Trollbeads Inspiration:Lemon Tart & Earl Grey Tea

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IMG_1961This afternoon I’m sitting in a ray of sunshine at my desk at Tartooful… and I am craving a cup of classic Earl Grey Tea and a traditional lemon tart…. Do you know the kind I mean?  It would have a home made butter crust, with little fork marks around the slightly imperfect edge.  It would be made with free range, happy-chicken eggs with deep, rich eggs yolks… and the lemon curd would be that same, ridiculously beautiful shade of yellow.

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IMG_1953…Not too much sugar, but just enough to take the edge off the tart, citrus flavour of the fruit.  That kind of lemon tart is so satisfying.  It scratches every sort of snacking itch… buttery, flaked, baked, sweet and sour pure afternoon sugar fix.  No matter how delicious, I could only ever eat one of these decadent treasures.

The Earl Grey tea, with its subtle hint of Bergamot, is an essential element, necessary to bring a little balance to the afternoon treat.  The tea cuts the tart, firmly forbidding it from becoming cloying.  Sipping from the hot cup demands that one slowly savour the whole experience.

Sigh…. are you there with me?  It’s time for afternoon tea.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Flower Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver MOuntain”, “Water”, “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Amber”, “Smile of Stars”, “Unique Glass”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Unique Amber”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Unique Glass”, “Smile of Stars”, “Unique Amber”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Neverending”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”.

C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Day to Day

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Everyone needs a couple of “Day to Day” jewellery designs.  I have rings that are worn so often that they feel like part of my hands… a couple of necklaces that are daily apparel, and of course a few bracelets that are  particularly beloved and useful.  If you are a die hard Trollie, you immediately know which of your own designs fall into this category… it’s the bracelet that always travels with you… the one that just seems to go with everything… the one that perhaps you are wearing right now?

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The appearance of that bracelet will of course vary according to your taste and needs, but for me it always seems to be some combination that features soft greys.

blog4So today, I decided to dive into the case of current bead stock and see what sort of “Day to Day” bracelet design I could play together.  I’m quite delighted with the result.  I started by combining two “Triple Pearl” beads, one an inky blue-grey and the other a perfectly clean white.  These are large-scale beads that combine both pearls and detailed silver hydrangeas for lots of drama, so they needed companions that could stand up to them.  I centred a silver “Big World” and framed it with a nicely marked “Dendritic Agate” and a stunning Sapphire.

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I rounded out the silver component by adding the design siblings of “Spiritual Adornment” and “Spiritual Ornament”.  A handful of well-chosen and complex uniques help to complete the look.

I like to think that this is the sort of bracelet that one could reach for several times a week as we go into the warmer months… The substantial silvers, the beautiful stones, the fascinating uniques – it would never be humdrum.  Best of all, it would feel “just right” with everything from a little black dress to jeans and a white t-shirt.  C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: The Calm Between Storms…

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IMG_0855Well, here we are in the very busiest time of year… the gallery is hopping with holiday shoppers, the streets are bustling, and the sound of live music can be heard drifting through the Village.  Most of us are dashing from one errand to another, busily preparing our homes for the upcoming gatherings, and attending various holiday celebrations that are already underway.  It can all be a little overwhelming… but it’s part of the rhythm of the seasons and what fun to have a such a joyful time as this in the very darkest time of year.

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The key to maintaining sanity seems to be to take little breaks, and enjoy those moments of calm between the storms…

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…So enjoy dressing up, designing and wearing your most extravagant bracelets ever – but today, on this quiet Sunday before Christmas, take a moment with a cup of tea and savour this calming bracelet…How fitting that it features a number of beads from the “Balance of Nature” kit.

IMG_0856This Autumn 2015 series has intrigued, delighted and, at times baffled us at Tartooful.  On the one hand the designs are absolutely gorgeous – exactly the sort of subtle, natural tones with which we love to play.  On the other hand, we are, at times, hard pressed to determine which bead is which – many of the designs can mimic each other in their extreme forms!  Rainbow of luck, Power of Hope and Shades of peace are close relations.  No matter – we love them, whatever their names are…. (“A bead by any other name would look as sweet…”)

IMG_0860 (1)Today I teased together a soft and pretty plum, grey and celadon composition that is designed to be that moment of calm… While it could be seen as hinting at the Spring to come, the subtly earthy tone of the plum, makes me think that this could be an all season bracelet.  I’ve included “Pink Conch” in the crew, as it is surely a cousin to the “Balance” family.  Recently the “Pink Conch” examples that we have been receiving have a lovely olive tone to the stripes that open up new possibilities for that already lovely design.

