Uniques Event Begins!

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It’s happening again!  Trollbeads has sent us a HUGE array of unique kits to share with you.  Not only have they sent us all these yummy glass, but even added a tempting group of amber!  So quick – hustle on in to Tartooful to pick your very favorites and find all the newest and most exciting glass and amber designs…

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Not close to the gallery this weekend?  No worries, you can find all the kits displayed on our facebook page, for convenient, pajama clad shopping.  Just comment on the kit that interests you and let us know… even if you only want some of the beads in a given kit, be sure to hit it up with a comment so that if there are other ladies who would like to split, we can help to figure it all out.

uniques-event-dragonfly - 12Have fun browsing!


Trollbeads Challenge: Day 10


Today I am featuring a lush bracelet design with saturated colour and heaps of texture and pattern.  It’s an abrupt change from the simplicity and calm of yesterday, and a fun exploration of the huge range of expression that the Trollbeads toolbox offers.


IMG_1810I adore cranberry red, even more so when combined with other saturated tones such as raspberry, pink, coral, goldenrod yellow – or in this case all of them!  It’s a “Singapore sling” bracelet with juicy sunset colours that range from soft pink and peach down into egg yolk yellow, raspberry, tomato red and claret.  These riotous colours all play together nicely, partly because they are all in the warm red family, but also because the textures and patterns of the glass are of a similar complexity and mood.

I could have contrasted the ornate glass with simple silvers to offer a pause for the eye, but instead, consciously chose to make this bracelet an extreme contrast to yesterday’s breath of calm.  I enjoy playing at both ends of the Trollbeads design spectrum!





Trollbeads Design Lesson: The Nitty Gritty

rackStep 1:  approach the rack…

starting-pointRecently I’ve had a few messages from readers, asking for more insight into the process by which we compose a bracelet here at Tartooful…. We don’t keep to any kind of a strict system by any means, we simply play with colours until they “feel” right to us, but we thought we’d try to share a little more about our approach.

choose-rodsToday I was inspired by this retired and pretty “Aquarium Pastel”.  I like to pair this bead with light blue and apricot, rather than the usual expected chestnut browns.  This results in a lighter than air and very unusual palette.  I started by pulling some rods of beads that had possible candidates for the bracelet, and placing them altogether on a play tray.

first-groupPlacing  the inspiration bead in the center, I worked outward, adding beads one by one.

At this point I felt like it needed to feel a bit more Autumnal, so I added a few beads with soft grey and even black elements to deepen the palette a little.


“Traces” does a good job of combining the blue and grey, and Kathy Perras’ artisan “Siberian Tiger” adds a little “va va voom”. (purr!)

final-groupingNow it’s time to add a little silver…

traces-closeA few more beads here and there to fill out the bracelet… a few silvers that are roughly balanced for style and size… and a rearranging of order and we are at the final bracelet design.  I chose the retired “Zodiac Star” first..

siberian-tiger-closeI picked it for the perfectly coral coloured carnelian stone at it’s heart.  “Endless” is graphically punchy and interesting, and matches it well for size.  I chose “Three Siblings” for it’s abstract shape that complements “Endless” so well.  Finally I added “Bead of Fortune” as it matches “Three Siblings” so well with its long narrow shape.


light-blue-gold-closeWhen choosing the order of the glass I work outwards from the center of the bracelet.  I do this because I like to try to make sure that the few beads at the center are able to set the tone and palette for the bracelet as a whole.  I find that when I am wearing the bracelet those are the beads that I tend to notice the most, so I want to get those  just right.

pick-a-lockAfter the center beads are sorted I add beads in the two main colour families, trying to alternate the colours so that each bead is able to complement its neighbour.  I don’t match the beads on each side perfectly, but I do try to make sure that they are balanced in visual “weight”.  Imagine the design on an old-fashioned scale.  The larger or darker beads are “heavier”.  I also tend to have the largest beads at the middle of the bracelet and work downwards in size towards the ends of the chain.  Finally I choose a clasp that I think suits the overall theme of the silvers or the season.  In this case I wanted to be sure to set an appropriately Autumnal tone, so I added the “Trolltree” lock.


There you have it… the “nitty gritty” of playing together a new bracelet design at Tartoooful!



Creating Trollbeads before our eyes…


We were so honoured to have Irina from Trollbeads Canada join us at our recent Trollbeads event. Her glass bead making demonstration gave us a fascinating peek inside the creative process that brings us our Troll treasures… and gave us an even greater appreciation for the gifted craftsmen of Trollbeads!

glass2Irina patiently explained to us the materials and equipment in her custom made, portable glass making studio.  The durable metal table surface and protective shield reminded us that she was literally playing with fire!

glass8How amazing to see the hard rod of glass begin to glow red in the flame, and then magically become liquid and pliable.  It appears a completely different colour while molten, so the artist can’t see how each bead will look until it cools.

glass3Each bead design, whether a “wave”, “armadillo”, “dot”, or “stripe” has a different sequence of application, and different technique.  Irina left some beads partially completed, so that we could see how they looked as they were made.

glass4It’s amazing that some beads actually appear bigger partway through the process, than when completed.  This is because the beads are turned and thus rounded in the flame to finish them.  The surface tension created by turning them creates an extraordinarily tough outside coating, and makes them almost impossible to break.  Indeed, over the years of selling Trollbeads, I have only ever seen one or two that were damaged!  Finally, she cooled the hot beads, first on metal rods, and then in a protective, heat shielded pocket.


