Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 30 Finale


It is hard to believe but here we are at day 30 of the 2014 design challenge.  For the last month we have created a new composition each day, to be worn and enjoyed for only a few hours.  The next morning, the design was taken apart and we began to compose again.

IMG_6070Why take it apart each day?  It freed us to create pieces that we never would have made if we were committed to them for a longer length of time.  Through the process we pushed down mental walls that restricted our designs… Experimented with new colour

IMG_6069 combinations… Changed the balance of silver to glass… Combined the chain components in unexpected ways…

Over the last days I dug deep and tried to think about the last few mental

IMG_6068blocks that I was holding onto, and tried to tackle them.  I also thought about what I had learned this year, and shared some of my insights and small victories.  Today for the final design, I was torn between creating something divinely simple, or something fabulously over the top.  You can see what I chose!  As Melanie says:  “More is More”….


IMG_6066Today’s opera length, chatelaine necklace is composed of four bracelet chains, five basic double lobster clasp bracelets, an emerald fantasy necklace and of course, a schwack of beads.  I began by choosing some key beads to design

IMG_6065the tail of the chatelaine portion, right at the bottom of the necklace.  They set the tone for the entire composition, so they had to be just right.  I took care to set aside some nicely matched pairs of beads, and leave them for when I was

designing the arms of the necklace.  Rather, at this point I used dramatic beads that stood rather more alone, and were harder to balance perfectly.  These were strung onto the bottom of the Emerald Fantasy Necklace.


When I was satisfied with the tail portion I folded the remaining chain in half horizontally to “split” the chain.  I don’t own a splitter bead for my personal collection, so I simply added a nicely matched pair of silver “Bee on Hive” and started designing up the arms of the chain.  I’ve found that as long as the arms are loaded right up, the weight of the beads keeps a “split” in place.  I added a bead first to one side and then the other, taking care to keep the balance.  This was the time to start using those beads that were nicely matched in pairs.


The first time I designed this necklace I used all my beads in my collection, creating a riot of colour and design.  I loved it, but I knew I wouldn’t really wear it… so I took it apart and started again, editing out a whopping total of 24 of the beads that created the carnival look and strictly restricting myself to colours that sang together.  This second incarnation has more bare silver chain, but I like it much better.  (This was one of the big lessons of this year’s Challenge:  sometimes the best way to improve a design is to take a bead – or a bunch of beads – off.  Don’t be afraid of bare chain!)


To lengthen the chain beyond that of the normal fantasy necklace I capped the rounded ends of the chain with my clasps, and then attached a pair of bracelets to the other side of the clasps.  I put just three beads on each bracelet, and then repeated that pattern again on the next pair of bracelets.  This made a total of four bracelets, forming the sides of the necklace.  Finally, I added one last clasp at the back of the neck.  In total the necklace is a true opera length, reaching past my waistline.  However, the length of such a design would depend on the sizes of bracelets and fantasy necklace used.  If you didn’t have four silver bracelets and wanted to create the same look, you could substitute a leather necklace or a leather bracelet for two of the bracelets and it would work out to roughly the right length.


This was a very fun design challenge and a great way to integrate all the little lessons of the past month into one piece.  Best of all, I think I’ll wear this design for some time!  It’s very satisfying on… heavy, bold and very dramatic.  Think black tank dress, or skinny jeans with a black tee and a pair of simple black boots, or pumps – and this necklace.  It’s a “power” piece that makes one feel a little taller, a little sexier, just by putting it on.

IMG_6064So here we are at the end of the month… hopefully with a new appreciation for the potential of our collections, and a bead bag full of fresh ideas, just waiting to be enjoyed.  I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each one of you who participated in some way with me – by jumping right in, making up new bracelets each day… emailing me with occasional pieces to be shared with our online Trollies, dropping by the gallery to show me a new design, taking the time to follow along and encourage those who were on the journey… or even something as simple as writing a note to say you were inspired by the posts.  It all adds up to a tremendous feeling of a wonderfully creative and inspiring Global Trollbeads Family, and it means so much.  Thank you.  Over the next couple of days we’ll be tallying all the commentary online, and finding the ladies who were outstanding in their field – whether it be as a designer or as a supporter – and we’ll let you know who our challenge heroes are!  Stay tuned to find out the names of these “SuperTrollies”…

…and whatever you do, don’t stop creating just because the challenge is over!  Take your passion, and new skills and enjoy your collection like never before…






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 28


How can it be day 28 already?!

