Trollbeads Inspiration: Beautiful Words

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IMG_6977Every day it seems as though our kids are a little taller, a little bigger, a little bit more grown up.  It’s hard to see them leaving childhood behind, and acquiring adult problems and responsibilities… (My eldest is taller than me, now!)  On the other hand it makes me proud and happy to know them as the lovely people they are becoming.

IMG_6979One of the wonderful parts of having older children is sharing favorite films and books as they are ready for them… For example I had a most enjoyable evening recently watching “the Life Aquatic” with a couple of the kids.  I saw it and was enchanted by it years ago, but experienced it with fresh eyes as they saw it for the first time.


IMG_6973Another recent pleasure was re-reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.  This beautifully written, charming and hilarious book was a favorite of mine when I was around ten.  Now it’s a title I can share with the children, and I am experiencing it with a completely different perspective.  For those of you who have not enjoyed

IMG_6974this author’s works, he was a British naturalist and author with a gift for humorous narrative, and the ability to paint exquisite images with his words.  The following is an excerpt from My Family and Other Animals.  This passage is early in the book, and it describes Mr Durrel’s first impression of Corfu, Greece, as he arrived there as a small child.

IMG_6976“The sea lifted smooth blue muscles of wave as it stirred in the dawn-light, and the foam of our wake spread gently behind us like a white peacock’s tail, glinting with bubbles.  The sky was pale and stained with yellow at the

IMG_6975eastern horizon.  Ahead lay a chocolate-brown smudge of land, huddled in mist, with a frill of foam at its base.  This was Corfu, and we strained our eyes to make out the exact shapes of the mountains, to discover valleys. peaks, ravines, and beaches, but it remained a silhouette.  Then suddenly the sun shifted over the horizon, and the sky turned the smooth enameled blue of a jay’s eye.”


Breathtaking, isn’t it?  It draws such a clear and compelling picture for my mind’s eye – even though my little Trollbeads shop in North Vancouver is a long way from Corfu, this passage take me right there, to the deck of that ship at dawn.  I feel lucky to have read beautiful words like these at an impressionable age.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Spiritual Temple Lock”, “Unique”, “Magical Lamp”, “Nomad”, “Traces”, “Milan”, “Unique”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Silver Mountain”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Silver Mountain”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Unique”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Ancient Palace”, “Royal”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”.


Trollbeads News: Autumn 2014 Trollbeads Collection

IMG_6833IMG_6829Can it really be?  After weeks of anticipation, we are thrilled to present the Autumn Collection of Trollbeads at Tartooful!  If you are imagining us hanging out in Vancouver, giggling in fits of glee as we unpack the boxes, and rolling the beads through our fingers in delight… well, you are not far off the mark.  (blush) …

Today let’s take a little peek at a couple of the most exciting new pieces:  “Lapis Lazuli” is a rich new addition to the stones collection, and “Moonbeam Facet” will be the jewel on many of our ladies’ most beloved compositions.

There was so much buzz in advance of the release of the Lapis Lazuli – we were very eager to unwrap the stone and see if it really was as rich, saturated and downright gorgeous as the photos.  I’m so happy to confirm that this one is every bit as beautiful as the stock photos suggested.  We received a number of these lovelies and every single one is a stunner.

IMG_6827IMG_6828With a deep, clean blue and subtle dots of sparkling gold, these stones are classic examples of Lapis Lazuli.  In this composition we have placed it with other light, warm blues and lots of hits of intense sapphire blue.  It creates a bracelet that celebrates this colour saturated blue, while softening the overall look enough for everyday wear.  I fond the deep, cobalt blues of Trollbeads’ glass to be mesmerizing, and so very attractive, but simply too intense for me to wear an entire bracelet.  By adding compatible, but slightly more subtle blues such as “Moon Ocean”, “The Eye”, and “Wave of Dreams” my eyes have a chance to catch their breath!

