Trollbeads Inspiration: Hidden Garden Bracelet


The arrival of this stunning “Glass Trolls” made me want to create a bracelet matched its dewy and light as air mood.

With delicious shades of apple green, to golden honey, to aqua and forget-me-not blue, the dichroic glass acts as an inspiration and focal point for the whole bracelet.


This allows me to pull together a diverse set of blues and greens that include turquoise, teal, sage, birds egg blue and even this gorgeous Emerald that takes the center position in the composition.

A pair of newer design uniques come in handy for knitting together the palette as well… these swirled glass patterns hide every shade in the bracelet, with periwinkle to teal and all shades of blue between.  I love the dimension of pattern in these glass; they invite the eye to dive right into their cerulean depths.

I find that “Tropical Travels” is a good match for the size and lush mood of this “Glass Trolls”, and I’ve added a slightly smaller “Royal” and “Ornamental Flower” to complete the set of silvers.  To me, the overall mood of this bracelet is a Summers afternoon in a rich garden.  Perhaps this verdant place is in an exotic locale, like a Florentine Palazzo’s courtyard, adorned with vines and fountains….


Clockwise from clasp:  “Small Fish Lock” (Summer 2016 Release), “Unique Glass”, “Ancient Palace”, “Royal”, “Blue Agate”, “Florence”, “Traces”, “Glass trolls”, “Unique Glass”, “Blue Agate’, “Emerald”, “Blue Agate”, “Unique Glass”, “Tropical Travels”, “Florence”, “Blue Agate”, “Silver Mountain”, “Ornamental Flower”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Unique Glass”.


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.


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”.


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…


Trollbeads Inspiration: A Perfect Tableau


IMG_8179Inspiration for new Trollbeads designs may be found absolutely anywhere… a flower bed, a photo spread in a magazine, a shop window… or in film or television.

Many of my favorite films have cinematography and set design that is colour drenched and utterly delicious to the eye.

omg colour.

IMG_8181Recently I was watching one of my little vices, “Mr Selfridge” on Netflix, and was transfixed by a tableau in the background of one of the scenes.  This television series is a feast for the eyes, with huge, dramatic scenes that could inspire endless combinations.  This scene is not one of those huge moments, it’s a very humble moment and is over in an instant.

IMG_8180I don’t know why this particular scene caught my imagination so much, but it truly did.  I paused the show on my computer screen, and quickly obtained an image of the gorgeous colour combination.  Sitting down at the work table at Tartooful, I set about harnessing that inspiration to create a new bracelet design.


IMG_8189I usually find two-colour bracelets the simplest to compose, and so easy to balance… so this palette, with not two, not three, but *five* colours was a bit of a challenge for me!  Each of the colours in the photo is subtle, and just a little complex, so the first thing I did was browse the display for beads that echoed one hue of the inspiration piece.

IMG_8182After I had a neat little stack of beads I began to play and see how I could arrange and balance them to create a similar feel to the original inspiration photograph.  Once I had the beads on a playtray, I found that the seemingly unrelated colours of slate blue, celadon grey, soft teal, lilac, coral and grey meshed together surprisingly easily.

IMG_8187“Angel feathers”, a wonderfully detailed silver design…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Blue Desert”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Cave”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blossom Bead”, “Blue Green Feather” (retired), “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Sapphire with silver core”, “White Petals”, “Organic Bubbles”, “Path of Life”, “Silver Mountain”, “Golden Cave”, “Purple Bud” (retired), “Angels’ Feathers”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Rich Teal


IMG_7898Here’s a rich bracelet composition for the holiday season that feels festive enough to wear with your favorite little black dress, but simple enough to enjoy while schlepping about town in sweater and jeans.  The soft teal and deep mossy green are natural neutrals for us here on the coast.  We are are surrounded by every

IMG_7897possible shade of green all year round here and in a real way, it forms the backdrop for our life.  Perhaps it’s for this reason that I see myself wearing this bracelet with practically any colour, from clean blacks, greys or whites to pink, purple, blue, yellow and so on.  There are so many lovely beads on this bracelet, but the Golden Quartz surely steals the scene!


IMG_7900The Golden Quartz is so rich, so golden, so bright and so sparkly… it really is an exceptional example.  In this design I’ve paired it with a juicy, maple syrup toned unique amber that contains a few fascinating flecks that sparkle nicely in the light.

IMG_7895As green can be such a basic neutral for me, I wanted to give this bracelet design a little extra grandeur, and so selected silvers that offer lots of drama.  The new Spiritual collection for Autumn 2014 offers a gorgeous pair of silvers that fit the bill.  “Spiritual Ornament” and “Spiritual Adornment” are very similar in  size, and complementary in design, which makes them a popular choice to be used in tandem.


