Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 18


IMG_5759Today’s bracelet is inspired by a quirky and wonderful orchid that is blooming cheerfully in my home’s bright front atrium.  The windows there face South, and get bright, filtered sunlight all day, which makes my pot full of orchids deliriously happy.

IMG_5800With a busy family and shop to run I tend to forget the orchids when they are not in bloom, often forgetting to water them for weeks at a time!  Think of it as a Darwinian approach to gardening… It’s “survival of the fittest”!  They must be in the right conditions, because despite my neglect, they irrationally reward me with gorgeous flowers.


IMG_5799Most of my orchids are white phalaeonopsis,  but the one that is currently blooming is a fascinating combination of ivory hinting at yellow, and fuschia that deepens into a rich crimson.  Of course, like all flowers, traces of green are woven throughout the blossom.  It’s a challenging palette for me, as the colours are not close

IMG_5801to one another in tone or shade, and most of my compositions tend to me subtle gradations of colour.  I began by picking out my boldest pinks, and then found my deeper reds.  These few beads were all the ones I had in this colour family, but it doesn’t take much of these ruby tones to make a splash.  Next I found some subtle, earthy greens and finished the colours off with some buttery amber and a retired grey armadillo for a touch of cream.  I kept the silvers simple but bold, to take up a little extra space on the bracelet and give a little extra length to the design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “red-Pink Prism” (retired), “Bead of Fortune”, “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired), “Auspicious” (World Tour Limited Edition Hone Kong), “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Canadian Jade” (Summer Stones Limited Edition), “Shortcut” (retired), “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Ruby”, “Magical Lamp”, “Spot” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Unique Amber”,   “Silver Bead with Garnets” (retired), “Unique”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Large” (retired), “Peacock Pearl” (limited edition).



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 16


IMG_5820Today I decided to create a bracelet that featured my two “Kimono Series” beads, from the popular limited edition that was released in 2011.  According to the Trollbeads Museum,

This delicate collection of six beads in matte colors is not only designed by a Japanese designer, it is also made from Japanese glass. It is inspired by the colors and patterns of a Japanese silk kimono. – See more at:

IMG_5824“This delicate collection of six beads in matte colours is not only designed by a Japanese designer, it is also made from Japanese glass.  It is inspired by the patterns and colours of a Japanese silk kimono”.

IMG_5826I find the colours and subtle patterns of this entire series very calm and pleasing to the eye.  The velvety Japanese glass is very soft, without the glossy hardness of the Italian glass.  I find the colours very easy in integrate into so many compositions, and often wish that I had purchased the whole kit when I had the chance…

IMG_5823Just soft…

IMG_5825 I am particularly grateful that I have the apricot pink design – I have a weakness for apricot and peach tones and it really does have the perfect shade of soft, warm pink.

However, as much as I enjoy the two beads that I do have, I rarely seem to put them both in the same design.  This time I wanted to create a fresh composition, simply around them, with the two of them at center stage.


clockwise from clasp:  “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Pink Prism”, “Silver Mountain”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Rose Quartz”, “Blue Desert”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Custom Bead by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada”, “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “”Zanzibar”(retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Bead”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Pink Desert”, “Pale Blue Shadow”, “Rosa Pearl”.

IMG_5822One final note on Nozomi Kaji, the Kimono Series’ designer… she says:

“I am influenced a lot by Traditional Japanese designs, and always try to portray this in glass beads.  My designs mostly represent Japanese senses of silence”

What a wonderful phrase that is – “senses of silence”… Now I like the beads even better….



