Trollbeads Inspiration: Day to Day




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?


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.



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: Quiet Moment


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.


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.


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…




Trollbeads Inspiration: What is your Neutral?

IMG_8199“North-West Coast:  Chambray Skies, Pebbled Beaches, Giants for Trees and a Restless Slate Ocean”

Here’s an interesting thought:  What makes a colour “Neutral” to you?


IMG_8195There’s no question that our taste in colour differs greatly from one person to another… We each bring our own tastes, viewpoints and personal experiences to the conversation.  We even each see colour just a little differently – I’ve noticed many times at the work table ladies will describe the same bead in very different terms.

IMG_8198Some might see a given bead design as green, another as brown and yet another as grey.  However, I am beginning to think that where we live in the world plays a key role in our

IMG_8194experience of colour.  Every day the physical backdrop of our lives simply has to have an effect on our view of colour.  This first occurred to me when the “Rocky Beach Kit”, designed by Scot Bouwens of LaConner Washington was released by Trollbeads.  I was delighted by how well he translated our West Coast beach experience into glass.

IMG_8204The soft, warm greys, slate blues, subtle hints of lilac and cinnamon all felt just like a misty, pebbled beach to me.  However, I recall howls of outrage from Trollbeads collectors from warmer climates who couldn’t understand how anyone could think those

IMG_8207colours felt like a beach.  It certainly didn’t look anything like the beaches that they experience in their parts of the world.  Of course, they are quite right… the beaches I saw when I visited Florida, Mississippi or southern California were a pure, ethereal palette of ivory and turquoise, with hints of wispy cloud in the early

IMG_8203afternoon – very different!  It opened my eyes to how much our surroundings impact on our sense of colour.  Is it possible that draw our concept of “Neutral” from our surroundings?


IMG_8208The Prairies:  Sun Bleached Fields of Grain and a Sky that Stretches Forever.

Is Khaki more likely to be a neutral if you live in a desert climate, and a golden sandy tone if you are from the Plains?  Are you drawn to a weathered grey if you are used to seeing cedar fences, and rust if you experience the Autumnal Maple Colour of the Maritimes?

IMG_8216The Maritimes:  Crisp Clapboard houses, Autumn Colour & The Rich Blue of the Atlantic.

IMG_8214Perhaps in a more urbanized environment you relate more to the building materials at hand:  creamy sandstone in Paris and warm brownstone in New York?

A Trollbeads collector from Calgary who recently visited Tartooful commented that she was very drawn to clear, cerulean blue, and it made

IMG_8212me wonder if it was a shade that was drawn from her Prairie environment… The light is so different there than in my misty part of the world.  There’s a clarity that we lack, and even in the long winter, the days are much brighter.  Those huge, clear blue Prairie skies cannot help but influence those who are lucky enough to enjoy their beauty.


The Maritime Bracelet… Clockwise from Clasp:  “Snall Flower Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “White Paper Fold”, “Unique Amber”, “New Horizons”, “Unique Glass”, “Conch”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Violet of February”, “Beach”, “Unique Glass”, “Fountain of Life”, “Ocean”, “Golden Thread”, “Nougat Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Compass”, “Amber”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Unique Glass”.


The Prairie Bracelet… Clockwise from Clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Trace, Turquoise”, “Rose”, “Dewdrops”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Dandelions”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “The Diamond Bead, Ice Blue”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Angels feathers”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Sea Glow”, “Dewdrops”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “Ancient Palace”, “Lucky Clover”.


The North-West Coast Bracelet… Clockwise from Clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Unique”, “Autumn Dangle” (retired), “Magical Lamp”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Stone Flower”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Rolling Troll”, “Blue Desert”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Sandstone”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Silver Mountain”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blue Desert”, “Four Frogs, Big”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Sand Beach”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Transformation”, “Magical Lamp”, “Organic Bubbles”.

What do you think – what is your “Neutral” and why do you think it speaks to you?



Trollbeads Inspiration: Willow


willow5This bracelet’s light as air palette makes me think of Willow trees in early Spring.  As the light returns to us in the North a soft haze of green steals across the grey strands of the trees branches, giving it the illusion of a verdant glow.  As I write this, the day outside is clear and brilliant, and not only the willows are aglow, but all the other trees

willow2as well.  In trying to capture this mood… of white Spring light and tentative green growth… I reached for an array of whites and soft, sage green and grey neutrals that are calm and lovely together.


willow6This limited edition, “Christmas in Australia” bead hails from a few years ago, but is in pristine condition and looks as fresh in design as the moment it was launched.  The celadon green and oxblood accents are idea for this composition, and the little black dots in the center of each flower give the bracelet a little punch.

willow7“Magical Lamp”, from the Spring 2014 collection is one of our favorite new designs, as it blends effortlessly with our West Coast slates, silvers and greys.  Here the aqua highlights and olive background are just right among the other sage greens, and the rose gold shimmer gives a nice warmth to the design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “grey Prism”, “Unique”, “White Paper Fold”, “Snake”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “White Stripe”, “Labradorite”, “Three Siblings”, “Magical Lamp”, “Diamond Bead, White”, “Magical Lamp”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Spirit Light”, “Inner Glow”, “Three in One”, “Christmas in Australia Limited Edition”, “Cozy”, “Unique”.

willow4You may have noticed the delicious little tassels on the clasp of a number of our bracelets recently… these are made by Tartooful’s own Melanie, from high quality semiprecious stones and sterling wire.  They easily attach to the Trollbracelet, clasp, or any other jewelry chain you might want to enhance.  She just dropped off an amazing new selection of these sparkling treats, so if you are in the neighborhood, be sure to drop by and take a peek!



