Merry Christmas to All… and to All a Good Night

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A Visit from St. Nicholas

2‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
5Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
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3But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
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Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Trollbeads Inspiration from Leigh Webster!

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Today I’m delighted to feature gorgeous images from Trollbeads collector and Instagram star, Leigh Webster!  Her carefully curated collection and her beautifully designed compositions have been a source of  inspiration for so many of us, and today she has kindly agreed to share a series of images with our readers at Tartooful.

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Trollbeads Spring 2016 collection is now only days away from being officially released, and our ladies have already been making up wishlists for this stunning group of designs… with the softest and most subtle of colours, lots of yummy sparkle and some fresh new silvers that promise to become classics, this is an extraordinarily strong collection.

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As you are making up your personal “lust lists”, it’s fun to think where your new little beauties will settle in among the beads that are already nestled in your bead box.  What will be the companions for the new designs?  There are lots of directions where one could take the new beads, and many possible palettes… but surely the one that Leigh has suggested here is an inspired one!

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The new beads will be right at home among the soft blues offered by “Traces”, “Light Blue Stripe” or “Baby Boy”… and delicious Aurora designs such as “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Aurora Flower” or “Aurora Stripe” will offer the perfect, shimmering mood to match the feminine shimmer and sparkle of the Spring collection.

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Have you peeked in your bead box and started to imagine your new Spring bracelet?  (we have!)  If not, drop by Tartooful with your beads for a Spring redesign!

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Midsummer Blues

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IMG_0506We are well into the long and lazy days of Summer, with little herds of happy kids roaming the village, ice creams in hand… We’ve had months of dry weather, with skies that show of every shade of blue over the course of the day.  Everyone who can possibly swing it has scuttled off to their waterside spot… beach, river, pool or lake…

IMG_3283Where is your favorite place in the sun?

IMG_0504Dendritic Agate feels like beach pebbles…

IMG_0506The most common Trollbeads design request through these balmy months is to “lighten and soften” existing blue bracelets.  It’s natural… over the Summer I reach for soft, breathable linens and cottons in sun bleached tones of grey, aqua, chambray blue and white.  It’s all the colours that can be found on one of our West

IMG_0507 Coast beaches:  water, sky and sand.  For a bracelet or necklace, the same organic soft shades satisfy, and feel just right.

Today I’ve created a West Coast beach inspired bracelet using beads that are currently in stock at Tartooful.  I’ve leaned heavily on the “Rocky Beach” kit by West Coast designer, Scot Bouwens…

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IMG_0505You’ll find two of his beautiful, subtle designs framing the central Dendritic Agate, and a third close to the end of the bracelet.   I added a pair of our beloved “Azure Bubbles” that add a rich, organic note.  Khaki greys are cool but earthy, and the various touches of brilliant cerulean blue evoke a Summer Sky.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Dragon Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Beach”, “Paradise Birds”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blue Agate”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Scarab”, “Stone Flower”, “dendritic Agate”, “Sand Beach”, “Scarab”, Milan”, “Blue Agate”, “Cliffs’, “Etruscan”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Magical Lamp”.

C

30 Day Challenge: Day 4

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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.

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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.

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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!

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Wing Man

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IMG_8780Lately it seems to me that Grey is the ultimate “Wing Man” for brilliant colour…

While I savour colour drenched jewel tones, I find them almost too much for me to wear every day.  Their brilliance delights me, but I tend to reach for the more subtle colour

IMG_8782combinations to wear on a daily basis.

This is where grey comes to the rescue!  Acting as a subtle foil to the brighter jewel tones, this neutral allows jewel tones such as turquoise, cobalt, red, fuschia, emerald or purple to shine without overwhelming.  The strategic use of grey as a “wing man” neutral allows me to introduce those colours to my bead wardrobe.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.28.21 PMThere are, of course, other neutrals that work beautifully in a number of colour blends… Black is a classic foil for all the same colours, but the result is a  slightly different mood.  The addition of black to most jewel tones gives a look that is more formal, more cosmopolitan and perhaps even a bit sultry.  Grey maintains the

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.29.53 PMsophistication, without the boudoir undertones.  It’s a comfortable look, contemporary yet warm and soft.

The addition of a number of new grey designs has been an exciting part of the Trollbeads Spring releases.  Traditional options remain:  “Snowflake Obsidian, Labradorite, “Grey Prism” and Dendritic Agate all offer their own version of the colour.  Now newcomers “Neptune’s Promise” and Tropical Conch” add new choices for the collector, and recently we have received a number of gorgeous grey “Ruby Rock”, with just a whisper of raspberry for interest.  As always, it is the exceptional beads, such as these Ruby Rocks, that particularly delight me.

