Trollbeads Inspiration: The Calm Between Storms…


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.


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


…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.


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.

IMG_0851 (1)

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!


Trollbeads inspiration: Periwinkle blossoms


flax7I love, love love the colour periwinkle… it’s a distinct shade of blue that falls somewhere between cool lavender and cerulean blue.  Like all hard-to-describe shades, it’s endlessly satisfying, and provides a wonderfully inspiring palette for a Trollbeads bracelet design.  The new Spring collection of Trollbeads for 2014 has

flax3several beads that showcase this gorgeous blue:  “Fountain of Life” and “Engraved Poetic” come to mind right away.  Together they make a clear statement on this bracelet composition.  I’ve placed a “Faceted Aurora” in the heart of this design, as it makes a dramatic and sparkling centerpiece.  The periwinkle beads that are its

flax2companions on this bracelet help to draw out and enhance the shimmering blue that swirls in its depths.

flax4I was delighted to find this unique that nicely echoed the overall palette and colour mood of the bracelet… the rippling patterns in lilac, mint green and rich blue remind me of fabulous, Venetian end papers from antique, leather bound and gilded books…. It’s so impossibly elegant and perfectly Italian, I love it.


flax9Finally, I should mention the pair of new, “Small & Beautiful” uniques that frame the central “Faceted Aurora”… These little lovelies feel like art deco styled iris, so fluid and stylized.  The turquoise, lilac and olive is wonderfully flexible combination, and I can imagine these designs inspiring many new bracelets…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Stories of You Clasp”, “Purple Prism”, “Unique”, “Daffodil of March”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Engraved Poetic”, “Chrysanthemum of November”, Unique”, “Faceted Aurora”, “Unique”, “Chrysanthemum of November”, “Fountain of Life”, “Unique”, “White Petals”, “Waterlily”, “Unique”, “Denim Prism”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 29


IMG_1670In these last days of the challenge I am trying to implement design ideas developed over the course of the past month.  The aim of the challenge was to rediscover the potential of my own collection, to break down my preconceptions of how pattern and colour could be combined, and ultimately, (hopefully), become a better designer.

IMG_1669It has been humbling.  I certainly discovered some shortcomings… both in my abilities and in my collection.  For example, I’d like to add some golden yellow to my palette.  I realized this after seeing the powerful complementary role it plays in fellow challenge designer. LeAnn Lowe’s incredible compositions.  Melinda Deyhle’s delicious combinations of blues and honeyed yellows made me miss a few beads that I have had and given up along the way.  I really must replace “Moon Ocean”, “Beach”, “Cool Dusk” and “Honey Dawn”.  (Some beads stay forever on my bracelet, others I part with if a customer really, really needs it!)


IMG_1664I never would have composed a bracelet like this one before the challenge.  Here I’ve colour blocked the glass in equal sets of three.  Between those sets of I have grouped silvers, also in sets of three.  I played with the difference in shape between the “doughnut” shaped silver and the perfectly round spheres.


IMG_1665This bracelet design is very structured, but having tight limitations on a given design can inspire greater heights of creativity.  In this case, being able to pick only *three* beads of each colour made me look very closely at each one and try hard to put together a trio where not only were the individuals lovely, but also complementary to each other.


This bracelet is wonderfully tactile.  Groupings of silver beads flow on the chain in a way that is very heavy, fluid and satisfying.  I confess that while I have always admired the silver, and acquired some lovely pieces, I have not tended to fall in love with them the way I do glass and natural stones.  However, over the course of the challenge I have finally begun to understand the powerful role that the silver can play, and I know that it will affect how I see silver from now on.


One.  Last.  Day.  What to design?!  There are still too many compositions to create!


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 12


IMG_1410Today’s bracelet is inspired largely by bracelets that have been shared with us by some of our fantastic Trollies who are playing along with us for the 30 day Trollbeads design challenge…

IMG_1409It’s one of the perennially astonishing parts of being involved with Trollbeads… the sense of community and support that we receive from our beloved Trollies is nothing less than amazing.  We are in awe of our ladies’ strength, intelligence, resilience and caring.

IMG_1415…So it’s not surprising that these remarkable women inspire us every day with their imagination, spark of wit, and creative spirit.

The jewellery designs that our Trollbeads collectors compose are so very beautiful.

Over the course of the past

IMG_140511 days I have savoured the designs posted each day on our Facebook page, and they have definitely influenced my designs in turn.  One of the colour combinations that struck a chord with me was earthy browns and rich purples.

IMG_1413One of the things I realized from this design exercise was just how much purple is in my collection!  For a Trollie who doesn’t give much thought to purple I certainly seem to have acquired my share of lilac and lavender beads.  I think I simply like the way that they complement other colours, such as light blue and mossy green.

However, now that I’ve noted that colour element in my collection, it’s great if I find new ways to use and enjoy those beads… This bracelet was a step in that direction.



P.S.  Still no progress on the all silver design block.  Work continues.

Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 5

IMG_1186Day 5

IMG_1182Today I had an urge to combine light blue, warm claret and lilac.  It’s an unlikely combination that I toyed with briefly when composing the dramatically different, Day 3 Bahamas bracelet.  Seeing the light blue and bright orange near to each other in that design made me see the potential for a softer pairing of the same colour families.

