Trollbeads Inspiration: Necklace in Blue


IMG_8670We’ve had lots of questions this Spring about Trollbeads Leathers… how do they work?  What do they feel like?  How to size?  What colours are available and so much more.  I think perhaps some of our collectors are mulling leathers as they offer a completely different

IMG_8661way to design with, and enjoy the beads we all love.  Today I thought I’d play with one of the newer leather colour combinations:  Cyan & key.  This teal and navy leather really pops, whether you compose a simple, neutral coloured design with mostly silver, choose beads with just as much oomph as the leather itself!


IMG_8660I was inspired by the arrival of the new Limited Edition Italian bead, “Party Time”.  This lovely glass has a light glitter base layer, with a thick of clear glass and a blue harlequin pattern.  Hints of aqua green and blue soften the overall look and make it a cinch to combine with all the new, green and turquoise Spring bead designs.


IMG_8663This dotted unique is one of my all time favorite beads… I can’t begin to describe how perfect it is… the blue isn’t quite turquoise, which makes it so much more interesting!  The dots are all just a little bit off kilter too – plum, not purple… vicuna, not yellow, teal, not navy… I just seems to have it’s own quirky little personality, and manages to go with a

IMG_8667ton of colours!  It goes particularly nicely with this yummy butterfly, with it’s cool batik wings.  I was also delighted to be able to place a kite patterned bead on this design that beautifully echoes the Italian Party Beads… such similar colours, just a twist on the same motif.  Note how the blues and greens just glow in the dichroic glass dots of the silvers?  Delicious.


IMG_8662When I composed this piece I intended that it be able to be worn two different ways… I put the Trinity all by itself on one strand of the leather, thinking that it would hang separately if the leather was being worn as a necklace.  Isn’t it perfect how the beads pull the lower strand down just enough for it to create that graduated look?  Of course, one could also wear this piece as a bracelet, simply by twisting the two strands together messily and wrapping the whole thing around the wrist twice.





Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 30 Finale


It is hard to believe but here we are at day 30 of the 2014 design challenge.  For the last month we have created a new composition each day, to be worn and enjoyed for only a few hours.  The next morning, the design was taken apart and we began to compose again.

IMG_6070Why take it apart each day?  It freed us to create pieces that we never would have made if we were committed to them for a longer length of time.  Through the process we pushed down mental walls that restricted our designs… Experimented with new colour

IMG_6069 combinations… Changed the balance of silver to glass… Combined the chain components in unexpected ways…

Over the last days I dug deep and tried to think about the last few mental

IMG_6068blocks that I was holding onto, and tried to tackle them.  I also thought about what I had learned this year, and shared some of my insights and small victories.  Today for the final design, I was torn between creating something divinely simple, or something fabulously over the top.  You can see what I chose!  As Melanie says:  “More is More”….


IMG_6066Today’s opera length, chatelaine necklace is composed of four bracelet chains, five basic double lobster clasp bracelets, an emerald fantasy necklace and of course, a schwack of beads.  I began by choosing some key beads to design

IMG_6065the tail of the chatelaine portion, right at the bottom of the necklace.  They set the tone for the entire composition, so they had to be just right.  I took care to set aside some nicely matched pairs of beads, and leave them for when I was

designing the arms of the necklace.  Rather, at this point I used dramatic beads that stood rather more alone, and were harder to balance perfectly.  These were strung onto the bottom of the Emerald Fantasy Necklace.


When I was satisfied with the tail portion I folded the remaining chain in half horizontally to “split” the chain.  I don’t own a splitter bead for my personal collection, so I simply added a nicely matched pair of silver “Bee on Hive” and started designing up the arms of the chain.  I’ve found that as long as the arms are loaded right up, the weight of the beads keeps a “split” in place.  I added a bead first to one side and then the other, taking care to keep the balance.  This was the time to start using those beads that were nicely matched in pairs.


The first time I designed this necklace I used all my beads in my collection, creating a riot of colour and design.  I loved it, but I knew I wouldn’t really wear it… so I took it apart and started again, editing out a whopping total of 24 of the beads that created the carnival look and strictly restricting myself to colours that sang together.  This second incarnation has more bare silver chain, but I like it much better.  (This was one of the big lessons of this year’s Challenge:  sometimes the best way to improve a design is to take a bead – or a bunch of beads – off.  Don’t be afraid of bare chain!)


