Trollbeads Inspiration… In With the New


new3A beautiful new wave of uniques arrived at Tartooful today, and my goodness they are breathtaking.  I quickly made up a selection of subtle blues, using my own silvers just to show off the array of patterns and colours that Trollbeads’ talented artisans have created for us.  Here you’ll find delicate wisps of glittering glass, shimmering

new11bubbles, and impossibly sparkly cores peeking through complex swirls.  These are beads for the detail oriented.  They are petite, the same scale as the small and beautiful series from last year.  I have read some criticism of the series for that reason, but I personally disagree.  The production beads are for the most part of generous

new6proportions, so if large beads are desired they are certainly available, in abundance.  I think it’s wonderful to have a range of sizes to choose from.  In addition, having tried my hand at making lampwork beads myself, I know how very difficult it is to make tiny, detailed beads like these.  Large beads are much more forgiving, with

new5 lots of space and time to correct little issues.  Tiny ones with so much detailed pattern are a tour de force of skill that leaves me awestruck at the talent of the Trollbeads glass artisans.  To me, the petite scale of these beads is a big part of what makes them so very special.  Of course, the sheer beauty of them is very compelling, too….


new12I will certainly be succumbing to one or two of these beauties for my own collection… the wispy spirographs are particularly tempting, with their subtle shade of blue, translucent glow, and rich sparkle among the strands of glass.  They are truly magical.  I can easily imagine using these to finish the ends of a bracelet, or possibly to

new10frame a Fantasy necklace composition that has been shortened to choker length.  I’m also thinking ahead to my daughters’ birthdays, as the small scale of these beads would suit their little bracelets perfectly.  (… and they fell in love with them at first sight!).  I was a little surprised when I began to see this series emerging in Europe, that they were only

new7available in groups of three, at $60 per bead.  We have opted to split up our kits so that our collectors may choose just the right bead, and we are charging only the usual price of CAD$45 per unique. 


These little beauties are so newly arrived in the gallery that we have not had a chance in individually photograph them and put them into our online shop.  If you are interested in one of the beads you see here, or are looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at, or ring the gallery at 604.924.0122 and we’d be delighted to hear from you.


All beads classic core uniques from Tartooful’s stock.

All silvers from Cathy’s personal collection.



Trollbeads Inspiration: The Swan Bracelet


swan6This bracelet combines soft and misty lavenders, lilacs and blues for a gentle ode to Spring… I was inspired by the new Swan silver, and wanted to pair it with the lock of the same name.  The palette had to match the quiet elegance of a swan, so I began with some delicately patterned new classic core uniques with white, lilac and gold.


swan4It was easy to add a grouping of floral silvers, to give the swans a lovely home…. “Forget me not”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, and “Cherry Blossom” make the bracelet feel like a garden.  I am quite fond of the new “Kaleidoscope” silver, and can see using it on many different types of bracelets… With its narrow silhouette, it will beautifully balance “Dream Catcher”, “Troll coin” and even “Happy Fish”.  Here its little bit of extra height allows me to sneak a Dromedary into the garden.  As one does.  (“Dromedary? What Dromedary? Absurd”.)


I couldn’t resist playing with the quirky camel.  I have a soft spot for them, and besides, it’s a handsome animal, gazing nobly off into the distance…. Furthermore, the sparkling glass ball that this one is perched on matches the cool lilac tones so perfectly.  Oddly enough, both the pink and the blue deserts that we are receiving at the moment have a distinct lilac cast to them, so they play beautifully together.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Cozy”, “Blue Desert”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “White Petals”, “Silver Mountain”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Swan”, “Golden Cave”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Chalcedony”, “Blue Desert”, “Forget Me not”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Dromedary”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Rosa Pearl”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: “Meadows of Heaven…”


soft5“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie


soft4This quotation has been a favorite of mine for many years.  It springs to mind when I see a Summer night sky filled with sparkling stars, but surprisingly, it also seems fitting when I see blossoming trees in Spring.

soft3This is the time of year in Vancouver when wave after wave of blooming trees appear.  The very first flowering cherries shyly peeked out early in January, a particularly hardy strain of trees that is planted along Pacific in Vancouver, near the beach.  This week I noticed an ornamental Plum blossoming warmly in my neighbour’s garden.

soft2The rhododendrons, dogwoods and magnolias are busily fattening up their huge, complicated buds, getting ready for their big show in a just few short weeks.  Soon they will all be a riot of colour, in full bloom… once more bringing to mind Longfellow’s “meadows of heaven”.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Small Flower Lock”, “White Pearl”, “Unique”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Desert Rose”, “Unique”, “Engraved Romance”, “Arabian Hare”, “Crown Chakra”, “Unique”, “Scirocco”, “Large Berry”, “Rose Quartz”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Christmas Rose”, “Desert Rose”, “Unique”, “White Pearl”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: New Periwinkle


periwinkle4One of my new favorite beads is “Fountain of Life”, from the recently released Spring collection.  This sparkling little beauty will find its way onto a wide range of compositions in the coming weeks, as I can see it playing nicely with our beloved Azure bubbles, silver mountain, Labradorite, and so many others.

periwinkle2It is difficult to capture its gorgeous shade of blue accurately, but I’ve tried here with soft, North facing natural light.  It is a delicate shade of periwinkle.  This blue is named for the charming flower that bears the same color blossoms each Spring in our garden.

