Trollbeads Inspiration: Lightly Into the Dark

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img_2251Today, November 1st,  is a cluttered black square of type in my calendar… It’s the first day of the month, with all of the financial deadlines and chores that accompany a fresh month…it’s the day after Hallow’een, so we are all just a little groggy from sugar overload and a sleep punctuated with fireworks and firecrackers.  It’s also All Saints Day in the Christian calendar, or Samhain in the Celtic Pagan calendar.  No matter what your cultural background, here in the Northern Hemishphere there is no questioning the shift in light that accompanies the beginning of November.

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Gone are the memories of Summer – we are well and truly into the dark months of the year!

3-1The beginning of November feels like a shift.  Suddenly we expect the nights to be long, we expect the days to be cold and we look to the days of Winter ahead.  I awake in surreal darkness, convincing my skeptical body that it really is time to get up… and on rainy days it sometimes feels as though it never really gets fully light.  Curls of slate  coloured clouds catch on the curves of our local mountains and lazily hang there waiting for a breath of wind to push them along.  No wonder, then, that just now the veil feels thin between the world of the living and the world of those who have gone before.

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4-1So what are we to do?  Shiver here in our dim, grey existence?  Hardly!  We North Westerners have perfected our strategies for warmth and light. We celebrate the contrast of light and dark in thousands of tiny ways.  Some examples… You’ll find brilliantly uplit, spectacular trees in most gardens in my neighborhood.  That pop of green light is even more beautiful for being embraced by darkness.  we light our houses more and more as the very darkest time of year approaches, and by Christmas the entire city is aglow.  Inside you’ll find candles and fireplaces are de rigueur to banish the November chill and in the very darkest months I’ll even light candles at the breakfast table!

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In the same way, I seem to gravitate to warmth and light in my personal objects and jewellery… a little more warm metal: a touch of bronze, copper and gold just feel wonderful at this time of year.  Amber has a natural golden glow that is irresistible, particularly when blended with warm metals and some black or grey for contrast.  This leather bracelet is just the thing to have a touch of sunshine that can be carried with me through my day!

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C.

 

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Trollbeads Inspiration: Ombre Raspberry

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Ombre beadplay is always a fun little design project…

9Casting an eye over our selection of uniques today I noticed that we have an absolutely marvelous collection of raspberry pinks in stock at the moment.  I decided to have a bit of a play with them, but thought I’d give the design a little twist and try my hand at a crimson-to-pale pink ombre composition….

This collection of beads are wonderful, rich shades of soft blush pink through raspberry and down into a deep, satisfying crimson.  Add an absolutely dazzling array of pattern and texture, and no matter how this composition came

5together it was bound to be a fantastic bracelet.  I really think that with these beads it would be impossible to make the bracelet look anything but gorgeous.

The most essential tool when designing this sort of bracelet is definitely a play tray… I string the beads onto the rod to find just the right placement for each bead.  Often I’ll think I know just where a bead “belongs” in the ombre gradation – and then when I slot it in, it becomes apparent that it really looks better a little to the right or left.

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8At the two extreme ends of this bracelet design you’ll find some of the opaque unique beads that are such a delight to true collectors.  The rich red and glittery one shown above has actually been tempting me for my own collection!  So luxe and utterly delicious.  At the other end of the bracelet be sure to note the beads that have elegantly formed flowers traced on milk glass backgrounds.  These have been such a lovely fresh addition to the design oeuvre of glass Trollbeads uniques.  I’d love to see an entire bracelet made up of these delicate beauties.

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I knew that I wouldn’t allow many silvers to find their way onto this bracelet design…. partly because the fun of an ombre is to see how the colours relate to each other, gently transitioning from one shade to the next.  It was also in large part because there were simply too many gorgeous beads that I wished to include in the composition!  However, the overall effect is much more effective with a little silver to break up the colour blocks and allow the eye a spot to pause and rest.  In the end I selected a few highly ornate silvers that were up to the task of matching the drama of their glass companions.

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Both the silver and the glass elements in this composition are like a confection for the eye…

1Clockwise from clasp:  “Lace Lock”, All Glass beads uniques.  Silvers:  “Spiritual Ornament”, “Elderflowers”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Wine Harvest”.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Citrus

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It’s the orange time of year…

7The time of year when we all dust off our best pumpkin, citrus and cinnamon coloured beads and create combinations to honour Thanksgiving, Fall Equinox, Back to School, Harvest Moon, Halloween and the warm low light of Autumn.  Every season has its colour mood, and no question that no matter how you like to celebrate Autumn, with subtle earthy browns or stark ghostly black and white – orange is the queen of the Fall palette.

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5The arrival of a group of spectacular yellow glitter uniques, as well as a punchy new olive glass colour had me eagerly anticipating this annual ritual even more than usual.  Olive has traditionally been a bit of a tricky colour to find in the Trollbeads collection… there have been a few beads with cool, blue-olives, but very few with a true, acid soaked sort of an olive green.  I was delighted when we received a few precious uniques with this very fresh colour and immediately resolved to combine them with rich golden yellows and tangy oranges for a fantastic, citrus take on Autumnal orange.

