Trollbeads Challenge Day 6


Today is a “More is More” sort of a day.  More colour, more silver, more pattern, just MORE.


It all started because I adopted this “Purple Armadillo”, just as it was being retired.  I tucked it into my bead bag of little “extra”beads that haven’t found their way onto one of my semi permanent combinations.  I thought that I’d get back to it and explore its possibilities during the challenge, and now I’m having a lovely time playing it into all sorts of combinations!   Today I find it at the center of an all-armadillo bracelet.

Each year during the challenge I enjoy playing together all my armadillos to see how the new additions (and subtractions) are settling in.  A few of our Tartooful Trollies have extraordinary armadillo collections, and by comparison mine is very modest… however, I’m pleased that I finally have enough ‘dillos to make a grouping of colours that work together nicely!


For today’s bracelet I chose relatively ornate and complex silvers with a theme of faces, trolls and other (slightly horrifying) creatures… I just love seeing all those ugly little faces peeking out from between the glorious glass beads.  It’s a little bit of shock value, and it makes me smile.



Beyond simply entertaining me, the large silvers serve two very practical purposes in this composition as well… First, the larger silvers offer a visual gap, to allow the eye to pause between shots of intensive colour.  The complex patterns serve to force the eye to take in the design more slowly, and enjoy each element.  In addition the longer silvers such as “Fabled Faces” and “Beads of Fortune” take up more real estate on the bracelet chain, which allowed me to complete this design with only a few armadillos in complementary colours.  I have addition Armadillos in my little bead bag, but selectively weeded them out of this composition as I didn’t feel that their colours matched the intensity of their neighbours.





30 Day Challenge: Day 20


IMG_9688Today I tackled a little project that I’ve been wanting to try for a while… Ever since one of our lovely ladies mentioned a bracelet idea involving massive tribal silvers and all ivory coloured glass, I’ve been wondering if I could create something in this vein from my own collection.  I don’t currently have much in the way of tribal silver beads, but working with what I already had, I have found that between my unique alabaster ambers, glass and silver I can create a full bracelet!

IMG_9696Thank you to Melanie for the Gift of this Centerpiece Bead

IMG_9690In this bracelet design there are a few colours still peeking through in the various dot beads… but perhaps over time I will be able to find more of the ivory glass or unique alabaster ambers so that I will be able to create a full, completely cream coloured design.  In the meanwhile, I am enjoying those touches of  colour.  For silvers I tried to pick “interesting” designs that held some intrigue for the eye.  Normally I prefer silvers that are calm and flow easily past the eye… but this relatively stark design felt to me as though it needed additional detail to catch the viewer’s gaze and slow down the process of taking in the bracelet.

IMG_9693Thank you to KT for the Gift of this Treasured Bead



Clockwise from clasp:  “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Sandi” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Neither Fish Nor Bird” (retired), “Light Blue Dot” (retired), “Linited Edition Trollbeads Day 2014″, Unique Amber”, “Brown Dot” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Limited Edition Two Trolls”, “Turquoise Dot” (retired), “Bead of Fortune”, “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Cells” (retired), “Grey Armadillo” (retired).


Trollbeads News: Trinket Tray Gift With Purchase On Now

IMG_7870Do you have yours yet?

IMG_7867There’s just something about a ladies’ dressing table… you know, the kind that has little drawers for potions and powders, a big mirror at the back, and a top that is littered with stylish little bottles of fragrance.  I had one as a teenager, and truly, it makes one feel like a princess… or better still, maybe Liz Taylor.

IMG_7866When we decorated our daughters’ bedroom I only insisted on one thing: they must have a pretty dressing table.  It’s an old fashioned luxury that most of us don’t indulge in anymore.  New houses are proportioned differently these days, and

IMG_7869now, all our personal pampering care time is expected to happen in the  ultra luxurious bathrooms.  However, even if we can’t indulge in the full set of furniture, we can certainly create our own little girly corner of the world, whose whole purpose is to make one feel like a princess, or Liz Taylor… (whichever works for you!)


IMG_7868That’s where the Trollbeads Trinket Tray comes in… This little beauty is just the thing to add to your bathroom counter, bedside table, or anywhere else that you could use a little bit of “Liz”.  At six inches square, it will tuck neatly into the most compact home, and its art deco, neoclassical motif in crisp black and white is pure glamour.

