Trollbeads Inspiration: Glass like Water


IMG_8762Have you ever looked out across a calm stretch of water and been reminded of the clear smoothness of glass?  Well, today when I designed this bracelet I thought the reverse: that the glass looked as clear and liquid as water…


IMG_8758There’s something magical about glass… looking into it, touching it, photographing it – there’s a visceral reaction that one experiences when interacting with it.  Perhaps it’s simply the shimmering beauty… or maybe it’s the knowledge that it was born out of fire in a complex artistic and chemical process…

IMG_8761but I think that there’s at least a possibility that we subconsciously associate glass with water.  When you hold a glass bead up to the light, doesn’t it feel to you as though you are somehow, miraculously, holding a droplet of water?  The monkey part of my brain never fails to be delighted and gobsmacked just by the appearance of it.

IMG_8759Today’s bracelet is meant to evoke the tranquil mood of a calm, quiet, early morning ocean.  The soft blues and greys are the sky and water, meeting in an invisible line at the horizon.  The Dichroic glass dots of “Trinity” are the flashes of light that sparkle on the edge of the water’s waves as they rise and fall gently in the morning sun.

IMG_8760There are pebbles on the beach at the edge of the bay that shimmer wetly in the morning light and the sun’s rays are already warm on your face, despite the early hour… it feels like the break of what will become hot summer’s day.  Later, the blues may deepen to a blistering turquoise and the yellows may become citrus bright and sharp… but now, the light is still velvety soft.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Lock”, “Crown Chakra”, “Beach”, “Rolling Waves”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Silver Trace, Beige Blue”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Chalcedony”, “Ocean”, “Honey Dawn”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Mountain”, “Gentle Waves”, “Scirocco”, “Unique”.


PS Don’t forget that this week we are participating in the Spring Bracelet Event! Select a decorative lock priced CAD$48-$72 and receive the sterling foxtail chain valued at CAD$48 at no charge.  Purchase your lock online at Tartoofultoo Online Shop and simply let us know in the notes which length of chain you prefer, or Email us at or ring us at 604-924-0122 for a personal touch.



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: Liquid Blues


This bracelet was inspired by both the new blues of Spring 2015’s Trollbeads Collection… and also by the arrival of a pair of extraordinary uniques.

IMG_8080When designing a new bracelet, I love to blend two or three colours together to form a palette that delights the eye.  there is no better way to “gel” the entire feel of a composition than to find a few beads that include all the colours of the design.  Often, I find a gorgeous individual bead, and let the entire bracelet follow it’s lead!

IMG_8081In this case I was delighted by the two uniques that frame the “Jewel of the Sea” fish at the heart of the bracelet.  Their rich palette, crisp detailing and complementary patterns just begged to be showcased together on a bracelet.  I think these two little beads have huge potential for a collector who likes to play… they could find all sorts of

IMG_8078different applications, over all seasons.  Imagine them paired with cobalt blue and gold over the holidays, royal blue, green and white for summer, or even with some of the softer blues, such as glittering “Beach”, “Seabed” and “Fountain of Life”.  The possibilities are endless….  However, with an entire new collection to play with, and so many gorgeous new

IMG_8085ocean themed blues therein, I decided to play together a cerulean blue and aqua blend.  The luscious new blue glass, “Silver Trace, Turquoise” (shown above) is so luscious – doesn’t it seem such a natural addition to the collection that it already feels as though it must have been there all along?!

IMG_8082“Seabed” is a welcome addition as well, for those ladies who love golden murano sparkle, and long for those slightly softer tones…. “Gentle Wave” is a silver in the classic Trollbeads approach.  It feels satisfyingly heavy, and is a lovely oval shape that will balance well with “Zanzibar” or the “Cherry Blossom Bead”.

IMG_8084In the end this bracelet was very easy to play together, and I felt spoiled by the abundance of beautiful blues and soft greens I had from which to choose…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Neverending, Sterling”, “Sea Glow”, “Heart Conch”, “Spring Wave”, “Silver Trace, Turquoise”, “Guardian of Treasures”, “Unique Glass”, “Jewel of Sea – part A”, “Amazonite”, “Jewel of Sea – Part B”, “Unique Glass”, “Mermaid Companion”, “Silver Trace, Turquoise”, “Seabed”, “Gentle Wave”, “Seabed Stripe”, “New Horizons”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Coastal Hues

kidsSkookumchuk Narrows

emeraldwaterA recent weekend away with the children reminded me of the rich inspiration to be found here on our West Coast… The way the beams of sunshine illuminate the emerald waters of the bay at left… the acid contrast of the new growth on the trees… The soft grey of the granite, dappled with shadows and every kind of moss and lichen imaginable… Oh, the moss!  I LOVE the moss.  I just had to indulge in a series of photos, just to capture a fraction of the colours and textures of the moss.

