Trollbeads Inspiration: Citrus


It’s the orange time of year…

7The time of year when we all dust off our best pumpkin, citrus and cinnamon coloured beads and create combinations to honour Thanksgiving, Fall Equinox, Back to School, Harvest Moon, Halloween and the warm low light of Autumn.  Every season has its colour mood, and no question that no matter how you like to celebrate Autumn, with subtle earthy browns or stark ghostly black and white – orange is the queen of the Fall palette.


5The arrival of a group of spectacular yellow glitter uniques, as well as a punchy new olive glass colour had me eagerly anticipating this annual ritual even more than usual.  Olive has traditionally been a bit of a tricky colour to find in the Trollbeads collection… there have been a few beads with cool, blue-olives, but very few with a true, acid soaked sort of an olive green.  I was delighted when we received a few precious uniques with this very fresh colour and immediately resolved to combine them with rich golden yellows and tangy oranges for a fantastic, citrus take on Autumnal orange.

6A bracelet with this much texture, rich colour and visual energy needs a few places designed for the weary eye to rest, so I showed restraint, and kept silvers minimal and calm.  The silvers in this combination create colour groupings that are meant to be viewed as a whole… then suggest a pause to the eye before moving on to the next group.  For that reason I selected simple, abstract silvers of a similar size and shape that would quietly fulfill their role and not demand too much of one’s attention when viewing the bracelet.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll tree lock”, “Green Prism”, “Summer Ltd Edition”, “River of Life Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Nomad”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Soul Artichoke”, “Glass Unique”, “Masala Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Moroccan Cushion”, Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Luminous Facet”, “Glass Unique”.

All beads shown currently in stock at Tartooful.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Limited Edition Blue Quartz


IMG_0065Goodness… what a party that was!  Thank you to all you amazing ladies who came out, messaged, tweeted and phoned in to help make our Trollbeads Day 2015 so much fun!  I hope that all of you had a great time at the event, and are now happily ensconced, playing with all your beautiful new treasures!


IMG_0063Melanie and I were having such a lovely time, chatting with so many of our favorite Trollies, that we almost were distracted from the new releases… (*Almost*)… With not one, not two but three new releases in June, there’s a lot to keep track of.

IMG_0059First came the City Series of beads with complex and fabulous silver designs for Amsterdam, London, Rome, Shanghai, Seoul, New York, Tokyo and Capetown.  These delightful treats are only available worldwide until the end of June, after which you will have to find each bead only in its home country.  We have some of these lovelies in stock, and

IMG_0060can still fill your wish lists, but time will run out quickly, so let us know if you’d like any of these and we will be sure to save you some!

Next came the immediately legendary Trollbeads Day 2105 Limited Edition Glass.  We are currently out of stock on those lovelies, but let us know if you are still searching for that elusive creature and we’ll do our best to fill orders if at all possible!

IMG_0057Finally, the Limited Edition Summer Stones series launched for 2015… and there are some great beads in this set!  We’ve taken some time to play this week, and there are so many colour combinations that benefit from the addition of one of these stones.  The Citrines are gently lovely, and blend effortlessly with everything from pastels to

IMG_0055Ambers.  Howlite is a welcome addition to the collection of White Trollbeads.  Often in all-white combinations, texture and clarity become the focus, so Howlite with its distinctive grey veining and shape offers a fresh new option.  Orange Agate is brilliantly beautiful and will be drop dead gorgeous with jewel tones such as turquoise, emerald green, lapis blue or rich royal purples.


Carnelian shows a wonderful range from light honey to nearly blood red, all of it so natural and warm.  It is particularly well suited to earth toned bracelets, but is surprising and so beautiful with peachy pinks as well.  The matte finished Green Agate will play perfectly with all the beachy tones that we West Coast ladies love… and some of the less-patterned examples have a subtle, teal look to them that will be wonderful with favorite beads such as Black Flower Mosaic and Azure Bubbles.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swn Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Aqua Edge Petals”, “Blue Quartz”, “Florence”, “Shanghai Dragon”, “Labradorite”, “Whitecap”, “Green Jasper”, “Dragon Egg”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Blue Quartz”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Royal”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”.