Vinca_minor,_2006-05-03This photo (Courtesy of Wikipedia) shows the low-growing, vigorous, ground cover vine that is so familiar in the Northwest.  It’s a treat in the garden as it happily rambles about the base of other prized plants with woody stems, such as roses and rhododendrons,

periwinkle3without damaging them.  It’s happy in their shade and is easy to neatly trim back at the edge of a lawn for a well manicured look.  It blooms effortlessly,  – sometimes twice a year – doesn’t need deadheading and I’ve never seen one struggling with aphids, black spot, leaf mold or other similar garden issues.  If only everything was so easy!

periwinkle6Periwinkle’s shade of blue hints towards lilac, rather than aqua… and consequently it plays very nicely with all sorts of pinks.  In this bracelet design Cristi added some fresh pinks:  a “Desert Rose”, “Pink Prism”, “Unique Ladybug” and one of the limited edition duo tone Armadillos that just arrived at Tartooful.


I particularly like the slightly complementary note of the warm pinks opposite the cool blue, it’s a wonderful combination that has always made my heart sing.  Note how well these “Fountain of Life” enhance the blue undertones of the “Aurora” series of beads… that would make an entire bracelet design all on its own!


clockwise from clasp:  “Sun Moon Stars Clasp”, “Aurora Stripe”, Fountain of Life”, “African Tortoise”, “Desert Rose”, “Snake”, “Pink Prism”, “Fountain of Life”, “Drops of Delight”, “Unique”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Nomad”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Pink and Orange Armadillo”, “Jewel Fairy Basselet”, “Fountain of Life”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Green and Purple Armadillo


Like many Trollies, I have a little weakness for Armadillos… and the new Green and Purple Limited Edition hadn’t been in the gallery for five minutes when I had chosen one for my own!

purple2It’s a wonderful shade of warm, claret purple… but even better, it is cut with an acid green that washes away any trace of sweetness, leaving a bold and edgy statement.  I own one of the retired green armadillos, and love to place it on bracelets that need to be taken down a notch… perfectly sweet pink and white compositions are far

purple3more interesting with a touch of this slightly evil green.  It’s a trick I employ in the garden as well – try planting some Ladies Mantle among your roses.  It nicely covers the bare ground and unsightly, spiky stems, and when it comes into acid green bloom it acts as a complementary jolt to the roses’ pinks and reds.


purple6The secret lies in the colour wheel – the green lies opposite the plums that it complements so well.  The eye seeks out the opposing colour for relief, so by placing two complementary colours in proximity, each one appears more intense, more vibrant and more beautiful.  It’s the science and biology of colour, but its also intuitive.  By following one’s instinctive feelings about colour, one naturally gravitates to complementary palettes, and beautiful designs happen so easily.


clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”,  “Arabian Hare”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Turquoise Prism”, “African Tortoise”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”, “Ruby Falcon”, “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Jewel Fairy Basselet”, “Amethyst”, “Unique Amber”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Snake”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”.

Thank you to the talented Cristi for today’s bracelet!C.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Spring Tiptoes in Softly…


We’ve been playing nonstop with the beautiful new Spring Collection Trollbeads and we are astonished by the huge range of expression that we can achieve with the palette.

IMG_4300Today one of our favorite combinations features a soft and subtle blend of blues and greens.  (Predictable, I know.  What can I say, we love our soft and subtle!)

This is a very wearable, everyday set of colours that works with the new neutrals of denims and greys.  It’s simply the way we dress now, with jeans, heathered

emeraldgrey sweaters and leather boots with aged patina.  Unsurprisingly, we’ve chosen to frame the superstar new bead, “Emerald” with a pair of “Azure Bubbles”.  These examples are generous in size and echo the milky green of the emerald without overwhelming it.  The green of this new stone is very satisfying… soft yet

magical-lanternclean and glowing.  It reminds me of the colour of the water that filters out of the glaciers in the Spring… the waters carry a pale chalky sediment that reflects the light and shimmers with a near opalescent look.  The simplicity of the centerpiece Emerald contrasts beautifully with its sparkling companions.

IMG_4299“Sun Moon and Stars – the new lock of the Spring Collection”

dendriticWe’re delighted at how well the new series blends with our favorite designs of the regular collection… This dark and clear “Dendritic Agate” gives a little depth to the composition.  The “Black Flower Mosaic” shows such a tight array of textured pattern that it plays as an olive green, with bright flashes of light from the dichroic glass accents.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sun Moon Stars Lock”, “Magical Lamp”, “Moss Agate”, “Three in One”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Oasis”, “Nomad”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Emerald”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Moroccan Pillow”, “Ancient Palace”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Labradorite”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Snake”, “Silver Mountain”, “Unique”.







