Trollbeads Challenge Day 4


IMG_1724Today I wanted to lighten up, and play with some of the ivory toned beads that are usually locked into my black, gold and ivory bracelet.  That neutral bracelet is an essential wardrobe item for me, and a piece of jewelry that I wear several times each week… It’s unlikely that it won’t be rebuilt after the challenge, but until then… I can take these little ivory lovelies out for a spin and see what they can do!

I decided to pair these creamy glass, stone and ambers with warm purples to see if that combination felt “wearable”.


IMG_1727I usually pair most of these purple beads with Azure Bubbles and mossy Labradorite for a muted and understated approach to purple.  I’m not really a “purple person”… but despite that, somehow seem to have acquired a good sized group of purple beads that I love.  My purple and labradorite bracelet is one of those bracelets that often comes out of my Troll bag for a visit… I’ll even leave it on my bedside table so that I can just enjoy looking at it… and then it goes away, still without having been worn.  I’m actually very content enjoying beads in this way, as beautiful objects that don’t have to be worn.


However, I am curious to see if someday I can find the key to creating a purple palette that I would actually put on and wear regularly!

IMG_1726My thought was that pairing most colours with white and ivory somehow take some of the power out of them.  The example I like to give for this is Red.  Pair Red with black, red, purple, or pink… and it brings to mind racy lingerie, red lipstick and all sorts of other fabulously sexy stuff.  This is red fingernails and red sports car sort of red.  However, pair red with white, and it evokes Valentine’s hearts with paper lace, checkered tablecloths and cheerful Christmas ornaments.  Heartfelt, but innocent.  So.  I thought that perhaps pairing purples with white would give them an even softer air.


My conclusion after wearing this bracelet for a day… I’m still not sure!  I think I’d like to rebuild it after the challenge and try wearing it for a few more days over the warm weeks of Summer to see how it settles in.  Perhaps a few more tweaks to the design would help to make it feel more at home as well… The biggest surprise is how very yellow the amber looks when contrasted with the complementary tone of purple!



30 Day Challenge: Day 19


IMG_9674This… *THIS* is why I continue to do the annual 30 Day Challenge. 

This combination would never have happened if it weren’t for this creative exercise. Isn’t it wonderful?  I can’t believe that I have had so many of these beads for so many years, and have never thought to put them together.


IMG_9675I’ve certainly built lots of gold and purple bracelet designs with our ladies… but this one is a little different.  This is not a regal, rich metallic gold and deep purple – but rather a frothy concoction that is shot through with lots of light creamy tones.  The butterfly is right at home here, as are my grub and various scale patterns.


IMG_9669I began with the idea that I’d like to play around with my two favorite scale patterned beads on one design.  I placed them in the middle with a silver between them, then changed my mind and decided that they needed another glass to knit their colours together.  This Unique Glass Wave, with its chameleon tendencies,

IMG_9670came to the rescue as usual!  With the colour theme now firmly in place I simply worked my way out, pulling lots of creamy yellows and lilac purples to build this design.  When I was finished, I saw how much I liked the lightness of all the touches of white and cream… and so to finish the bracelet, as a finishing touch I added the pair of Grey Armadillos to further emphasize the lightest tones.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “grey Armadillo”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Jugend”, “Takma” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Paradise Birds” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Rolling Troll”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Auspicious” (World Tour Hong Kong), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Grey Armadillo”, “Issey” (Retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac”, “Unique Glass”, “Pink Prism” (retired).

This is absolutely one bracelet that I will build again to enjoy after the Challenge!


30 Day Challenge: Day 2


Today I thought I’d try working in a monochrome white palette… but as you can see I don’t quite have the hang of it!  I love love love my ivory coloured glass and ambers, and thought I *might* have enough of them for a whole bracelet… but I think the only way I can pull that off is with a whole lot of silver!  Perhaps another day I will explore that possibility, but today the softest of blush pinks crept onto the bracelet and I decided to let them stay.  (It was only polite, I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings…)


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp – retired format”, “Small & beautiful Unique”, “Cells” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Limited Edition Mountain Crystal” (Switzerland World Tour), “Zanzibar” (retired), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Artisan Champagne Quartz”, “Unique Amber”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Unique”, “Unique”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Pink Prism”, “Limited Edition Family of Mushrooms” (Lithuania World Tour), “Rosa Pearl”.


In this combination I’m delighted that the clean whites seem to pick up on a little of the pink tones, and blush just a little.  In contrast, the creamy alabaster ambers take on a buttery tone, and feel yellower than expected – in a good way!  Note to self:  make this bracelet again this Summer!

Do share your creations with us at or directly on facebook, we are itching to see what you have designed!



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”.