moss1Moss Joy

lichen1Over the years I’ve cultivated satisfying carpets of mosses in the front garden, but I’m gobsmacked by the carpets of moss to be found on the arid rocks of the Sunshine Coast.  I’m particularly delighted with the aqua green-grey specimen above, which I’ve only seen in a very few spots in BC.  Isn’t it the most beautiful colour?  It’s like “Silver Mountain” Moss.  I’m almost as entranced by the delicate aqua of lichens that hug the seaside rocks… again, a most wonderful shade, and so inspiring.

play10Inspiration Found

play8Freshly recharged and newly inspired, it was easy to toss together this bracelet using the lush colours that filled my head.  Perennial Tartooful favorites such as “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Magical Lamp”, “Blue Desert”, and “Silver Mountain” all help to set the natural, West Coast tone.  Note how the band that circles “Traces” feels like the

play5stones on the beach, or perhaps the rough bark of the trees… The tapestry of pebbles on the beach is captured in “Fossils”, with its wet look and gently rounded accents.  It looks the way pebbles appear in shallow tidepools, with their shapes softened through the water.  Recently we’ve been ordering this bead very frequently, as there seems

play6to be a fantastic color variety being produced.  Individual examples range dramatically from plum, to slate blue, to silvery green, down into grey and of course, lots of warm coppery rusts.  Newcomer “Ancient Palace” gives a hit of rich blue to help balance “Traces”, and captures the blue of a clear sunny sky on the Sunshine Coast.


play4“Silver Whorl” makes a wonderful nod to one of the natural wonders that we saw on this trip: the changing of the tide at Skookumchuck Narrows.  There, one can see the wild eddys and whirlpools that form when the tide rises and rushes to balance a two meter difference in height between the ocean and the inlet.

play9… You knew I couldn’t resist “Azure Bubbles” for this design, didn’t you?  Nope.  In fact, I selected two of these beauties for this bracelet design, and placed them right at the heart of the bracelet.  I always try to place the beads that I want to set the tone right in the middle of the bracelet.  Whether it’s to create a certain theme, or to really

play12savor a favorite bead, I find that the center grouping ends up being the most prominent.  Sigh… love the way that the light glows amber through these “Azure Bubbles”, I had to share two images of them!


play7Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “grey Prism”, “Chalcedony”, “Rolling Waves”, “Ancient Palace”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Jugend”, “Moon Ocean”, “labradorite”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Silver Whorl”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Paradise Birds”, “Fossils”, “Silver Mountain”, “Three in One”, “Blue Desert”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Unique”.  (Handmade Tassels of Green Jade, Labradorite and Chalcedony by Tartooful’s own, the very talented Melanie).




Trollbeads Inspiration: Playing with Pebbles


9These days I am wearing a bracelet that is a joyful mix of colours… soft blues, copper, amber, and hints of green all blended together in a whirl of our beloved, sparkling deserts and Azure bubbles.  I’m worrying less about perfectly matched colours and just enjoying the overall mood.  It’s rich, but subtle, and every single bead gives me joy.


3I decided I wanted to build something from Tartooful’s beads that had a similar feel… and today’s bracelet is the result.  I played with a pair of “Pebbles” and gave them the unlikely companion of a “Honey Dawn”.  The trio of warm buttery yellows in this design find their way onto so many bracelets at Tartooful.

4They add a lovely complementary tone to pinks, blues, greens, purples, neutrals… such useful beads!  The various “Azure Bubbles”, scattered about the bracelet, offer continuity of colour around the design and set up a satisfying rhythm.  Isn’t it fun to see so many in one composition?  Even though these ones are all in a

5similar vein, each one has its own distinct personality and look.  Another bead that I haven’t played with in a while is “Fossils”.  This lovely example arrived and reminded me that I must seek it out more often.  It is a beautiful aqua grey colour, with coppery dots and a moonstone-like shimmer over the whole design.  Fascinating… Here on the misty grey West Coast we so love the designs that Scott Bouwens created for Troll!


Don’t forget to look at the sides of your “Azure Bubbles”… it offers a completely different view!


All Beads from Tartooful Stock.  Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Clasp”, “Grey Prism”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Fossils”, “Will”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Drifting Seeds”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Pebbles”, “Honey Dawn”, “Pebbles”, “Transformation”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Dewdrops”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Three in One”, “Blue Desert”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Purple Prism”.

