30 Day Challenge: Day 9


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!


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.


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.


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).


30 Day Challenge: Day 6


IMG_9414Today I played with one of my bracelet wardrobe staples – my “Copper and Pomegranates” design.  I usually include quite a few darker red and raspberry tones, to make the overall bracelet very rich in feel.  My Ruby is usually right in the center!  However, as we approach Summer I felt like trying out a lighter form of that familiar palette.

IMG_9413 I always say that the fastest way to change a bracelet’s appearance is to edit and selectively remove a couple of beads – and in this case it’s certainly true!  I kept only the coppery and pink tones, removing all traces of claret and raspberry – and what a change!  When selecting shades of pink I took care to only include ones with a very warm cast

IMG_9412to them… much more peach or apricot, rather than rose.  I wanted to play up two beads in particular:  The Pink Kimono Bead, named “Sakura” and a beautiful, artisan Champagne Quartz faceted stone.  I adore both of these warm pink beauties, but find that they can be overpowered by the deep claret of my Ruby.  This is their chance to shine.


IMG_9415Here’s the other bead that inspired this bracelet… it’s an artisan glass Armadillo that was made for me by Trollbeads glass artist, Georgina Black on one of her visits to Tartooful.  Any Trollie worth her salt knows that pale pink armadillos are a treasure – and I wanted to give this one the very center of the bracelet.  As it is a shade more rose than the other more warm pinks on the bracelet, I surrounded it with a pair of “Golden Cave” that help to keep the overall balance warm and golden.  Finally, I pulled all my cognac coloured ambers and scattered them evenly around the bracelet for lots of spice!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” (retired format), “Rosa Pearl”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Pink Desert”, “Anniversary Bracelet Two Trolls”, (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series Sakura”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Trollbeads Day 2014”, “Golden Cave”, “Artisan Glass by Georgina Black”, “Golden Cave”, “Bead of Fortune”, “Unique Glass”, “Goldstone” (retired), “Artisan Champagne Quartz”, “Tupilak Mouth”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Pink Prism”, “Unique Amber”.


30 Day Challenge: Day 4


IMG_9395Today is a bracelet that feels very comfortable to me… I am sure that I have made up bracelets nearly the same as this on many occasions, but it’s a colour combination that continues to draw me in, and I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you.  There’s something magical about the combination of apricot and periwinkle.  I find the cool and warm tones to be complementary, and make each other even more beautiful when combined.  It’s the same thing with aqua and lilac….

IMG_9392This bead is always the center of this colour combination for me.  It’s rare these days to find a unique glass Trollbead that is utterly, completely unique – but I think I just might have that elusive creature here.  I’ve scoured all of the online shops, blogs, forums and groups and have never been able to spot another bead quite like this one.

IMG_9396When playing together this combination I wanted to focus on a feeling of soft, glowing light… so I selected as many opalescent, translucent Azure Bubbles as possible, added smooth, luminous chalcedony and a healthy helping of coral toned uniques with lots of clarity and light play.   The bubbles in glass uniques always feel to me like pearls.


IMG_9394Creating a strong framework of beads that are very translucent allows me to add a few select designs that are opaque, without it changing to overall feeling of lightness.  Here “Takma” settles in comfortably among the periwinkles and corals, giving every appearance of being super easy to play with… (Don’t believe it – this can be a tricky bead!)

IMG_9393 Finally, one of our favorite beads with chameleon tendencies:  Blue Desert.  This one has a broad area that feels distinctly golden and coral, with only a little edge of blue on either side.  The glitter makes it feel even more golden, and gives a nice contrast in texture between the other translucent and patterned glass.

IMG_9397This palette is so forgiving, with lots of scope within each colour family, so playing together a bracelet like this is a relaxed and easy process for me.  With such gentle colours, and so many subtle tone on tone transitions, perfect balance becomes less important.  It’s really just about finding beads that fit the dreamy mood.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Limited Edition Chess Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Cells”, “Blue Desert”, “Takma”, “Round Chalcedony” (retired), “Petanque” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Round Chalcedony”, “Chocolate Parrot” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Limited Edition Family of Mushrooms” (World Tour Lithuania Series), “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”.

Do you have a colour palette that is your “comfort zone”?  Do share!  Don’t forget to post your creations on @tartooful Instagram #30daychallenge or on Tartooful’s Facebook Page!


