Trollbeads Inspiration: Late Summer Blooms

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IMG_0605The other morning when pottering in the back garden I came across this big, beautiful oriental lily in full bloom!  I had completely forgotten that I planted these bulbs… so it was a wonderful surprise.  It is a showstopping plant that has the most intoxicating fragrance, and glistens in the sunshine.  What a treat, especially in the late Summer garden, when so many other plants are now past their very best and looking just a bit tattered.

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IMG_0602Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to create a “Late Summer Blooms” inspired bracelet.  The arrival of this beautiful, retired Tibetan Series glass bead provided the starting point.  “Kyang” features a delicate shell pink base with a whimsical black and white overlay, and mandarin dots that nestle into the wave of black and white.

IMG_0604I often see this bead placed on bold black white and orange compositions… it is lovely there too – but I thought I would try it on a bracelet that brings out the lovely shade of pink on its base.

I chose a handful of delicate pink beads to accompany this venerable design… a “Rose Quartz”, “Engraved Romance” and this glittering heart unique.  All the pinks glow with a warm hue.

IMG_0608Warm pinks for the Late Summer Sun

IMG_0603There is no mistaking this pink composition for a Spring bracelet – it feels like pinks that have been toasting in the hot Summer Sun for months and are on the brink of turning for Autumn.  To gently transition these pinks to late Summer and hint at the Fall season to come, I added lots of warm espressos and hits of chocolate.

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IMG_0606I love the way that the espresso uniques chat nicely with the hint of black in the centerpiece “Kyang” bead.  I didn’t want to add too much orange to this composition, but alluded to and echoed the mandarin dots in the Tibetan bead with the amber tones of the small and beautiful uniques that help to give a finishing flourish to this bracelet.

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  Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Flower Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Art Deco” (retired), “Pink Petals”, “Unique Glass”, “Desert Rose”, “Royal”, “Limited Edition Summer 2014 Flourish”, “Engraved Romance”, “Kyang” (retired), “Rose Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2010”, “Summer Dot”, “Art Deco”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

All beads featured today are currently in stock at Tartooful.  tartooful@gmail.com, 604-924-0122 or drop by and pay us a visit in the village!

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: Icelandic Poppies

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IMG_0524Have you ever come across Icelandic Poppies?  They are charming little flowers, a subtle and delicate variety of the Papaver family.  They grow best in sub polar, boral regions and originally grew in Asia and Europe – but not Iceland.  They naturally occur in shades of white and buttery yellow, but varieties have been developed in a gorgeous, juicy array of

IMG_0523colours that include every shade of orange, pink and coral.  Despite the tropical feel of they colours available, they have no taste for heat, preferring gentle climates with cool winters and mild Summers.  They are a short lived perennial which will last longest in the garden if your Summers are cool.  Some people simply grown them as biennals, making the assumption that they will last about that long.

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IMG_0522I’ve always loved these delicate little flowers, and in past years, when I have had them in the garden, I’ve often picked them to enjoy in vases.  They are such paper thin, transparent flowers that one would think that they’d wilt immediately – but unlike most poppies they do quite well, happily lasting several days.

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Today’s confection of delicate, transparent colours such as coral, buttery yellow and pink is inspired by these lovely flowers…

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“Dragon Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Baltic Gold”, “Unique Glass”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Pebbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Orange Agate”, “Scarab”, “Limited Edition Carnelian”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Carnelian”, “Scarab”, “Limited Edition Orange Agate”, “Unique Glass”, “Coral Bubbles”(retired), “Art Deco” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Unique Glass”, “Copper Bead”.

All beads taken from current Tartooful stock.

C/

Trollbeads Inspiration: A different light

IMG_0517Aquarium Pastel Takes on a Whole Different Look

IMG_0515In today’s bracelet I play with the same Aquarium Pastel bead that was recently featured on a coral bracelet.  However, today’s bracelet has a completely different look than that one… today my goal was to show how various contexts and  compositions can dramatically change one’s perception of a given bead design.

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IMG_0514As I mentioned in the previous entry, I shied away from Aquarium pastel in the past, as I wasn’t enamoured of the idea of a chocolate and turquoise combination.  Over time that colour combination has actually grown on me, but in the meanwhile I found other ways to feature this fascinating bead.  Birds’ egg blue and coral offers one beautiful setting for this bead, but so does today’s even more subtle combination.

