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: The Softer Side of Coral

IMG_0497Sigh… this just says “Summer” to me…

IMG_0500Is there any colour that sings “Summer” more clearly than a rich, vibrant coral?  This delicious colour, poised neatly between red, orange and pink, is warm, exotic and downright tropical.  I’ve always adored the colour, and have often blended it with warm soft pinks for a sugary confection with just an edge of sexy.


IMG_0501Today I mulled how to tone down this rambunctious colour to make it more wearable every day.  Choosing all beads from within Tartooful’s current stock, I found the unique glass at left, with its unusual combination of espresso, softest grey blue and dots of hot coral.  It’s the perfect inspiration for an everyday coral composition!


IMG_0496First I found a group of glorious corals to play with… the Summer Stones 2015 series offers Matte Orange Agate, as well as polished Carnelian. The contrasting textures and range of natural, spicy tones make these designs a pleasure to work with.  Next, I tried various neutral and softer toned beads as companions…

IMG_0495The inspiration unique has a generous dose of espresso brown, so it would have been easy to select various chocolate and walnut brown elements and blend them with the corals.  Perhaps the addition of some clear or ivory beads for some punch?  I tried this approach, and it resulted in a gorgeous combination – but it felt much dressier

IMG_0499than I envisioned.  My goal was a bracelet that would be super easy to wear on a daily basis, with sun dresses, shorts and even jeans.  I started again, and this time I emphasized the soft grey blue that was also found on the unique.  “traces”, “Silver Mountain”, “Sandstone” and “Aquarium Pastel” all have that sublime, subtle blue, combined with a touch of earthy texture that make them perfect for this bracelet.

IMG_0493  Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Carnelian”, “Lucky Knot”, “Golden Cave”, “Sandstone”, “Royal”, “Orange Agate”, “Three Siblings”, “Orange Agate”, “Traces”, “Orange Agate”, “Path of Life”, “Carnelian”, “Three in one”, “Coral Bubbles” (retired), “Aquarium Pastel” (retired), “Art Deco” (retired), “Carnelian”, “Silver Mountain”.

After a bit of play, I found a balance of coral and blue, silver and glass that make my eyes happy… I would happily slip this bracelet on everyday this Summer!



30 Day Challenge: Day 17


IMG_9548Today I decided to take a number of the beads that I used to create the orange and green bracelet, and re-interpret their colour in a completely different combination.  Ta-Da!  The beads that comfortably assumed the role of orange yesterday, are now playing the part of rich apricot to pink.  Such clever little beads!


IMG_9546I started, as usual, in the very middle and selected beads that would set the tone for the entire bracelet design.  The central trio is sparkling and shimmering in shades of apricot and ambered pink.  Delicious!  Working my way out, I picked “Sweater” and “Ball of Yarn” – generously sized, round silvers that I find balance each other nicely.

IMG_9550Absolutely love this coral and glitter unique…

IMG_9547The silvers on my bracelets provide the framework on which I build groupings of glass or stone.  The silvers give me the ability to balance the colours on the bracelet according to what I have on hand.  For example, if I have more pinks than orange I might make sets of three with pinks on the outside two and orange only in the middle.


Clockwise from Clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired Format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Pink Desert”, “Issey” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Artisan Champagne Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater”, “Goldstone” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Golden Cave”, “Takma” (retired), “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.


30 Day Challenge: Day 16


IMG_9573I had to laugh when creating today’s bracelet…

In past Challenges I have struggled to work with this Bright Orange Armadillo, and have gone to great lengths to find a combination that I could wear for even just one day.

IMG_9565However, when I went to tackle this once-yearly bead and wrestle a design into place again this year, I found it unexpectedly easy.  Something has definitely shifted in my taste, because this year I seemed to have all the right beads to comfortably tease together something wearable and pretty!  It made me wonder, what has changed?


IMG_9567For me, one of the rewards of the challenge is that it has given me a much greater understanding of my own taste.  There are colours that I don’t necessarily love on their own that play key roles in my designs, because of the way they complement the tones that I really do adore.  Take, for example the caramel yellow unique in the photo at left…

IMG_9568… Or the “Chocolate Parrot” at right.  These are beads that one or two years ago would not have turned my head.  I admired them in other peoples’ collections, but didn’t yet fully understand how beautiful they would make my soft sage greens and slate blues.  Now I am happy to find one of these essential beads to help gel my palettes.