Trollbeads Inspiration: Navy is the New Navy


new-navy3Does Navy ever really go out of style?  There cannot be any other colour that is perennially trotted out as being the fresh, new “it” colour soloution the way navy always seems to be.  You’ll find it paired with classic black right now…

new-navy-waveIn crisp nautical stripes of navy and white, or bone for Summer… and look for it with complementary tones of vicuna, chestnut or 80’s redux mustard for Autumn.  When the holidays hit, the most sophisticated sheaths this year were just one note

new-navy1off-black towards navy.  It’s really nothing new, it was a standard in my Mother’s classic wardrobe, and in my chic Grandmother’s before that.  It ought to be such a “buttoned down” colour – think navy business suits, militaria and school uniforms… isn’t it amazing that it somehow avoids being pidgeonholed as such and feels fresh each season?

new-navyStill Fresh.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Genius.


This play-by-play courtesy of one of our genius customers.

He says:  “Hey, is that a new Trollbeads Bracelet you’re wearing?”


She says: “Um… which one?”

He says:  “The gold one”.

She says:  “This One?!  Ugh.  You say that every single time I wear this.”


He says:  “Oh… I’m so sorry… I guess it’s just that it looks really nice…”

Game Over.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Cinnamon Heart


IMG_4152Today we’re trying another colour combinations featuring the new “Be My Valentine” limited edition Trollbead for Spring of 2014…

This composition is vibrant and playful, with a brilliant combination of fuschia, flame red and spicy corals.  Not surprisingly, the Aurora Series of bead designs

IMG_4147features prominently here, with two Aurora Flowers providing colour balance for the “Be My Valentines”.  Blood orange corals offer a warm complementary tone to the fuschia notes of the Auroras.  I love this little coral polka dot unique bead… with its’ clear core, it glows silver and persimmon, and shimmers beautifully in the light.


IMG_4150I placed a spicy “Goldstone” at the heart of the bracelet.  This bead design is one that will be missed… It’s cinnamon-y note has warmed up so many pink designs at Tartooful over the past couple of years.  It has been such a useful bead!  I love the elaborate method of creating goldstone, as well… with it’s history stretching back to the time of the alchemists, it’s a rare and fascinating type of glass.  If you don’t already have one of these little beauties, or it’s cousin the “Blue Goldstone”, track one down soon….


IMG_4145Touches of gold appear in the bracelet in various ways… this “Stay Positive” adds a gleaming note of 18 karat luxe.  However, it is echoed by the Kathy Perras artisan made “Siberian Tiger”, and the sparkling facets of the “Golden Quartz”.  Here the gold is more than simply a metal accent, it’s an essential element in the palette.

IMG_4151Given the vibrant and rich colour and patterns of this bracelet design, I chose to keep the silver beads very simple.  Here the silvers function is mainly to offer the eye a rest between glass beads, and to divide the glass visually into “mini compositions” or groupings.  This allows one to create complementary colour ensembles.  I also like the way the silvers offer a little variation in height along the bracelet.  The “Negative spaces” of the metal beads are an essential ingredient in a powerful bracelet like this, as otherwise it would just be a blur of colour.


Clockwise from Clasp:  “Small Flower Clasp”, “Unique”, “Golden Quartz”, Unique”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Be My Valentine”, “Siberian Tiger by Kathy Perras”, “Aurora Flower”, “Stay Positive 18k”, “Be My Valentine”, “Unique”, “Be My Valentine”, “Endless”, “Unique”, “Goldstone”, “Be My Valentine”, “Three in One”, “Aurora Flower”, “Unique”, “Be My Valentine”.






Trollbeads Inspiration: Be My Valentine & Sizzling Blues


moody3Today saw the release of the very first Trollbead of 2014:  the “Be My Valentine” limited edition glass.  This gorgeous treat is essentially an Aurora Bead with a shimmering heart of brushed copper, floating in its depths.  At first glance the copper heart looks slightly iridescent, more like mother of pearl than copper.  Looking closely, one sees the fine striations of brushed metal, which is even more intriguing.


When we received these lovely beads, Cristi and I couldn’t wait to play together some fresh designs, and the one we showcase today was the first one that Cristi composed.

moody4This bracelet features a generous sprinkling of the Valentine Bead, which displays the range of expression that may be found in this design.  Most of the examples we received were very vibrant and intense, but one of the larger ones is a little softer and more translucent.  She matched this softer example with an “Aurora Flower” of similar tone.

moody6To enhance the blue undertones that are found throughout the Aurora series of bead designs, Cristi selected a number of intense blues for the bracelet.  “Wave of Dreams”, “Moon Ocean” and unique, crystal clear cobalt bubble beads provide a range of fascinating cool tones.  These are not calm or understated blues, but strong, vibrant and sizzlingly sexy “hot” blues.


Finally, a dash of sparkling natural stones, (take special note of the rare,  bi colour sapphire of blue and red…) and some beautifully classic silvers.  The result?  A brilliant, beautiful composition that could be dressed up with a little black dress for any occasion… or dressed down with jeans and a cosy black sweater.  Thank you Cristi for the inspiring composition…

A wonderful beginning for 2014!