Trollbeads Inspiration: Blue Velvet


Our love affair with Azure Bubbles continues, as our beloved bead takes a turn towards darker and richer tones…


IMG_8737The appeal of these delicious drops of glass lies in the endless variations in tone and texture that may be found.  Last year we went through a period of a few months when we saw dozens of light, ethereal examples that lit up like golden honey in the light.  Now we have entered a new era, where deep, rich tones are on parade.

IMG_8741These sultry new blues are amazingly flexible… they can be blended with regal purples or shimmering golds to create a formal and elegant composition.  Paired with those colour companions, these blues feel like sumptuous velvet.  On the other hand, the very same beads can be played into the easiest of everyday compositions, with the addition of khakis, greens, chambray blues or even creamy ivory tones.

IMG_8735To me, these beads offer the quintessential “Trollbeads” experience… they are immediately enchanting, but the more closely one looks, the more one detail one discovers.  Every bead offers a subtly different blend of blues, browns, greens, golds and purples.  Each one offers a unique pattern of ribbons and glistening bubbles.

IMG_8739They appeal to the beginner, who is just starting down the collector’s path…. and to the seasoned “Trollie”, who knows that these production beads are really all coveted uniques.  Best of all, these beads can travel with the collector as their tastes change through the years, and will always be able to find their way onto a beloved composition.


In this bracelet design I decided to play with our in stock Azure Bubbles as if they were my own… how would I wear these today?  I considered adding clear cognac coloured amber uniques – which really did make an amazing combination – but in the end I opted for a calm and quiet bracelet using many of my perennial favorites that do appear in my own personal collection.


IMG_8742Natural stones such as “Green Jasper”, “Labradorite” and “Sapphire” feel rich yet grounded.  “Black Flower Mosaic” and “Milan” are ideal companions for these Azures, as they offer some welcome texture, and their own colour is enhanced by being paired with rich blue.  There are little hints of blue that lurk in the surface patterning of the Mosaic beads… just place one of these beads next to a blue neighbour and see the blue come rushing out!  For silvers I selected an array of my very favorite patterns, all of which mimic the shape of the glass.  I particularly like the way that the scales on the back of the “Rolling Troll” echoes the background texturing in “Paradise Birds”.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Sapphire”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Azure Bubbles”, “Milan”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Paradise Birds”, “Labradorite”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Rolling Troll”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Jugend”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Green Jasper”, “Azure Bubbles”.

Endlessly fascinating, aren’t they?






Trollbeads Inspiration: Dear Yellow


IMG_8575Dear Yellow,

I get it.  I really do… and I’m just sorry that I didn’t see how amazing you were earlier in my time as a Trollbeads collector.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I haven’t fallen in love with the odd shade of yellow… (Remember that custard yellow baby nursery?  And then there was the short lived sunshine yellow kitchen?)

IMG_8574However, I think if I was honest I was just a little nervous of such a strong colour.  I do like my nice safe misty greys.  Not too long ago I came across an online photo of an incredible yellow bracelet.  It was Chinese Royal Yellow, and completely unapologetic about it.  None of this “Complementary colour”, “Blended in” nonsense… it was just pure, unadulterated and gorgeous… yellow.


IMG_8576What’s more, there was very little pattern on the beads themselves… no cute florals, animals, polka dots or stripes.  Very clean, modern and almost tribal in its aesthetic, it was powerfully beautiful.  It took my breath away, and made me begin to rethink yellow.  I’ve begun gathering big bold yellows and plan to place them together onto a bracelet design once I’ve found enough that I truly love.  Today I’m playing with a range of yellows that I found among Tartooful’s stock… including some surprising candidates, that I don’t usually think of as yellow… “Black Gold” in this case shows more gold than black… an extraordinarily light and bright “Luminous”, and even a “Blue Desert” that is really a “Yellow Desert”!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Black Gold”, “Neverending”, “Silver Trace, Beige Blue” (retired), “Unique Amber”, “Live Love & Forgive”, “Dewdrops”, “Unique”, “Heart Conch”, “Orange Steel” (retired), “Transformation”, “Lucky Clover”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Unique”, “Path of Life”, “Luminous”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Third Eye Chakra”, “Unique Amber”, “Midgard Serpent”, “Unique Amber”, “Blue Desert”, “Lucky Knot”, “Unique Amber”.

So.  Sorry Yellow, I won’t underestimate your allure ever again….



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 Joy – New Uniques Now In Stock!


new-uniques-4We just received an enormous, absolutely gorgeous shipment of Universal Uniques from Trollbeads Canada… so many different, hard-to-find colours and patterns, we are in heaven.

Naturally, like any good Trollie we right away began playing and building bracelets to see some of the possible combinations for the new designs… This delicate palette of softest pink and fresh green was a pleasure to play with, and simply loved the camera!

new-uniques-5Perhaps it’s because so many of these bead designs are so transparent… they allow the light to pass through and reflect off the polished silver core at the heart of each bead.  The refracted light illuminates each bead, making each one appear to glow from within.

new-uniques-3We paired the glass with iconic winter design silvers such as “Snow”, “Large Berry” and the new “Christmas Tree”.  Who says a Christmas Bracelet has to be red and green?  This warm yet icy combination would suit me just fine….