Trollbeads Inspiration: Clearly Brilliant

clarity9The Clarity Bracelet




noun: clarity

1.  the quality of being clear, in particular.


  • the quality of coherence and intelligibility.
  • the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.
  • the quality of being certain or definite.
  • the quality of transparency or purity.

clarity4Origin:  Middle English (in the sense ‘glory, divine splendor’): from Latin claritas, from clarus ‘clear.’ The current sense dates from the early 17th cent.

Clarus, Claritas…. Clarity.

clarity3Something about this bracelet just sang to me of clarity.  The decisive blue, the definite blacks, the clear and uncomplicated touches of white.  It’s not a blue that we play with often here at Tartooful – it’s too bold to play nicely with many of the other blues, and perhaps just a little predictable blended with purples?  (Aren’t we spoiled – I’m sure

clarity2it’s gorgeous but we do love to see unexpected combinations.)  This brilliant blue with crisp black and white feels very modern and… well, *clear*.  It’s worth noting that on this composition there are hardly any blue beads.  This strong of a blue doesn’t require very much to make its point.  One could create something similar with only

clarity6three, brightly coloured beads.  Imagine how clever to create a black and white, neutral envelope of a bracelet onto which one could add any three bright beads that caught one’s fancy!  The same silvers, blacks and whites, plus three flame orange.  Or remove the orange and add bright yellow instead.  Or perhaps lime green.  Oh – or hot pink!  The possibilities dazzle.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Jewel Fairy Basslet”, “Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Transformation’, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “Unique”, “Black Diamond”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Black Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Happy Fish”, “The Eye Bead”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 23


With only one week to go in the challenge, I am reaching deep into my little bag of beads and looking to see which ones haven’t yet come out to play!


This brilliant, sapphire blue bead is one that is on semi permanent loan to me by my son Rob.  Both of the boys like to wear their Trollbeads on a leather necklace, but only one at a time.  The beads that they are not using at any given time are in my bead pouch, and they love to see one of their beads appear on my bracelet.  This bead was part of the Christmas in Hawaii limited edition, and is very “Rob”, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually played with it on one of my designs before…

blue2I love to look at it, one can simply fall into its’ depths… but it is powerful and would overwhelm a lot of my colours.  When mulling how I might use it I recalled a bracelet that Trollbeads designed last year called “Urban Jungle”.  In that design they combined brilliant, emerald green with slate greys for a sophisticated palette.

blue7Taking my cue from that, I surrounded this sapphire blue bead with soft natural greys such as “Picasso Jasper”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Blue Desert”, “Wildcat”. “Peacock Pearl”, and of course, our beloved “Labradorite”.  Many of these beads have a touch of

blue4blue in them, which helps to pull the whole look together.  I thought originally that I would just have the one blue bead on the bracelet, but when it was finished it looked a little lonely.  I took it apart again and added two teal-to-blue glass so that it wouldn’t be the only touch of bright colour in the design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic double lobster clasp – retired version”, “Wildcat” (retired), “Waves”, “Unique”, “Auspicious”, “Unique”, “Carved Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “Zanzibar”, “Labradorite”, “Christmas in Hawaii Limited Edition”, “Labradorite”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Picasso Jasper Limited Edition”, “Jugend”, “Blue Green feather” (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Limited Edition”, “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Peacock Pearl Limited Edition”.

In the end, the interesting thing about this bracelet is that it’s such a flexible design idea… one could really add almost any colour of highlight to it, whether to showcase a favorite bead, work with one that is too intense for an entire composition,  or simply one that is beautiful but difficult to match.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cool Summer Stones


IMG_1023This bracelet shows how easy it is to create something amazing with the new Trollbeads Summer Stones…

Here the Amethyst and Dalmatian Jasper take center stage, and set a cool, urban tone.  With multiples of both the Amethyst and Dalmatian Jasper, it’s a welcome opportunity to compare the colours and textures of each stone.  What we have seen so far is that the Amethyst is highly individual, with huge variety of depth of tone and clarity.  The Dalmatian Jasper varies in its pattern, but its colour is thus far quite consistent.


I like this bracelet… I’d definitely wear it.  Apart from that, what I find intriguing about this composition is that it’s one of those neutral “bases” that one could swiftly and easily redesign with almost any pop of colour… Imagine this:  remove all seven of the purple beads, and replace them with half a dozen brilliant emerald green… or turquoise…. or even mod yellow.  Six beads is only one design kit – so easy!


One final aside… I think in my head I’m calling the “Dalmatian Jasper” the “Teemo Jasper”… have you met our artfully speckled dog?