Trollbeads Inspiration: Summer Naturals


We seem to have had a series of exceptional beads at Tartooful recently… from retired treasures, to fabulous unique ambers, to hard-to-find current uniques, we continue to find great inspiration in Trollbeads’ creations…


IMG_1999Cristi has artfully combined claret and rose for an unusual and pretty bracelet composition.  It includes the coveted “Brown Desert” at left, which seems to have vanished immediately upon its retirement earlier this year!  Note how its red undertones work with the auburn of the “Golden Cave” and the large amber…

IMG_2000This very pale “Pink Desert” feels ethereal with “Rose Quartz” and a shimmering, honeyed-pink universal unique.  This softest shade of pink allows this bracelet, with all its warm naturals, to stay feeling light, airy and summery.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Clasp”, “Universal Unique”, “Fur Animal” (retired), “Ladybug”, “Pink Desert”, “Golden Cave”, “Heart Print”, “Classic Core Unique Turtle”, “Unique Amber”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Mountain Flower”, “Brown Desert” (retired), “Rose Quartz”, “Small Planet”, “Red Mud Jasper” (Summer Stones Limited Edition 2013), “Unique Dice”.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 29


IMG_1670In these last days of the challenge I am trying to implement design ideas developed over the course of the past month.  The aim of the challenge was to rediscover the potential of my own collection, to break down my preconceptions of how pattern and colour could be combined, and ultimately, (hopefully), become a better designer.

IMG_1669It has been humbling.  I certainly discovered some shortcomings… both in my abilities and in my collection.  For example, I’d like to add some golden yellow to my palette.  I realized this after seeing the powerful complementary role it plays in fellow challenge designer. LeAnn Lowe’s incredible compositions.  Melinda Deyhle’s delicious combinations of blues and honeyed yellows made me miss a few beads that I have had and given up along the way.  I really must replace “Moon Ocean”, “Beach”, “Cool Dusk” and “Honey Dawn”.  (Some beads stay forever on my bracelet, others I part with if a customer really, really needs it!)


IMG_1664I never would have composed a bracelet like this one before the challenge.  Here I’ve colour blocked the glass in equal sets of three.  Between those sets of I have grouped silvers, also in sets of three.  I played with the difference in shape between the “doughnut” shaped silver and the perfectly round spheres.


IMG_1665This bracelet design is very structured, but having tight limitations on a given design can inspire greater heights of creativity.  In this case, being able to pick only *three* beads of each colour made me look very closely at each one and try hard to put together a trio where not only were the individuals lovely, but also complementary to each other.


This bracelet is wonderfully tactile.  Groupings of silver beads flow on the chain in a way that is very heavy, fluid and satisfying.  I confess that while I have always admired the silver, and acquired some lovely pieces, I have not tended to fall in love with them the way I do glass and natural stones.  However, over the course of the challenge I have finally begun to understand the powerful role that the silver can play, and I know that it will affect how I see silver from now on.


One.  Last.  Day.  What to design?!  There are still too many compositions to create!


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 9


IMG_1233Phew!  It’s a relief to be back into colour!

Today I built a bracelet around a unique armadillo that has very similar colouring to the legendary “Green Lilac Armadillo” from the Tibet series…


IMG_1234I placed the peacock toned armadillo unique at the very heart of the bracelet, and then built out from there.  I’m delighted by the effect of framing it with the two “Feather” beads – one unique in shades of light blue and lilac and the other a production “Blue Green Feather”.  The “African Amethyst” and “Canadian Jade” balance each other

IMG_1237quite perfectly.  When I was picking an Amethyst I bucked common wisdom by choosing a misty grey one.  The dark, perfectly clear ones are undoubtedly better quality stone, but as you can see from this bracelet, a soft greyed grape tone works much better with the misty colours of my collection.  After the pair of stones I placed a pair of “Bubbles”.

IMG_1240One of the bubbles is a very intense, very green “Organic Bubbles”.  The other is a lovely, light coloured “Azure Bubbles”.  We see so many beautiful beads and I can’t take them all home…. but this one I simply  couldn’t resist!  It seems to work with everything.


As I grew closer to the end of the bracelet I tried to calm the colours down a little, so that the centre portion with the armadillo and the dichroic glass could really shine.


Inspiration from Trollbeads: A Stroll in the June Garden

june-inspiration“Lovely scents are in the air and beauty is all around you. We present the June Inspiration bracelet, Garden Stroll.”

I always enjoy the monthly inspiration bracelets from Trollbeads, but this bracelet is particularly delightful!  I’m inspired by its deft handling of coral toned beads; blending them with lilac and a touch or rich purple in an unexpected palette that sings.  It includes favorite silvers such as “Forget Me Not”, “Lotus” and “Ladybug”, but also lesser used treasures such as 18k Gold Bouquet.  “Three Flowers, Gold” is one of the gold beads that we most admire, with its gorgeous shimmering dichroic glass jewels.  It looks particularly lovely next to the Rosa pearl, where it reflects the pearls’s soft peach blush. The addition of rich gold beads such as these is like a ray of sunshine in the garden.


Interesting to note that Trollbeads has employed a fresh design strategy… In the linear photo above it’s clear to see that they have created smaller colour groupings that balance each other on either side of a central Amethyst.  However, they have not blended the two colour elements of coral and lilac together – each is separated into it’s own area of the bracelet.  They also have not attempted perfect balance of gold and silver, or adhered to the rigid rule of larger silvers in the middle, tapering to smaller at the outside.  The bracelet is stunning, and so a good reminder to us to keep our guidelines loose and enjoy the overall impact of the bracelet, rather than obsessing over every internal detail.

