Trollbeads Inspiration: A Breath of Summer…


IMG_6115Recently here on the West Coast we’ve been treated to the first breath of real Summer… with warm days, and balmy, breezy nights that are just right for resting.  The clear blue sky promises sunny days forever…but of course we know from long experience that we will still see a good dousing of rain before Summer can be relied

IMG_6125upon.  Meanwhile we are all a bit giddy to see bright light after our long dark winter!  I don’t think I am the only one who rushed straight to the beach with the kids… there is nothing that says Summer quite like an afternoon spent poking about at the edge of the water.


IMG_6121I loved watching as the kids crouched over with rapt concentration on their faces… as they tipped up stones on the rocky beach, checking for the scuttling baby crabs beneath.  They’d cry out in delight as a little orange herd of them would emerge.


IMG_6116Often they’d jog over to me, to show off one that was unusually pale, or perhaps had a sprinkling of charming freckles.  Meanwhile I happily comb through the pebbles at the water’s edge, marveling at the beauty of each wet stone.  Truly, is there anything more beautiful than perfectly turned beach stones?


IMG_6128Of course, this all sounds so peaceful… but perhaps I should mention the border collie who keeps it all just a little zany?  She wonders what I am looking for among the rocks and helpfully digs a big hole for me… and then gallops over to check on the children, thinking perhaps she can help out there instead!  Border collies love to help.


Ah… Summer… welcome back!




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 6

IMG_1212A Happy Accident

IMG_1213Today’s bracelet is inspired by the happy accident of some beads’ placement on the play tray.  This morning I disassembled yesterday’s bracelet as usual, and grouped beads roughly according to colour.  When I glanced down at the rods with their neat cohorts of glass, my eye fell on a deliciously sparkling combination.

IMG_1207My eyes love to play across the sparkles

IMG_1210Now that I’ve seen these three beads together I can’t believe I’ve never created a bracelet using this exact combination.  I’ve owned all these beads for years!  I must have played with multiple deserts before, for clients’ compositions, but never on my own.  The rest of the bracelet followed so naturally, it was designed and strung in minutes.

IMG_1214Familiar, yet fresh thanks to the sparkling center portion featuring “Pink Desert”, “Golden Cave” and “Brown Desert”.  I’ve seen older examples of “Golden Cave” that were soft and tawny versions of this bead, with hardly any bronze and lots of smooth, metallic lilac toned gold.  They are stunning and I feel like I missed out by not finding one sooner.  Perhaps one day I will stumble across one.  It’s all part of the allure of Trollbeads.

IMG_1205I couldn’t wait to wear this design


Trollbeads Inspiration: RT’s Raspberry Update

RT’s phenomenal collection of Raspberry Armadillos has found a new home on her newly redesigned, deep pink bracelet.  You may recall this bracelet from a previous blog posting, when it included more light touches of yellow?

This was one of the most gorgeous compositions of last Summer – it feels like a juicy tropical drink!

RT’s impressive collection of Universal Uniques and eye for complementary colour produced a true “tour de force”.

Most people would have been satisfied with this… delighted, even!  But RT is not most people!  She continues to play, striving for ever more dramatic and beautiful combinations.  This is the amazing result:

This bracelet defies definition.  It’s not colour blocking – it’s ONE big beautiful block of colour!  It’s not colour washing, as the gradations between one shade and another are soooo subtle.  It’s almost symmetrical – but to describe it that way would be to completely miss the point.  It’s really a celebration of one, spectacular type of bead – the incredibly rare and sought after Raspberry Armadillo.  (If you’re wondering why they’re rare, it’s because RT has them all! LOL)

Absolutely amazing, as always… Thank you RT!


PS only one more sleep until the new collection is launched!  I’ve had a peek, and oh my there are some beauties in there… I know I’m going to be doing some redesigning on my bracelets…again!

Trollbeads: Fresh ( & green) out of the box…

It’s only a few days now until Trollbeads unveils their Spring 2012 Collection… and we couldn’t be more excited!  It’s going to be amazing…(But in the meanwhile we thought we’d share some pretty green eye candy…)

It’s the perfect time of year for the lift of fresh designs… It’s the season when I like to clarify my spaces and belongings, scrape away the winter debris in the garden, sort out accounting details, and just generally make everything look and feel a little better. (Also… build pretty green bracelets with the display at the shop..)

