Trollbeads design Challenge: Day 13


IMG_1420Today I woke up determined to work with some of the beads that I hardly ever incorporate into my designs.  I adore the brilliant turquoises, teals and blues in this bracelet, but find them overpowering when blended in with my subtle and misty hues.  They really need their own composition to shine unabashedly.

IMG_1421The Sakura bead from Japan’s World Tour collection is a much loved bead that I find tricky to incorporate into my day to day designs.  I love the depth and detail of this bead’s flowers.  The touch of apricot and yellow at the center of the flowers gives it that lift that makes me smile.  I must make better use of this bead.

IMG_1426However, I am realistic about my taste; I need to find a way to celebrate these colours without feeling like my bracelet is wearing me.  Maybe using deeper olives and greens might work?


I tried adding a touch of olive to my leather bracelet of day 7, and was quite happy wearing that… so perhaps that shade of green is a good bet.  Olive has long been a neutral that we’ve used at Tartooful for our clients designs to tone down bracelets that are too brilliant, or too sweet.  I don’t know why it’s so easy to see solutions for other peoples’ bracelet conundrums and so hard to see them for ourselves!


I could have put a few more of my greyed-olive beads on this bracelet to make it even more subdued, but for today’s exercise I wanted to make use of as many of my bright turquoises as possible.  I do think, however that a couple of Labradorites would be great on this design.  At first I thought I had to leave the green-lilac unique armadillo off the bracelet, because of the purple… I decided to use it after all when I remembered the lilac in the “Sakura” bead, and used them opposite each other in the design.  I selected silvers that are appropriate for a water theme… “Cells”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Big”, “Waves”, “Spot”, “Viking Ship”, and “Frogs” all found their way onto this bracelet.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Pale & Pretty Stones


Today’s bracelet reveals the soft and pretty side of the new Summer Stones…


IMG_1051With buttery yellow, the softest pink, and sage green this bracelet is a frosted treat.  It puts me in mind of velvety Lamb’s Ears blooming pinkly in the late Spring Garden, printed cotton sundresses, and fragrant woolly thyme.  Just as in nature, this faded sage green pairs beautifully with sunbleached pinks, yellows and blues.

IMG_1045This barely-there-blue bubble unique is a perfect companion to the retired “Light Blue Shadow” and shimmering light blue unique flower that are dotted about the bracelet.  This icy blue is picked up again in the depths of the labradorite, and is an ideal foil to the other light as air colours of the bracelet’s palette.

IMG_1044One of the intriguing effects of the clear, shimmering glass is that it reflects the colours of its neighbouring beads.  The combination creates the illusion of colours on the bracelet that aren’t actually present.  The sage green that appears in the depths of  this clear, lemon-yellow amber is really a reflection of the blue on either side.


IMG_1046Isn’t this colour wonderful?  It’s like pink flowers floating in champagne.  I wanted a warm pink in this composition, rather than one with a cool undertone, so I selected the apricot coloured “Pink Prism” for one end.  Warm pinks are hard to find in the regular collection glass, so I paired it with Rose Quartz and this glowing unique.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Universal Unique”, “Labradorite”, “Sweater”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Unique Amber”, “Universal Unique”, “Chinese Zodiac Limited Edition”, “Green Rhyolite”, “Rose Quartz”, “Universal Unique”, “Paradise Birds”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “Water”, “Universal Unique”, “Canadian Jade”, “Pink Prism”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Whisper


This whisper of a bracelet is filled with beads that merely hint at their colour… a dab of butter, a drop of liquid blue, a rumour of gold…

IMG_0970I love to wear bracelets that are this soft and subtle… their gentle palette feels calm and blends effortlessly with the greys, denims, and linens that populate my wardrobe.

In this case, I created the palette to frame and enhance the Dendritic Agates that are repeated throughout.


IMG_0964I wanted to highlight the crisp white background and slate blue speckles of these lovely specimens.  Each and every Dendritic Agate has its own unique personality… some are ivory and the patterning has a warmth about it.  Others are pure white with only a smattering of charcoal, and others still have translucent areas that look like Chalcedony.

IMG_0966In a bolder palette the slate tone of these pretty examples might have been lost, so I selected the softest blues in our current collection to gently coax the blue out of these stones.  The the buttery ambers, uniques and “Silver Trace, Gold” complement the soft blue, making it feel more distinct and a touch more intense.


I picked smooth and simple silvers for this composition, to keep the calm aesthetic and allow the light to reflect among the luminous glass…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Heart Print”, “Unique Amber”, “Water”, “Cool Dusk”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Universal Unique”, “Frames”, “Universal Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Universal Unique”, “Love Within”, “Universal Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Blue Shadow” (Retired), “Water”, “Nougat Flower”, “Lucky Knot”, “Unique Amber”.