IMG_7899In addition, the gesture of using a pair “Lotus Top” to frame the central “Green Jasper” adds a touch of formality to the central core composition.  Aren’t the matched pair of teal and gold glitter uniques perfectly delightful?  They make me happy, just looking at them.  Finally, The simple, deep purple unique at left beautifully echoes the glitter theme.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Bow Lock”, “Unique Black Amber”, “Unique Swirl”, “Unique Black-Purple Glitter Flower”, “Snowballs”, “Oasis”, “Unique Maple Syrup Amber”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Unique Teal Glitter Floral”, “Lotus Top”, “Green Jasper”, “Lotus Top”, “Unique Teal Glitter Floral”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Golden Quartz”, “Mist Bubbles”, “Royal”, “Unique Black Glitter”, “Unique Teal dot”, “Turquoise Prism”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 19


IMG_5808This is a bracelet that I’m giddy to wear!  I love the blend of warm amber and rich turquoise, and there’s just enough pattern to keep it interesting – but not so much that it competes with the brilliant colour.  However, the thing I like best about this bracelet is that I am able to make it with my collection of beads.

Allow me to explain…

Last year when I tackled this challenge I found out a few things about myself, my

IMG_5809taste in colour, and my strengths and weaknesses as a Trollie.  I also learned a little about the shortcomings of my own collection!  We’ve all been there… we’re seduced by a gorgeous glass unique, and knowing that we will never, ever, in a billion years ever find another like it… we snap it up, even though we might know that what we

IMG_5807 really need to round things out is a new silver or two, or perhaps a neutral that gives our drama queen uniques a little space to breathe.  Last year I discovered that I golden ambers as a neutral, complementary note on tons of great colour

IMG_5810combinations… and that I really needed to add a few more in order to be able to make those combinations work.  I also discovered that I liked working with round, well matched silvers, especially on bracelets with a higher proportion of silver to glass, and felt I wanted to acquire a few more of those as well.   This bracelet is a perfect example.  I have a

IMG_5811bright, turquoise and teal beads – but not so many.  When dropped strategically around the bracelet, and mixed in with a generous dollop of silver and amber,  this bracelet works perfectly.  Last year at this time I wouldn’t have been able to create this full composition. Thanks to my acquisitions over the past year I’m finding it much

easier this year to create some very fun new designs for myself… and lots more designs that I am sure I will want to create again!




Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s Tropical Holiday Bracelet


IMG_4567This bracelet design by Cristi came together in a flash… she was playing together some new bracelet ideas with her collection, and this palette almost built itself, jumping onto the playtray rod in only a minute or two.  It’s not that it’s so familiar to her – I can’t recall her ever having worn this palette before.  However,  this grouping of

IMG_4569colour drenched beads is so powerful and rich that by following their lead Cristi was able to rapidly create this gorgeous composition.  She scattered the unifying teal and turquoise beads evenly across the bracelet… made sure that the two flame coloured beads were well spaced and balanced on either side of the design… and then filled in the rest

IMG_4568of the bracelet with warm golden glass elements.  Lots of silver allows the eye a chance to pause as it takes in the saturated colour.  Too many glass in a row makes it harder to really “see” each bead as an individual design.  Golden toned beads used here include a lovely unique, Lime Prism, Honey Dawn and the hard-to-place “Power Chakra”


IMG_4570You’ll note that Cristi has placed complementary tones together in each micro composition of glass elements – creating greater colour contrast and a high energy feel to the overall bracelet design.  She centered the Lime Prism, as it is a little different in shape and tone than any of its companions on this bracelet.  This is usually the simplest way to utilize a bead that otherwise might throw off the balance of a design.


As soon as Cristi had teased this joyful design together she declared that it felt like a Tropical getaway… I’d have to agree!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi & Cathy’s Peacock Bracelets


twins14I’m calling these twinned designs our “Peacock” Bracelets for the iridescent, Limited Edition Pearls of the same name that appear in both bracelets.  Funnily enough we’ve had our challenges with these beautiful beads… I selected a lovely, slate blue version for myself when they were still available as a part of the collection.

twins11I loved it, wore it, and showcased it in many bracelets that appeared in this blog.  A couple of months ago it vanished, likely by accident into a lady’s bead bag while playing at the gallery.  One day it may come to light, and if it does I am sure it will come home, as our Trollies are notoriously honest!  

twins12Meanwhile, Cristi always admired the pearls and regretted not having picked one out while they were still at the shop… So just before Christmas I took the plunge, reached out and acquired a pair of these luscious pearls for the two of us.  Cristi’s has a distinct emerald shimmer, while mine has one that is more of an indigo blue. 


twins3Labradorite fascinates us, with its’ shifting planes of iridescence.  These stones exhibit colours that can vary from teal, to cobalt, silver, pink and even lavender.  It’s a softer stone, and my old but lovely example bears battle scars from being worn on a bracelet over the years.  I now mostly wear it on my Fantasy Necklace to offer it some protection.


twins4Compositions in these general tones have come together for each of us so many times over the years… with various beads and in different formats.  I’ve created leather necklaces, and thick, doubled leather bracelets in this palette, and Cristi has put together so many beautiful Fantasy Necklace designs in the same vein.

twins2The reasons why we keep coming back to this palette are simple:  it’s rich, gorgeous, and wearable. We wear these pieces with everything from white tees to LBDs.  If there is such a things as one, go-to palette, this is it.