Trollbeads inspiration: Fade to purple


purple-unique-2So much of our inspiration comes from our lovely Trollbeads collectors… take this bracelet, for example.  A few days ago, one of our ladies remarked that she was mulling a purple and cream design.  The idea took hold with me as well, and right away I started playing with  purples, various creamy glass options, and different styles of layout.

purple-unique-windowpaneI favoured the warmer range of purples, as they seemed to complement the creamy,  tones better than their more blue cousins.  These shades of purple are often accompanied by tiny touches of gold or flecks of yellow that make them suit the warmer ivory glass well.  I always like to design using as many uniques as possible, but ivory uniques

purple-uniquewere scarce on our display at the moment so I made good use of several production designs, including “White Paper Fold” and “Cream Armadillo”.

For the layout of the bracelet I tried various arrangements, but settled on an ombre effect, fading from a very rich Amethyst at

purple-linethe heart of the bracelet, to softest white at the ends of the bracelet.  This allowed me to bring many lovely soft purples into the composition to fade between the two extremes.

purple-frontAmethyst makes a dazzling centerpiece…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Faces”, “Unique”, “White Stripe”, “Unique”, “Porcupine” (Hedgehog!) “Unique”, “Unique”, “Amethyst”, “Purple Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Sweater”, “Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Unique”, “Heart Print”, “White Paper Fold”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 18


We’ve had some folks asking for some design ideas for Fantasy necklaces, so I thought today I’d share my approach of using similar designs for either bracelets or necklaces.

IMG_1555I tend to fall in love with a colour combination or blend of patterns and want to wear it all different ways for a bit.  I’ll make up a bracelet with it, and when I want a change without giving up the composition I’ll transfer the design over to a fantasy necklace, leather bracelet or choker.

In this case, I loved the combination of icy blue and warm ivory with touches of gold.  I made up the necklace first, playing the ivory off the white pearl.

IMG_1536It was so easy to expand on the concept, switch a few things here and there and create a bracelet design from the same palette.  My bicone golden amber adds another warm touch , and I am able to use both my blue dot and green dot…

IMG_1533For me the main difference between designing for the various chains is simply how to arrange the different sizes of beads.  For example, on the bracelet I tend to place the largest ones in the

IMG_1535middle, and then taper towards the ends.  I try to balance the colours evenly across the circle of the bracelet, so that it doesn’t appear heavier on one side than the other.  When I come to the last bead on each side I like to have them play particularly well together, so that when one looks at the lock it appears harmonious.

IMG_1534However, when designing a Fantasy necklace I think in terms of stacking the beads in a pile on the chain… so I like the widest and thickest bead to sit at the bottom to give it a stable and pleasing look.  (The large barrel shaped silvers are so great in that position).  Then I taper the beads as one goes up the chain with the smallest at the top.

IMG_1554If one plans to double the chain using our modified lariat approach, then the last couple of beads should be stacked on in reverse order, so that when they are slid around to the other side of the necklace the smallest bead still ends up on the top.


On a daily basis I’m most likely to leave my fantasy necklace made up with a pretty neutral composition with ivory, gold and grey.  I do wear my necklace almost every single day – with everything from jeans & worn in boots to black velvet and heels.  On those days when I feel like a change, it only takes a few moments to toss something pretty together.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 2

IMG_1157Day two, and I couldn’t wait to play again!

IMG_1165I carefully took apart my day 1 bracelet… I loved it, and would happily have kept wearing it, but I have a photo, and if I miss it at the end of the 30 days I can always whip it back up again!  All the beads went back onto the play tray to form my bead “palette”, or toolkit.  It is so inspiring to see them all lined up like that: endless potential!

IMG_1160This new “Green Rhyolite” was the starting point for today’s bracelet.  It has a fascinating array of colours in it, from grey, to rust, to lavender, to pistachio green.  In the miraculous way that nature’s paintbrush has, somehow this mix of colours works perfectly.  I decided to create a neutral and natural palette around this gorgeous bead to allow it to truly glow.


One of the fun surprise combinations across which I stumbled is this russet toned “Golden Cave” with the rose gold sparkle in my “Blue Desert” and a soft apricot “Pink Prism”… delicious!

IMG_1156I had forgotten how much I like “Smoky Quartz” with the ivory tones of this creamy armadillo and the retired “Brown Dot”.  “brown desert” adds a little sparkle.

IMG_1150Day 2… we’ve only just begun!

stay tuned for day 3…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Plum Perfect


Delicate, subtle and shimmering… the moonstone has fascinated since ancient times.  Trollbeads’ latest homage to this stone is one of the superstars of the Spring 2013 Trollbeads collection.

plum-perfect2“Beige Moonstone” has a warm taupe base of glass, with a clear top layer upon which float iridescent buds.  These dots may be expressed across a range of hues, including blue, violet, indigo, plum, pink and violet.  Some examples have huge, closely spaced dots and others are quite tiny and delicate.  They change according to the light..