IMG_7879The sleek, clear sides will allow you to gaze lovingly at your favorite Trollbeads bracelets and necklaces, even while reclining on the bed in your satin peignoire and marabou trimmed slippers.  (What?  I know I’m not the only one who keeps my favorite beads on the bedside table, just because I like looking at them?!)

IMG_7877The very best part about this fabulous little tray?  It’s yours, as our gift to you, with any Trollbeads purchase of a minimum of $125 between now and Christmas…. but only while supplies last, so don’t take too long fussing in front of the mirror before dashing out to pick out some new goodies!  It won’t be hard to find something gorgeous, as we have so many beautiful new temptations here at Tartooful’s Edgemont Village gallery… all the stunning beads featured on today’s bracelet are currently in stock!

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.14.07 PM

Clockwise from clasp:  “Bow Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Unique White Armadillo”, “Unique Black Amber”, “Three in One”, “Unique Purple Glitter Vine”, “Cozy”, “Unique Black Glitter Flower”, “Large Berry”, “Blue Desert”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Blue Desert”, “Winter Snow”, “Perfect Balance”, “Spirit Light”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Snowballs”, “Black Silk”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Grey Prism”.





Trollbeads Inspiration: KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly)


kiss2It’s not often that I build compositions with brilliant, clear colour, but the arrival of a shipment of two tone, Limited Edition Armadillos inspired me to play!  Colour this saturated needs other strong colours that can match their intensity.  I love the rhythm that is created by repeating the armadillo pattern in an array of colours – think classic

kiss3“candyland” lollipops!  The striped patterning is whimsical and playful, and a perfect match for the exuberant colour palette.  I was reluctant to add too much in contrast to the Armadillos, so I kept the silvers very bold, very clean, very simple.  Two pythons in brilliant tones help to break up all the stripes and give the eye a little break, without being too complicated.  A caramel coloured amber and “Turquoise Stripe help to integrate the colours of the pythons, and keep the composition balanced.  Finally, I selected a “Plain Lock” to keep the overall effect as simple as possible.


clockwise from clasp:  “Plain Lock”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Orange Lavender Armadillo”, “Love Within”, “Red Lavender Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Mint Lavender Armadillo”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Red Lavender Armadillo”, “Turquoise Armadillo”, “Red Lavender Armadillo”, “Three Siblings”, “Orange Lavender Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Mint Lavender Armadillo”, “Soft Heart”, “Red Lavender Armadillo”, “Unique Amber”.

(All beads on Tartoofultoo Online Shop)



Trollbeads Inspiration: New Periwinkle


periwinkle4One of my new favorite beads is “Fountain of Life”, from the recently released Spring collection.  This sparkling little beauty will find its way onto a wide range of compositions in the coming weeks, as I can see it playing nicely with our beloved Azure bubbles, silver mountain, Labradorite, and so many others.

periwinkle2It is difficult to capture its gorgeous shade of blue accurately, but I’ve tried here with soft, North facing natural light.  It is a delicate shade of periwinkle.  This blue is named for the charming flower that bears the same color blossoms each Spring in our garden.

Vinca_minor,_2006-05-03This photo (Courtesy of Wikipedia) shows the low-growing, vigorous, ground cover vine that is so familiar in the Northwest.  It’s a treat in the garden as it happily rambles about the base of other prized plants with woody stems, such as roses and rhododendrons,

periwinkle3without damaging them.  It’s happy in their shade and is easy to neatly trim back at the edge of a lawn for a well manicured look.  It blooms effortlessly,  – sometimes twice a year – doesn’t need deadheading and I’ve never seen one struggling with aphids, black spot, leaf mold or other similar garden issues.  If only everything was so easy!

periwinkle6Periwinkle’s shade of blue hints towards lilac, rather than aqua… and consequently it plays very nicely with all sorts of pinks.  In this bracelet design Cristi added some fresh pinks:  a “Desert Rose”, “Pink Prism”, “Unique Ladybug” and one of the limited edition duo tone Armadillos that just arrived at Tartooful.