Finally, there’s the Blue Quartz… which is precisely the colour I like to call “Beautiful Blue”… not quite Tiffany, not quite Bird’s Egg… it’s perfect with the Aqua Edge series of glass and just sings here among mossy greens!

All beads shown here are currently in stock at Tartooful.  If you see something irresistible, drop us a line at!


30 Day Challenge: Day 5


20121017_TracyMArt1_01-medium-2Today I started with a yummy old “stitch” patterned unique that is a little brighter than the rest of my collection, but that I just love.  It makes my eyes happy just looking at this particular shade of blue.  It’s not quite turquoise,

IMG_9403not quite the blue of a Tiffany’s box… I affectionately call it “Beautiful Blue”.

A wonderful piece of art by Tracy McMenemy that recently arrived at the gallery features a generous dose of this blue, and it reminded me that it is really “Map Blue”.  No matter what you call it, this bead is *fun*.

IMG_9404In truth, I have very little to actually match this bead, but by adding a whole range of teals and aquas that are all in the same family tree, I can create a design that makes it feel at home.  The metallic goldstone stitching pattern on the bead gives the impression of a vibrant green, which is echoed by the olive green of beads such as Labradorite and the

IMG_9405Christmas in Australia Limited Edition.  I didn’t want to have a dark, brooding mood, but rather a light hearted feel – so I added a group of ivory coloured beads to  soften the impact of the richer colours.  Two dotted beads with Ivory backgrounds and shades of blue dots help to marry the cream and the colours together.


IMG_9402This “Silver Mountain” was the very first Trollbead I ever had.  I picked it for myself, from the first shipment of beads ever received at Tartooful, now so many years ago.  It has found a place on most of my favorite combinations ever since, and I am still just as enthralled by it as on the very first day.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Unique Amber”, “Plait” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Turquoise Dot” (retired), “Limited Edition Christmas in Australia”, “Sweater” (retired), “grey Armadillo” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Ball of Yarn”, “Blue Green Feather” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Silver Mountain”,  “Art Deco” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Light Blue Dot” (retired), “Unique Glass”.



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 11


IMG_5679Today is a fresh colour combination for me, and one I will certainly create again after the challenge is over!  I was inspired to try this sage green and pink combination by the arrival of a “Blue Desert” at the gallery which contained both colours, fading gracefully from one to the other around its glass.  I loved the way the two

IMG_5681colours played together, and made up an entire bracelet of stock beads to celebrate it.  It was so pretty that I just had to go to my own bead tray to see if I could create a bracelet for myself in a similar palette.  I don’t know why I had never done this before… it’s one of those bracelets that practically “built itself”, coming together in a matter of minutes.


IMG_5680Note that two of these center beads were custom made beads, by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada… the celadon green and gold bead is her most recent creation, and I am so excited to include it in my collection.  Those of you who are awaiting your own beads by mail, we just received them and will be posting today and tomorrow!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster clasp”, “Pink Prism”, “Magical Lamp”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Rose Quartz”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Pink Desert”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Rosa Pearl”.

IMG_5682Such a gentle and soothing palette, and such a lovely way to wear pink without it feeling too “girly”!  Pink delights me, but I avoid it if it feels to flighty and silly.  Somehow the natural complement of green settles the pink and makes it so wearable for me.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Mossy Blues


blues5If there’s one thing that North Vancouver does well… it’s growing moss.  We do moss like nobody else… thick, fabulous sheets of it that invite barefoot walks and afternoon naps.  I think it’s odd that some of my gardening friends treat it as a weed, grumbling as it grows madly all over their shade gardens, and working busily to keep it at bay.

blues6Personally I love the stuff, and actively cultivate it.  It protects the ground and helps to keep it moist over the super dry summer months, keeps the weeds to a minimum, and is green all year round.  Love it.  It’s the lowest maintenance ground cover ever, and uncomplainingly shares its space with all the other shade loving plants.


blues8So when I designed this “Beautiful blue” bracelet, with its mossy accent tones it brought to mind my favorite bed of moss in my garden.  I couldn’t resist a little “al fresco” photo shoot, to share it with you.  The moss is ridiculously lush at the moment, thick and sproingy, and glowing emerald green in the Spring sunshine.