Clockwise from clasp:  “Lock with buds”, “Universal Unique”, “Autumn Splendour”, “Universal Unique”, “Large Berry”, “Universal Unique”, “Organic Hearts”, “Universal Unique”, “Hearts Within”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”, “Snow”, “Universal Unique”, “Christmas Tree”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”.

To see all our new Universal Uniques be sure to stop by our online shop – Tartoofultoo




Trollbeads Inspiration: a little extra OoOoO

I’m still enjoying my “Copper & Pomegranates” bracelet so much, it’s almost embarrassing.  There’s just something about that mouthwatering combination of reds, pinks and peaches that hits my “sweet spot”.

I *thought* it was perfect, just the way it was… but then a couple of beads “happened” to me:  first, the 2012 bead retirements were announced, and I just knew I had to adopt a “Pink Bud” before they all disappeared.  I’ve had this bead in my collection at various times, but it always ended up on a customer’s bracelet.  This time, I’ll have to make sure it doesn’t migrate!  I love the way this colour feels right next to my “Red-Pink Prism”, which is also now sadly retired…

Here’s the other bead that “happened”.  Can you blame me?!  I mean, *look* at it!  (“Yer honour, it wanted buyin’…”)  It’s a Unique Amber, bright garnet red with huge sparkly facets.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I am in LOVE.  (Or is it lust?)  I’ve reordered another Unique Amber kit, and I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that there will be more beauties like this one!



Trollbeads Design Methods

Regular readers of this blog will recall the amazing collection of MS, and her highly imaginative and original design themes… This bracelet has been featured before, but now has been re designed with a totally different approach to grouping colour.

When I saw how MS had redesigned this gorgeous bracelet it occurred to me that we had never discussed on this blog the various approaches to designing with colour that we see among our collectors.  It’s an interesting topic that is closely related to the study of how they select objects, but it’s not quite the same thing.

For example, in the case of someone who collects to mark significant moments in a period of time, and who picks beads that best reflect the event, the bracelet design will be shaped not by aesthetic, but by meaning.  However, for the Trollie who chooses beads more for their beauty than their specific meaning, there are a wide range of design options for arranging their collection in compositions.

By far the preferred approach is “Colour Balancing”: choosing a palette of colour, usually two or three dominant tones, and then arranging the beads around the bracelet so that the colours are more or less evenly dispersed.  This is certainly my usual method, and ideally, it results in harmonious compositions that feel balanced.

“Colour Blocking” is a much more unusual approach, but as you can see from the examples above, very visually powerful.  Some designs transition the colour from one to another, others simply group like colour together.  In the case of the redesigned “Trolls Treasure”, MS has arranged the complementary purples and golds directly opposite each other, and then alternated with blocks of brilliant teal.  In RT’s incredible armadillo bracelet, she has focused on variations in one type of bead, and by arranging all of each colour together one can better savor the subtle differences in tone, size and texture from one bead to another.  In our final example at the top, the designer has transitioned gently from one colour to another, from buttery yellow, to pink, to green, into brown and finishing on a brilliant stroke of salmon.

By far the most difficult design approach is to “Colour Wash”… In this method the gifted designer may create a balanced and harmonious composition without a specific, technical plan.  This involves selecting harmonious colours and using impeccable balance, which requires an expert eye.

MS’s design experiment shows us that one needn’t be restricted to one approach.  Perhaps the ideal is to use elements from all design systems to find ones own way… to create something unique, that gives deep satisfaction and that reflects ones own sense of beauty and balance.


Trollbeads: 2011 design year in review part I

My favorite Trollbeads photo of 2011

There’s a few designs each year that really stand out… Ones that make you catch your breath, that hit that design “sweet spot” and inspire us to do better.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the top Trollbeads designs of 2011:

NO’s soft & lovely design featuring the Limited Edition Kimono Beads…

May 2011.

AD’s progressive pink to gold design garnered so much admiration here on the blog!  This colour combination hit the sweet spot for so many of us…

May 2011.

CF’s perfect raspberry and silver composition is the most viewed and discussed bracelet on the blog for 2011.  This design has inspired raspberry bracelet s around the globe!

August 2011.

This was a bracelet that we composed at the shop, inspired by the extraordinary Ruby bead shown at its center.  We were delighted by all the different colour families that the Ruby unexpectedly complemented.  For example, in this design, it feels like a warm, juicy purple berry.

July 2011

We love this soft  blue composition – “E’s Indigo Blues” – for it’s distinctly laid back, beautiful west-coast feel.

August 2011

KW’s  buttery amber and warm ebony bracelet is perfect for her – gentle, beautiful and so easy for this busy Mum wear everyday.  We love it for its unique colour combination, and for the visits with her adorable daughter that it has given us!

