Trollbeads Challenge Day 12

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Today it’s all about “Aurora”.  There are a handful of regular collection and limited edition beads that are unmistakably “Aurora”, and until fairly recently I thought we had to be content with this narrow selection of designs.  However, lately I have noticed quite a few unique designs which feature that distinctive, hazy shimmer.

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For the most part, these beads display a more subtle version of the Aurora effect, which has opened up new design options for me.  I find now I can combine my softer Azure Bubbles with paler traditional Aurora designs and the new subtle uniques for a fresh look.  Add a hint of dichroic glass and a couple of luminous stones and it’s a complete design.

IMG_1781The pair of stones that I have employed in this design are the smooth, retired form of “Chalcedony” and a treasured, very translucent “Dendritic Agate”.  I’ve had the Chalcedony for many years, but the Dendritic Agate is a very recent addition.  I came across it  just before the Challenge began, so it managed to slip into the collection just in time.  Dendritic Agate is a variety of Chalcedony Quartz, and is often found with deposits of other types of Chalcedony.  This relationship is easy to see in a translucent example such as this, where the two stones are nearly identical, save for a few traces of Dendritic Agate’s distinctive fern textural markings.  Imagine how difficult it must be for stone cutters to predict how to cut and facet these stones to best display their hidden branchlike patterns… years of experience and well honed instincts must be required!

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These Azure bubbles play nicely with others…

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C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Spiced Lilac

IMG_0963Today’s bracelet was inspired by a couple of fun uniques in a distinctive palette of lilac, buttercream and coral.

IMG_0960They’re not unusual patterns, but today their cheerful colour combination caught my eye.  Perhaps it’s because now we’re starting to look forward to Spring, and those pretty colours are just the tonic for the dark months of the year… (don’t they make you think of purple crocus?)  Perhaps it’s because I’m a little sad to see “Coral Bubbles” out of the collection, and these two lovelies are such perfect companions for that design… or perhaps it’s just because I was in a purple mood.  Troll is so easy to toss together on a whim!

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IMG_0961This bracelet really was so simple to tease together.  Funny, isn’t it – some bracelets are a struggle from beginning to end, and others practically design themselves.  This one was very cooperative, with beads just jumping out at me from the racks, begging to be added.  I was particularly delighted with the addition of the unique flower shown above, as it included both the oxblood and the lilac found in the “Small & Beautiful” unique at left.  The clear glass overlay in the above unique is lilac, making it a good companion for “Golden Cave” as well.

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IMG_0962How serendipitous that the Aurora Flowers that we have in stock at the moment have such a strong garnet colour in the base!  I just love how these look in the light, particularly with the very light, lemon-y “Golden Quartz”…. Just perfect for this spiced lilac combination.  The thing I like best about this palette is how simple it is to create with a wide variety of bead designs…. Most of us have collected some golden hued beads and some aurora glass.  Perhaps your purples were in play with other jewel tones through the Autumn and Winter, but they can be rearranged into this palette for early Spring in a snap.

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Stories of You” limited edition clasp, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Coral Bubbles” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Goldstone” (retired), “Spiritual Ornament”, “Aurora Flower”, “Golden Quartz”, “Aurora Flower”, “Swarm of Butterflies”, “Limited Edition Carnelian”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Starry Night”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

 

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Palette Hunting

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IMG_0581When you are mulling a new bracelet design, where do you find your inspiration?  Sometimes I find fresh palettes in photos, books or textiles… sometimes in a new blossom in the garden… and I often find a perfect palette encapsulated in one special bead.  The truth is, inspiring ideas can be found almost anywhere, one only has to look.

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IMG_0578Today I was craving something soft, comfortable and just a little cozy.  It’s raining for the first day in ages, and there’s a chill in the air to which we haven’t been accustomed in months.  I played with various combinations, but nothing caught my eye… so I opened up the Trollbeads coffee table nook, An Icon in Jewellery Design and flipped through the pages seeking a colour combination that felt just right.

IMG_0579I stumbled upon an image with warm, sage green and a lush lilac, which reminded me of the “Fireflies” bead that I had already placed upon the play tray.  I added various other lilacs and greens, and then mixed in some golden, earthy tones for a bit more warmth.  Finally, to make sure that it stayed feeling like Summer, I tossed in a handful of subtle blues.

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IMG_0582This lovely example of “Milan” helps to knit together the design, with a fascinating mix of sage green, vicuna and blue dotted across its black base.  I find that placing this series of beads, with their distinctive hits of electric blue, near another blue bead helps to enhance the range of colour.  The same is true of the “Aqua Edge Pumpkin” – place it near a blue bead to draw out the beautiful blue lines at the edge of each scallop.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Apple of Wisdom”, “Purple Bud” (retired), “Dewdrops”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Silver Mountain”, “Milan”, “Paradise Birds” (retired), “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Labradorite”, “Scarab”, “Fireflies”, “Tigers Eye”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Aqua Edge Pumpkin”, “traces”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Unique Glass”, “Royal”, “Grey Prism”.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Midsummer Evening

IMG_0556dreamy, glowing and iridescent…

IMG_0550… this bracelet is inspired by the hazy, dreamy evenings of midsummer.  As hot days ease into warm nights, the sky slowly turns into the most perfect shade of luminous, periwinkle blue.  There’s a few magical minutes when the growing dusk is palpable, and we love to scan the sky, looking for the first few stars to appear.