To lengthen the chain beyond that of the normal fantasy necklace I capped the rounded ends of the chain with my clasps, and then attached a pair of bracelets to the other side of the clasps.  I put just three beads on each bracelet, and then repeated that pattern again on the next pair of bracelets.  This made a total of four bracelets, forming the sides of the necklace.  Finally, I added one last clasp at the back of the neck.  In total the necklace is a true opera length, reaching past my waistline.  However, the length of such a design would depend on the sizes of bracelets and fantasy necklace used.  If you didn’t have four silver bracelets and wanted to create the same look, you could substitute a leather necklace or a leather bracelet for two of the bracelets and it would work out to roughly the right length.


This was a very fun design challenge and a great way to integrate all the little lessons of the past month into one piece.  Best of all, I think I’ll wear this design for some time!  It’s very satisfying on… heavy, bold and very dramatic.  Think black tank dress, or skinny jeans with a black tee and a pair of simple black boots, or pumps – and this necklace.  It’s a “power” piece that makes one feel a little taller, a little sexier, just by putting it on.

IMG_6064So here we are at the end of the month… hopefully with a new appreciation for the potential of our collections, and a bead bag full of fresh ideas, just waiting to be enjoyed.  I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each one of you who participated in some way with me – by jumping right in, making up new bracelets each day… emailing me with occasional pieces to be shared with our online Trollies, dropping by the gallery to show me a new design, taking the time to follow along and encourage those who were on the journey… or even something as simple as writing a note to say you were inspired by the posts.  It all adds up to a tremendous feeling of a wonderfully creative and inspiring Global Trollbeads Family, and it means so much.  Thank you.  Over the next couple of days we’ll be tallying all the commentary online, and finding the ladies who were outstanding in their field – whether it be as a designer or as a supporter – and we’ll let you know who our challenge heroes are!  Stay tuned to find out the names of these “SuperTrollies”…

…and whatever you do, don’t stop creating just because the challenge is over!  Take your passion, and new skills and enjoy your collection like never before…






Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 25


IMG_5949Today I played my collection into a necklace – even without a long silver chain.  This is a topic that is on lots of our ladies’ minds this week, as they mull the acquisition of new silver pendants for Summer… many of them are thinking they they’d like to spread out the expense of adding a new necklace to their

IMG_5950collection, and I remind them that they can pick a new pendants, begin enjoying it right away with a few bracelets combined together, and then then purchase the necklace in a couple of weeks when they have refilled their bead budget!  Alternatively, the Trollbeads leather necklaces are beautiful with the contrast of the silver against

IMG_5948them, and are so affordable.  They’re also so flexible for many different kinds of compositions… they look amazing when filled completely with beads, especially a full set of amber.  The effect is somehow modern and clean, despite the large numbers of beads involved.  In addition, the weight of the beads rests on the

IMG_5952shoulders, rather than pulling forward on the neck, making it a very comfortable approach.  I wanted to refresh everyone’s memory on how a necklace like this can work at some point during the challenge, but the truth is that it happened today

IMG_5946simply because I was happily adding beads to this design, creating away, when I realized that I had far too many beads for just a bracelet!  It’s easy to get carried away at the playtray.  So, I backed up, did a little rearranging and voila – today is necklace day!

When composing a necklace of this kind, use multiple sticks on the playtray for ease of design.  On one stick, put together the middle portion of the bracelet, starting from the very middle of that chain and working your way out.  This is the easiest way to ensure that the center of the design is dramatic, and that the necklace looks balanced as it comes out from the middle.  Next, on two different sticks, create the two side bracelets.  This time it’s easiest to work from one end of the stick, and design both sticks simultaneously, adding a bead first to one stick, and then the other.  This helps to makes sure that the two sides of the necklace stay balanced, both in length and colour composition.  In general, I try to put the largest beads in the middle and graduate to the smallest ones at the back of the neck…. but of course it’s also about the strength of colour, dramatic pattern and dispersal of silver.