I particularly like the slightly complementary note of the warm pinks opposite the cool blue, it’s a wonderful combination that has always made my heart sing.  Note how well these “Fountain of Life” enhance the blue undertones of the “Aurora” series of beads… that would make an entire bracelet design all on its own!


clockwise from clasp:  “Sun Moon Stars Clasp”, “Aurora Stripe”, Fountain of Life”, “African Tortoise”, “Desert Rose”, “Snake”, “Pink Prism”, “Fountain of Life”, “Drops of Delight”, “Unique”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Nomad”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Pink and Orange Armadillo”, “Jewel Fairy Basselet”, “Fountain of Life”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Green and Purple Armadillo


Like many Trollies, I have a little weakness for Armadillos… and the new Green and Purple Limited Edition hadn’t been in the gallery for five minutes when I had chosen one for my own!

purple2It’s a wonderful shade of warm, claret purple… but even better, it is cut with an acid green that washes away any trace of sweetness, leaving a bold and edgy statement.  I own one of the retired green armadillos, and love to place it on bracelets that need to be taken down a notch… perfectly sweet pink and white compositions are far

purple3more interesting with a touch of this slightly evil green.  It’s a trick I employ in the garden as well – try planting some Ladies Mantle among your roses.  It nicely covers the bare ground and unsightly, spiky stems, and when it comes into acid green bloom it acts as a complementary jolt to the roses’ pinks and reds.


purple6The secret lies in the colour wheel – the green lies opposite the plums that it complements so well.  The eye seeks out the opposing colour for relief, so by placing two complementary colours in proximity, each one appears more intense, more vibrant and more beautiful.  It’s the science and biology of colour, but its also intuitive.  By following one’s instinctive feelings about colour, one naturally gravitates to complementary palettes, and beautiful designs happen so easily.


clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”,  “Arabian Hare”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Turquoise Prism”, “African Tortoise”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”, “Ruby Falcon”, “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Jewel Fairy Basselet”, “Amethyst”, “Unique Amber”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Snake”, “Green and Purple Armadillo”.

Thank you to the talented Cristi for today’s bracelet!C.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 19


This morning it hits me – there’s really only ten days left in this design challenge, and I feel like there are so many more bracelets to make!  I have all these colour combination ideas and won’t have enough days to make them all… how great is that?!  I’m sure that I didn’t have all these ideas before I started the challenge.  Creativity with my collection has become a happy habit.

IMG_1544Today is a fresh and crisp combination of pink and green.  As always, I lean towards the warmer, more apricot shades of pink, but I think this would be just as effective with a more lilac tone.  I don’t really have that many light greens, but I’ve made do, and have mixed quite a few different tones of that colour together.

IMG_1550The bracelet was really inspired by this retired “Green Armadillo”.  It’s a humble bead, only recently retired and not hard to find, but I really like its crunchy green apple shade of green mixed with warm grey.  I don’t use it as often as I should, because it tends to overwhelm the subtle beads that typically make up my bracelets.

IMG_1551I don’t know why it has never before occurred to me to blend it with pinks?  I quite like this palette … it’s fresh and has a nice little pop of energy about it.    I love the touch of rosy blush at the heart my now-retired “Deep Bubbles”.  It’s a bead that’s so useful and well worth hunting down.  it’s enhanced by it’s neighbour, “Pink Prism”.

IMG_1547I’m pleased to use this retired “Green Dot” as well – I love the combination of these two pinks with its soft aqua green and buttery ivory.  The gold dust inside the “Pink Desert” almost takes on an olive hue.

IMG_1545My new, green “Rhyolite” from the limited edition Summer Stones series, allows all the different greens to play nicely together, as it contains so many shades within the one bead.  I wasn’t sure if it would work here, with its grey and rust tones, but the green is brought out by the other greens on the bracelet and somehow it works.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp” (retired version), “Pink Prism”, “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Ball of Yarn”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Inner Glow”, “Auspicious – World Tour Hong Kong”, “Faceted Rose Quartz”, “Smiling Cylinders”, “Green Armadillo” (retired), “Spot”, “Rose Quartz”, “Jugend”, “Green Rhyolite – Limited Edition Summer Stones”, “Universal Unique”, “Zanzibar”, “Pink Desert”, “Green Spot” (retired), “Rosa Pearl”.

So many Pretties!