 IMG_6832IMG_6824In this particular bracelet we have chosen crisp blacks and neutral greys to complete the palette.  This makes for a cool, classic look that could be worn year round, with everything from dressy to very casual clothing.  Another approach could have been to take our cue from the little hints of gold in the Lapis Lazuli… follow the lead of the warm, sandy “Milan” and “Black Flower Mosaic”, and introduce lots of warm khakis and golden ambers.  Honey or cognac amber would make a beautiful complement to the rich blues in this composition, and would create a completely different look.  I love to blend ambers, as well as glass such as “Dewdrops” and stones such as “Golden Quartz” with almost any shade of blue.  The new “Brown yellow chalcedony” will surely be a welcome addition to that arsenal…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”,  “Unique”, “Unique”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Labyrinth”, “Unique”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Moonbeam Facet”, “Soft Heart”, “Milan”, “Unique”, “Lapis Lazuli”, “Love Within”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Moon Ocean”, “Transformation”, “Fountain of Life”, “Eye Bead” (retired), “Moonbeam Facet”, “Water”, “The Eye”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Unique”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Golden Light

IMG_6813IMG_6812Have you seen the change? 

As we lazily drift towards the end of the Summer, the light is subtly changing.  The shadows stretch a little longer as the sun dips lower in the sky.  Perhaps you are reading this from a point further South, where the change of season is not as noticeable – but here in Vancouver, Canada we enjoy long Summer evenings that remain light until late… often the sun is still tinting the sky at 10:30pm.  As the Autumn approaches our sun disappears into the Pacific much earlier, and we are now lighting the lanterns in our gardens and on our patio tables as early as 8:00pm.  Despite the languid heat of the days, the sun is just a little less blindingly clear and has taken on a hazy, golden hue that is unique to this season of transition.  The gilding that this Autumnal light gives my surroundings made me think of the cognac, toffee and honey colours of amber!



IMG_6806The diversity in Trollbeads’ amber is always inspiring to me, so it never takes a lot of prompting for me play together fresh amber compositions.  I find them to be the most adaptable and useful of all the Trollbeads categories.  I place the buttery alabaster ones with whites, pastels and natural stone textures.  The cherry ambers are the jewels of my pomegranate and copper bracelet, and the cognac and honey tones ones light up every kind of green and blue.  Their glowing golden tones can offer the perfect complementary note to practically any colour, it’s just a matter of selecting the right one for the job. 

In today’s bracelet I selected a range of mossy greens and slate blues that are inspired by the natural beauty of the woods and beaches in my part of the world.  These are the colours of our ocean, our lakes, our mountain streams, our lush forests and our sky. 


IMG_6814IMG_6816Just as the late Summer sun gilds our trees and mountaintops, these familiar colours come to life with the addition of warm, golden amber.  What could have been a coolly blue and green bracelet now simply glows.  I love the way that the greens now seem more brilliant, and the blues more intense.  Note how rich the “Organic Bubbles” is… Always a beautiful and fascinating bead, the contrast with the neighbouring golden peach amber makes the blue undertones in the green come rushing out!  I set the natural tone for the bracelet with a trio of faceted stones in the center position:  “Labradorite”, “Golden Quartz” and “Sapphire” make a powerful starting point.  I wanted the attention to be on the colour range in this composition, so I selected a series of silvers that all share a knotwork theme… “Three Siblings, “Lucky Knot”, “Trefoil Knot” and even “The Midgaard Serpent” have a simple and elegant aesthetic that allow the eye to focus on the palette.



Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Magical Lamp”, “Three in One”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Three Siblings”, “Blue Desert”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Labradorite”, “Golden Quartz”, “Sapphire”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Blue Desert”, “The Midgaard Serpent”, “Aqua Edge Petals”, “Unique Amber”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Lucky Knot”, “Dewdrops”, “Golden Cave”.





Trollbeads Inspiration: Liquid Refreshment


IMG_6667We are in those most precious of days, here on the West Coast.  It’s the hottest time of year here and we are in a gorgeous patch of brilliantly clear, golden and warm days.  It makes us all a little giddy, as we shamelessly gorge on sunshine and vitamin d, playing outside well into the evening on our long, light, Northern Summer nights.


IMG_6672The key is, of course, to drink lots and lots of water.  So important to stay hydrated and refreshed on these hot days… so here’s a bracelet that might evoke an elegantly tall drink, beaded with cool water that slips down the outside of the glass… Or perhaps it’s a deep, round pool of softly green river water, nestled in a shady bend of the forest…


..Or Perhaps it’s something as miniature as a discovered mist of dewdrops on a lush moss in the early morning garden… No matter, whatever inspired it, this bracelet is liquid refreshment on a hot day.