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IMG_0554When I composed this bracelet I first reached for beads that glowed with iridescence… then added more beads in all the colours of their shimmer.  The result is a complex and unexpected combination of indigo blues, teal greens and lilac purples.

I adore colours that are tricky to describe, that

IMG_0552hover subtly between clear shades – and this bracelet is full of blues that defy description.  “Wave of Dreams” is always wonderfully complex with myriad tones in its depths.  This example is no exception, and displays a wonderful range of blues from aqua to nearly navy.  Thanks to this bead, I was able to include blues of

IMG_0553 various shades – including some very denim-y Small & Beautiful uniques and the more periwinkle toned “Fountain of Life”.  This range of blues is similarly displayed in the violet blossoms in “Flowers on Indigo”, as well as the very blue “Black Flower Mosaic” and the lovely unique nestled next to the silver & dichroic “Trinity”.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dragon Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Trinity”, “Aurora Flower”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Fountain of Life”, “Scarab”, “Scarab”, “Green Jasper”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Limited Edition Green Agate”, “Scarab”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Wave of Dreams”, “Unique Glass”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Blue Green Feather” (retired), “Unique Glass’.

Happy Summer…

C

Trollbeads Inspiration: Limited Edition Blue Quartz II

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Today we’re photographing and uploading uniques into our online shop, tartoofultoo – but of course we can’t resist stopping to play a little along the way!

IMG_0048You could dive right into this colour!

IMG_0047Working through the rods, some particularly juicy violets and peacock blues caught my eye… in no time at all there was a little stack of beads that were just begging to be played together into a fresh composition.  To my surprise, the new limited edition Blue Quartz from this Summer’s Sunbeam Kit fits right in.

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IMG_0046See how great they look, framing the Amethyst at the heart of this composition?  It’s a fascinating shade of blue, that just seems to adapt to so many colour palettes.  Here a few key beads tie together the rich blues and purples of the design… Some of the uniques are essential elements, but equally so are the “Violet Petals” from last

IMG_0049Fall’s limited edition, and production beads “Aurora Flower”, “Moonlinght Bubbles” and the “Whitecap” pictured at left.  I was delighted to find silver beads with dichroic accents that beautifully enhance the overall jewelled look of the bracelet.  Their precious drops of purple, sapphire and turquoise help to make the whole thing shimmer!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “gentle Waves”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “three Flowers”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Shanghai Dragon”, “Limited Edition Blue Quartz”, “Amethyst”, “Limited Edition Blue Quartz”, “Paradise Birds”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Trinity”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “Three in One”, “Whitecap”, “Unique Glass’.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 28

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Today I created a bracelet that makes my eyes deliriously happy!

IMG_9833This composition utilizes beads that used to be on several different bracelets, in completely different colour combinations… and a month ago I never would have thought to put them all together in this way.  I’ve helped in the design of dozens of rich purple and golden toned bracelets, but somehow, the shimmery, iridescent tones of this

IMG_9835combination feel fresh to me.  This bracelet includes some beads that I’ve had for ages, and others that are very new to me.  Perhaps part of the reason that I couldn’t imagine this particular composition before, is simply because I didn’t have just the right beads to tie it all together.  It’s a good reminder that as one adds pieces to one’s collection, it’s worth stopping to review the possibilities, and see if new, even more exciting compositions can emerge.

IMG_9832Shimmer, shimmer and more shimmer…

IMG_9837My silvers usually serve mostly to divide chunks of colour.  However, in this case my silvers with Dichroic Glass accents – “Trinity”, “Carved Flowers”, “Dichroic Flower Lock” and “King & Queen” – are a critical part of this bracelet.  They help to firmly set the shimmering mood for this design.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Clasp”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Trinity”, “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Unique Amber”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers”, “Aurora Flower”, “Golden Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Azure Bubbles”, “King & Queen”, “Issey” (retired), “Elfbead”, “Unique Amber”, “Van Gogh – Limited Edition Netherlands World Tour”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Family of Mushrooms – Limited Edition World Tour Lithuania”, “Unique Glass”.

30 Day Challenge: Day 25

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IMG_9777Today is a bit of a seasonal conundrum… What to wear on a cool and rainy day at the end of May?  We have been blessed with an absolutely gorgeous month, with day after day of perfect sunshine and warm breezes.  I’m feeling a bit spoiled by all that perfection, and the inevitable turn to cooler weather has me a bit dazed.

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IMG_9778It’s a good thing that we have a bit of drizzle again, as the gardens and forests are feeling too dry and thirsty for this time of year.  But still – what to wear?

Well, you can see the result of my morning deliberations.  I decided to go with a chocolate and lilac combination.  Lilac feels spot – on for the season…

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IMG_9776The neighborhood lilacs are so fully in bloom that I can smell their amazing perfume even through the fragrance of the warm wet rain on the cedar.  I think every garden in my area must have at least one, blooming madly this week.  However, purple alone, or with cooler colours like green, blue, white or pink just wouldn’t have felt right for today.