The Most Tartooful Time of the Year

The Tartooful Crew are all resting and cocooning with our families at this special time, but we want to say Merry Christmas to all of you! Thank you to everyone who sent us your good wishes, and brought a little Tartooful treat home to put under the tree. (…and a special thank you to N.O. For the artful & delicious baking!)



To the Land of the Troll & Back Again.

As many of our readers know, I’ve just returned from a few days in Copenhagen and Malmo… (I’m really so lucky!)

I love to go on these trips.   It’s a hurricane of preparations before we leave, arranging for the children’s care, a housesitter, Teemo’s care (Thank you so much, Cristi!) and of course, someone to mind the store and help our ladies on my regular days.  (And again, the wonderful Cristi…  Really, what would I do without you?)

However, despite the cost, time, hassle and stress – it’s worth it.  Thanks to the far reaching gaze of the internet we can know visit cities virtually, using google maps and other tools, so we can see the architecture, the colours, and the layout of the place… but it’s not the same experience.

On these trips I find so much inspiration, and I never fail to reset my aesthetic standards.  It puts to rest any thought of compromise, and makes me want to try harder, find better products, present them more beautifully, and provide a better experience for Tartooful’s customers.

…But the real secret is, it’s the tiny details that inspire me.  The grand avenues, legendary flagship stores and extraordinary architecture are gorgeous, and absolutely give me joy.  However, it’s the simple gesture that elevates the everyday to the divine that never fails to truly inspire me.  For example, in the photo at right, the curves, combined with the subtle and perfect range of tone on tone on tone absolutely sings to me.  If I turned and looked the other way, the view was an astonishing formal garden and palace, but this is the photo I wanted.

To see the everyday life and tiny details of a place, I love to simply walk.  I’ll pore over the map in the morning, get a feel for the overall layout of a place and set myself a few possible objectives.  Beyond that, I simply walk.  And walk.  And Walk.

I meander the streets, popping into odd courtyards, pausing in little parks, sipping coffee where the locals do and asking friendly shop keepers where they think I should wander next.  It’s so much more interesting off the the beaten track.

We stayed at the Fox hotel, a project in which artists create a complete art environment in each room.  There are many similar projects around the world now, but this one retains its credibility as an original idea, with strong artistic independence and integrity.  Our room was spare and minimalist, inspired by raw and unfinished feel of a construction site, or an abandoned industrial area.  Despite the description, it was serene, light filled and comfortable – and came at a very reasonable price compared to the more typical chain hotels.

Greg & I were amazed by the simple and bold lines of the new Royal Library.  So very Scandinavian, with it’s black form against the clear blue sky, and such perfect landscape architecture framing it, giving it the breathing room it needs in the heart of the city.

…But when we meandered the tiny, limestone gravel lined pathways to find the oldest section of the library, we found a traditional European garden, with ancient pillars filled with flowers, a crumbling fountain, flowering fruit trees and this charming cottage.

…So my feet are a little bruised, and my trusty, comfy camper boots are a little scuffed, but my creative soul is recharged, and I can’t wait to pour all my creative energy into Tartooful!

Stay tuned, as in my next post I’ll tell you all about my experience of Trollbeads in it’s home city of Copenhagen…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Desert Pinks by MS

Having been shaped for most of her life by desert places, MS gravitates naturally to colours and textures that offer warmth, light & clarity.

This delicate and beautiful palette is reminiscent of the painted desert of the American southwest… with honey gold, bronze, apricot, soft pink and a touch of chocolate.  The softest and gentlest of compositions, each bead has been carefully chosen to maintain a perfect balance between the golden and pink tones.

This extraordinary “Pink Desert” is the perfect bead to act as a key inspiration piece for this bracelet.  It’s particular shade of pink is very light, soft and very warm – almost peach.  It has lots of variation in its depths and a generous sprinkling of gold dust across its surface.

clockwise from clasp:  “large Flower Clasp”, “Art deco”, “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Translucent Flower”, “Zanzibar”, “Pink Desert”, “Silver Trace, beige blue”, “Wine Harvest”, “Pink Gold”, “Rose Quartz”, “Dew Drops”, “Etruscan (retired)”,  “Golden Cave”, “Pink Prism”, “Lotus”.


Girls Night In

Time to kick the January doldrums!

Capilano Elementary will be hosting a unique fundraiser this Thursday evening, starting at 7pm, for a tiny admission charge of $5, you’re invited to nosh complimentary appies and sip wine, while strolling through a selection of local vendors with tempting treats, picked out just for ladies… It’s the perfect “Girls Night IN”.  The best part is that it’s a completely guilt-free shopping spree, knowing that a big chunk of proceeds is going directly to the school and their information technology program.

Tartooful will be there to support this worthy cause, with all of our favorite pampering treats in tow as well as jewellery by Christy Feaver, Zula, Peony & Peridot, the Be Series and the legendary Trollbeads!