Next up:  The 30 day bracelet design challenge….



Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s Weekend


This exuberant bracelet is intended to evoke a weekend of fun!  The colours are joyous, featuring rich blues, teals and a touch of lavender.

weekend2Lots of beads with clear glass have been chosen for their ability to reflect the light.  This makes them appear to be illuminated from within, an extraordinary trick that helps this bracelet to simply glow.


In addition, Cristi has selected silvers particularly for their meaning… In the photo at right you’ll see a tiny pair of sunglasses peeking out.  This could be a reminder of a day spent in sunshine, or perhaps a nod to a glamorous, exclusive evening out with the glitterati?  Either way it’s a memorable weekend…

weekend1This little stretch of the bracelet is designed to evoke music, and the key role it can play in enhancing a beautiful time… the black and white piano keys of “Amadeus” are the keyboard… the two deep blue uniques are a staccato rhythm section.

weekend3Other silvers on the bracelet include newcomers “Swarm of Butterflies”, (A day at the park?) and “Breakfast”..(A leisurely meal over a shared New York Times?).  The “Diamond Bead Blue’s” rich luxury is like a day spent shopping…even if it’s just for inspiration!


Clockwise from lock:  “Plain Lock”, “Diamond Bead, Blue”, “Universal Unique”, “Sunglasses”, “Universal Unique, “Universal Unique”, “Amadeus”, “Universal Unique”, “Green Flower Tassel”, “Universal Unique”, “Breakfast”, “Universal Unique”, “Swarm of Butterflies”, “Universal Unique”, “Universal Unique”.

We hope that you enjoyed your weekends, and that you have some nice memories to carry with you into the week!


Tartoofultoo online shop…

Trollbeads Inspiration: Faberge


We were thrilled to welcome a new faceted stone to the Trollbeads collection this Spring…

faberge2The Dendritic Agate is proving to be a highly individual stone, with a huge range of expression and colour.  Essentially it’s a slate blue and creamy white stone with inclusions that look like tiny fern fronds.  We have had a few that had

faberge6lots of slate blue, with a only a few marblings of creamy white, but more of our recent arrivals have been primarily cream with only a few mysterious inclusions, peeking through the veil of the stone.  Of course, this is the fun of the natural stones, the vast range of

faberge7appearance makes them highly collectible and dangerously addictive!

Famed jeweller to the Belle Epoque Russian court, Peter Carl Faberge, used these subtle and beautiful stones in juxtaposition to the sparkle of cut diamonds.

faberge3Inspired by this idea, we decided to design a bracelet that did just that.  We chose the simplest, most sculptural silver beads as accents… this created more reflective surfaces, more facets, and more sparkle.  We added “The Diamond Bead, Black” both for stark black contrast, but also for it’s glittering stones floating in its clear depths.

faberge5“Blue Tigers Eye” is dark and sparkling…”Snowflake Obsidian” offers another organic touch of stone, and more black to create a rhythm of black and white.  The blossom in the heart of this “Desert Flower” feels like another touch of stone.


After assembling all the monochrome elements, I felt like something was still missing… it just didn’t feel rich enough to be inspired by Faberge.  We reached for shimmering gold to give it a punch of luxe.  The “Crown Chakra” and “Silver Trace Gold” were the perfect additions, instantly adding a warmth and richness.


The result is a simple bracelet design that feels classic, substantial, and highly wearable.  I could imagine reaching for this composition every day, whether wearing jeans & a white t-shirt, or the formality of a little black dress.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Plain Lock”, “Black Silk”, “Frames”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Love Within”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Dendritic Agate”, “House”, “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Double Heart”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Waves”, “Crown Chakra”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Desert Flower”.





Happy Long Weekend, Happy Bracelet

Hello Tartoofulers, I hope you are all having a lovely long weekend – and that you managed to squeeze all your outdoor activities into our one sunny day!  I shuffled the plants in the garden around so they are enjoying a good rain to help them settle in.

Today I want to share a ray of sunshine with you – RT’s Happy Bracelet!

This bracelet was inspired by her acquisition of two cheerful “Manga” beads.  They set the fresh, lime green, black and white palette, upon which she has expanded with her trademark array of big, beautiful uniques and oversized silvers.

The “Troll Coin” usually stands head and shoulders above other beads on a bracelet, but here it fits right in, next to this enormous green, black and white spotted unique.  A number of the glass repeat the design element of dots, including the LE glass Egg.

This, latest addition to the bracelet was a fortunate find… Lime green was one of the rare colours from this Spring Limited Edition, and even more so with these perfect white speckles.  Attached to the small end of the clasp, it makes a chic addition to the bracelet.

The silvers further echo the theme of happiness… here “Happy Fish” in 18k gold and silver is pictured.  This petite bead is best featured as RT has done, next to the clasp at the end of a bracelet where its highly detailed fish images may be seen and enjoyed.

“Happy Universe” shows the smiling sun in 18k gold, the moon in silver and scattered all around are stars…

Clockwise from clasp”  “Freja Knot Lock”, “Happy Fish, 18k and silver”, “Green Stripe Bubble”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac series x 3”, “Unique”, “Troll Coin”, “Unique”, “Gekko”, “Manga Bead”, “Happy Universe”, “Manga”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac series x 3”, “Unique”, “Jugend”, “Limited Edition Easter Egg”.

Note how RT has clustered her Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac beads to give them additional visual impact.  These beads are quite slender, and might get lost among the oversized glass and silver that RT selected for this design.  By grouping them in this way they function together as a single large silver, and have a wonderful effect.

There’s always something to learn from RT’s designs… (Thank you, RT!)