6I can’t finish without a little note about the “Blue Desert”… these chameleon beads change so often, and we love to see what new surprise Trollbeads has made for us.  Like “Azure Bubbles”, I consider this bead to simply be a category of unique, as every on may be dramatically different.  Last week these were practically navy – this week they are lilac!  I currently own three of the blue:  a navy, strongly glittered one, a medium blue, and one that is the colour of pale green jade.  I treasure all three,  and I have no doubt that over time a few others will join in…




Trollbeads Inspiration: Daydream Bracelet


“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

-Dr Seuss.

great-waveIt’s such a wonderful quotation, isn’t it?  One of my favorite authors and illustrators, never without a quirky, pithy mot juste.

It certainly feels appropriate for this bracelet, which was inspired by the idea of making a daydream design.  I wanted to put the “Wave of Dreams”, “Silver Lining” and “Thoughts are Free” all

fierce-blueon one composition, to evoke some quiet time of reflection, where one’s thoughts could wander freely.  I’m imagining this idyllic daydream happening on a perfect perch by the ocean where one can lie among the windblown trees, gaze out at the sea and simply watch the clouds as they scuttle past in a fiercely blue sky. 

autumn-blues3We’re lucky to have lots of those magical places nearby to our home, where the mountain just falls suddenly into the ocean with lots of scrubby trees tumbling down the rocks.  The rocks, lichen, trees and plants all are palette of mossy to emerald greens.  The ocean can take on a rich teal if the sky is clear, but clouds often turn it slate grey.

thoughts-plus-clouds=daydream This bracelet’s teal and brilliant blues feel very appropriate for the season… very denim-y and warm.  The olive notes stop it from being too tropical… and I’m particularly pleased with the way the blues bring out the aqua accents in the new Autumn series beads.  Olive is a colour that I always find useful as a way to give brights a bit of “edge”, and

grey-prism-is-really-greenwith the retirement of “deep bubbles” I found myself reaching for Summer Stones, Labradorite, and ransacking the uniques selection to fill that role.  It’s wonderful to have these new designs to play with.  (Hey Trollbeads, another with apricot highlights would be handy?)  One final tip: a bead that plays as olive is the “Grey Prism”…





Trollbeads Inpspiration: Beautiful Beach


“Beach” is an easy bead with which to fall in love… with a lovely liquid shade of blue, and shimmering gold in its depths it just begs to be held up to the light and admired…

DSCN6217Cristi’s Cuban honeymoon photos of a perfect white sand beach inspired us, so  we thought we’d create a bracelet showcasing this favorite bead design…

We added lots of appropriately ocean themed silvers, including this slender and graceful “Happy Fish”.

DSCN6220We love the “Mermaid” for her sunny disposition, as well as her curvy lines… She’s a sweet and sexy little bead!  Here she’s shown with a lovely “Wave of Dreams”.  The wave is one of those bead designs that shows a huge range of expression, varying from very light and sun bleached, to rich and jewel like in its palette.

DSCN6219Speaking of changes… “Cool Dusk” has changed dramatically over the past year or so.  Remember when this bead was first released?  It had almost equal parts of blue and yellow, and the outer blue layer was very deeply grooved.

DSCN6223Now this revised design has only a mere hint of blue over a thicker yellow band, so the overall effect is much more of a chartreuse green.  The ridges have been reduced, for a much smoother, more liquid appearance.  As much as I liked the original design, I find the new appearance quite lovely and am enjoying the change.

DSCN6218Of course, everyone’s favorite fish bead is “Pisces”.  This timely arrival shows two fish wrapped around each other, to form the round bead shape.  Similar to “Happy Fish” and the “Fish Clasp”, the scales are beautifully and finely detailed.  I personally love this design and like to feature it regardless of the  Zodiac month.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Beach”, “Coral Branch”, “Cool Dusk”, “Silver Urchin”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Mermaid”, “Sand Beach”, “Beach”, “Treasures”, “Beach”, “Sand Beach”, “Pisces”, “The Eye”, “Starfish”, “Cool Dusk”, “Happy Fish”, “Beach”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Here comes the sun…


The honey warm tones of this composition are a welcome ray of sunshine in our cool and grey, Northern part of the world…

amber4I love this palette of spicy, coppery brown with oyster grey and lilac.  For this combination to really sing, it’s essential  that the lilac have a red undertone, rather than blue.  “Golden Cave” is a wonderful selection to bring the colours together…

amber2This “Unique Amber” is exceptionally lovely, with impressive girth and beautiful sparkle!  It’s generous size is well matched by the new “Blossom” bead in silver, and one of the quirky new “Pebbles” beads.  This particular pattern is highly individual, with wide variations in colour, size and iridescence.

amber6For example, the bead at left is technically the same pattern as the one below, but has a completely different mood about it.  In the bead at left, one sees largely lilac and blue, with only a trace of copper, shimmering in its depths.