All Beads in stock at Tartooful.  Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Clasp”, “Green Prism”, “Lucky Knot”, “Unique”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Soft Heart”, “Smoky Quartz”, “trefoil Knot”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Lake Eye”, “Grey Prism”, “Transformation”, “Amethyst”, “Three in One”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Water”, “Green Prism”.



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 inspiration: A Bracelet for RA


r2-7Recently I was delighted to receive an inquiry from a faraway Trollie who was looking for inspiration.  She had purchased two of the limited edition green and purple armadillos, and was wondering how to effectively showcase them in a bracelet design.  Her first thought was to surround them with vibrant colour, such as the Saffron and

r2-2Masala Facet beads.  However, over the process of several draft designs, she has decided that she would prefer to frame them with jewel toned purples and rich golden amber tones.  The pair of armadillos can frame a dramatic center bead, such as an “Amethyst” or the “Diamond Bead, Black”.  Bold silvers won’t compete with the rich colour.

r2-11Golden Cave, possibly used in multiples, will give a bronze glow to the bracelet, tying in perfectly with both the amber and the purples.  RA plans to “finish” the design with a smaller purple unique, and a well matched purple prism.  I can imagine a “Ruby” taking a the starring role on the bracelet at some point, and a “Ruby Falcon” as its companion…


r2-3Creating a highly personal design for each Trollbeads collector is a fascinating process.  Colour is so subjective.  What makes one person’s heart sing may not feel right to another – so no two bracelets are alike!  In the end it’s really an evolution.  One begins with one or two beads and simply feels one’s way along… I have a feeling that RA’s bracelet is going to evolve beautifully, and am looking forward to seeing it grow!




Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Black Silk”, “Nomad”, “Unique”, “Amethyst”, “Amber Unique”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Unique”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Amber Unique”, “Purple Wave”, “Golden Cave”, “Flowers”, “Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Ruby Falcon”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: A Bracelet of Calm.


paddy5Today’s bracelet is a blend of beads that belong to one of our clients and beads from Tartooful’s stock… the challenge today was to create a design that utilized her collection of pale blue beads in a fresh new way.  She previously had these beads blended with aurora series pinks, but was in the mood for a change.  With a busy life and many balls to

paddy4keep in the air, I thought this lady could use something calm, beautiful, and meditative.  A dose of serene greys and meaningful silvers seemed just the thing to lend a peaceful air to her cerulean blues.  I knew right away I wanted to include “This too

paddy-tortoiseShall Pass”… a wonderful reminder to cherish the moment we are in.  The new “African Tortoise” is to encourage patience – both with daily frustrations, and with ourselves.  I love the detailing on this new, classic series of silver designs.  Just look at the texture on the shell, the sleepy eyes, and  his little toes…

paddy6I selected the Swan for a few reasons… firstly, it is a lovely balance for the size and weight of the Tortoise.  I also liked the idea that it seems so feminine, serene and yet powerful.  It’s a state of being to which I aspire.  Lastly, I can

paddy3imagine the swan carelessly shaking drops of water off its broad, white feathers… and I’m going to channel that image to aid in managing stress gracefully.  With light blue and cool grey this bracelet might have felt cold – but I wanted a comforting mood – so I added a couple of touches of warm gold, adding a glint of sunshine to the design.


paddy2The hint of gold comes from “Honey Dawn” and “Scirocco”… not a lot – not enough to change the whole palette –  just enough to hint at warmth.  The “keystone” bead on this design, however, is this stunning example of a “Fossils”.  This particular one is a warm greenish grey with lots of lilac purple and silver, accented with points of black.  It almost singlehandedly transforms this bracelet into a sophisticated and serene composition.  Isn’t it amazing the difference that just one bead can make?