IMG_1185A few key beads were very helpful in trying to make this palette “gel”.  My very forgiving “Azure Bubbles” in the centre portion of the design has every possible colour hidden in it.  It’s always useful for making a scattered composition feel cohesive.

IMG_1181“Golden Cave” is a keystone bead here as well, with it’s lilac background and garnet tinged metallic bronze.  The feathered unique shown at right is a real treasure, and in this design the lilac and blue stripes help to pull together the palette.

IMG_1183These three beads are where the magic happens for me:  a perfect, warm and light blue… framed by rich and clear garnet tones.  On the right is the retired “Silver Bead with Garnets” and on the left is another fortunate find, a faceted unique amber.  I’ve found so many uses for this versatile bead, often placing it with pinks and peaches.


I would definitely make up a combination using these colours again… it’s easy to wear with most of the colours in my wardrobe, and there’s just something about the colour combination that is pleasing to my eyes.

Whatever will I do for day 6?



Trollbeads Inspiration: The Lilac Fairy Bracelet


IMG_0984When I was composing this bracelet I tried to think of a theme that fitted its mood… It is predominantly purple, but its amber notes add a touch of moody warmth.  It irrationally makes me think of folk stories and the woods.  Perhaps it’s the tiniest motes of golden glitter, or the little silver Fairy that crouches along the side… but this bracelet reminds me of fairy tales that I read as a little girl.


IMG_0977Andrew Lang edited a wonderful series of books of fairy tales, and I had a whole shelf of them.  He named each volume after a colour:  The Pink Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The Lilac Fairy Book and so on.  They sound light, frothy and feminine, but these were the meaty original versions of fairy tales, complete with all the borderline nightmares that have been expunged from more recent publications.

Violet_Fairy_Book_1902Andrew Lang was a turn of the century Scottish literary critic, poet, and novelist.  However, while he did select most of the stories for inclusion, he was not the translator or author of most of the stories contained in the series.  With twelve books altogether, each one containing at least thirty narratives from diverse cultures, the books remain an amazing resource, and are fascinating reading for both children and adults.

IMG_0981These tales are at once whimsical and practical.  They dole out the sensible, down to earth values of the past centuries to children… with an equal dose of politically incorrect fear and magic.  The shimmering, magical lilac paired with the warm and woodsy amber tones in this bracelet composition brought these stories back to mind.



Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Pink Prism”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Universal Unique”, “Elderflowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Golden Cave”, “Universal Unique”, “Bouquet of Flowers”, “Beige Moonstone”, “Unique”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Fairy”, “Pink Desert”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Purple Prism”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Singing Fireflies


Today’s bracelet inspiration comes from one of our dear customers… she has an eye for the unusual, and creates compositions of the softest, most subtle tones that simply glow.

km-azureShe is particularly attracted to this shade of green… not green exactly, but a haze of celadon, with highlights of gold that give it an overall green feel.  It matches her eyes, and simply makes her happy every time she sees it.  This “Azure Bubbles” is precisely the right colour and has found a home on nearly every one of her creations.

km-moonstoneIn this design the objective was to create a two colour composition using the softest lavender and pale mossy green.  With natural stones such as “Chalcedony” and “Labradorite” to play with, as well as this stunning “Beige Moonstone”, KM had a beautiful selection of beads to use as a foundation for the design.

km-purple-flower-mosiacAs she added more elements she realized that the bracelet was the perfect composition for “Fireflies”… with its subtle palette of warm ivory, sage green and lilac, it is easy to overwhelm with colours that are too strong.  Balanced well by “Beige Moonstone”, it absolutely sings in this perfectly matched, soft and pretty design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja lock”, “Peacock Pearl”, “”Lavender Prism”, “Blue Desert”, “Sparrow”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Beige Moonstone”, “Chalcedony”, “Zanzibar”, “Labradorite”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Labradorite”, “Carved Flowers”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Fireflies”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Universal Unique”, “Grey Prism”.

Thank you, KM!


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: RT’s Troll Tree

Here’s a first peek at a composition in progress by the incomparable RT…

She is playing with two slightly different interpretations of the the feminine and lovely colour, lavender.  Anchored by a beautiful series of unique beads, and featuring her signature big, bold silvers these bracelets are distinctly RT.

One bracelet is made up of glass on the pink side of lavender and soft grey.  Glass such as “Grandma’s Favorite” and “Whirling Adventure” pair beautifully with the sophisticated black pearls of “Triple Pearl Black” and the “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.  The exceptionally pretty “Chalcedony” feels luminous.

Isn’t “Grandma’s Favorite” a stunning design?  I’m always astonished at how beautiful this bead is when viewed closely – try turning it on it’s side… looking at it from this unexpected angle gives it a totally new appearance.

The second bracelet is a blend of aqua and lavender, with a gorgeous “Troll Tree”  as a centerpiece.  This is an unusual choice for a bracelet, as it is easily large enough to make a dramatic pendant.  However, RT is not one to shy away from a bold statement, and as you can see, it’s a definite success.

RT pulls this delicate colour palette together with a painstakingly acquired series of uniques that incorporate both aqua and lavender.  The stripes, swirls and dots of these one of a kind beads are mesmerizing and beautiful – a gorgeous reminder of just how talented the glass artists at Trollbeads really are.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted as RT continues to create these lovely new designs … C.