart


Happy Valentine’s Day!

IMG_8347I thought long and hard about what kind of bracelet to feature today, as our little Valentine’s treat to you… After all, there are so many fabulous design options for Valentines.  Hot pink and rich chestnut brown for raspberries and chocolate… Classic red, with gold, white, pink, black or even grey as an accent…. Pink and white… pink and gold… Diamond, heart or all sorts of “love” images…. really the choices are endless!

candy-heartsIn the end I decided to take a happy, joyful colour approach and take inspiration from classic Valentine’s candy hearts.

IMG_8348Tiny, sweet, with adorable messages and a quintessential Spring palette of purple, pink, white, green and orange… these little sugary treats only appear this time of year and are instantly recognizable icons of a childhood Valentine’s day.  They may not be sophisticated, but they are utterly charming.

IMG_8350In the newest waves of uniques to appear at Tartooful there have been so many very fun and fresh designs with lots of hearts, florals and just the right colours to built this sweet and flirty bracelet.  It’s packed with creamsicle orange hearts,  minty fresh flowers, buttercup yellow petals, pink polka dots and and plum perfect patterns.



IMG_8351In my bag of Troll Tricks this might be a bracelet that only came together for a few weeks over the Spring – but wouldn’t it be the perfect thing then?  I would rearrange all the beads for other times of the year and recycle them into Summer, Fall and Christmas compositions.  The Love themed silvers are easy to play with all year round!

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 4.53.13 PM

Clockwise from clasp:  “Cherry Blossom Lock, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Organic Hearts”, “Valentine’s 2015 Ltd Edition”, “Unique”, “Valentine’s 2015 Ltd Edition”, “Heart Conch”, “Valentine’s 2015 Ltd Edition”, “Unique”, “Forget me not”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Heart”, “Valentine’s 2015 Ltd Edition”, “Unique”, “Valentine’s 2015 Ltd Edition”, “Neverending”, “Unique”, “Unique”.

I hope you have all had a sweet and lovely Valentine’s Day!





Trollbeads News: Surprise, It’s a SALE!


It’s cold and grey out there… but here, sitting at the work table at Tartooful it’s bright, warm and cosy… If that’s not reason enough for you to drop by and have a play, Trollbeads has just announced a Surprise Sale!


All in stock rings, earrings and beads that are no longer in production are now 25% off

IMG_7913There are so many gorgeous treats just waiting to be snapped up… and after all, you’ve treated everyone else for the last month – maybe it’s time to indulge yourself just a little!  At these reduced prices, you can’t afford not to splurge.  These lovelies will work so beautifully going into the fresh new season – playing perfectly with the Spring

IMG_7911Series which will be shipping soon, as well as the upcoming limited Edition Valentine’s collection!

For those ladies who are sadly too far away to drop by and play – or for those of you who like to shop from the comfort of home… You’ll find all the newest designs, as well as our generously stocked SALE section in our online shop, Tartoofultoo.  Shop early for best selection!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, “Unique”, “Rose”, “Unique”, “Forget-me-not”, “Unique”, “Chrysanthemum of November”, “Unique”, “Grandma’s Favorite”, “Unique”, “Narcissus of December”, “Unique”, “Snowdrop of January”, “Unique”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “Unique”.

Hope to see you in the Village soon!



A Very Tartooful Christmas to You


It’s hard to believe, but here we are at Christmas Eve already.  The year has simply flown past!

IMG_7815I simply adore Christmas, everything about it is so terribly Tartooful.

It’s a time of beauty and light in the middle of our darkest months… a time to connect with family…

IMG_7816to find and share treasures with loved ones… to indulge the senses and to perform revered family rituals and traditions.  Is there anything more fun than finding that perfect treat that will light up the eyes of loved ones?


IMG_7813On this special day of the year I’d like to share with you, as Tartooful’s little treat to you, this fabulous Christmas bracelet that belongs to one of our equally lovely ladies.  Isn’t it perfect?  With a gorgeous mixture of small & beautiful uniques, limited editions, Christmas themed uniques and just the right silvers, this is a meticulously designed bracelet that will delight for years to come.  It was such fun for us to see the design take shape, and finally be finished just in time for the Christmas season.


clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Christmas Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Mistletoe”, “Christmas Unique”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2013”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Swan”, “Christmas Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Christmas Limited Edition 2013”, “Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Mistletoe”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”.

From our family to yours…. Wishing you peace and prosperity, health and happiness for the Christmas Season and for the New Year to come!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cosy


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?


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.


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”.