6A bracelet with this much texture, rich colour and visual energy needs a few places designed for the weary eye to rest, so I showed restraint, and kept silvers minimal and calm.  The silvers in this combination create colour groupings that are meant to be viewed as a whole… then suggest a pause to the eye before moving on to the next group.  For that reason I selected simple, abstract silvers of a similar size and shape that would quietly fulfill their role and not demand too much of one’s attention when viewing the bracelet.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll tree lock”, “Green Prism”, “Summer Ltd Edition”, “River of Life Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Nomad”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Soul Artichoke”, “Glass Unique”, “Masala Facet”, “Glass Unique”, “Moroccan Cushion”, Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Etruscan” (retired), “Glass Unique”, “Glass Unique”, “Luminous Facet”, “Glass Unique”.

All beads shown currently in stock at Tartooful.

C.

 

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Trollbeads Inspiration: Autumn Pinks

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Have you begun to transition your Summer bracelets for the new season?  Even if you’re the sort of terribly organized and decisive person who creates forever bracelet designs, there’s always room for a seasonal “tweak”….

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In some cases, to “winterize’ a pink bracelet design I’ve played with chocolate browns, rich cinnamon tones or greys.  They’re all great solutions, depending on what sort of pink you have to begin with.  In today’s project I’ve utilized some of the beautiful new designs from the Autumn Trollbeads collection.  They’re a subtle blend of hues, with soft buff tones, glittering copper and hints of pink, purple and blue.

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They demand similarly subtle companions, and are the perfect way to create a soft pink bracelet that transitions gracefully from late Summer to Autumn.  Try layering this type of bracelet with an all amber bracelet, or a copper bangle to give it even more of an Autumnal feel.

When creating this design, I began with Fragile Purity, as I liked the way it set the palette of soft pink, with just a touch of light mossy green.  That unabashedly pretty bead is framed by two of the new collection additions, “Soul of Sunshine” and “Nature Unity”, which right away take the edge off the “pretty pink” and make the design so much more subtle and interesting!  Note the way that the pink brings out all the hints of pink, green and blue that are hiding in these fascinating beads…

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This Rainbow Bridge just begged to be a part of this design.  It possesses the perfect blend of green, apricot, plum and even hints at blue around the edges.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Carolina Jessamine Clasp”, “Unique Glass”, “Freedom Feather”, “Desert Rose”, “Nature Unity”, “Pink Conch”, “Ornamental Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Soul of Sunshine”, “Fragile Purity”, “Nature Unity”, “Unique Glass”, “Wisdom Weed”, “Rainbow Bridge”, “Blossom Shade”, “Soul of Sunshine”, “Royal”, “Unique Glass”, “Rosa Pearl”.

How do you transition your bracelets through the seasons?

C.

Trollbeads Challenge Day 5

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Day 5 already – and today I’m enjoying this “Honey and Vanilla” bracelet.

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IMG_1769I began to tease this combination together over the past few days, inspired by a very special “Honey Bud”.  This retired Trollbeads can be seen close to the middle of the bracelet design, tucked between the “Bee on Hive” and the Switzerland World Tour “Mountain Crystal”.  Then, as often happens during the Challenge, I was delighted to see that another Trollbeads Collector, Linda Jo, was working on a similar theme!  She posted a beautiful “Honey and Vanilla” design on our Tartooful Facebook Page.  This kind of synchronicity of design just shows how very connected the Trollbeads community of collectors is.  Both in person in the Village, and online in various social media we share inspiration and challenges, wins and losses.   It’s a rare and precious thing in our increasingly impersonal world.

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For this bracelet, however, the story of connection doesn’t end there… The Honey Bud that is at the heart of this composition isn’t mine at all… It’s on loan to me, from a local long time collector who found she wasn’t using it.  She is thinking of selling it, but kindly and firmly insisted that I enjoy it with my collection for a little while before it finds its next home.  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse!  It’s a gorgeous bead that just glows and feels beautifully smooth and liquid in the hand.  (If you think you might be the forever home for this bead do get in touch.)

 

 

The Honey Bud is not the only bead on this bracelet that I owe to that amazing collector’s kindness… there are many others in my collection that have passed through her jewel box!  (Thank you LC!)  It’s another example of the extraordinary community of friendships that are born out of our shared interest in these amazing little treasures.

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C.