In this design, Cristi has used the Trollbeads bangle as a means of creating a simple bracelet which doesn’t overwhelm this delicate bead.  She paired the “beige Moonstone” with the transparent plum toned “White Petals”.  These two designs are wonderful together, as they are similarly ethereal in feel.  A single silver, “Swarm of Butterflies” anchors the center of the design, and gives it some graphic substance.


Note the variations shown here between the two examples of each bead – this is what makes Trollbeads perpetually fascinating!  I like the way the dots of the moonstone and the dots of the butterflies nicely echo each other… and of course, the “White Petals” gracefully gestures towards the ends of the composition.

plum-perfectSimple, wearable and beautiful… very Troll, very Tartooful.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Blue Velvet


DSCN6111When I was a girl I had a traditional jewellery box that must have already been gently aged when I was given it.  Its parchment coloured, gilded exterior promised magic within, and when opened it revealed the most lovely, delicate shade of blue velvet lining.  It was soft, a little worn, and paler in some spots from the years, but I loved everything about it.  Can you imagine the places that jewellery box took me in my imagination?  I carefully stored my very best treasures in it.

DSCN6112The shade of blue that is featured in this bracelet reminds me of that soft velvet lining… it’s not a definite shade, it changes subtly from bead to bead and even within each piece, but as a whole it’s soft, subtle, and feels gently natural.

DSCN6110I’ve admired this type of blue before, I called it “Beautiful Blue“.  It’s a rich, medium tone that is sparse in the regular collection, so to design an entire bracelet takes patience and a generous does of Uniques.  I like it best paired with other very natural neutrals.

DSCN6115The new “Dendritic Agate” is a good companion in this composition, with its cool slate mood.  I particularly like the contrast of its flecked stone against the transparent and shimmering glass of “Trinity”.  Note the lovely Unique above, with its ivory background, touches of sage green and pops of “Beautiful Blue”… its a treat!

DSCN6112For metal beads I added several dichroic glass designs, including “Trinity”, “Carved Flowers” and a pair of “Three Flowers”.   I also decided to play off the delightful, lemon-yellow base of this unique bead, and added a couple of touches of 18k gold.  “Cells” 18k is at left, and at the very top photo one can see the dramatic “2+2 silver and gold”, which is just recently retired.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Sand Beach”, “White Paper Fold”, “Three Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Cells, 18k”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Universal Unique”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “2+2 silver and gold”, “Moon Ocean”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Three Flowers”, “Conch”, “Sand Beach”.

This is the type of composition that I love to wear everyday… soft, neutral, so pleasing to the eye, with lots of interesting little design treats…



Trollbeads Inspiration: “Winters Gift”

winter's gift

We woke up to snow on the North Shore this morning!

Our quiet side street is a skating rink, and the cats are disdainfully refusing to step out the door… but the delicate lace trim of snow on the trees is shivery-beautiful, and so inspiring…

It brings to mind a gorgeous piece of original art by Anne Griffiths that we have in the gallery at the moment.  “Winter’s Gift” is a rich, highly textured oil on canvas, and perfectly suits my snowy coast mood.


Reaching for the play tray, it only took a few minutes to mirror that snowy feel in a bracelet composition.  “Snow”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Faceted Chalcedony and “Dichroic Ice” gleam in the foreground of the above photo.

DSCN5332Simply tossing a group of white beads on a bracelet doesn’t really express the feel of a day like today.  The translucent inky grey ice underfoot, the frozen and brittle twigs and leaves along the paths, the snow gathering at every crevice and nook of rocks, branches and chilly garden fronds…. The ice and snow are made of countless colours.

DSCN5334Yes… there is white and blue.  But also grey, mossy green and shimmering silver.  The snow doesn’t have full dominion in our wooded nook, and everywhere there are dark twigs peeking through, lichens warm the underside of rocks, and rich moss carpets the sides of trees.

DSCN5331It’s on days like today that “Silver Mountain” truly is the North Vancouver bead.  With it’s silver, olive green, ivory and beach glass blue, it’s the most perfect expression of our unique part of the world.  We added a “Snowflake Obsidian” for its fabulous texture.

DSCN5338The loyal Saint Bernard dog makes the perfect companion for a snowy adventure.  This quirky and utterly charming  silver bead is one of the Switzerland World Tour Series that we had access to  during the Summer of 2012.


On this design, the “Cream Armadillo” offers a welcome rest for the eye, with its soft expanse of ivory calm.  The Christmas 2012 Limited Edition included this fascinating and apropos greyed-ivory bead with metallic bronze dots.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Clasp”, “Christmas 2012 Limited Edition”, “White Paper Fold”, “Plait”, “White Steel”, “Baby Boy”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Sweater”, “Silver Mountain”, “St Bernard – Switzerland World Tour”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Snow”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Christmas 2012 Limited Edition”.

Stay warm…