IMG_9566Another lesson learned from past Challenges is that it’s perfectly ok for me to have multiples of one bead pattern.  Intellectually I understood the value of patternmaking with multiples, but my thrifty Scottish heritage still whispered in my ear that it might be better to spend my bead bucks on a new design.  Between the addition of a few, key multiples (Azure Bubbles, Labradorite, Blue Desert…) and a handful of useful neutral and complementary beads… I am finding this year’s Challenge flows more easily than ever.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Golden Cave”, “Plait” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Quartz”, “Artisan Labradorite”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Chocolate Parrot” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 28


How can it be day 28 already?!

IMG_5987The time on this challenge has truly flown by, and just like last year, I feel as though I have so many colour combinations and designs yet to try.  It’s time to dig deep, and make sure that I throw out a few more preconceptions about “how to troll” before the end of our exercise.  I gave some thought to which “rules” I have continued to hold dear

IMG_5986 through the past month and realized that there are still a few walls to break down.

First I realized that I still tend to create groupings of three, five seven and so on.  The old rule about arranging flowers still holds true for me when composing bracelets, and I should really explore even numbers as well.  So today you’ll see a bracelet with lots of pairs of beads – which is sure to be a good thing from a Feng Shui point of view!  Second, I still load up on glass and use the silvers to divide groupings of glass.  So today I tried to use the silvers intelligently as an equal partner with the glass, and I am pleased with the result.

IMG_5984Finally, I realized that I had never placed this juicy red bead on a design this challenge, so I decided to build the entire bracelet around it.  The white pattern on the glass suggests a red and white bracelet, but I find that it’s a little too “major holiday” for me to wear.  By placing it among honey golds and warm chestnut browns it settles the red and gives an overall rich feel.  Much more wearable for me!  It’s the perfect bracelet to add lots of silver as well – the silver is neutral and calming for these saturated colours.


Only two days to go… what’s at the bottom of your bead bowl?  Time to dust off those hard-to-use beads and give them a design of their own….





Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 9


IMG_5637Today we are into the hard stuff!  I was so far outside by comfort zone when I built this, it was making me laugh out loud.  Chatting with one of the participants of the challenge, she commented that she tended always to design subtle, tone on tone bracelets… and that for the challenge she wanted to push herself, and create bracelets that she

IMG_5632wouldn’t usually consider.  I totally agree with her approach.  For me, the holy grail of the challenge is to create something outrageous, and then discover that I actually love it.  Realistically there aren’t going to be many design moments like that.  However, this might be one.  I would never usually attempt this combination,

IMG_5633but I am enjoying this colour palette so much!  Isn’t it fun to see the “Faceted Aurora” playing with these “Hawaiian Shirt” colours?  Totally takes the stuffing right out of it.  The chartreuse green and juicy corals are perfectly complementary to each other, giving the combination an edge and a high level of energy.


IMG_5634This has been a great way to break out of my subtle colour palette!  I don’t imagine for a moment that I will wear colours like this all the time, but the green and orange/coral combination was definitely satisfying to me, and I will work with them again much more often.  Perhaps next time I’ll try it without the purple – on a leather?


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Bee on Hive”, “Chalcedony” (retired), “Limited Edition Green and Purple Armadillo”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Unique”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Heart”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Unique”, “Deck of Cards”, “Limited Edition Chinese Lavender Jade”, “Unique”,  “King & Queen” (retired), “Green Armadillo” (retired), “Faceted Aurora”, “Unique”, “Bee on Hive” (retired).






Trollbeads Inspiration: Tangerine


What to do with Tangerine?  Inspired by a fabulous new group of uniques that just arrived at Tartooful, I set out to answer that very timely question.

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The first, and simplest answer is, of course, to pair it with neutrals… simple greys, black and white work perfectly.  Take care not to go too black, or one runs the risk of looking a little too “Halloween”.  However, grey is sophisticated and a wonderfully calming influence on tangerine.  Here we’ve shown the bracelet with lots of different tones of tangerine.  The way I’d be most likely to wear this combination is with lots of grey, and perhaps four orange accents, for a little punch in a neutral canvas.

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Here I’ve made the greys darker, edging more into black – and you can see that with the addition of seasonal silvers this would make a perfect Halloween composition!  I love the little flame patterned uniques, which remind me of airbrushing on a “hot wheels” car!