What better way to become inspired to get the best out of one’s Troll collection than to experience a whole new series?  I just know it will make me want to rearrange and rethink my bracelets, and as we all know only one or two changes can create an entirely new look.  Afterwards I’ll really notice my bracelets and enjoy them as much as new pieces once again!


So stay tuned for all the details of the new series, to be released Friday morning… and come see them in person at Tartooful!





Trollbeads Inspiration: West Coast Fresh


This bracelet feels just right for January on the West Coast:  cool, misty, and fresh in natural shades of grey to blue to white to brown.  Think driftwood on a cold, crisp beach.  Or frost on river rocks.  Or the first haze of green on buff coloured branches, just hinting at the Spring that is already coursing through the tree’s limbs, hidden for just a little longer.

I picked a “Lotus” as a symbol of renewal, and “Transformation” seems apt for early Spring as well… “Chalcedony” glows coolly like a flush of frost, and “Organic Stripe’s” vanilla with a touch of green feels crisp.

The “Tortoise and the Hare” is another poetic little reminder of the renewal of Spring, and I chose “Deep Bubbles” not only for its mossy colour, but also for it’s reference to the running of the sap within the trees.  “Fireflies” is fast becoming a favorite bead for us at Tartooful:  we love its warm ivory colour, and the way it can pull together a sage and lilac colour scheme.

Tiny “Falling leaves” makes me think of the brave green shoots that are already peeking out of the cold earth in the garden, and “Endless” is a reference to the timelessness of the ceremony of the changing of the seasons.  Subtle “Urchin” is very “West Coast Beach”, with its mossy grey and sun bleached white colour.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Lotus”, “Organic Stripe”, “Transformation”, “Chalcedony”, “Organic Bubble”, “Hearts within”, “Fireflies”, The Hare and the Tortoise”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Endless”, “Urchin” “Falling Leaves”.






Trollbeads Inspiration: Blackberries & Honey

The gentle lady who has created this warm and lovely composition is always a pleasure to have in the shop… and we have so enjoyed watching this bracelet come together, from its beginning point of very unusual, retired beads to its present “blackberries & honey” appearance.

This bracelet had its beginning with the retired and now rare “Issey”, seen above at right front, and retired “Lilac Edge” at right rear.  These are both daring choices – beads that are striking, bold and have a very distinct colour theme.  Definitely not a “safe”, “neutral” choice.  This lady jumped right in!

This “Brown Desert”, with a very lilac cast to its usual chestnut brown, and a purple prism were added to the composition, enhancing the rich, warm purple in the background of “Issey”.  The coppery gold dust in “Brown Desert” also plays nicely with the amber swirls of “Issey”, and of course the “Spiral” further echoes that motif.

This is one of my very favorite photos of 2011.  “Golden Cave” is a bead that I very much admire, ( I have it on my Copper & Pomegranate bracelet), and on this particular bracelet it truly shines, with its complementary hues of amber and lilac.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Spiral”, “Brown Desert”, “Issey”, “Forget-me-not”, “Golden Cave”, “Jugend”, “Purple Bud”, “Amber Unique”, “Golden Thread”, “Etruscan”, “Lilac Edge”.


Fantasy Necklaces for the holidays…

This year Cristi and I decided that we had worked so hard at the shop that we had both made the “nice” list… so as a Christmas “bonus” to ourselves we are finally treating ourselves to fantasy necklaces!

They’ve been along time coming – you know how it goes, there is always something more pressing at the time, but we’ve been drooling on the ones at the store for months and it is finally time for us to have ones of our own…

So how to wear them for the first time?!  As you know, it doesn’t take much to create a gorgeous piece with these brilliant necklaces.

Cristi has had her eye on a beautiful “Labradorite” with the flash all on the top surface – hanging vertically on a necklace it simply glows!  We found a gorgeous “Organic bubble” with deep rich greens and golds that looks wonderful with the “Labradorite”.  The crowning touch is her retired “King & Queen”, with it’s two dichroic glass dots.  How perfect that one of the dots matches the blue of the “Labradorite” and the other is a rich gold that brings out the gold in the Labradorite.


Trollbeads Inspiration: a beautiful beginning

This month we have started lots of new bracelets, as loved ones prepare for the holidays and buy each other gifts from the heart… but today we started a particularly beautiful one, and I just had to share the composition that this brand new collector has created.  Over the last week or so we’ve met with this client a few times to discuss colour palettes and favorite beads, and today she created the lovely bracelet above.

Like most of us, she can’t take home all of her beads at once – she picked one very special bead to begin, and has “wishlisted” the remainder of the design, hoping that her family will come by the shop to add to her new collection.