It’ll be a fun night, so bring your girlfriends out, relax and enjoy…


The Beautiful Stories of Trollbeads

Every Trollbeads bracelet that is composed by our customers really does tell a story, and hearing their tales is one of the best parts of being at Tartooful.

The group photo above was taken of my niece Christine on her wedding day, as she received the gift of a couple of special Trollbeads from her new in-laws and sweet Husband Rob.  (As you can imagine, there were more than a couple of beads floating around this family’s wedding!)  Thanks to occasions like this, her lovely bracelet has blossomed and is now almost full of beads.  Her collection is not only beautiful – but meaningful too:  it tells the story of a special few years, when she and Rob were just starting out, buying their first home adopting their adorable pugs, and planning their wedding.  Christine and Rob have started his Mother a bracelet of her own, and when she speaks about it I can hear in her voice how much it means to her, knowing that her son has picked each part of it just for her.

Another wonderful example of a storytelling bead comes from another of Tartooful’s customers… This lady is beautiful, sensitive, intelligent, a wonderful Mum and an accomplished educator.  Imagine the challenge of finding a personal, unique gift to mark a milestone birthday!  Her husband is a Tartooful regular, and has a wonderfully creative & artistic mind, so he thoughtfully hatched a plan to have a bead custom engraved with a phrase that had been tossed around their household leading up to the occasion.  The idea of something planned and created just for you, marked with a phrase that will have special meaning only for the two of you… well, it’s true romance.  What a beautiful story that bead tells.

The beads that go out Tartooful’s door wrapped in little paper boxes and tied with bows carry with them so many beautiful stories… thank you to all of you who share them with us.


The People’s Bead Released Today

The long awaited “Peoples’ Bead” by Denise Tong is released today by Trollbeads!  The announcement says:

“For the third year in a row Trollbeads has hosted the popular and exciting worldwide event People’s Bead.  Launch of the winning People’s Bead 2011 is August 19!

This year more than 4000 entries were uploaded.  Publishing the drawings on the website made it possible for people to vote for the best design.  Among the 10 finalists one bead was voted a winner.

We are very proud to announce the winner of Peoples Bead 2011.  Maybe not too surprisingly, the fans and collectors voted for “Rolling Waves”, made by Denise Tong from Hong Kong.

As the winner of People’s Bead 2011, Denise Tong is our new Trollbeads designer, sharing with us the symbolic image of Rolling Waves.  Not only is the bead graphically beautiful – but it also has an empathic, symbolic message of the strength and unpredictability of our nature.

Denise says:  “Inspirations come from everything and everywhere… one just has to be attentive to her surroundings and feelings.  Once an idea is formed, senses are activated, feelings are evoked, the light at the end becomes visible, then it all comes down to mapping a path to the light and trying out different means to make it happen, back track if it doesn’t feel right.

The winning bead is inspired by the tsunami that swept the east coast of Japan on 11 March 2011.  The ocean has given us many wonderful things – the amazing marine creatures, our food supply, the beautiful water in which we could enjoy numerous sports/activites, etc.  Yet it can also bring about mighty power to do harm in such an unpredictable way.

A thought came to my mind:  We are indeed very small; and we have to be humble and respect nature.  This is the inspiration for “Rolling Waves”.

Find the People’s Bead, Rolling Waves, at Tartooful today.  Please drop by in person at 3183 Edgemont Boulevard to see it for yourself, or call 604.924.0122 or email us at to reserve one just for you…


Trollbeads Autumn 2011: sneak peek?

Speculation is going wild among Trollbeads collectors – the big question… what will be in the Autumn 2011 Release?  Scouring the blogs for clues, I’ve found some very unofficial, totally unsubstantiated (but yummy), rumours.  And pictures…

If what I’ve seen is in fact the collection that will be unveiled next week, the new designs are not going to disappoint…

The glass beads that are being discussed are gorgeous, totally classic Trollbeads, with buttery yellow, teal green, lavender, faded grey, purple and coral.  The coral would be a welcome addition to many of our collectors who have been looking for additional designs to complement their reds, oranges and pinks.  The creamy yellow is very reminiscent of the colour of drifting seeds, which has been a huge star from last Autumn’s collection.  These new yellows would fit beautifully into so many compositions… The soft, warm greys would be a new “must” for all our ladies who are collecting in that colour family…  And of course, the ones that so many collectors would be excited to see are the purple ones – surely one of our most collected colour families.

In addition, it’s rumoured that there will be a new Baby Troll in the Trollbeads family.  The blogs are speculating that it may be part of the Autumn release – or may come out as a special edition.  This silver bead is currently a part of the permanent collection, but featuring a trollstone.  This one features a semi precious stone, most likely a Smoky quartz, but possibly a darker toned golden quartz…

Stay tuned… hopefully the official announcements will come soon.