30 Day Challenge: Day 3


day3-detailToday I decided to play with combining beads that I had traditionally thought of as coral, with beads that I had always considered to be golden yellow.  As always, the challenge is helping me to see the true colours and potential of my beloved collection – and it turns out that the “corals” and “golden yellow” are really in the same family!

day3-detail3I first discovered the amazing power of yellow as a complementary tone in my first year of the challenge.  By the end of those thirty days it seemed I had found a use for my few golden ambers on virtually every day, and it was clear that I should find and acquire a few more special yellows to expand that part of my collection.

day3-front-detailAs you can see… a few more did indeed find their way into my design kit, and over the coming days I’d like to explore some of their potential.  Perhaps a pure yellow design?  Hmmm.


day3-detail2In this case, I added just a hint of very subtle blue, using our familiar friend, “Azure Bubbles” and a rather interesting pair of “Blue Deserts”… I can’t resist the combination of slate blue and golden yellow, but in this case the emphasis is not on the few scattered blues, but rather on the various tones and textures of the yellows.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Clasp” – (retired format), “Aber Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Unique”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Van Gogh”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Quartz”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Zanzibar”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Glass”, “Bee on Hive” (retired),  “blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Mint Julep


Mint Green.  It’s a conundrum for me… I love to look at it, but so rarely actually *wear* it.  I find it appealing, but oh so sweet.  Its’ straightforward, clear prettiness is nothing like the hazy, muddy tones to which I am so often drawn.  Perhaps it’s just too cheerful?  Ridiculous, right?  So I sat down to create a design that uses lots of that gorgeous minty green, but in a way that would be delicious even to a soft colour addict like me.  I looked for inspiration and thought of a mint julep – lots of mint, but with a dash of bitters….


IMG_9388I felt spoiled for choice when selecting the minty greens… so many beautiful designs from which to choose!  I  found a super soft and beautiful “Amazonite” as a key element for the bracelet, and added an “Anemones”, as well as two designs from the Spring 2015 series.

IMG_9386“Spring Wave” adds a nice texture contrast to the floral of “Anemones”, while “Seabed” echoes the gold that dots the metal beads.  My goal was to “cut” the sweetness of the green with lots of subtle neutrals, and amplify the impact of the gold to give the overall looke of the bracelet design a grownup edge.  With closer inspection, sophisticated patterning such as found on the swirled and glittered butterfly unique delights the eye.  Greyed browns such as “Smoky Quartz” and the Limited Edition “Christmas 2012” glass, ground the composition, and give it some visual heft.

IMG_9383Lots of mint, but with a dash of bitters…

IMG_9385Finally… the gold.  Of course, gold is pretty much always a good thing – but here it really does take the bracelet to another level.  The iconic “Daisy Bead”, with it’s perfectly imperfect petals… the incredibly detailed retired “Nightingale”, the ying & yang of the “Happy Fish”, the luscious leaf patterning of the “Flowers” bead…(They never show the leaves in the stock photo…) …they’re all gorgeous.  Even one of these beads is a showstopping presence, so a whole group of them like this is just stunning.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Heart Lock”, “Seabed”, “Happy Fish Bead, Silver and Gold”, “Unique”, “Black Gold”, “Anemones”, “The Nightingale”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2012 Glass”, “Amazonite”, “Milan”, “Spring Wave Bead”, “Blue Desert”, “The Daisy Bead”, “Black Silk”, “Unique Glass”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Flowers Bead, Silver and Gold”, “Unique Glass”.

All beads shown in today’s blog post are in stock at Tartooful as of 28 April, 2015… do drop us a line if you are tempted!  604-924-0122, tartooful@gmail.com or see you in the Village…




What Trollbeads Am I wearing? Spicy Pink Mix


IMG_8363I love pairing my bracelets.  I don’t consciously create designs planning to wear them together, but I am always delighted by the effect of pairing various designs.  It’s a whole sub-area of composition!

Today I’m sharing a few snaps of two of my recently renovated bracelets, showing how they can play

IMG_8364nicely together…

Originally these two bracelet palettes were combined into one design that I affectionately called “Copper & Pomegranates”.  It ranged from deep crimson to lightest rose pink, with a healthy dose of sparkle and some spicy undertones.  I loved it and wore it a ton!

IMG_8362In fact, I loved those colours so very much that I slowly ended up adopting a number of similarly coloured beads that wound up being someone inappropriately sprinkled among other designs, in an attempt to justify their acquisition.  (“I want I need I must have”… don’t judge me…)  In the end I had to face facts…


IMG_8361My beloved bracelet had in fact expanded to become two.  So, I sat down and considered… I could have simply created a second, very similar “Copper & Pomegranates”, but I decided that it was much more interesting to create two quite different, complementary bracelets.  This gives me so many more options!

IMG_8365Now I can wear the two bracelets together or apart – or pair each of them with other designs for lots of new combinations.  For example, I often wear the soft pink together with my other pastel blue or green compositions for a completely different look.  The raspberry and chocolate bracelet is wonderful with other earth tones.


In the end, I’m delighted with the changes to what felt like an absolutely “sacred” composition.  I have photos, I can always restore it to its former self… but right now I am loving the new mix!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Double Lobster Clasp” (retired form), “Pink Prism”, “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Trollbeads Day 2014 Limited Edition”, “Artisan Stone”, “Goldstone” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Bead of Fortune part A”, “Golden Cave”, “Custom Bead by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada”, “Golden Cave”, “Bead of Fortune part B”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Kimono Bead Limited Edition”, “Anniversary Troll Limited Edition”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Rosa Pearl”.