“I am influenced a lot by traditional Japanese designs and always try to portray this with glass beads. My designs mostly represent Japanese senses of silence,” – See more at:
This delicate collection of six beads in matte colors is not only designed by a Japanese designer, it is also made from Japanese glass. It is inspired by the colors and patterns of a Japanese silk kimono. – See more at:
This delicate collection of six beads in matte colors is not only designed by a Japanese designer, it is also made from Japanese glass. It is inspired by the colors and patterns of a Japanese silk kimono. – See more at:

Trollbeads design Challenge: Day 15


IMG_5775Today’s bracelet was inspired by a recent visit from a dear friend and fellow Trollie.  She brought her entire collection to Tartooful for a real play session, (so much fun!) and together we created some spectacular pieces, including a full necklace of ambers, a couple of silver bracelets and even a couple of leather ones.

IMG_5774 Looking over her favorite bracelets I noticed that they all had one design element in common:  a rich touch of garnet red.  In some cases it was a particularly scarlet armadillo, in many others it was a rarely seen unique, such as a crimson “magic carpet” or a complex window pane pattern.  Even on bracelets of a subtle, celadon palette there was

IMG_5773still one or two little notes of this distinctive, ruby red.  Seen in only one or two bracelets it would be eye catching…But in a gorgeous mess of bracelets, spilling across the table… well it was a feast for the senses.  This collection’s rich, pomegranate theme is absolutely a reflection of its fabulous owner’s personality and taste.


After she left I was so inspired, and went home with a play tray in tow, determined to play with my own collection and create a design that felt “KT”.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”, “Faces” (retired), “Red-Pink Prism” (retired), “Golden Cave”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac Rooster”, “Blue Desert”, “Unique Amber”, “Azure Bubbles”, “World Tour Hong Kong Auspicious”, “Blue Desert”, “Ruby”, “Brown Desert”, “Jugend”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Custom Unique by Irina of Trollbeads Canada”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Bead with Garnets”, “Tigers Eye”, “Petanque” (retired), “Artisan Bead by Scott Bouwens”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.

It doesn’t take very much of this spectacular colour to make an impact on a design… in this case I built the entire bracelet around the crimson red, but the next time I play with it I’d like to see if I can integrate it into a bracelet as an unlikely “surprise” of colour, as KT so often does.  It gives a wonderful energy to a composition, and prevents it from feeling too studied.  So many bracelets…so little time!



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 14


IMG_5768Isn’t it odd?  I don’t think of myself as a “Purple Person” or as a “Brown Person”… but I am in love with this bracelet!  This is definitely my favorite creation thus far this year.  It’s a subtle palette of soft, warm lilac, pale, icy blue and rich, light filled honey that gives me joy.  Many of the beads that are on this design are ones that I have used countless

IMG_5769times, but in this particular combination I feel as though I have discovered their beauty all over again.  Through the Autumn I enjoyed my little grouping of “Azure Bubbles” and paired them with the icy blues of “Light Blue Shadow” and “Silver Mountain”.  I’ve also combined those same cool blues with my various lilacs…

IMG_5765I’ve even combined my purples with golden ambers.  However, for some reason I hadn’t thought to combine all three together on one design.  Perhaps it was the recent acquisition of a nice, warm “Pastel Agate” to position opposite my Limited Edition, Lavender Chinese Jade that made me want to play together some new combinations with my

IMG_5766purples… (there is nothing like a new bead to inspire some serious beadplay).  I’m particularly delighted to have such a good vehicle for the “Faceted Aurora” and love the way it plays with the olive, slightly vicuna tone of the retired “Deep Bubbles”.  That bead always had a complementary blush at the heart of its huge bubbles, and my example

IMG_5767has a rich plum hue that helps to bring out the best in its purple neighbours.  I kept silvers to a minimum, but made them really count.  I used them strategically to create smaller groupings of colour, and give the eye a place to pause as it travels along the length of the composition.  I like the size, solidity and weight of the two silvers the

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 8.58.33 PMmark the middle of the bracelet.  The other two silver designs are set with Trollbeads’ mesmerizing dichroic glass.  The Trinity is a  regular collection design whose simple lines I have always loved, and the retired “King and Queen” offers drama, with its large pieces of shimmering glass.  These precious dichroic glass designs pick up on the full range of colours on the bracelet and echo them wonderfully.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Unique”, “Faceted Aurora”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Trinity”, “Light Blue Shadow”, “Limited Edition Chinese Jade”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Unique”, “Chalcedony”, “Unique”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Silver Mountain”, “King and Queen”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Azure Bubbles”.