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Clockwise from Clasp:  “Freya Knot Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Unique”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Endless”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Aurora Flower”, “Transformation”, “Tropical Conch”, “Amethyst”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Three Siblings”, “unique”, “Tropical Conch”, “Purple Prism”.

C.

PS.  Today is that last day for the Spring Bracelet Event –  purchase a decorative lock and receive the sterling foxtail chain at no charge!  Purchase your lock online at Tartoofultoo Online Shop and simply let us know in the notes which length of chain you prefer, or Email us at tartooful@gmail.com or ring us at 604-924-0122 for a personal touch.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: A Breath of Summer…

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IMG_6115Recently here on the West Coast we’ve been treated to the first breath of real Summer… with warm days, and balmy, breezy nights that are just right for resting.  The clear blue sky promises sunny days forever…but of course we know from long experience that we will still see a good dousing of rain before Summer can be relied

IMG_6125upon.  Meanwhile we are all a bit giddy to see bright light after our long dark winter!  I don’t think I am the only one who rushed straight to the beach with the kids… there is nothing that says Summer quite like an afternoon spent poking about at the edge of the water.

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IMG_6121I loved watching as the kids crouched over with rapt concentration on their faces… as they tipped up stones on the rocky beach, checking for the scuttling baby crabs beneath.  They’d cry out in delight as a little orange herd of them would emerge.

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IMG_6116Often they’d jog over to me, to show off one that was unusually pale, or perhaps had a sprinkling of charming freckles.  Meanwhile I happily comb through the pebbles at the water’s edge, marveling at the beauty of each wet stone.  Truly, is there anything more beautiful than perfectly turned beach stones?

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IMG_6128Of course, this all sounds so peaceful… but perhaps I should mention the border collie who keeps it all just a little zany?  She wonders what I am looking for among the rocks and helpfully digs a big hole for me… and then gallops over to check on the children, thinking perhaps she can help out there instead!  Border collies love to help.

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Ah… Summer… welcome back!

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C.

 

Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 17

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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.

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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!

C.

 

 

 

 

 

Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 12

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IMG_5663Today I took inspiration from a silk blouse that was a recent gift from my husband… the patterns and colours make my heart sing, and I decided to play with its palette in a bracelet composition.  I began by picking out the principal

IMG_5662colours that made up the core elements of the design.  Those rich blues, subtle greens, creamy ivories hit of coral and touch of saffron all play so beautifully together.  I had no trouble finding all the right colours in my bead tray, as I favour every single shade.  In fact, the challenge here was editing down all the appropriate beads to a

IMG_5661grouping just big enough for my bracelet.  I could have filled a necklace!  The next challenge for me was to hint at the saffron and coral elements without overwhelming the blues, creams and greens.  Every time I added a rich tangerine note, or golden amber, it seemed to dominate the palette too much to really feel like the

original inspiration.  In the end I settled for a sedate blend of celadon, navy, teal and denimy blue, with the only hit of gold coming from the ribbons of the azure bubbles and the gold dust in the desert beads.  It’s not the riot of colour I origianlly envisioned, but I do like it!

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Unique”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Unique”, “Blue Desert”, “Blue Green Feather” (retired), “Family of Mushrooms” (Lithuania World Tour), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Jugend”, “Sapphire?”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Aventurine” (retired), “Auspicious” (World Tour Hong Kong), “Unique Amber”, “Chinese Zodiac Limited Edition Rooster”, “Christmas in Australia Limited Edition”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Kimono series”, “Petanque” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.

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C.

 

Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 2

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Day 2 and I had an idea that I had been wanting to try for some time… so today was the day.

IMG_5582I’d always hankered to experiment with a composition made up purely of “Azure Bubbles” and “Desert” beads.  I knew I had just enough in my personal collection to pull it off, but somehow had never taken the time to sit down and give it a whirl.  (Note to self, be sure to remember to take the time to stop and sniff the beads…)

IMG_5586So today I was feeling almost smug, as I sat down to try what was surely going to be a stunning combination.  However.  Instead I think I learned the first lesson of this year’s challenge…. because I wasn’t exactly stunned with the result!  Don’t misunderstand me:  I love love love every single one of these beads.

IMG_5583I received lots of compliments from ladies who saw it at the shop, and on paper it ought to be gorgeous.  However, I’m just a little…. underwhelmed.  Even bored…. with the overall effect.

IMG_5584I think it might be that these beads are pretty all together, but in my opinion really sing when given something with a little contrast to make them pop a little more.  I usually combine the softest Azures with other slate blues and lots of clear, honey ambers, and I think that the complementary golden tone makes the Azures simply glow.

IMG_5580So… lesson learned.  Moderation can be a good thing, and Azures play nicely with others!

C