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IMG_0857I’ve included generous helpings of sparkle in this bracelet – nearly half of the beads in the design are ones that dance with gold.  For me, a large part of the appeal of this bracelet is the way these subtle colours play with each other.  On the other hand, I think that without the contrast of the deeply patterned silvers, the distinctive texture of the natural stones, and the brilliant light of the “Dichroic Ice”… it might be too homogenous and fall a little flat.  I’ve found that before when trying to design with all deserts or all azures – they are lovely but they benefit from the addition of contrast.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Mothers Bouquet”, “Shades of Peace”, “Unique Glass”, “Pink Conch”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Power of Hope”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Rainbow of Luck”, “Tropical Travels”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Ruby Rock”, “Purity”, “Eidelweiss (Switzerland World Tour)”, “White Petals”, “Grey Prism”.

Savour the calm – and then dive into the glorious chaos!

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: The Softer Side of Coral

IMG_0497Sigh… this just says “Summer” to me…

IMG_0500Is there any colour that sings “Summer” more clearly than a rich, vibrant coral?  This delicious colour, poised neatly between red, orange and pink, is warm, exotic and downright tropical.  I’ve always adored the colour, and have often blended it with warm soft pinks for a sugary confection with just an edge of sexy.

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IMG_0501Today I mulled how to tone down this rambunctious colour to make it more wearable every day.  Choosing all beads from within Tartooful’s current stock, I found the unique glass at left, with its unusual combination of espresso, softest grey blue and dots of hot coral.  It’s the perfect inspiration for an everyday coral composition!

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IMG_0496First I found a group of glorious corals to play with… the Summer Stones 2015 series offers Matte Orange Agate, as well as polished Carnelian. The contrasting textures and range of natural, spicy tones make these designs a pleasure to work with.  Next, I tried various neutral and softer toned beads as companions…

IMG_0495The inspiration unique has a generous dose of espresso brown, so it would have been easy to select various chocolate and walnut brown elements and blend them with the corals.  Perhaps the addition of some clear or ivory beads for some punch?  I tried this approach, and it resulted in a gorgeous combination – but it felt much dressier

IMG_0499than I envisioned.  My goal was a bracelet that would be super easy to wear on a daily basis, with sun dresses, shorts and even jeans.  I started again, and this time I emphasized the soft grey blue that was also found on the unique.  “traces”, “Silver Mountain”, “Sandstone” and “Aquarium Pastel” all have that sublime, subtle blue, combined with a touch of earthy texture that make them perfect for this bracelet.

IMG_0493  Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Carnelian”, “Lucky Knot”, “Golden Cave”, “Sandstone”, “Royal”, “Orange Agate”, “Three Siblings”, “Orange Agate”, “Traces”, “Orange Agate”, “Path of Life”, “Carnelian”, “Three in one”, “Coral Bubbles” (retired), “Aquarium Pastel” (retired), “Art Deco” (retired), “Carnelian”, “Silver Mountain”.

After a bit of play, I found a balance of coral and blue, silver and glass that make my eyes happy… I would happily slip this bracelet on everyday this Summer!

C.

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 26

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IMG_9797I can’t believe we are at Day 26 already… where has the month gone?!  I find myself super inspired these last few days, with tons of great composition ideas that I would love to stuff into only a few last posts.  Today I am inspired by a relatively new bead of mine – the little pink and sand coloured unique at left.  With that bead in mind, I chose to create a

IMG_9796pink and grey bracelet design, using various shades of each colour.  I don’t often find my raspberry beads and my warm, pale pinks on the same bracelet, so this is a bit of a departure for me, and a fun treat for me to wear.  It’s too easy for me to fall into the trap of “But the best beads to go with this are….” I find I almost make up rules for myself,

IMG_9795habitually putting this bead opposite that, or a certain set of beads together.  I’m finally at the point in the challenge where those rules have really truly gone out the window and I’m seeing more possibilities than ever.  Today, this confection of a bracelet is only for one day… so it doesn’t matter if I have enough of both pale pink and raspberry pink to create full bracelets of both.  Today I will simply choose a few of each, and wear them together.

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I usually think of my Sapphire as slate blue… but with such a subtle shade, it’s all about context.  If I place this bead near other blues, it reads unquestionably as blue.  Here, with other cool greys dotted about the bracelet, my eye is tricked into seeing grey.

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I usually find other partners for both of these pale pink and gold beads… but today they make a perfect pairing.