As an aside, for those of you who are admiring the linen textile in the first photo, it’s an infinity scarf made by Melanie of Tartooful of pure linen, with hand stenciled gold and silver accents and contrast piping… Gorgeous!  Her first series features soft chambray blue, natural ecru and a deeper denim blue.  Each one is one of a kind, generously proportioned, and well priced at $89.00.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 12


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!


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”.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 11


IMG_5679Today is a fresh colour combination for me, and one I will certainly create again after the challenge is over!  I was inspired to try this sage green and pink combination by the arrival of a “Blue Desert” at the gallery which contained both colours, fading gracefully from one to the other around its glass.  I loved the way the two

IMG_5681colours played together, and made up an entire bracelet of stock beads to celebrate it.  It was so pretty that I just had to go to my own bead tray to see if I could create a bracelet for myself in a similar palette.  I don’t know why I had never done this before… it’s one of those bracelets that practically “built itself”, coming together in a matter of minutes.


IMG_5680Note that two of these center beads were custom made beads, by Georgina of Trollbeads Canada… the celadon green and gold bead is her most recent creation, and I am so excited to include it in my collection.  Those of you who are awaiting your own beads by mail, we just received them and will be posting today and tomorrow!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster clasp”, “Pink Prism”, “Magical Lamp”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Sparrow” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Zanzibar” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Rose Quartz”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Heart”, “Pink Desert”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Rosa Pearl”.

IMG_5682Such a gentle and soothing palette, and such a lovely way to wear pink without it feeling too “girly”!  Pink delights me, but I avoid it if it feels to flighty and silly.  Somehow the natural complement of green settles the pink and makes it so wearable for me.



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 9


IMG_5637Today we are into the hard stuff!  I was so far outside by comfort zone when I built this, it was making me laugh out loud.  Chatting with one of the participants of the challenge, she commented that she tended always to design subtle, tone on tone bracelets… and that for the challenge she wanted to push herself, and create bracelets that she

IMG_5632wouldn’t usually consider.  I totally agree with her approach.  For me, the holy grail of the challenge is to create something outrageous, and then discover that I actually love it.  Realistically there aren’t going to be many design moments like that.  However, this might be one.  I would never usually attempt this combination,

IMG_5633but I am enjoying this colour palette so much!  Isn’t it fun to see the “Faceted Aurora” playing with these “Hawaiian Shirt” colours?  Totally takes the stuffing right out of it.  The chartreuse green and juicy corals are perfectly complementary to each other, giving the combination an edge and a high level of energy.


IMG_5634This has been a great way to break out of my subtle colour palette!  I don’t imagine for a moment that I will wear colours like this all the time, but the green and orange/coral combination was definitely satisfying to me, and I will work with them again much more often.  Perhaps next time I’ll try it without the purple – on a leather?


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Bee on Hive”, “Chalcedony” (retired), “Limited Edition Green and Purple Armadillo”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Unique”, “Limited Edition Pastel Agate”, “Heart”, “Limited Edition Violet Petals”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Unique”, “Deck of Cards”, “Limited Edition Chinese Lavender Jade”, “Unique”,  “King & Queen” (retired), “Green Armadillo” (retired), “Faceted Aurora”, “Unique”, “Bee on Hive” (retired).






Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 8


Today I decided to branch out into fresh territory… time for a Fantasy Necklace design!

IMG_5625With a brand new, Emerald Fantasy Necklace beckoning in my jewellery bag, I’ve been wanting to tackle this little project for a while….I don’t use my turquoise beads nearly enough, and the idea of a necklace design that incorporated them seemed like a good idea.