IMG_5987The time on this challenge has truly flown by, and just like last year, I feel as though I have so many colour combinations and designs yet to try.  It’s time to dig deep, and make sure that I throw out a few more preconceptions about “how to troll” before the end of our exercise.  I gave some thought to which “rules” I have continued to hold dear

IMG_5986 through the past month and realized that there are still a few walls to break down.

First I realized that I still tend to create groupings of three, five seven and so on.  The old rule about arranging flowers still holds true for me when composing bracelets, and I should really explore even numbers as well.  So today you’ll see a bracelet with lots of pairs of beads – which is sure to be a good thing from a Feng Shui point of view!  Second, I still load up on glass and use the silvers to divide groupings of glass.  So today I tried to use the silvers intelligently as an equal partner with the glass, and I am pleased with the result.

IMG_5984Finally, I realized that I had never placed this juicy red bead on a design this challenge, so I decided to build the entire bracelet around it.  The white pattern on the glass suggests a red and white bracelet, but I find that it’s a little too “major holiday” for me to wear.  By placing it among honey golds and warm chestnut browns it settles the red and gives an overall rich feel.  Much more wearable for me!  It’s the perfect bracelet to add lots of silver as well – the silver is neutral and calming for these saturated colours.


Only two days to go… what’s at the bottom of your bead bowl?  Time to dust off those hard-to-use beads and give them a design of their own….





Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 27


Today I’m showing off a quirky little piece of fabulousness… It’s a “FrankenTroll” – a Trollbead that has been toyed with and tinkered into something quite different!

IMG_5998This is a Fantasy Necklace that fell on hard times and lost its pearl… we replaced it, but not with another cultured pearl.  Rather, we applied a glass orb from the now-retired, “Autumn” dangle.  I knew I wanted to create something totally unique and different… and

IMG_5999I’ve always loved the swirling glass of “Autumn”.  So all the elements of the necklace are Troll, they’ve just been recombined in a fresh way.  Here I’ve created a composition that was inspired directly by the colours of the dangle, with rich gold, jade green, and a hit of cool teal.

IMG_6000The sunlight illuminates Trollbeads’ “Golden Quartz”


“FrankenTroll”…. fun, no?



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 26


Day 26 saw a very simple little leather combination….


I wanted to play together a few neutral greys and various tones of white in a very gender neutral approach.  I felt I hadn’t reached for my retired “Brown Dot” enough through the challenge, and this makes such a nice home for it.

IMG_5980This includes a few beads as “greys” that I hadn’t really thought of that way prior to the challenge… for example, the “Blue Desert” at left was firmly established as a Navy bead in my mind, but through this process I’ve come to use it as a slate grey, and even as a copper.  The Labradorite at left is often used as a grey, but the more slate blue one always lived with my blues prior to being laid out on a play tray with an objective eye.


This is a wonderfully wearable combination, that one could energize at will with  the odd brilliantly toned bead.  Drop a couple of persimmon orange, bright turquoise or clear yellow beads into this design for a completely different feel….



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 25


IMG_5949Today I played my collection into a necklace – even without a long silver chain.  This is a topic that is on lots of our ladies’ minds this week, as they mull the acquisition of new silver pendants for Summer… many of them are thinking they they’d like to spread out the expense of adding a new necklace to their

IMG_5950collection, and I remind them that they can pick a new pendants, begin enjoying it right away with a few bracelets combined together, and then then purchase the necklace in a couple of weeks when they have refilled their bead budget!  Alternatively, the Trollbeads leather necklaces are beautiful with the contrast of the silver against

IMG_5948them, and are so affordable.  They’re also so flexible for many different kinds of compositions… they look amazing when filled completely with beads, especially a full set of amber.  The effect is somehow modern and clean, despite the large numbers of beads involved.  In addition, the weight of the beads rests on the

IMG_5952shoulders, rather than pulling forward on the neck, making it a very comfortable approach.  I wanted to refresh everyone’s memory on how a necklace like this can work at some point during the challenge, but the truth is that it happened today

IMG_5946simply because I was happily adding beads to this design, creating away, when I realized that I had far too many beads for just a bracelet!  It’s easy to get carried away at the playtray.  So, I backed up, did a little rearranging and voila – today is necklace day!

When composing a necklace of this kind, use multiple sticks on the playtray for ease of design.  On one stick, put together the middle portion of the bracelet, starting from the very middle of that chain and working your way out.  This is the easiest way to ensure that the center of the design is dramatic, and that the necklace looks balanced as it comes out from the middle.  Next, on two different sticks, create the two side bracelets.  This time it’s easiest to work from one end of the stick, and design both sticks simultaneously, adding a bead first to one stick, and then the other.  This helps to makes sure that the two sides of the necklace stay balanced, both in length and colour composition.  In general, I try to put the largest beads in the middle and graduate to the smallest ones at the back of the neck…. but of course it’s also about the strength of colour, dramatic pattern and dispersal of silver.







Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 23

IMG_5975Back by Special Request:  “Big Pink”

IMG_5972Big Pink Rhubarb Cake  Serves 12

For the yellow cake:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
Yolks of 4 large eggs, beaten
IMG_59671 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rhubarb layer:
3 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 package strawberry Jello
3 cups miniature marshmallows

IMG_59681/4 cup powdered sugar
Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream(for optional garnish)

Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. First make the yellow cake batter. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add egg yolks, milk and vanilla until fully mixed. Finally add flour, baking powder and

IMG_5969salt to the mixing bowl and mix until fully combined. Set aside.

Evenly distribute the rhubarb on the bottom of the greased baking pan. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup sugar and contents of one strawberry jello mix onto the rhubarb. Layer the marshmallows on top of the rhubarb as evenly as

IMG_5966possible. Lastly, pour the cake batter over the entire surface of the rhubarb/marshmallow. It’s okay if a few marshmallows poke through, it will be a thin layer of batter.

Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes until the cake is set. Allow to cool and sift the powdered sugar through a strainer to dust the top of the cake. Serve with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Pink Prism”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Limited Ed. Kimono Series”, “Jugend”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Trace, Pink”, “Golden Cave”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique”, “Ruby”, “Rose Quartz”, “Zanzibar”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Bead with Garnets”, “Custom bead by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada”, “Unique Amber”, “Pink Desert”, “Red Pink Prism” (retired), “Rosa Pearl.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 21


IMG_5852Today I am in the mood for one of my favorite colour combinations… I love playing my rich ruby together with my soft greyed blues.  It’s an unlikely palette, but one that I find fresh and pleasing to the eye.  The Ruby can play as a warm and toasty red when combined with chestnut or golden ambers, smoky

IMG_5851quartz and earth toned glass.  However, here in the company of these hazy blues it feels more like a blackberry-stained claret.  As always, it is helpful to have a couple of beads that pull the palette together nicely in one package… here I have used the older unique shown above, with its distinctive pale portion and perfect combination of

IMG_5853burgundy and pale blue.  I also added this very unusual form of “Aurora Flower”, which is very light and transparent, showing only a hint of the fuschia tone that is usually found in this design.  What is left is a soft, warm amber-y pink with palest blue flowers.  I used my “Silver Bead with Garnet” and “Red-Pink” prism” (retired) to echo the colour of the centerpiece ruby.


IMG_5854In today’s bracelet I also wished to reduce the proportion of glass, and alternate evenly with silver.  As everyone knows, I usually gorge on glass…   Here I’ve used my favorite, very round silvers to pace the glass in the middle, and have balanced the form of the “Silver Bead with Garnets” with the simililarly shaped “Auspicious”.  I’ve even finished this one with a matched pair of  silver “Bee on Hive”.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Unique”, “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Ball of Yarn”, “Aurora Flower”, “Petanque” (retired), “Ruby”, “Etruscan”, “Unique”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Silver Mountain”, “Auspicious” (Limited Edition World Tour Hong Kong), “Red Pink Prism” (retired), “Bee on Hive” (retired).



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 20


IMG_5891Today I am enjoying wearing this combination… These greens are usually complementary tones with other colours, mixed liberally with pink, blue, purple or gold.  Today, however, they take center stage and command an entire colour theme of their own.  I was a little surprised that I had all these greens, as I don’t often see them all

IMG_5890strung together like this.  Most of the time they are “under the wire”, scattered among almost all my bracelets.  When I started to design this piece, I thought that with only a few greens in my bead bag, a necklace would be just the right length… it quickly became apparent that I could easily put together an entire full bracelet in this colour!

IMG_5889I chose “bead shaped” silvers that sit slimly on the design, but still offer a little break to create those mini colour groupings.  I’ve so enjoyed working with this type of silver over the course of this year’s challenge… it has put “paradise birds” at the top of my silver wish list.  Designs such as “Jugend” and “Carved Flowers” are so satisfyingly heavy, beautifully detailed, and yet neat and compact.  They are very easy to play into all my compositions.


From top to bottom:  “limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Cells” (retired), “Unique”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac Rooster”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Blue Green Feather” (retired), “Jugend”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Magical Lamp”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Aventurine” (retired), “Custome Bead by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada”, “Limited Edition Emerald Fantasy Necklace”.


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!