Trollbeads Inspiration: Wing Man


IMG_8780Lately it seems to me that Grey is the ultimate “Wing Man” for brilliant colour…

While I savour colour drenched jewel tones, I find them almost too much for me to wear every day.  Their brilliance delights me, but I tend to reach for the more subtle colour

IMG_8782combinations to wear on a daily basis.

This is where grey comes to the rescue!  Acting as a subtle foil to the brighter jewel tones, this neutral allows jewel tones such as turquoise, cobalt, red, fuschia, emerald or purple to shine without overwhelming.  The strategic use of grey as a “wing man” neutral allows me to introduce those colours to my bead wardrobe.


Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.28.21 PMThere are, of course, other neutrals that work beautifully in a number of colour blends… Black is a classic foil for all the same colours, but the result is a  slightly different mood.  The addition of black to most jewel tones gives a look that is more formal, more cosmopolitan and perhaps even a bit sultry.  Grey maintains the

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.29.53 PMsophistication, without the boudoir undertones.  It’s a comfortable look, contemporary yet warm and soft.

The addition of a number of new grey designs has been an exciting part of the Trollbeads Spring releases.  Traditional options remain:  “Snowflake Obsidian, Labradorite, “Grey Prism” and Dendritic Agate all offer their own version of the colour.  Now newcomers “Neptune’s Promise” and Tropical Conch” add new choices for the collector, and recently we have received a number of gorgeous grey “Ruby Rock”, with just a whisper of raspberry for interest.  As always, it is the exceptional beads, such as these Ruby Rocks, that particularly delight me.


Clockwise from Clasp:  “Freya Knot Lock”, “Grey Prism”, “Unique”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Endless”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Aurora Flower”, “Transformation”, “Tropical Conch”, “Amethyst”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Sea Anemone”, “Ruby Rock”, “Moonlight Bubbles”, “Three Siblings”, “unique”, “Tropical Conch”, “Purple Prism”.


PS.  Today is that last day for the Spring Bracelet Event –  purchase a decorative lock and receive the sterling foxtail chain at no charge!  Purchase your lock online at Tartoofultoo Online Shop and simply let us know in the notes which length of chain you prefer, or Email us at or ring us at 604-924-0122 for a personal touch.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Glass like Water


IMG_8762Have you ever looked out across a calm stretch of water and been reminded of the clear smoothness of glass?  Well, today when I designed this bracelet I thought the reverse: that the glass looked as clear and liquid as water…


IMG_8758There’s something magical about glass… looking into it, touching it, photographing it – there’s a visceral reaction that one experiences when interacting with it.  Perhaps it’s simply the shimmering beauty… or maybe it’s the knowledge that it was born out of fire in a complex artistic and chemical process…

IMG_8761but I think that there’s at least a possibility that we subconsciously associate glass with water.  When you hold a glass bead up to the light, doesn’t it feel to you as though you are somehow, miraculously, holding a droplet of water?  The monkey part of my brain never fails to be delighted and gobsmacked just by the appearance of it.

IMG_8759Today’s bracelet is meant to evoke the tranquil mood of a calm, quiet, early morning ocean.  The soft blues and greys are the sky and water, meeting in an invisible line at the horizon.  The Dichroic glass dots of “Trinity” are the flashes of light that sparkle on the edge of the water’s waves as they rise and fall gently in the morning sun.

IMG_8760There are pebbles on the beach at the edge of the bay that shimmer wetly in the morning light and the sun’s rays are already warm on your face, despite the early hour… it feels like the break of what will become hot summer’s day.  Later, the blues may deepen to a blistering turquoise and the yellows may become citrus bright and sharp… but now, the light is still velvety soft.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Lock”, “Crown Chakra”, “Beach”, “Rolling Waves”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Silver Trace, Beige Blue”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Unique Amber”, “Trinity”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Chalcedony”, “Ocean”, “Honey Dawn”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver Mountain”, “Gentle Waves”, “Scirocco”, “Unique”.


PS Don’t forget that this week we are participating in the Spring Bracelet Event! Select a decorative lock priced CAD$48-$72 and receive the sterling foxtail chain valued at CAD$48 at no charge.  Purchase your lock online at Tartoofultoo Online Shop and simply let us know in the notes which length of chain you prefer, or Email us at or ring us at 604-924-0122 for a personal touch.



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 News: Our Troll Heroes Are….


We just completed our second annual 30 Day Trollbeads Challenge… and were delighted by the high level of participation and talent among our ladies!  You girls are amazing.


You may recall that at the beginning of the challenge we promised prizes… well, after seeing all your incredible designs and witnessing all the love given on the facebook page, we now have a fresh crop of Troll heroes that we would like to honour with Troll Treats.