“Freya Lock”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “This too”, “Unique”, “Honey Dawn”, “Blue desert”, “Traces”, “Swan”, “Blue Moonstone”, “Fossils”, “Unique”, “African Tortoise”, “Chalcedony”, “Blue Desert”, “Scirocco”, “unique”, “Three in One”, “Unique”, “Grey Prism”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Quickening Earth


envy2There’s an charming, old fashioned expression for the time when an expectant Mother first feels her baby move.  It’s usually a very subtle sensation, the gentlest tickling or bubbly feeling.  However, when one feels it there’s no question that one’s pulse races, so perhaps it makes sense that it’s traditionally called “The Quickening”.

envy7This weekend Spring gently crept across Vancouver, and it felt like a quickening of the season.  After such a long hard winter we finally felt like the land came back to life.  The breeze was warm enough that the children were playing in the garden with bare arms.  There are now so many blossoms peeking out, and all the evergreens visibly preen in the sunshine.



envy5I realize that not everyone’s Spring has sprung quite yet… our friends across the continent are stills struggling with the last gasp of winter, but surely it’s not far off, now… and doesn’t this verdant design by Tartooful’s own Melanie make it feel real?  The rich, lively greens and warm, glowing golds feel like one of our West Coast cedars

envy4reaching up into the rays of the sun.  The emerald greens at the centre of the design set the tone for the entire bracelet.  The “Heart Chakra”, with its vibrant green and gold is really the inspiration for the entire composition.  It is paired with a lovely example of “Earth”, for a very strong design core.  Other touches of green come from a very

envy11olive toned “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Trinity”, with a glittering dichroic glass dots… a sparkling “Oasis” from the new Spring 2014 collection, and a pair of Kathy Perras artisan “Old Earth”.


Sunshine streams into this bracelet design with some nicely interspersed unique ambers and a few well chosen glass.  “Dewdrops”, for example, has a sunray look about it, and the light reflects beautifully off its silver core, making it appear to be illuminated from within.  The same is true of “Honey Dawn” which glows with an iridescent light.



Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Nomad”, “Grey Prism”, “Oasis”, “Unique Amber”, “Harmony”, “Unique Amber”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Artisan”, “Honey Dawn”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Earth”, “Trinity”, “Heart Chakra”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Artisan”, “Flowers” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Dewdrops”, “Unique Amber”, “Moroccan Cushion”.

Note how Melanie has chosen to complete the bracelet design with a pair of this collection’s silvers.  “Nomad” and “Moroccan Cushion” are quickly becoming favourites of mine as they balance so perfectly, while not being a boring pair of twins.  It’s a clever little wink of design…



Trollbeads Inspiration: Spring Safari


safari5With the new wave of uniques came a handful of sunshine coloured beads that inspired me to design a fresh and wearable new Safari bracelet.  I immediately saw classic leopard print in the crisp spots of this little yellow and black design, and imagined them sharing space on a bracelet with some of Kathy Perras’ Siberian Tigers…


safari3I wanted lots of crisp black to give snap to the palette, so I reached for the new faceted “Sahara Night”, the “Diamond Bead, black”, and the “Black Armadillo”.  The newly retired “Eye Bead” is graphically punchy and echoes the dots of the uniques.  A “Black Silk” with lovely bronze iridescence nicely balances a “Smoky Quartz”.

safari4The honey tones of the bracelet are just as important.  I couldn’t resist this lovely, caramel coloured butterfly.  We’ve been playing with this bead and it’s gorgeous with ambers, so warm and organic.  Two warmly striped new uniques continue the bronzed caramel palette, and a maple syrup coloured amber glows

safari6opposite this super sparkly, bronze “Magic Carpet” patterned unique.  The greenish undertone and little red dots on this classic core unique offer a little emphasis at each junction, and make it tie in even more perfectly with its neighbour on this bracelet design.  Note how it picks up the same colours of olive and flame red at left…



safari8Finally, a pair of crisply patterned, black and white classic core uniques from the new series help to finish the bracelet design at the lock with emphasis.  This bold yet tapered note on either side of the lock is a satisfying and balanced gesture that pleases the eye when the clasp turns to the back of the wrist while being worn.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Three in One”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Black Armadillo”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Three Siblings”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Transformation”, “Classic Core Unique”, “The Eye Bead”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Snake”, “Unique Amber”, “Classic Core Unique”.