Trollbeads Inspiration: Ombre Raspberry


Ombre beadplay is always a fun little design project…

9Casting an eye over our selection of uniques today I noticed that we have an absolutely marvelous collection of raspberry pinks in stock at the moment.  I decided to have a bit of a play with them, but thought I’d give the design a little twist and try my hand at a crimson-to-pale pink ombre composition….

This collection of beads are wonderful, rich shades of soft blush pink through raspberry and down into a deep, satisfying crimson.  Add an absolutely dazzling array of pattern and texture, and no matter how this composition came

5together it was bound to be a fantastic bracelet.  I really think that with these beads it would be impossible to make the bracelet look anything but gorgeous.

The most essential tool when designing this sort of bracelet is definitely a play tray… I string the beads onto the rod to find just the right placement for each bead.  Often I’ll think I know just where a bead “belongs” in the ombre gradation – and then when I slot it in, it becomes apparent that it really looks better a little to the right or left.


8At the two extreme ends of this bracelet design you’ll find some of the opaque unique beads that are such a delight to true collectors.  The rich red and glittery one shown above has actually been tempting me for my own collection!  So luxe and utterly delicious.  At the other end of the bracelet be sure to note the beads that have elegantly formed flowers traced on milk glass backgrounds.  These have been such a lovely fresh addition to the design oeuvre of glass Trollbeads uniques.  I’d love to see an entire bracelet made up of these delicate beauties.



I knew that I wouldn’t allow many silvers to find their way onto this bracelet design…. partly because the fun of an ombre is to see how the colours relate to each other, gently transitioning from one shade to the next.  It was also in large part because there were simply too many gorgeous beads that I wished to include in the composition!  However, the overall effect is much more effective with a little silver to break up the colour blocks and allow the eye a spot to pause and rest.  In the end I selected a few highly ornate silvers that were up to the task of matching the drama of their glass companions.


Both the silver and the glass elements in this composition are like a confection for the eye…

1Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, All Glass beads uniques.  Silvers:  “Spiritual Ornament”, “Elderflowers”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Wine Harvest”.


Trollbeads Challenge Day 11


After a few years of practicing the creative exercise of the Challenge, I’ve found a few composition themes to be particularly interesting… in some cases they are simply designs that I find difficult – such as all silvers, or asymmetrical.  Each year they become a little easier to achieve, and that’s very encouraging!  In other cases certain design challenged show me the changes that have occurred in the elements of my collection over the previous twelve months, which is a good measure of how my tastes shift from year to year.


This ombre design is one that I have explored in the past, and I find it interesting to see the changes that have taken place since last year.  This year’s version of my ombre bracelet gently transitions from softest golden peach, through pink and bronze into plum and finally completes at a delicious claret.


Some beads that were key in previous versions are no longer a part of the design.  Other beads have joined the collection since last May, and are now glowing here.  It’s different from last year, but I like it just as well.  It’s such an interesting exercise to see – really *see* the colours and how they relate to each other.






Trollbeads Challenge: Day 10


Today I am featuring a lush bracelet design with saturated colour and heaps of texture and pattern.  It’s an abrupt change from the simplicity and calm of yesterday, and a fun exploration of the huge range of expression that the Trollbeads toolbox offers.


IMG_1810I adore cranberry red, even more so when combined with other saturated tones such as raspberry, pink, coral, goldenrod yellow – or in this case all of them!  It’s a “Singapore sling” bracelet with juicy sunset colours that range from soft pink and peach down into egg yolk yellow, raspberry, tomato red and claret.  These riotous colours all play together nicely, partly because they are all in the warm red family, but also because the textures and patterns of the glass are of a similar complexity and mood.

I could have contrasted the ornate glass with simple silvers to offer a pause for the eye, but instead, consciously chose to make this bracelet an extreme contrast to yesterday’s breath of calm.  I enjoy playing at both ends of the Trollbeads design spectrum!





Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 29


IMG_6011Through this challenge I noticed that I was having “colour crushes”… I would fall in love with a certain shade or tone, and relish playing with it, and trying all different combinations… In fact, most often it was a combination of two colours that would sing to me, which would prompt joyful playing.  Examples?  Well the lilac-gold of “Golden

IMG_6008Cave”, paired with the moon blue of Chalcedony and a nice blue “Faceted Aurora” is a good example.  Golden honey tones paired with just about any blue make me happy, but especially delicate tones such as slate, periwinkle or celadon.  Fortunately for me, those brilliant artists at Trollbeads made a slew of beautiful “Azure Bubbles” this year that capture this particular colour combination, so I can play so easily!


IMG_6037The perfectly complementary pair of teal and lilac also made me giddy over the course of this challenge, and I’ve really enjoyed designing around a few key beads that capture this combination well.  It’s practically effortless for me to play together bracelet designs in this colour palette as they just sing together so beautifully.

IMG_6042One colour that really stood out for me over the past month is cranberry.  I  struggled with what was the best name to capture this colour…it’s sort of a

IMG_6041raspberry, but not quite as “pink” as that implies.  It’s not as brown as burgundy.  Claret might be a good name for it… Those of us who remember forest green and burgundy from the 80’s have, frankly, taken a while to recover from it.  This version of cranberry is

IMG_6038freshest when combined with somewhat unexpected partners such as silvery moon blue or shell pink.  Over the past month I found so many wonderful combinations that popped with the addition of my Ruby.  I always liked the

stone but now I feel as though I have a better handle on how to make it sing on a bracelet.


For today, the second to last day of my challenge, I decided to play together a fabulous concoction of claret, moon blue and pink to celebrate my newfound appreciation of this colour and all the others that have stood out over the course of the past month.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique”, “Pink Desert”, “Unique”, “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired), “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Unique”, “Limited Edition Faceted Aurora”, “Ruby”, “Aurora Flower”, “Rose Quartz”, “Heart”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Red Pink Prism” (retired).







Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 18


IMG_5759Today’s bracelet is inspired by a quirky and wonderful orchid that is blooming cheerfully in my home’s bright front atrium.  The windows there face South, and get bright, filtered sunlight all day, which makes my pot full of orchids deliriously happy.

IMG_5800With a busy family and shop to run I tend to forget the orchids when they are not in bloom, often forgetting to water them for weeks at a time!  Think of it as a Darwinian approach to gardening… It’s “survival of the fittest”!  They must be in the right conditions, because despite my neglect, they irrationally reward me with gorgeous flowers.


IMG_5799Most of my orchids are white phalaeonopsis,  but the one that is currently blooming is a fascinating combination of ivory hinting at yellow, and fuschia that deepens into a rich crimson.  Of course, like all flowers, traces of green are woven throughout the blossom.  It’s a challenging palette for me, as the colours are not close

IMG_5801to one another in tone or shade, and most of my compositions tend to me subtle gradations of colour.  I began by picking out my boldest pinks, and then found my deeper reds.  These few beads were all the ones I had in this colour family, but it doesn’t take much of these ruby tones to make a splash.  Next I found some subtle, earthy greens and finished the colours off with some buttery amber and a retired grey armadillo for a touch of cream.  I kept the silvers simple but bold, to take up a little extra space on the bracelet and give a little extra length to the design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “red-Pink Prism” (retired), “Bead of Fortune”, “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired), “Auspicious” (World Tour Limited Edition Hone Kong), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Canadian Jade” (Summer Stones Limited Edition), “Shortcut” (retired), “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Ruby”, “Magical Lamp”, “Spot” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Unique Amber”,   “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Unique”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Large” (retired), “Peacock Pearl” (limited edition).



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 17


Silvers are hard!