We received a big, beautiful restock yesterday of Trollbeads and WOW there are so many amazing examples in the group… including a generous selection of the coveted “Mountain Crystal”, some extraordinary subtle blues, a unique that is reminiscent of retired “Vivienne” and even a couple of rare, bicolour armadillos!

…This would be a very good time to happen to drop by Tartooful… (wink wink)



Trollbeads: Oh! Armadillo….

Isn’t it funny how just one bead can change the way one sees an entire category of the collection?

A couple of months ago I made the jump and tracked down a retired bead that I had always admired on Cristi’s light blue bracelet: the “Grey Armadillo”.  I had been thinking that it would be pretty to split my blue and grey bracelet into lighter and darker tones, and that the “Grey Armadillo” would be the perfect addition to really set the palette for the light blue composition.  (I’ll share photos of the results in another post…)

This opened the door for me to the world of Armadillos.   Of course, I was aware of the passion for these beads before…(You may recall RT’s incredible armadillo collection, a portion of which is shown above…)  However, despite having admired many beautiful examples, I had never succumbed to the lure.

The next devastating blow to my resistance came in the form of an offer to trade for another bead that I had long admired:  the legendary “Green Lilac Armadillo”.  When it arrived I wasn’t committed to adding it to my personal collection, but it only took placing it on my deep blue bracelet to confirm that I couldn’t let it go.  It glows.  It’s so unexpectedly perfect on the bracelet, it gives me joy every time I glance at it.  (pictures to come in another post… promise.)

So then there were two…  With the door now wide open I decided that it was really time I found a “Unique Raspberry Armadillo” for myself, to add to my “Pomegranates and Copper” bracelet.  (Let the rationalization begin…)  But really, isn’t it perfect?!

So then there were three.  With an armadillo prominently featured on each one of my bracelets I am now a confirmed fan.  I find myself playing with the armadillos on the display at Tartooful, trying them all together on a bracelet, or on my fantasy necklace… thinking about the impact of different colour combinations, and considering which silvers and clasps work best with these sleek designs.

For the record, I like to pair Armadillos with equally sleek silvers:  “Two Sides to Everything”, “Water”, “V for Victory”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Three Siblings”, “Three in One”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Hearts Within”, “Endless”, “Frames” and “Double Heart” are my top few modern and sculptural silver designs.

I think it could be very effective to plan an armadillo bracelet with only knot work themed silvers as well:  “Trefoil Knot”, “Three in One”, “Three Siblings”, “2+2”, “Lucky Knot”, and of course a “Freya Knot” clasp.  I would probably use the “Lucky Knot” to frame the design, putting one on each end for emphasis.

It’s a wonderfully dangerous thing to have an entire bracelet designed in one’s head… At that point, it’s only a matter of time until it happens!

Meanwhile, I’ll hope that Anne Lilleby’s bead is among the new Spiritual Collection (Don’t forget to vote for her entry at I’d love to be able to add her design to my maybe bracelet…

If you’re finding yourself tempted by the idea of a delicious, Raspberry Armadillo of your own, please stop by our online shop, or pop by the Village and visit us in person…. we have a couple of these rare beauties in stock!


Trollbeads Inspiration: MS’s refreshed and refreshing “Spring Meadow”

Remember MS’s “Spring Meadow” bracelet?  With the recent acquisition of some unique and unusual beads, MS has recreated her composition with a deeper, richer and more carefully detailed feel.

Like all of MS’s creations, this bracelet features many unique and outstanding beads, including some that she has customized to make them even more personal.  She also favours multiples of certain beads, both for emphasis, and for the interest of displaying unusual examples of the design.

You’ll notice that there are two examples of a “Green Armadillo” – one is a nice, large example of the regular collection version, shaded with black.  The other is a “Universal Unique” that is beautifully clear and bright, without a trace of grey or black. I love the way the light plays through this bead, it simply glows in natural light.

A number of other Universal Uniques provide the texture, and impression of wildflowers scattered about the meadow.  The deeper tones of green offer the idea of a meandering stream or pond… The silvers are carefully chosen to further the theme, and to reflect the occupants of the meadow:  flowers, butterflies, a hedgehog and a frog.

The frog is smiling because he has a secret:  Turn him over and you’ll see that he is actually a prince!  MS had the brilliant idea of engraving the plain polished bottom with a crown.

Thank you for sharing your update with the Blog, MS!