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IMG_0513I resisted the temptation to add lots of warm, terracotta  touches to this composition. Instead I decided to keep it cool with lots of icy blue, nearly black browns, and hints of mossy green.  I selected knot work patterned silvers that are minimalist and simple in order to maintain a wonderfully calm look for this understated bracelet.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp”, “Grey Prism”, “Sandstone”, “Unique Glass”, “Three in One”, “Unique Glass”, “Silver Mountain”, “Labradorite”, “Path of Life”, “Milan”, “Traces”, “Cliffs”, “Three Siblings”, “Unique Glass”, “Aquarium Pastel”, “Limited Edition Christmas in Hawaii Glass”, “Lucky Knot”, “Grey Wolf”, “Ancient Palace”, “Unique Glass”.

Beads taken from in-stock Tartooful stock.

C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Limited Edition Blue Quartz

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 tartooful@gmail.com!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 29 – The Gratitude Bracelet

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IMG_9853Many years ago now, I was at the life celebration of a dear friend who was taken from this world far too young.  We were all doing our best to maintain our composure, and express the happy, positive attitude that our friend epitomized… when a song she had chosen by the artist Dido began to be played.

 

“I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life”

IMG_9852Here we were, gathered to express our gratitude for her beautiful life, and in the midst of our grief, she thanked us.  It was a powerful moment, a devastatingly beautiful and emotional moment… and an experience that will never leave me.  It taught me a critical lesson in the enormous power and strength of gratitude.

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IMG_9854We are very close to the end of the 30 day challenge… and I wanted to take time now, before it is all over for another year, to make up a gratitude bracelet.  This design is composed entirely from beads that have been gifted to me.  Of course, there are too many beads from my lovely community of Trollie Friends to fit them all on just one bracelet…but this composition can be a symbol of all the love that can be carried on each of our bracelets.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Chess Lock – from Melanie”, “Unique Amber – from Lisa”, “Heart – from Greg”, “Unique Glass – from Krista”, “Ball of Yarn – from Nadine”, “Unique Amber – from Nadine”, “Unique Artisan Bead – from Georgina”, “Unique Glass – from Paddy”, “Deck of Cards – from Trollbeads Denmark”, “Violet Petals – from Lisa”, “Retired Turquoise Dot – from Melanie”, “Unique Glass – from Laurie”, “Paradise Birds – from Phillis”, “Unique Glass – from Cristi”, “Unique Glass – from Trollbeads Denmark”, “Unique Glass – from Lisa”, “Smiling Cylinder – from Eric”, “White Steel – from Rob”, “Zanzibar – from Greg”, “Rosa Pearl – from Nadine”.

To all of you who have contributed to both my collection of beads, and my collection of beautiful days… Thank you.

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 23

IMG_9791Continuing on on the manner in which I began…

in-the-mannerToday I came across an old photo of my very first few Trollbeads… A couple of beads that are in the photo are no longer in my collection – someone must have fallen in love with them along the way – but most of them are still in regular rotation.

IMG_9786My Very first bead was this “Silver Mountain”.  I remember that it mesmerized me immediately, and there was no way I could resist its charms.  With its’ unique blend of earthy texture, palest aqua blue, and shimmering silver – it was a visual feast.  I still adore it, and find a place for it on so many of my daily bracelet compositions.

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IMG_9788I decided to design a bracelet using my original beads as much as possible, and complete the design in a similar aesthetic with more recent acquisitions.  The photo at left shows my first silver, a Heart that was selected for me by my then-sweetheart-now-husband, Greg.  It’s satisfying simplicity works nicely with my next choice

IMG_9785of silver, the now retired “Sparrow”.  As soon as I saw this sweet-faced, chubby little bird I knew I had to add it to my bracelet in memory of my Mother.  She loved to sit at her comfortable kitchen table and look out over her bird filled garden.  She waged a hilarious battle with the fat squirrels who liked to raid her well stocked feeders.

IMG_9782Bee on Hive

IMG_9789Of course, I wanted my bracelet to not only reflect the ones I loved, but also a little of my own essence as well.  I’ve always identified with the Bee as a personal symbol…. Bees are busy, useful, little creatures that spend all their time working in our gardens to take care of their family, making good things from of little bits of plant that we barely even notice.  I’d like to be more like a bee!  I chose a now-retired “Bee on Hive” to remind me of my core values…

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Peacock Pearl”, “Light Blue Dot”, “Unique Glass”, “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Sparrow”, “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Artisan Stone”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Silver Mountain”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “Van Gogh – World Tour Netherlands”, “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Brown Dot” (retired), “Rosa Pearl”.