November 2011

This year MS continued to astonish us not only with her ability to create new and imaginative themes for her bracelets, but also with her uncompromising redesigns of her existing compositions.  Pictured above is her 2011 redesign of “Neptune’s World”, a bracelet that was already beautiful, now stunning with its saturated blue and green palette.

August 2011

This perfect design by the fabulous CN showed us that sometimes less really is more!  Featuring the purest white, and only a few beads centred on the bracelet, this composition is simply perfect.

August 2011

Stay tuned for part II, for more inspiring Trollbeads design from 2011!


Trollbeads challenge: M’s pink & green design

Here’s a little challenge that arose at the shop this week:  how to create a bracelet that integrates “Whirling Adventure” and “Hope” into a pink, blue and green composition, hopefully including “Amazonite” and “Diamond bead pink”….

I know!  It was all sounding pretty straight forward until “Diamond bead pink”…

So here is my first idea.  Essentially I set aside the bead that was hardest to integrate, and created a soft and pretty composition that can easily include “Whirling Adventure” and “Hope”.  The owner of the bracelet was intrigued by “Organic Bubbles”, but I substituted “Azure Bubbles”, with its more blue and purple tone… I think that a dichroic glass silver would help to pull together the rainbow of pastel colours, as would a carefully chosen unique that included several of the tones on the palette.

Here’s my second idea:  a richer, more jewel toned palette that would comfortably accommodate both the “Amazonite” and the “Diamond Bead, pink”.  I could have included more raspberry beads, such as “Silver Trace, Pink” or “Pink Bud”, and perhaps if the design was fully realized there would be space for those beads as well.  However,  I didn’t want to overwhelm the delicate lilac of “Whirling Adventure”, so I chose a very soft “Diamond Bead, Pink” and balanced it with a darker “Pink Desert”.  I selected a number of teal beads, such as “Whitecap”, “Green Flower Mosaic” and “Blue Green Feather” to help to integrate a future “Amazonite” purchase and “Hope”.  There’s no question that “Whirling Adventure” still stands out in the composition, so one approach is as above – to embrace that and center it in the design, with a similarly subtle bead such as “Azure Bubbles” to balance it…

…Or alternatively, one could play down the influence of this bead by placing it at the end with a partner such as “White Petals”… I find that the beads closest to the clasp are a little less prominent in the design.

There are a lot of very talented designers among our readers:  what would you do?


Trollbeads Inspiration: Warm Pink for Autumn

Pink is a colour that one can’t help but love: it’s unabashedly pretty,  is so flattering, and simply makes me smile.  Pink comes to mind right away for Spring and Summer – but this lovely composition is perfectly pink for Autumn.  It makes me think of a cosy, Aran knit sweater and pink cheeks glowing from a walk in the cool, clear air.

clockwise from lock:  “Small Flower Lock”, “Beige Bubble”, “Autumn Splendour”, “Golden Cave”, “Wine Harvest”, “Pink Desert”, “Transformation”, “Dew Drops”, “Summer Jewel, big”, “Limited Edition Spring Flowers”, “Large Berry”, “Yellow Jade”, “Silver Whorl”, “Pale Rose Flower”, “Water”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: CN’s collection part II

Today we’ll take a peek at the second part of the the remarkable collection of CN.

Isn’t this palette delicate and pretty?  Soft, buttery yellows and periwinkle blue feel like a warm, gentle Summer day.  So many of my favorite beads have found their way onto this design:  “Blue Desert”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Carved Flowers”, “Jugend”, “Chalcedony”, “Endless” and “Beige Bubble”… it’s a dream bracelet!

CN’s “Blue Desert” is a particularly lovely example of this very changeable design… very light, with lots of gold sparkle and a hint of green, yellow and even lilac.  Just like the “Cool Dusk” and the “Azure Bubbles’, it helps to further tie the pale blue and yellow palette together… “Waves” and “Conch” add a couple of additional warm weather notes… truly, it feels like the “Endless Summer” bracelet.

Imagine how much discipline it must take to keep her all-white bracelet so pure in it’s design.  I’m sure I would have caved to temptation and added a silver mountain or two – but isn’t wonderful that she hasn’t – it’s stunning, simple and perfect.

You’ll spot two rare beads in this composition:  a pair of icy, Switzerland World Tour “Rock Crystals”.  She has centered a “Winter” dangle on the bracelet, and then balanced pairs of the “Diamond Bead, white”, “Milky Quartz”, “White Stripe”, and “Rock Crystal”.  The composition is centered with a pair of stoppers, so it always stays in place.

Finally… her most recent creation:

Perfect for Autumn, this leather and amber design is warm and casual yet sophisticated.  CN has assembled an array of golden toned ambers of all different shapes, sizes and textures.  Don’t miss the gorgeous one at left – with all the glittering inclusions and the cool, boxy shape… She added a “Tigers Eye” and a “Golden Quartz” for additional interest.   An inspired touch is the addition of “Wildcat” and “Organic Bubble”, which each contain a hint of teal, offering a beautiful, complementary note.

Thank you to CN for sharing her lovely creations with the readers of the blog…


PS. TWO SLEEPS! So exciting.