CG-day13First, we’d like to thank all of you who send in images to share with our readers.  Every single bracelet, bangle and necklace added up to an amazing event and we couldn’t have done it without you.  However, we would like to recognize Brigitt and Rebecca for

LC-DAY2participating every single day of the challenge!  This is so hard to do, and I know both of these ladies have full calendars, so it’s even more appreciated.  Not only did they each send in a bracelet every day, but they did so despite travel plans through the month.  Each of these troopers will be receiving a glass from the new Summer series of glass as a heartfelt thank you from Tartooful.


martha-day8The next category of prize awards go to the ladies who tirelessly supported those who participated.  Many of our best supporters were also busily creating designs and sharing them, but there were two names that came

PY-DAY2up more than anyone else… thank you to Carol G and Martha M for all the love and encouragement that you gave to all of us over the challenge, you truly are our heroes.  We will be sending each of you a glass from the new Summer Series as a gesture of our deep appreciation.


BJ-day18Finally, in very real terms, the Winning Design of the 30 day challenge was chosen by all of you.  The bracelet posted by Lisa C shown above garnered five comments and a whopping twenty likes.  This added up to more approval than any other single composition

day6-RC-kashmirithrough the challenge and so we are delighted to award the top design award to Lisa for her bracelet that she describes as being composed of all the beads she finds tricky to use!  Your fellow Trollies must have recognized the difficulty of the task you tackled… there LJJ-patterns-day4really are some stubborn loners on there, and they look wonderful on your creation.  Bravo!  Lisa has already received a very coveted, transparent and whitewashed example of the “Aurora Flower” and we can’t wait to see what she creates to showcase its rare beauty.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s challenge!





Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 17


Silvers are hard!

IMG_5834Today I dive into a design area where I am always a little challenged… For whatever reason, I find composing bracelets mainly of silver to be quite tricky!  I naturally gravitate to the mesmerizing colour and depth of the glass, so I always reach for those first, and sometimes by the time I place all the glass there are barely any spots left for

IMG_5833silver at all.  I situate my silvers carefully along the length of the design to give the eye a spot to pause and rest, so as not to overwhelm the viewer and have all the beads blur into each other.  I also find that the silvers help to create mini compositions of colour that

IMG_5831the eye can appreciate separately from the whole.  To my eye, too many silvers seem to blur together into a mad mess of pattern, just as all glass blend together into a muddled palette of colour.  Having tackled this challenge last year at this time, I remember that the only way I can make sense of all the pattern of the silver is to keep strictly to simple forms and try to create a rhythm, or pattern of them.  Here I have framed a dramatic center glass with a pair of bold spheres.  Then I go on around the bracelet to set up patterns of round and “bead shaped” silvers.  In this case, the glass act as little islands of colour that break up the groupings of silver.  I have essentially reversed the proportions of my normal bracelet designs.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”,  “Bead of Fortune”, “Unique”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Rooster” (Limited Edition), “Happy Fish” (retired), “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired),  “Etruscan” (retired), “Auspicious” (Limited Edition Hong Kong World Tour), “Frogs” (retired), “Faceted Aurora” (limited edition), “Spot” (retired), “Unique”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Aurora Flower”, “Petanque” (retired), “Jugend”, “Faces” (retired) “Unique”, “Mushrooms Family” (Limited Edition Baltic States World Tour”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Cells” (retired), “Violet Petals” (Limited Edition), “Bead of Fortune”.

One final note… this bracelet is surprisingly heavy, but feels wonderful on the arm!







Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 13



IMG_5674Today I decided I wanted to attempt a more gender neutral bracelet design, using the black leather and a combination of coloured beads.  Generally, when designing a piece for a man I reach for simple, graphically bold silvers such

IMG_5671as “Smiling Cylinder”, “Frames”, or “Water”.  Alternatively, there are some wonderful silvers that evoke the magical side of Troll, such as “Thor’s Hammer” or “The Midgard Serpent”.  However, only rarely do I add a glass or stone bead to a man’s

IMG_5669design.  I was asked recently by a male trollfan how I would attempt this, while still keeping it satisfyingly masculine.  I’ve mulled the question for a few days and in the end created this bracelet.  I like the idea of

IMG_5672keeping the beads all within one colour family, and keeping them in a natural tone.  If I had Tartooful’s stock to play with, I probably would created something with more deep colour in the amber, and less of the bright golden tones… however, please forgive this with the fact that it is a ladies’ collection shown here, after all!

IMG_5667I left a faceted smoky quartz tassel on my “Plain Lock” as a little, feminine gesture – but this would be a simple edit for a more masculine owner.  I also took this opportunity to play with one of my X links on the leather, which in my opinion worked out beautifully!  This opens up a whole other world of truly great silvers for a man, such as the “Lovers knot”, “DNA”, and “Order in Chaos”.  The leather is perfect for the double links, holding them securely in an appropriate position and displaying them nicely against the dark cord.


“X By Trollbeads Harlequin”, Unique Ambers, “Golden Quartz”, “Tigers Eye” and a Unique Glass.