In this short video, Lisa Aagaard explains and demonstrates the process…

Thank you to all of you who joined us for this very special event, we had so much fun with all of you!



Trollbeads: Every Colour Has a Bead

Time for a new look at Tartooful… you’ll already have noticed that we’ve switched banners here on the blog, and when you drop by the website or the shop you’ll notice more of the same theme:  “Every Colour has a Bead”

Colour is a deeply emotional matter, with certain shades evoking strong reactions of energy, inspiration or calm.  There has been lots of psychological research done on the subject, to try to harness the power of colour for various reasons… for example, fast food chains tradionally have utilized hot shades of orange and red, to encourage appetite in their customers, but also to urge them to eat quickly and vacate the seat for the next hungry customer.  In contrast, hospitals and prisons utilize the calming shades of soft green and blue to keep their “guests” docile.

However, colour is even more complex than that:  each of us has a deeply personal relationship with colour.  Not only do we bring all of our history and personal memory associations to the table, but each of us physically experiences colour in a slightly different way.  There is no question in my mind that one of our patrons, the venerable MS, receives more information from a deep, rich blue than I can possibly ever hope to see.  The impact that colour has on her is clear to anyone present.  I, on the other hand, have my “sweet spot” tickled by subtle shades between red, pink, apricot, butter yellow and orange.  Think of a Summer sunset, or a “Singapore Sling”!

What does this have to do with Trollbeads?  Well, everything, really.  The breathtaking range of colour found in the Trollbeads glass and natural stones collections gives intense satisfaction to the most diehard colour junkie.  The huge variety of shades means that everyone will find a bead that strikes them emotionally – we’ve seen it at Tartooful over and over again.  It’s wonderful to find someone who never knew how much they felt colour until they fell in love with a bead.  Suddenly, a new designer is born, right in front of us, as they can’t resist finding the perfect complement to this gorgeous piece of glass and silver.  The best part is that after discovering a magical colour, or combination of colours… you can wear it on your arm, and experience that colour “hit” any time you need a little lift.  Joy!

So… the new design theme at Tartooful, “Every Colour Has a Bead” is a nod to all the people who really “Feel” colour… and to the gorgeous designs that they create using Trollbeads as their canvas.


9 days… ’til the Little Troll

This warm & lovely design group includes some of my favorites:  “Wildcat”, with its soft sand swirls with gorgeous blue undertone… “Chocolate Parrot” features a deep bubble with a hint of the same insane blue… and this particular “Brown Desert” boasts a tortoiseshell texture that is most unusual.


Trollbeads World Tour: Africa!

Trollbeads continues on it’s world tour, and today presents us with a collection of limited edition beads celebrating the people and cultures of Africa.

“Dance your way through Africa!
Feel the rhythm of the drum beat as you experience the essence of Africa through her smiling, happy people and vibrant colours.
Drench yourself in her breathtaking wildness and ageless traditions as you meet the king of the beasts.
Welcome to your African adventure
Watch as Trollbeads friends and retailers introduce the World Tour Africa collection in this short film by our South African distributor:
Music: The song “Siki Siki” is from the album “Home” by Hot Water.”

Drum Beat

“In Africa, drums served as an early form of long distance communication, and today are used during ceremonial and religious functions such as dance, rituals and story-telling.”

Designer: Søren Nielsen

African Pride

“The male lion is highly distinctive and easily recognizable by its mane. Few animals will dare to challenge a lion, even in periods of extreme hunger, or fighting for territory. Referred to as “King of the Beasts”, lions are popular symbols of royalty, stateliness and bravery.”

Designer: Søren Nielsen


“I am an African. Not because I was born there but because my heart beats with Africa’s. I am an African. Not because I live on its soil but because my soul is at home in Africa. I am an African. For her wildness quenches my spirit and brings me closer to the source of life.

Extract from a poem by Wayne Visser (www.waynevisser.com)

Designer: Lise Aagaard

Seed Bead

“Seed Bead” is a generic term for any small bead. Usually round in shape and most commonly used in weaving, but also in simple stringing and in other pieces of jewellery. The colorful, world-renowned Ndebele bead work is a good example of the use of seed beads.”
Designer: Søren Nielsen

These exciting beads are available through South African retailers starting today…