The example at right has generous doses of amber, metallic copper, brilliant coral and lots of bright pink dicroic undertones.  It’s marvellous how it brings out the coral and pink iridescence on the surface of the “Black Silk” at its left.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Seahorse Clasp”, “Pebbles”, “Black Silk”, “Coral Branch”, “Fossils”, “Golden Cave”, “Swarm of Butterflies”  “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Coral Opal”, “Sunglasses”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Dolphins”, “Beige Moonstone”, “Unique Amber”, “Blossom Bead”, “Pebbles”, “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Fur Flower” (retired), “Limited Edition Valentine’s 2013 Dangle”.

(* Note to Trollbeads:  “Swarm of Butterflies” in English sounds quite forbidding, like a whole bunch of insects on the warpath… perhaps “Flock” would have been a better choice of word?)

amber3One little combination that makes my heart sing is this “Coral Opal”, paired with “Purple Flower Mosaic”… I admire the chartreuse that is echoed throughout, and the citrus punch it gives this bracelet..




Trollbeads Inspiration: The Soft & Subtle Side of Spring 2013


There is ample inspiration to be found in Trolls’ new “Rocky Beach Kit” of glass bead designs.  With fascinating depth, complex patterns and subtle, shifting colour, these beads are a radical and fresh design statement.  We couldn’t wait to play with these lovelies!

DSCN5343Of course, the entire kit looks wonderful together, with complementary tones of soft denim blues, sandy greys and browns, and warm golden and rust hues.  It may also be broken down into two distinct palettes.  one focuses more on the blues and ivories, and the other is an unusual combination of dominant amber and a touch of lilac.  Today we’ll take a closer look at the blues…

DSCN5348DSCN5350Viewed under macro the detailed texture of these beads is truly amazing.  There are so many colours blended together to create these subtle tones, the design possibilities are virtually endless.


The new ocean themed silvers beautifully complement this seaside palette, and of course, the new “Dendritic Agate” is a must for this bracelet.


DSCN5412Current collection beads to consider as companions for this new kit include local favorite, Labradorite, “Blue Desert”, “Silver Mountain”, “White Paper Fold”, “Conch”, “Urchin”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Morning Dew”, “Desert Flower”, “Traces”, and “Cosy”…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dolphin Lock”, “Seahorse Earring” – repurposed here as a dangle on the clasp, “Cliffs”, “Coral Branch”, “Stone Flower”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Sand Beach”, “Starfish”, “Sandstone”, “Labradorite”, “Stone Flower”, “Sea Urchin”, “Cliffs”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Stone Flower”, “Sea Horse”, “Sandstone”.

DSCN5415This kit is an instant essential for many of our Tartooful collectors… including both Cristi and myself!  We’re excited to add a kit to each of our collections, and see how all the beads play with our soft west coast greys and blues.

The photos don’t really do these beads justice.  You’ll just have to come drop by the village and experience them for yourself!

Next up:  Amber for Spring!


Trolleads Inspiration: Deep Water

The palette of this bracelet brings to mind the deep, dark blue lakes dotted about the mountains behind our city… surrounded by tall, deep green trees with the crystal blue sky above, it’s a shade of home.

This bracelet is largely composed of the new bead designs for Autumn 2012.  Of those, a few favorites are emerging and the bead pictured at left is certainly among those… “Wave of Dreams” is one of those beloved designs with so many expressions that we would happily build an entire bracelet of them.  They range from the very light, to very dark, with everything inbetween, including a dramatic mixture of the two.  We’ve seen ones with distinct gold veins, or white, or pure blue.  Wonderful!  Its perfect companion is the new “Eye”.  Very reminiscent of “Azure Bubbles”, but much richer.  This one has a gorgeous opalescent shimmer to it.

…Not to forget the Trees, here’s the new “Green Jasper”, with its’ mysterious deep, olive colour and unique veining.  Perfectly West Coast with the blues, it feels earthy, and real but still polished and beautiful.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “The Eye”, “Chinese Zodiac 2012”, “Flower of Dawn”, “Green Jasper”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Chinese Zodiac 2012”, “The Eye”, “Green Jasper”, “The Eye”, “Chinese Zodiac 2012”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Green Jasper”, “Flower of Dawn”, “Chinese Zodiac 2012”, “The Eye”.

I truly enjoyed playing with these beads and composing this bracelet… my personal bracelets are usually less structured, but these colours make my heart sing – and it’s a delight to be able to show the range of expressions of these lovely new designs…