Clockwise from clasp: “Double Lobster Clasp” (retired form), “Red Pink Prism” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Brown Desert” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Ruby with silver core”, “Unique Glass”, “Azure Bubbles”, (I know – crazy, right?), “Van Gogh Netherlands World Tour Limited Edition”, “Unique Glass”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Heart”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”.




Inspired Amber


IMG_8043It was a cold and rainy day today, and the village was quiet, with only a few damp shoppers scurrying from car to shop door, bags in hand.  It gave me a chance to play with a project that had been simmering in the back of my mind for a while.  I’ve been thinking of a necklace that is inspired by the warmth of amber, but with some beautiful glass mixed in too,

IMG_8042for a little pattern… a pop of crisp white and the occasional truly beautiful silver to break the beads into manageable groups.

I began by reaching for an array of amber with lots of variation in colour, size and clarity.  Everything from alabaster to ebony is on this necklace, with all the possibilities in between.


IMG_8048Next, I decided how I wanted to design the center of the necklace.  This will, of course, be the most noticeable part of the composition, so it’s important to really love this part.  I wanted a little shine and drama here, so I put an exceptionally large and lovely example of a “Gold silver trace” right in the middle.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 5.34.53 PMI framed it with a pair of natural stones – one “Red Tigers Eye” and one “Smoky Quartz”.  These faceted stones give a little sparkle, but the fact that they are not a matched pair stops the necklace from feeling too formal.  I wanted a more organic, casual mood.  I chose favorite silvers to divide the groupings of colour…


IMG_8044I wanted a necklace that was filled all the way from one clasp to another.  It feels much more modern and powerful to fill it right up, and oddly enough it doesn’t feel as heavy.  I think that when the beads rest on one’s shoulders, instead of pulling forward, the weight is more evenly distributed and easier to manage.  Of course, adding lots of amber helps to keep it light, too.

To design such a long composition I employed two rods from a play tray, and set them side by side.  Working out from the middle of the design, I built one half of the necklace on one rod, and the other half on the other rod.  It was easy to check to see if it was well balanced, simply by placing the two rods side by side.


Clockwise from clasp:  “troll tree Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Clover”, “Unique Amber”, “Stay Positive”, “Unique Amber”, “Jugend”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Unique Amber”, “Golden Cave”, “Ocean”, “White Paper Fold”, “Unique Amber”, “Crown Chakra”, “Unique Amber”, “Paradise Birds”, “Brown Fusion”, “Unique Amber”, “Nougat Flower”, “Goldstone”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Dewdrops”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Silver Gold Trace”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “dewdrops”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Unique Glass”, “Cosy”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Rolling Troll”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Amber”, “Scirocco”, “Unique Amber”, “Angels’ Feathers”, “Golden Cave”, “Unique Amber”, “Crown Chakra”, “Transformation”, “Unique Amber”, “Heart 4 You”, “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Clover”, “Unique Amber”, “Royal”, “Unique Amber”.

What a fun project!  I am feeling inspired to try a necklace using my own collection and see what combinations I can create… Hope you are feeling inspired too!




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 24


Sometimes it’s not so much about the composition, as it is the combination…


I typically wear an armful of different kinds of bracelets: gold bangles, artisan designs, my bronze X by Troll and of course my Trollbeads.


Today I was so delighted with the blend of colour, texture and form, I decided that it was challenge worthy in its own right…


Bracelets joining in today’s arm party include two narrow gold bangles and one wide one, inherited from my Mother… A simple Trollbeads bracelet with only a pair of “Happy Fish” and a retired “Green Lilac Armadillo”… Another Trollbeads bracelet that Is packed full of slate blues and honey golds… And finally, a wonderfully flashy, handmade Labradorite bead bracelet by Tartooful’s own Melanie Matthews.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 22

IMG_5939Embrace the Orange

IMG_5940A few recent conversations with our talented customers have opened my eyes to the potential offered by orange.  I have always found it a little harder to work with the brightest colours, likely due to my preference for the subtle misty blues, lavenders and apricots that populate my personal collection and usually appear in my compositions.


IMG_5942However, in recent weeks I have encountered a number of brilliantly toned designs that have schooled me in the allure of orange and yellow.  First I came across a saffron yellow bracelet that was unabashedly royal

IMG_5937in its approach.  I loved that it didn’t reference buttercups and daffodils, but rather the imperial yellow of the historical Chinese court.  Next one of our clients who very closely shares my taste in colour sent me an inspiring image of her coral toned bracelet.  Altogether, it was time for me to dive into my collection and see what orange possibilities it contained.

IMG_5938I was pleasantly surprised to find enough beads in my own bead bag to create an entire bracelet in this colour family.  Once again, those golden ambers came to the rescue, playing nicely with this palette and filling out the design.  The key bead that sets the tone for the entire design, however, is the orange armadillo at the heart of the composition.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Red Pink Prism” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Golden Cave”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Jugend”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Tigers Eye”, “Shortcut”, “Golden Quartz”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Spot” (retired), “Ruby”, “Unique”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Pink Desert”, “Unique Amber”.