IMG_5628I have found the emerald to be unbelievably flexible, pairing happily with greens, greys, aquas, pinks, purples, blues… By adding some jewel toned beads plays as a brilliant aqua, but by adding a string of aqua to grey beads it feels whisper soft.


Do any of you have a new Emerald ?  I would love to see your fresh design ideas!


Trollbeads Challenge: Day 6


Today I felt like a feminine, pretty composition, and happily played together a rose and gold design.


IMG_5306A large part of this bracelet’s inspiration comes from the “Golden Quartz” above… It was one of those beads that I had admired for ages but never quite got round to acquiring.  I had promised to add a few more golden yellows to my collection after the last challenge, so I finally chose one for myself a couple of months ago.

IMG_5309“Pink Desert”, with its rose pink and rich gold sparkle, makes it easy to pull together a pink and gold design.  My example is a little paler, but the Pink Deserts that have been coming though our stock this Spring have been spectacular.  If this is a bead that you’ve been mulling it’s a good time to go looking!  I love this little combination

IMG_5308of the apricot and butter yellow unique, “Pink Desert” and a limited edition, Russian Pink, mini amber at the end…  I like it opposite the “Rosa Pearl” as they are both so warm and golden, and well matched in shape as well.  The matte, Japanese glass of the apricot toned “Kimono Bead” nicely echoes the warm Rosa Pearl.


“Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Bee on Hive” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Pink Desert”, “Unique”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Custom Made Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Rosa Quartz”, “Heart”, “Golden Quartz”, “Unique”, “Golden Cave”, “Pentanque” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Unique Amber”, “Rosa Pearl”, “Bee on Hive” (retired).

IMG_5311Finally, a closer peek at the unique armadillo created for me at last Autumn’s Custom bead event at Tartooful by Georgina Black of Trollbeads Canada.  For the ladies who participated in the Spring event, we are expecting your custom treasures this week!  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know as soon as we see them… (We can’t wait!)









Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 4


IMG_5329Today I’m reaching back to a concept from a few years ago that I called “Icy Sunshine” at the time… these are super soft, subtle, pastels that feel like some of the first pale days of Spring, when it’s absolutely beautiful but still very cool and fresh.  It’s fun to go back and revisit a colour palette with some of the newer additions to my

IMG_5328personal collection to play with!  I was fortunate to acquire one of this season’s “it” beads – the petite, iridescent patterned bead shown above.  I spotted it in a shipment of new uniques, and had never seen anything even remotely like it.

IMG_5327At that time they hadn’t started appearing in the forums online, but as soon as I saw it I knew that it would become one of those hard-to-find unqiues.  It’s too perfect for my collection, with my favorite celadon aqua colour… and all those swirls of fascinating, subtle colour.  It was love at first sight.  The very unusual “Blue Desert”

IMG_5331was a lucky find at another Trollbeads shop, which I was delighted to find as it works so beautifully with the tiny oyster unique.  The Unique Pink Armadillo was custom made for me by Georgina Black of Trollbeads Canada at a glass making demonstration at Tartooful last Autumn… (SO much fun…)  With its generous size and

IMG_5330distinctive shade of pink, it can jump out a bit on my usual “Copper and Pomegranate” bracelet – but here it is right in sync with its neighbours and can stand out all it likes!  I chose some silvers that feature dichroic glass elements to add to the icy, iridescent feel, and then picked “Zanzibar” for its delicately floral design theme.


clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”, “Rosa Pearl”, “Small & Beautiful Unique Glass”, “Small & Beautiful Unique Glass”, “Rose Quartz”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Light Blue Shadow” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Custom Made Unique”, “Trinity”, “Lavender Jade” (Limited Edition Chinese Series), “King & Queen” (retired), “Blue Desert”, “Unique Glass”, “Silver Mountain”, “Grey Armadillo” (retired), “Zanzibar’, (retired), “Mountain Crystal” (World Tour Switzerland), “Chalcedony” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”.