It’s hard to believe that my earliest beads and I have been together on this Trollbeads Journey for seven years, now… goodness where has the time gone?!

C.

30 Day Challenge: Day 11

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Today’s bracelet is another twist on my Pomegranates & copper colour combination – but this time instead of going light, I’ve gone dark!  Today is decadent Raspberry and rich Chocolate for a delicious bracelet.  The saturated clarets, berries and reds of this bracelet

IMG_9443could be overwhelming for me – I usually lean towards the West Coast water colour tones.  However, when I teased this combination together I was delighted to find that the addition of the deep natural browns seems to soften the impact of the cherry tones, making it much more wearable for me!  This will very definitely be back together again after the end of the challenge…

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IMG_9442It all began, of course, with a Ruby.  (as so many happy Troll Tales do…) I placed it right in the middle, where it could hog the spotlight the way Rubies like to.  I framed it with a couple of interesting, muddled up browns for texture and shimmer… Hard to believe that the bead at right is an Azure Bubbles – and then just took it from there!

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IMG_9441Funny thing… I like to try to imagine the artisans who make our beads… and I have an imaginary scenario that I play with in my strange brain, where some artist is slightly disgruntled about the retirement of “Brown Desert”.  After that lovely bead was retired I noticed quite a few ultra-dark examples of “Blue Desert”, as if somewhere there was a glass artist who just wouldn’t let go of the brown!  Continuing in my silly fantasy story:  perhaps after he was told to stop making deserts he decided to start making “Brown Bubbles”, and the above bead is the happy result!  Silly, I know, but it makes me happy.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Red-Pink Prism” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), Scott Bouwens Artisan Glass Bead, “Unique Glass”, “Tigers Eye”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Ruby with Silver Core”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Spot” (retired), “Smoky Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Bee on Hive” (retired), Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

30 day Challenge: Happy Mothers Day!

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IMG_9504Today I tried to pick beads as if they were flowers, and turn them into a bouquet that I can wear on my arm!  I tried to hold images of my Mother in my head as I was playing this together, and take my cue from her exquisite taste… I often pick beads more for their aesthetic than their meaning, but for today’s bracelet I really wanted to think hard about each addition, and to include both elements for greater meaning.

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IMG_9503I knew there must be flowers, for my Mother’s amazing garden.  “Van Gogh” brings blossoms into the design.  The Sparrow is for the bird feeders in Mum’s garden, and their flocks of feathery visitors.  Mum used to love sitting at her kitchen table, watching the birds enjoy her beautiful garden – and she waged a quiet war against the fat

IMG_9507squirrels who grew even fatter on her luxurious bird seed.  The “Bee on Hive” is for the bumblebees who loved her garden so well, buzzing amongst the tea roses, clematis, bergamot and honeysuckle.  All these silver designs seemed perfectly “Mum” to me… but the “Sweater” and “Ball of Yarn” are perhaps the most meaningful of all.

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IMG_9502My Mother could make incredibly perfect things with her hands… she spun, wove, knit, embroidered, quilted, and crocheted with love, creativity and passion, creating textiles that truly were art.  I’m very lucky to still have and enjoy many of the beautiful pieces she made.  On a previous Mothers Day I wrote about a very special Sweater of hers… If you’d like to see her work, take a peek.  The “Ball of Yarn” and “Sweater” beads are an homage to my Mother’s skilled hands.

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IMG_9501Finally, after taking care over the selection of very special silvers… it was time to pick a palette of colours that would be equally meaningful.  I toyed with several possibilities, but in the end I found that a subtle, soft array of apricots, blues and greens felt right.  It brings to mind the natural colours of the flowers and foliage in her garden, as well as the timeless Liberty prints that she favoured for Summer dresses and scarves.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Lock” (retired), “PInk Prism”, “Bee on Hive”, (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique Glass”, “Aurora Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Sweater” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Van Gogh” (World Tour Netherlands Series), “Rosa Pearl”.

To all of our very special ladies… those of you who are Mothers and Grandmothers, caring for your families – as well as those of you who quietly mother so many others, taking care of loved ones as if they were your own – thank you for all you do.  We see how hard you work, and how much you care.  You are appreciated, cherished and loved.

Happy Mothers Day!

C.