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This composition is a wonderful way to feature the new green and tangerine uniques with the tree pattern.  I can’t decide if the coral dots are autumn leaves or fruit… but as I discovered a long time ago – when it comes to Trollbeads I don’t have to know what it is to love it!  The bark texture is so detailed and perfect, and the colour contrast between the emerald green and the juicy tangerine is a perfect complementary hit.  Love, Love Love…


Orange and pink is a great way to keep pink high energy and drop dead sexy.  Here a bubblegum pink tie dye pattern takes center stage, and acts as a foil for a supporting cast of various reds, oranges, tangerines and corals.  Think pink lipstick and candy red convertible.  Oh my.

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Finally, I played together a tropically inspired turquoise, teal and tangerine composition.  This one is all about the tangerine bikini on the beach with teal surf and turquoise sky.  Greece?  French Riviera?  Mustique?  Yes.

Now… go find those tangerines and take them out to play…




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”.







Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s Tropical Holiday Bracelet


IMG_4567This bracelet design by Cristi came together in a flash… she was playing together some new bracelet ideas with her collection, and this palette almost built itself, jumping onto the playtray rod in only a minute or two.  It’s not that it’s so familiar to her – I can’t recall her ever having worn this palette before.  However,  this grouping of

IMG_4569colour drenched beads is so powerful and rich that by following their lead Cristi was able to rapidly create this gorgeous composition.  She scattered the unifying teal and turquoise beads evenly across the bracelet… made sure that the two flame coloured beads were well spaced and balanced on either side of the design… and then filled in the rest

IMG_4568of the bracelet with warm golden glass elements.  Lots of silver allows the eye a chance to pause as it takes in the saturated colour.  Too many glass in a row makes it harder to really “see” each bead as an individual design.  Golden toned beads used here include a lovely unique, Lime Prism, Honey Dawn and the hard-to-place “Power Chakra”


IMG_4570You’ll note that Cristi has placed complementary tones together in each micro composition of glass elements – creating greater colour contrast and a high energy feel to the overall bracelet design.  She centered the Lime Prism, as it is a little different in shape and tone than any of its companions on this bracelet.  This is usually the simplest way to utilize a bead that otherwise might throw off the balance of a design.


As soon as Cristi had teased this joyful design together she declared that it felt like a Tropical getaway… I’d have to agree!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Citrus Punch


bright8It’s another grey and drizzly day on the wild west coast, so I thought we could all use a little blast of citrus sunshine!  (Repeat after me: “The sun will come back… the sun will come back…”)

Fortunately, the new Spring collection offers lots of sunny inspiration…  “Coral Opal” at left, is enough to bring a smile to my face!

bright11This juicy bead comes in a wide variety of appearances, from blood orange to a punchy, yellow-tangerine.  The translucent and slightly iridescent raised dots have an equally wide range of colours, including muted orange, khaki, lime green, olive and deep copper.

bright10For this bracelet design, I wanted to create a fun mood, something whimsical and playful.  I started with this summery, striped design from the new series: “Strawberry Stripe”.  It feels like a strawberry shortcake cake, so crisp and fresh and fun.

DSCN5406Next I reached for its companion in the new kit:  “Pink Fantasy”.  This unabashedly feminine bead design adds a strong does of pink, and helps to pull the buttery yellow and coral into the design palette as well.  New silver design, “Elderflowers” is so delicate, and the Christmas 2012 Limited Edition glass is apple-cheeked-pretty in the background.

bright6I love this combination! Tangerine, pink, and cherry red.  The graphic note of the Christmas 2012 limited edition lends a Scandi-cool note to the design.  It feels very “Marimekko”…  Silver “Blossom” feels wonderful here among the other flowers.

bright5We’ve been having fun playing with the new “Butterfly” pendant… so far we like it best either as a pendant on a shorter choker – leather or silver… or as a bold statement on a bracelet!  To pull this look off, add it right at the end of a more full composition.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Plain Lock”, “Pink Desert”, “Winter Berry”, “Coral Opal”, “Summer Dot”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2012”, “Elderflowers”, “Pink Fantasy”, “Swarm of Butterflies”, “Strawberry Stripe”, “Blossom”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2012”, “Pink Desert”, “Coral Opal”, “Mountain Flower”, “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired), “Butterfly Pendant”.

Stay dry out there!