IMG_5834Today I dive into a design area where I am always a little challenged… For whatever reason, I find composing bracelets mainly of silver to be quite tricky!  I naturally gravitate to the mesmerizing colour and depth of the glass, so I always reach for those first, and sometimes by the time I place all the glass there are barely any spots left for

IMG_5833silver at all.  I situate my silvers carefully along the length of the design to give the eye a spot to pause and rest, so as not to overwhelm the viewer and have all the beads blur into each other.  I also find that the silvers help to create mini compositions of colour that

IMG_5831the eye can appreciate separately from the whole.  To my eye, too many silvers seem to blur together into a mad mess of pattern, just as all glass blend together into a muddled palette of colour.  Having tackled this challenge last year at this time, I remember that the only way I can make sense of all the pattern of the silver is to keep strictly to simple forms and try to create a rhythm, or pattern of them.  Here I have framed a dramatic center glass with a pair of bold spheres.  Then I go on around the bracelet to set up patterns of round and “bead shaped” silvers.  In this case, the glass act as little islands of colour that break up the groupings of silver.  I have essentially reversed the proportions of my normal bracelet designs.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”,  “Bead of Fortune”, “Unique”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Rooster” (Limited Edition), “Happy Fish” (retired), “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired),  “Etruscan” (retired), “Auspicious” (Limited Edition Hong Kong World Tour), “Frogs” (retired), “Faceted Aurora” (limited edition), “Spot” (retired), “Unique”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Aurora Flower”, “Petanque” (retired), “Jugend”, “Faces” (retired) “Unique”, “Mushrooms Family” (Limited Edition Baltic States World Tour”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Cells” (retired), “Violet Petals” (Limited Edition), “Bead of Fortune”.

One final note… this bracelet is surprisingly heavy, but feels wonderful on the arm!







Trollbeads Inspiration: Candy Bracelet


This Trollbeads bracelet design is a dose of simple sweetness!

candy2When the colours are this bright and bold, one doesn’t need a full bracelet to make a clear statement.  With stripes and dots, flowers and ribbons…not to mention turquoise, orange, coral, pink and raspberry… this composition is playful and fresh, just the way it is.  I wouldn’t add a thing!





Trollbeads Inspiration: Flowering Blackcurrant


FloweringCurrantHave you seen the Red Flowering Currants in bloom yet?  They’re one of my very favorite early spring perennials… they bloom madly right now, in perfectly   complementary colours… juicy raspberry and rich emerald green.

In my Mother’s amazing garden she had an enormous bush, right in the middle, that practically dwarfed the little apple tree nearby.  It’s a valuable early perennial, not only for it’s beauty, but also for its ability to catch the eye of hummingbirds, who are back DSCN6262from their winter holiday, and looking for good spots to settle in for the Summer months.  If they find a good food source early in the season they might just stay close… and it’s such a treat to have a hummingbird family in the garden!  They love red and deep pinks and can’t resist DSCN6263stopping for a little snack.

The reds and pinks of this bracelet are so delicious and juicy that they could easily tempt a peckish hummingbird!

A recent shipment of Universal Uniques has an DSCN6260extraordinary array of colours and patterns… So many in demand designs:  flowers, pythons, ferns, chess patterns and even creatures!  (Stay tuned for adorable turtles…)  Cristi immediately made up a few “Eye candy”  bracelets to share with our blog readers.  We’ll photograph them all individually and pop them all online tout suite…

DSCN6259The new floral silvers such as “Blossom” and “The Messenger are excellent companions for these luscious raspberry pinks.  Cristi also selected “Transformation”, which is just how the early Spring garden feels…

DSCN6258Isn’t this one gorgeous?  Raspberry and metallic gold is a decadent combination, and the scarlet “Chess” pattern in the background just takes it over the top.  The red is picked up by several other beads in the composition, including the two shown above…

DSCN6255This “Rosa Pearl” is so warm and golden, it just glows in the center of this bracelet.  Its warmth enhances the golden highlights of the metallic uniques as well.  The petite, unique next to it is delicately pretty, and scaled just right for the pearl.