IMG_9775  The addition of the toasty, cinnamon-y, chocolate-y browns helps to bring this lilac back down to earth for a cool and rainy West Coast day like today.  I quite like this combination, and could see myself making it up again to wear at almost any time of year.  My paler purples, in particular, tend to get the most playtime in Spring and Summer – so I’m pleased to have a new combination that will help to bring them out through the Autumn and Winter as well!

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Limited Edition Chess Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Frogs” (retired), “Elfbead”, “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Rolling Troll”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Aurora Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “Spider”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Silver Bead with Garnets”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Pastel Agate”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 19

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IMG_9674This… *THIS* is why I continue to do the annual 30 Day Challenge. 

This combination would never have happened if it weren’t for this creative exercise. Isn’t it wonderful?  I can’t believe that I have had so many of these beads for so many years, and have never thought to put them together.

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IMG_9675I’ve certainly built lots of gold and purple bracelet designs with our ladies… but this one is a little different.  This is not a regal, rich metallic gold and deep purple – but rather a frothy concoction that is shot through with lots of light creamy tones.  The butterfly is right at home here, as are my grub and various scale patterns.

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IMG_9669I began with the idea that I’d like to play around with my two favorite scale patterned beads on one design.  I placed them in the middle with a silver between them, then changed my mind and decided that they needed another glass to knit their colours together.  This Unique Glass Wave, with its chameleon tendencies,

IMG_9670came to the rescue as usual!  With the colour theme now firmly in place I simply worked my way out, pulling lots of creamy yellows and lilac purples to build this design.  When I was finished, I saw how much I liked the lightness of all the touches of white and cream… and so to finish the bracelet, as a finishing touch I added the pair of Grey Armadillos to further emphasize the lightest tones.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “grey Armadillo”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Jugend”, “Takma” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Paradise Birds” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Rolling Troll”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Auspicious” (World Tour Hong Kong), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Grey Armadillo”, “Issey” (Retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac”, “Unique Glass”, “Pink Prism” (retired).

This is absolutely one bracelet that I will build again to enjoy after the Challenge!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 15

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IMG_9539Today I was playing about with my Trollbeads blue sapphire… I was Experimenting with various other tones, and exploring to see what sorts of colour companions were possible.  It’s a very soft grey-blue, a shade with which I play all the time – but in the 30 day challenge, there’s always the possibility of one more fresh idea!

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I had never placed these three beads together, and I quite liked it!  It was the kernel of an idea.

IMG_9540I pulled all my inky blues and all my lilacs and purples, and began to play.  This was a super easy design to compose and balance… Some bracelets are so natural that afterwards one sort of shakes one’s head and think… “Well, DUH”.  This was one of those bracelets.  I had ample beads in each colour family, and truly, it “built itself”.

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Entirely wearable… how can I never have made this bracelet?

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IMG_9537I love the way the pale shimmering blues in the Aurora beads are accentuated and enhanced by these slate blues – but absolutely not overwhelmed.  I find this colour combination easy and natural, but not boring or expected.  I’m delighted with it, and am sure I will play with this pair of colour families again.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic lower Clasp”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Neither Fish nor Bird” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Rolling Troll”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Sapphire”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Clown” (retired), “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Unique Glass”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 9

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IMG_9431Today I played with all the purples that usually I pair with teal… and gave them a fresh, soft treatment with my gentlest greens!  This is another color combination that has been knocking about in the back of my mind for a while now, and I’m happy to finally be able to give it a try.  Isn’t it funny – when paired with teal these purples feel so much stronger… now that their companions are misty greens they feel quite subtle.

IMG_9430I think the bead that really made me want to try this combination is the “Azure Bubbles” that I have placed in the center position.  I’m very taken with the way this particular example exhibits so many shades of olive to lilac, and I’ve often felt that it wasn’t really been showcased on a bracelet with bolder colours.  Here I’ve custom built a design around it!

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IMG_9434This Azure holds other fascinating colours as well – note how its hints of icy blue are echoed in the uniques, as well as in the dichroic dots among the silvers.  The repetition of the colour gives a nice rhythm to the design.  This sort of pattern helps to give a sense of calm to the bracelet, as it seems planned and in control.

IMG_9435more dichroic shimmer…

IMG_9433This little unique is one of my favorite “Small & Beautiful” design.  I’m fascinated by the miniscule array of glittering gold suspended in its depths.  It supposedly is playing the same role on this bracelet as it usually does on my teal and purple combination… but with it’s small size and subtle colour, it’s much more noticeable now that the brighter colours have been replaced with softer ones.

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I’m so pleased to be able to pair two of my Limited Edition Jades… they have a distinctive shape and texture, so it’s satisfying to be able to use them to balance each other.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Lock” (retired) “Unique Glass”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Elfbead”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Large” (retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Aurora Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “trinity”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “King & Queen” (retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Unique Glass”, “Frogs” (retired), “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Unique Glass”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Pink Prism” (retired format).

C.