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 Design Challenge: Day 23


With only one week to go in the challenge, I am reaching deep into my little bag of beads and looking to see which ones haven’t yet come out to play!


This brilliant, sapphire blue bead is one that is on semi permanent loan to me by my son Rob.  Both of the boys like to wear their Trollbeads on a leather necklace, but only one at a time.  The beads that they are not using at any given time are in my bead pouch, and they love to see one of their beads appear on my bracelet.  This bead was part of the Christmas in Hawaii limited edition, and is very “Rob”, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually played with it on one of my designs before…

blue2I love to look at it, one can simply fall into its’ depths… but it is powerful and would overwhelm a lot of my colours.  When mulling how I might use it I recalled a bracelet that Trollbeads designed last year called “Urban Jungle”.  In that design they combined brilliant, emerald green with slate greys for a sophisticated palette.

blue7Taking my cue from that, I surrounded this sapphire blue bead with soft natural greys such as “Picasso Jasper”, “Deep Bubbles”, “Blue Desert”, “Wildcat”. “Peacock Pearl”, and of course, our beloved “Labradorite”.  Many of these beads have a touch of

blue4blue in them, which helps to pull the whole look together.  I thought originally that I would just have the one blue bead on the bracelet, but when it was finished it looked a little lonely.  I took it apart again and added two teal-to-blue glass so that it wouldn’t be the only touch of bright colour in the design.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic double lobster clasp – retired version”, “Wildcat” (retired), “Waves”, “Unique”, “Auspicious”, “Unique”, “Carved Flowers”, “Blue Desert”, “Zanzibar”, “Labradorite”, “Christmas in Hawaii Limited Edition”, “Labradorite”, “Ball of Yarn”, “Picasso Jasper Limited Edition”, “Jugend”, “Blue Green feather” (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Limited Edition”, “Deep Bubbles” (retired), “Frogs” (retired), “Peacock Pearl Limited Edition”.

In the end, the interesting thing about this bracelet is that it’s such a flexible design idea… one could really add almost any colour of highlight to it, whether to showcase a favorite bead, work with one that is too intense for an entire composition,  or simply one that is beautiful but difficult to match.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 20


It’s the beginning of the Canada Day long weekend, and here in Vancouver we are braced for what we are told is going to be a dramatic heat wave.  This is exciting stuff, for us on the wet & misty West Coast!

saturday-sm1To be fair we had some beautiful weather back in May, and even now it’s very warm here, but still…. we’re ready to see some of our summery, clear blue skies!  By Canada Day on Monday it’s supposed to be blisteringly hot and clear, so I’m getting into the right frame of mind with this bright and clear, tropical fruit feeling design.

saturday-sm2I wanted to make one bracelet that used almost all my super bright beads, just to make sure that I made good use of them over the course of the challenge… there’s one more that I just couldn’t quite place on here, a deep rich sapphire blue – but I am dreaming up a whole bracelet designed around it.  (stay tuned for that one!)


Surrounded by the swaths of colour of all the armadillos, the “Sakura” bead is a welcome dash of pattern…


Clockwise from clasp:  Basic Double lobster clasp (retired version), Stopper, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Unique Amber”, “Heart”, “Turquoise Armadillo”, “African Amethyst – Summer Stones Limited Edition”, “Spot”, “Unique Armadillo”, “Sakura – World Tour Japan”, “Green Armadillo” (retired), “Smiling Cylinders”, “Lavender Jade – Chinese Limited Edition”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Neither Fish nor Bird, large” (retired), “Silver Trace, Blue-green” (retired), “Light Turquoise Prism”, Stopper.




Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 15


IMG_1459Today is the second of two parts… the first half of this little project was to create a soft blue bracelet.  In the second half, I created another bracelet that could either be worn alone or as a complementary companion to the blue one.

IMG_1446The actual design of this pink bracelet is very simple.  It’s composed of round, abstract silvers, with warm pinks, apricots, creams and whites.  Despite its simplicity of palette and structure, I can easily imagine wearing this all by itself, as many of the beads are ones that I am particularly fond of…

IMG_1453The pink unique above was a gift to me from Trollbeads when I visited their Tivoli shop in Copenhagen.  The “White Steel” was a 40th birthday gift from my son, and the “Rosa Pearl” was a more recent birthday gift from a dear friend.

IMG_1456All my very favorite beads come with a story.  See how my “Rose Quartz” has a dull grey oxidized core?  That’s because I forgot to take it off, playing with my kids in the pool in Las Vegas.  For me, it’s much better that way!


However, let’s not forget the full scope of this mini project:  to create a pair of complementary bracelets… so let’s take another peek at how they look together:


IMG_1441one final little note:  I like the idea of clasping the two bracelets with one sturdy clasp to hold them all together nicely… Here I’ve used an old style basic double lobster, but one of the new one-piece ones would be perfect.