(“Oh… this old thing?”)


The twinned Peacock Bracelets…

Next up… more fun and games with beads as we delve deeper into Cristi’s collection.






Trollbeads Inspiration: Daydream Bracelet


“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

-Dr Seuss.

great-waveIt’s such a wonderful quotation, isn’t it?  One of my favorite authors and illustrators, never without a quirky, pithy mot juste.

It certainly feels appropriate for this bracelet, which was inspired by the idea of making a daydream design.  I wanted to put the “Wave of Dreams”, “Silver Lining” and “Thoughts are Free” all

fierce-blueon one composition, to evoke some quiet time of reflection, where one’s thoughts could wander freely.  I’m imagining this idyllic daydream happening on a perfect perch by the ocean where one can lie among the windblown trees, gaze out at the sea and simply watch the clouds as they scuttle past in a fiercely blue sky. 

autumn-blues3We’re lucky to have lots of those magical places nearby to our home, where the mountain just falls suddenly into the ocean with lots of scrubby trees tumbling down the rocks.  The rocks, lichen, trees and plants all are palette of mossy to emerald greens.  The ocean can take on a rich teal if the sky is clear, but clouds often turn it slate grey.

thoughts-plus-clouds=daydream This bracelet’s teal and brilliant blues feel very appropriate for the season… very denim-y and warm.  The olive notes stop it from being too tropical… and I’m particularly pleased with the way the blues bring out the aqua accents in the new Autumn series beads.  Olive is a colour that I always find useful as a way to give brights a bit of “edge”, and

grey-prism-is-really-greenwith the retirement of “deep bubbles” I found myself reaching for Summer Stones, Labradorite, and ransacking the uniques selection to fill that role.  It’s wonderful to have these new designs to play with.  (Hey Trollbeads, another with apricot highlights would be handy?)  One final tip: a bead that plays as olive is the “Grey Prism”…





Trollbeads Inspiration: Red China


IMG_1913At Tartooful we often are inspired to create an entire composition by just one bead, and that’s exactly what happened here… Cristi has always been fond of the now-retired “Red China”, and when one arrived at the shop she couldn’t wait to play!


IMG_1909Trollbeads romantically described “Red China” this way:

“Spring festival in China, or Chinese New Year, has inspired this bead.  Fireworks and glowing man-made comets alight in the rosy sunset.”

IMG_1910One can see at a glance that this is an older Lise Aagaard design.  When I first got to know Trollbeads it was still in the collection, perfectly current.  Now this sought-after bead, with it’s simple style, and basic pattern arrayed across the surface of the bead, seems charmingly naive.  It’s a beautiful reminder of how far Trollbeads design has evolved.

IMG_1911It’s amazing that after all this time, its colours are still perfectly in tune with current fashion trends… with jewel tones showing strongly in the Autumn collections, one is sure to be wearing ruby red, teal and vicuna.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Unique”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Ladybug”, “Unique Amber”, “Forget-me-not”, “Universal Unique”, “Red China – retired”, “Three Flowers”, “Coral Wave”, “Green Flower Mosaic”, “Eidelweiss – world tour Switzerland”, “Golden Quartz”, “Mountain Flower”, “Unique”, “Belly Chakra”.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 4

IMG_1176Day 4

IMG_1171As day four rolls around I am feeling a little fuzzy, after a whirlwind of a day yesterday.  I am in the mood for something comfortable and familiar, with a touch of decisive clarity.

The result is familiar teals and greens, with a hint of crisp white and black to give it some snap.  I began as I begin so many of my favorite bracelets, by reaching for my beloved “Silver Mountain”.  It was my very first bead, and it is still my favorite.

IMG_1172I didn’t want to stay in the light blue tones, so I added rich teals such as this retired “Blue Green Feather”, one of the “Christmas in Australia” series, a green lilac armadillo lookalike unique, and a very green “Organic Bubbles”.  My new “Canadian Jade” grounds it nicely with a deep rich green which is echoed in the lustre of my limited edition “Peacock Pearl”.  So far most of these combinations were well within my usual comfort zone, and might have appeared on any number of bracelets over the years.

IMG_1174However, with the addition of the “Black Spot” and “White Steel” it took on a fresh appearance.  This reminds me a little bit of a Summer fantasy necklace that I made up for myself last year, one day at the beach.  It was inspired by a beautifully worn, crisp blue and white quilt, and featured my tricky-to-use World Tour “Sakura” bead.







Perhaps it’s the memory of that quilt that makes this feel comfortable yet crisp?

IMG_1167This feels just right for today…