IMG_9798I’ve always loved the softest side of this “Pink Desert”, and treasured it for its somewhat unusual expression.  For today’s bracelet I’m so glad that it has a bit of variation in it, and hints of raspberry in some spots.  It nicely ties together the various shades of pink in this design.  This is one bracelet that will definitely make an encore appearance after the challenge!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Rose Quartz”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Sapphire”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

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: Quiet Moment

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IMG_8878Today’s bracelet was one that I designed at the end of a very busy and challenging week… it was in the quiet hour at the close of the day, and I was reveling in the calm of our little gallery in the middle of the bustling village.  Outside, people were rushing past in the rain, carrying groceries and hurrying to get home to cooking and family time.

IMG_8881I, however, had a few minutes to just play and then capture my calm time through the lens of my camera.

I started by picking a few key colour elements.  Rich plum, softest grey, a blush of pink, a hint of gold.  Placing those colours together on a play tray rod, they felt a little too “floaty”,

IMG_8885so I added a trio of earthy cinnamon tones to visually ground and warm the composition.   I placed the “Red Tigers Eye” at the heart of the design, right in the middle of the bracelet.  Then I placed a balanced pair of rounded, unique cherry coloured ambers on either end of the bracelet.  I chose an intentionally mismatched pair of “Blue

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.32.26 PMDeserts”, as they are both lovely examples of the design, and are fascinating to me in their extreme diversity.  One of the two deserts is nearly celadon green in colour, with a pinkish blush that is very interesting.  The other is a perfect slate blue with a generous dose of golden glitter and a rich coating of clear glass on top.

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IMG_8879While it is the rich clarets and golds that immediately capture one’s attention in this bracelet, the “meat” of the design is really the grey neutrals.  Without those soft, quiet colours this would be a very different design.  The rich jewel tones would sing much louder, and be much more formal in their mood.  The addition of the two “Ruby Rock”, “Blue Deserts” and “Grey Prism” creates a neutral envelope which could be used with so many different jewel tones for a wearable, everyday design.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Unique Amber”, “Black Gold”, “Gentle Waves”, “Engraved Romance”, “Ruby Rock”, “Unique”, “Transformation”, “Blue Desert”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Blue Desert”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Third Eye Chakra”, “Ruby Rock”, “Unique”, “Heart Conch”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Pink Prism”.

One final thought… The pale pink feels to me as though it’s the part of this that makes it all work.  It’s only a little tiny touch of pink – two pink beads and a little blush on the pale blue desert – but it’s an essential part of what appeals to me here.  It gives the whole thing a shimmer of light and makes me smile…

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Wing Man

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IMG_8780Lately it seems to me that Grey is the ultimate “Wing Man” for brilliant colour…

While I savour colour drenched jewel tones, I find them almost too much for me to wear every day.  Their brilliance delights me, but I tend to reach for the more subtle colour

IMG_8782combinations to wear on a daily basis.

This is where grey comes to the rescue!  Acting as a subtle foil to the brighter jewel tones, this neutral allows jewel tones such as turquoise, cobalt, red, fuschia, emerald or purple to shine without overwhelming.  The strategic use of grey as a “wing man” neutral allows me to introduce those colours to my bead wardrobe.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.28.21 PMThere are, of course, other neutrals that work beautifully in a number of colour blends… Black is a classic foil for all the same colours, but the result is a  slightly different mood.  The addition of black to most jewel tones gives a look that is more formal, more cosmopolitan and perhaps even a bit sultry.  Grey maintains the

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.29.53 PMsophistication, without the boudoir undertones.  It’s a comfortable look, contemporary yet warm and soft.

The addition of a number of new grey designs has been an exciting part of the Trollbeads Spring releases.  Traditional options remain:  “Snowflake Obsidian, Labradorite, “Grey Prism” and Dendritic Agate all offer their own version of the colour.  Now newcomers “Neptune’s Promise” and Tropical Conch” add new choices for the collector, and recently we have received a number of gorgeous grey “Ruby Rock”, with just a whisper of raspberry for interest.  As always, it is the exceptional beads, such as these Ruby Rocks, that particularly delight me.

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Freya Knot Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Unique”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Endless”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Aurora Flower”, “Transformation”, “Tropical Conch”, “Amethyst”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Three Siblings”, “unique”, “Tropical Conch”, “Purple Prism”.

C.

PS.  Today is that last day for the Spring Bracelet Event –  purchase a decorative lock and receive the sterling foxtail chain 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.

 

 

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.