I love this design for a few reasons…

first, it’s wonderfully neutral, but far from boring.  It has rich, wonderful colour  and incorporates  brown, black, grey, amber, bone and even white, which makes it so very wearable, and easily modified for changing seasons or simply moods.

She has chosen a variety of textures and patterns – natural faceted stone, smooth glass, detailed silver and even a prism.  The glass are striped, transparent, opaque, swirled and bubbled, but the cohesive palette maintains a clear design theme.

It’s important to incorporate yellow gold into this design, as the client wears both silver and yellow gold, and would like the bracelet to complement the rest of her jewellery.  However, mindful of budget, she has wish listed 18k gold stoppers as a more affordable way to add a touch of the precious metal to her design.  In addition, she has placed a “Silver Trace, Gold” close to the center of the design, where it has great impact.

Clockwise from top:  “18k gold stopper”, “Wildcat”, “White Steel”, “The Ugly Duckling”, “Labradorite”, “Silver Maternity”, “White Stripe”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Large Berry”, “Grey Prism”, “Organic Stripe”, “18k gold stopper”.

So which bead do you think she picked to begin?  Which one would you pick?  We always advise people to select the one that is the most unusual and special in the group… the one that they just might never see again.  So…

She picked the “golden” labradorite!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Golden Labradorite

Once in a while a truly exceptional bead comes along, and it inspires me to create an entire bracelet around it.  This week a “Labradorite” arrived at Tartooful with a stunning, golden flash in it.  Usually our Labradorite beads show a flash of iridescent blue, or occasionally pink.  But gold must be rare, as I’ve never seen one before.

We have a lovely grouping of gold beads in stock that are perfect complements to this unusual bead, so we’ve created a bracelet celebrating the golden Labradorite.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Trolltree Lock”, “18k stopper”, “Golden Quartz”, “18k & silver Stars”, “Organic Bubbles”, “18k & silver 2+2”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Silver Maternity”, “Black Flower Mosiac”, “Mistletoe”, “Labradorite”, “Around the World 18k & silver”, “Wildcat”, “Snow”, “Brown Desert”, “18k stopper”.

It’s a pleasure to see a light and airy “Golden Quartz” again after many months of darker examples.  This one’s arrival was perfectly timed to glow in the same composition as our lovely golden “Labradorite”.  We were also fortunate to find a “Black Flower Mosaic” with a vicuna, golden dichroic glass dot that also beautifully echoes the golden theme.  Of course, its slate green speckles also work perfectly with the soft green grey of the labradorite.  This “Organic Bubbles” has wonderful depth and lots of brilliant colour, showing slate blue to golden green and even some chestnut brown.

It’s the individual personalities of Trollbeads that make them endlessly fascinating…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Red Christmas

We decided to play with the new Limited Edition Red glass series on our Trollbeads workbench, and we just love the way these rich dark, reds play with teal greens… Both of these colour families can be tricky to pair, but together they make a fresh approach to Christmas red, while still offering a warm nod to tradition…

I like the addition of a few chestnut browns for the warmth that they add to the composition, particularly as each one of these bead designs features gold elements.  We very much enjoy the new “Red Tigers Eye”, with it’s brilliant, dramatic flash and this is one of the loveliest “Golden Thread”s that I’ve ever seen…

clockwise from clasp:  “18k gold heart clasp”, “Green Flower Mosaic”, “LE Christmas Red glass”, “Hallelujah”, “LE Christmas Red glass”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Glass Trolls”, “Blue-green Feather”, “Brown Desert”, “Heart Ball”, “Golden Thread”, “Amazonite”, “18k stopper”.

This bead is key in this bracelet design, as it includes both red and cool green, giving cohesion to the composition.  It’s one of those beads that is fun to look at closely, with its many layers of colour, amazing depth, and a cluster of bubbles at the heart of each blossom.  Looking closely one can see that the green is really very blue, with a tiny edge of golden yellow on each petal.  Each one of these beads is a tiny perfect work of art, a testament to the skills of the Trollbeads glass artisans.

I love everything about this bead:  the colour of the dichroic glass dots is perfect for this composition, a lovely clear teal green… and just look at the expression on the troll’s face!  It’s Wonderfully reminiscent of illustrations in an antique book of fairy tales.

A little red goes a long way in this bracelet… so many of our ladies have teal and chestnut beads in their collections: maybe consider adding a couple of these limited edition reds, while they last?