Trollbeads Inspiration: Surprise Necklace

fall-necklace-scurveThe Fall crop of Trollbeads is going to be stunning…

blue-diamond-closeToday I had a bit of an idea that really just got right out of hand… I began to build a bracelet design composed of rich, nutty browns with turquoise, teal and cobalt for a vibrant take on an Autumnal palette.  It would be a easy piece to pair with denim, but also fresh with the whites that we are seeing everywhere this Fall season.

fall-necklace-frontOops I made a necklace…what a nice surprise!

fall-necklace-doublefrontI kept finding gorgeous beads that would look great in the mix, and before you knew it, the project had grown from a bracelet to a leather cord necklace.  The chestnut tone of the leather looks fabulous with the colours in the composition!

IMG_2529 I could imagine a necklace such as this being designed from two or even three completed bracelets being scrambled together.  The key is to have a couple of beads that include several of the palette colours, to help to give the design cohesion.  Here, the two center uniques work beautifully as they include turquoise, brilliant blue and espresso.


Do you know, it takes two rods on a play tray to be able to design a full necklace like this one?  A longer rod, such as a narrow knitting needle, would definitely come in handy. (Don’t let anyone tell you that size doesn’t matter…) I used one rod for one half of the design, and a second rod for the other, placing them side by side to check for balance.


What do you think?  Do you have any bracelets that you’d enjoy as a necklace this Autumn?


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 11

big-necklace1Oh Yes I did…

longnecklace7What started off yesterday as a simple necklace has… evolved.

In this design the objective was a super long and dramatic opera length necklace that showcased a wide range of colours from my collection.

longnecklace6The first step was to build a series of bracelets that felt similar in tone and were very close in length.  Obviously the chains were all the same to begin with, but I also wanted the amount of beads on each one to measure about the same so they would balance.

longnecklace5Building four similar bracelets became a bit of a technical affair, counting out even numbers of silvers, balancing out big and small, round and irregular.  Then I divided out all the colours and dispersed them evenly.

big-necklaceI edited the colours before beginning the process of building the bracelets, setting aside the brightest and boldest colours.  I wanted the overall effect to be a calm and pretty wash, with no one bead claiming more attention than the others.  I did keep the peacock pearl bracelet exactly as it was yesterday, and integrated it.


My thought was that it would be intriguing to have that simple, visual space on one side of the necklace.

longnecklace8Building each one of these components reminded me of when I first started in Trollbeads a number of years ago… my first bracelet was made up simply of beads I loved, in colours that I liked together.  I didn’t create to a specific palette of theme, so there was a little pink, a little blue, a touch of green, a butter yellow amber, a bit of teal, and somehow they all got a long perfectly.


…So in total I used six bracelets:  five silver, and one black leather for the back of the neck.  I also needed six clasps and two stoppers.  There are no beads on the leather bracelet, and there are about sixteen or seventeen beads on each silver bracelet, other than the one with only the pearl.  If one had more stoppers, one could put less beads on each necklace, and center them with stoppers for a lighter and, in some ways, more exciting design.  If I had used less beads and edited rigorously according to a chosen palette, I could have created a more cohesive design.

It will be fun to expand on this idea and try other combinations…  I’m enjoying this necklace today!



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 10

peacockpearl2“… and now for something completely different”

Today it’s time to stretch the muscles of the collection just a little bit and look at something other than a bracelet design.  This simple necklace took only a minute to compose and is so very satisfying and easy to wear!

peacockpearl3I took two bracelets and joined them together:  a black suede wrap bracelet and a long silver foxtail bracelet.  I used my usual basic locks, attached in the usual way.  I turned the leather so that it sat at the back of my neck for comfort, and balanced the locks so they sat evenly on either side of my collarbone.












Finally, I placed my limited edition “Peacock Pearl” in the center of the silver foxtail chain and anchored it with a pair of stoppers.  The pearl would have stayed in place regardless (gravity works!) but I like the subtle enhancement that the burnished silver offers the pearl.

This simple everyday necklace is a great example of the modular capacity of the Trollbeads collection… the various components can be mixed and matched to create endless numbers of jewelry designs.  A little bonus of this design?  I can take the silver chain off and wear it immediately as a bracelet, with only the pearl, and it feels so chic!