blues1It still bears the tiny forest of oxblood seeds from last Autumn.  Don’t they look just like the little stripes in the “Parasol” patterned unique shown above?  Many of the beads on today’s bracelet are from the newest wave of classic core uniques for Spring of 2014.  These glass are, for the most part, quite tiny and very intricately detailed.

blues2I’ve had questions from readers wondering how to integrate these tiny beads into their existing collection of regular sized production beads… I can understand the hesitation, but for me they simply offer another way to play with size in a design.  I like a bracelet to taper at the ends, so that’s an easy spot to fit them in.  In addition, I prefer a mix of sizes through the main part of the bracelet, to allow the eye a spot to pause and rest.  Think of it as punctuation for the composition – it lets the eye know where there’s something especially lovely over which it should linger.  In this case, I have chosen silvers that I think are really beautiful.  I wanted the viewer to fully appreciate their form, so I tapered down to each one with a smaller glass.  Each little grouping of glass is made up of a larger central bead, framed by two slightly smaller ones.  It gives the overall bracelet a pleasant rhythm.












Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Unique”, “Ladybug”, “Unique”, “Silver Mountain”, “Unique”, “Forget me not”, “Ancient Palace”, “Labradorite”, “Unique”, “Chrysanthemum of November”, “Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Unique”, “Troll with big feet”, “Unique”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “Unique”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Share Your Story With Us & Win…

rc-scurveARC’s collection tells a beautiful story…

rc-1Over the past few weeks we’ve been truly delighted that lots of our ladies have popped in to snap up one of the desirable and affordable “Stories of You” bracelets – with the faceted aurora bead and limited edition clasp.  It’s a lovely beginning for a brand new Trollbeads collector, or an inspiring start for a new composition in an established collection.

rc-2However, an unexpected pleasure for us has been seeing all the amazing bracelets that our ladies have been designing over the Summer, and being privileged to play with some gorgeous collections to assist in designing fresh bracelets for Fall.

rc-frontCan you tell she’s a BC girl?

rc4The bracelet we showcase today is the product of one of our design sessions with our fantastic client, RC.  Over the time she has been “Trolling” she has found some gorgeous beads, and has created a very well balanced collection, with a range of complementary colours, and huge potential for so many wonderful compositions.

rc-3It was pure pleasure to peek into her Trollbeads jewellery box and see the beautiful examples of favorite production beads, hard-to-find uniques and rare retireds.  In no time we had played together some fresh designs that will carry her into the Autumn, and made use of a few beloved beads that always seemed to challenge her.


Now here’s the exciting part….

We want you to share your Trollbeads Stories with us… the colour stories, the design stories… Where did you find your favorites?  Are there certain beads that express moments, or bring to mind special people?

Bring us your bracelets and share your story with us at Tartooful.  We will photograph your bracelet and post it on our facebook page for our community of collectors to enjoy.  The photo with the most comments and likes will win for its owner a very special, limited edition bead!

Not able to make it in to Tartooful in person?  No problem, post your bracelet on our facebook page and you can join in too!  The contest is open starting now… (ready set go!)… and we’ll choose a winner on November 7th, 2013.





Trollbeads Inspiration: illuminated green


looking out my window this morning I notice that there’s a different feel to the green that surrounds me at this time of year.  It’s a combination of a few things, I think…

photo-8Here in Canada the light is low in the sky and the shafts of morning light shine right through the delicate, late leaves.  With the busy patterns and myriad  shapes it feels like a cool quiet cathedral, framed by verdant stained glass.  Even though many of the leaves are still brilliantly green, the angles and depth of shadows are unmistakably different than in the Summertime.  We’re aware of how tenuous this last gasp of green is, that it could blow away in the next brisk wind.


limeWith these Autumnal greens fresh in my mind, I designed a bracelet with a range of woodland hues… moss, vine maple leaves, rocky pathways, cedar bark and forest shadows inspired the palette of this composition.  It’s the colours and textures of the “West Coast Rainforest”, but the imperfect Autumn version…

old-earthThe new “Aqua Edge” series of beads finds a perfect home in this design, giving a satisfying “edge” to greens that otherwise might feel too clear and cheerful.  I like having natural stone designs on this bracelet, and the “Dalmation Jasper” feelslike a creekside pebble.  Artisan glassmaker Kathy Perras’ version of “Old Earth” strikes the right note.