DSCN6261These two beads just flat out make me happy.  The cerise flower at left is transparent, delicate and a masterpiece of detailed floral expression.  The python at right has a magical combination of raspberry and brilliant red that just sings!  It gives the effect of hot pink, but with a warm cast that feels downright spicy.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Small Flower Clasp”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “The Messenger”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “Universal Unique”, “Rosa Pearl”, “Transformation”, “Universal Unique”, “Bouquet of Flowers”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “The Messenger”, “Universal Unique”, “Small Core Unique”.

DSCN6256Wishing you a lovely weekend… hopefully we will have some sun and be able to enjoy the Spring flowers as much as the smart hummingbirds!


Trollbeads Inpsiration: New Toys!


DSCN5235By now our Trollies will have unwrapped their holiday gifts from their families… and under many trees this year were Trollbeads, carefully picked by husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and of course, little clusters of excited children.  We always love to see the little ones come in, either with a parent or sometimes all on their own, ready to pick just the right thing for Mom.

DSCN5243  Perhaps you’re one of those fortunate ladies, who received new Troll toys for Christmas?  Have you started to play with the new pieces yet, and see what works with your collection, and how it will all fit in?  Your new beads bear a Christmas story of love.

DSCN5233Take your time and try lots of different combinations before you settle on an arrangement…. I always find that the addition of even one or two new beads requires rethinking the whole bracelet to ensure a nicely balanced composition.

DSCN5232The gorgeous bracelet that we are enjoying today belongs to one of our lovely, local Trollies, N.O..  It’s a stunning composition… rich, dramatic, beautiful, and totally luxe with lots of gold and hard-to-find raspberry uniques.

DSCN5234It feels as though it was painstakingly designed to look precisely like this… carefully planned from the beginning with this amazing design in mind.  However, the truth is that N.O. chooses her beads purely on whether she loves each bead.

DSCN5244The result is a fluid collection that has seen many different compositions, depending on the mood of the designer.  It’s a wonderful approach, as it keeps the process of acquiring new beads light and fun – and each bracelet is an inspired delight.


DSCN5229N.O.’s bracelets always feel fresh, as they only stay in the same arrangement for a few months at most… by that time she will have found a few more treasures and will be inspired to try something new, and create something beautiful using the newest arrivals in her jewellery box.

It’s a great reminder to the rest of us to actively enjoy our collections, redesign often and only pick beads that we love, knowing that if we do, they’ll all fit in beautifully.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Pearl Flower” clasp, “Gold Spacer” (retired), “Red-Pink Prism” (retired), “18k Lotus”, “Christmas Limited Edition”, “Heart Spacer” (retired), “Diamond Bead, Gold”, “Ruby with gold core”, “Stars, 18k and diamonds”, “Universal Unique”, “18k and diamonds Bougainvillea”, “Pink Bud”, “Unique Raspberry Armadillo”, “2+2 18k”, “Universal Unique Fern”, “18k Endless”, “Diamond Bead, Pink”, “Mountain Crystal” (world tour Switzerland), non-troll, “Christmas Limited Edition”, “18k initial N”, “Red-Pink Prism” (retired), “18k spacer” (retired).



Trollbeads Inspiration: RT’s Warm Pink Update

Regular readers of this blog will recall RT’s beautiful collection of pink beads – including a number of “Raspberry Armadillos”!  She popped in for a visit and we were thrilled to see the recent changes she has made to her bracelets…

Her pink bracelet, has transformed into a warm pink composition with the addition of a series of buttery yellow beads that used to be a part of her green bracelet.  This delicious, exotic palette feels like a riviera sunset, or a singapore sling… I particularly like the series of beads shown above, their patterns echo each other so perfectly.

This bracelet, with its many rare, hard-to-find beads in glowing colours, so artfully combined…has become a masterpiece…