lime2This retired “Lime” gives that top note of acid green to the bracelet.  I wouldn’t want to infuse the design with too much of this showy colour, but just a little gives it bit of energy and interest that just wouldn’t be there if it were simply soothing and sedate forest greens.  Too much would evoke too tropical of a feel… a little is just a sunny highlight.

pythonI couldn’t resist the lure of this Unique Glitter Python for this bracelet.  It’s big, dramatic and beautiful.  I love everything about it… the deep, clear & luminous green background… the acid touched vicuna patterning, with aqua edge on each one.  Finally, the crowning touch of just a hint of glitter on each one.  It’s one of the nicest pythons I’ve seen.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Acorn”, “Unique Amber”, “Planet”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Labradorite”, “Aqua Edge Triangle”, “Sweater”, “Classic Unique”, “Lime” (retired), “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Triple Pearl Black”, “Green Jasper”, “Diamond Bead, black”, “Classic Unique”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Aqua Edge Triangle”, “Dalmation Jasper”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Autumn Splendour”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “Black Silk”.



Trollbeads design Challenge: Day 13


IMG_1420Today I woke up determined to work with some of the beads that I hardly ever incorporate into my designs.  I adore the brilliant turquoises, teals and blues in this bracelet, but find them overpowering when blended in with my subtle and misty hues.  They really need their own composition to shine unabashedly.

IMG_1421The Sakura bead from Japan’s World Tour collection is a much loved bead that I find tricky to incorporate into my day to day designs.  I love the depth and detail of this bead’s flowers.  The touch of apricot and yellow at the center of the flowers gives it that lift that makes me smile.  I must make better use of this bead.

IMG_1426However, I am realistic about my taste; I need to find a way to celebrate these colours without feeling like my bracelet is wearing me.  Maybe using deeper olives and greens might work?


I tried adding a touch of olive to my leather bracelet of day 7, and was quite happy wearing that… so perhaps that shade of green is a good bet.  Olive has long been a neutral that we’ve used at Tartooful for our clients designs to tone down bracelets that are too brilliant, or too sweet.  I don’t know why it’s so easy to see solutions for other peoples’ bracelet conundrums and so hard to see them for ourselves!


I could have put a few more of my greyed-olive beads on this bracelet to make it even more subdued, but for today’s exercise I wanted to make use of as many of my bright turquoises as possible.  I do think, however that a couple of Labradorites would be great on this design.  At first I thought I had to leave the green-lilac unique armadillo off the bracelet, because of the purple… I decided to use it after all when I remembered the lilac in the “Sakura” bead, and used them opposite each other in the design.  I selected silvers that are appropriate for a water theme… “Cells”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Big”, “Waves”, “Spot”, “Viking Ship”, and “Frogs” all found their way onto this bracelet.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Singing Fireflies


Today’s bracelet inspiration comes from one of our dear customers… she has an eye for the unusual, and creates compositions of the softest, most subtle tones that simply glow.

km-azureShe is particularly attracted to this shade of green… not green exactly, but a haze of celadon, with highlights of gold that give it an overall green feel.  It matches her eyes, and simply makes her happy every time she sees it.  This “Azure Bubbles” is precisely the right colour and has found a home on nearly every one of her creations.

km-moonstoneIn this design the objective was to create a two colour composition using the softest lavender and pale mossy green.  With natural stones such as “Chalcedony” and “Labradorite” to play with, as well as this stunning “Beige Moonstone”, KM had a beautiful selection of beads to use as a foundation for the design.

km-purple-flower-mosiacAs she added more elements she realized that the bracelet was the perfect composition for “Fireflies”… with its subtle palette of warm ivory, sage green and lilac, it is easy to overwhelm with colours that are too strong.  Balanced well by “Beige Moonstone”, it absolutely sings in this perfectly matched, soft and pretty design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja lock”, “Peacock Pearl”, “”Lavender Prism”, “Blue Desert”, “Sparrow”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Beige Moonstone”, “Chalcedony”, “Zanzibar”, “Labradorite”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Labradorite”, “Carved Flowers”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Fireflies”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Universal Unique”, “Grey Prism”.

Thank you, KM!