 

Trollbeads Challenge: Day 3

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IMG_1716Today I decided to see if I could build a bracelet of all-labradorite.  Like so many other ladies, this stone is a favorite of mine.  Its endless shades of soft grey to green to blue add a gentle note to so many compositions.  It’s elusive flash of blue, aqua, green, gold, pink or even purple rewards those who are patient enough to sit and really *look* at it in the light.  Over the past year a few more Labradorites have found their way into my collection, but they are normally scattered across a number of bracelets where they can work their quiet magic.  However, today they were all lined up together on my play

IMG_1717tray, just begging to be strung together all on one bracelet.  Initially I played them together with larger, more complex silvers that took up more space on the chain, so that I could feature just the stones.  I thought I would love it that way, but when I actually saw it… it felt a little flat to me.  I wanted to add a little something… just a little pop of pattern – but not too much.  I could have used soft Azure Bubbles, but decided instead to use the slightly more challenging Kimono Kit of beads.  These are understated glass, with matte finish and clean, minimalist patterns.

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Their subtle palette works beautifully with Labradorite, and I’m pleased with the end result.

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IMG_1718The large, complex silvers were replaced with a series of “bead shaped” silvers that usually reside on my teal bracelet.  Their similar size and shape offer a nice rhythm, and are economical in the amount of space they take up, so that more glass and stone may be fitted onto my usual size of chain without crowding the bracelet.  I like the beads a little on the loose side, so that the bracelet flows nicely and doesn’t feel too stiff.  You can see I was feeling a little squeezed for space, as I resort to narrower and narrower silvers as the composition goes on!

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My conclusion is… that this is something I would totally wear again!  (NEED more labs…)

C.

 

Peoples’ Bead 2016 Finallists

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Trollbeads has announced the top 100 submissions to their annual design competition, and the voting has now begun to determine the winning bead in this, their 40th year anniversary!  Once again, we are delighted to note that a couple of our talented local artists have made the cut, and have designs in the top 100.

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Rob

According to Rob, this design in silver is torepresent bubbles or balloons indicative of a “celebration”. The “bubbles” only go part way around and taper off on the other half of the bead” I think this would be a strong, but clean and wearable design, and would love to see  it join the collection.

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Kevin

A Former Peoples’ Bead winner, Kevin says “This bead design depicts a firework going off in celebration of the Trollbeads 40th anniversary. It’s a group of stars coming out from the center to create a sphere. The shape looks a little complex, but It’s actually fairly simple.  Maybe this could be named “Starburst” or “Celebrate”.   This would make a gorgeous focal bead for either Fantasy necklace or dramatic, space themed bracelet…
Please take the time to browse all the inspiring designs in the final 100, and support your favorite emerging designers. The winner will be announced on July 22nd 2016, and the winning design will be available to purchase from August 5th, 2016.

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Spring Whispers

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It’s a grey and drizzly day on the wet West coast where we make our home, and on a day like today it’s hard to believe that Spring really is just around the corner.  However, the subtle signs are everywhere, whispering that the season is just about to change.

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IMG_0969To begin, the hours of daylight are very slightly different.  For those of you who live closer to the waist of the earth, that may not sound like headline news, but for those of us who are farther North, light, or more properly, the lack of it, is a daily conversation.  Through the darkest weeks of the year, the sun doesn’t rise until eight in the morning, and has disappeared again by four-thirty in the afternoon.  Here it is, only a month past the Winter solstice and already the sun has relented just enough to light the way to school for the kids.  It’s a happy thing!

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IMG_0968We’re not the only ones that have noticed that the light is starting to come back to our side of the Earth… It’ll sound funny, but the squirrels about the neighborhood are showing the first signs of Spring Fever!  I watched out the kitchen window last weekend, laughing out loud, as what seemed like wild herds of Squirrels scurried back and forth across the front veranda.  I’m not sure what they were doing, (what happens in the front yard, stays in the front yard) … but whatever it was, it involved a lot of frantic chasing, fluffing of tails and chattering.

IMG_0970Meanwhile, Our elderly cat, Cookie was keeping a close eye on their dodgy proceedings, hustling determinedly along behind them each time they crossed the porch.  I would be concerned for the squirrels safety, but fortunately Cookie no longer poses any real threat to the garden creatures.

Of course, there are other signs about the garden of the coming change in seasons… The Willows are blooming long acid green trailing blossoms… the hazels are, too – some of them very tidy, like newborn pinecones, others more

IMG_0973showy, looking for all the world like microscopic displays of fireworks.  Everywhere that I look I see the promise of flowers to come.  In the case of the snowdrops, promise is perhaps the wrong word – they are already up, out and in full bloom.  The Crocus won’t be far behind, though they seem to pop out of the ground already in bloom, as if they think they’re running late.  The Tulips are pushing their lush green leaves out the soil, as are the daffodils, hyacinths and even daylilies!  I expected to see the Spring bulbs up and around, but I was surprised to see the Summer ones too.

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The Troll Anemone Pendant, in full bloom here on a Sterling Foxtail Bracelet

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Heaven Crane Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Birds of a Feather, Small”, “Pink Gold”, “Wise Bamboo”, “Ornamental Flower Bead”, “Floral Wishes Bead”, “Crown Chakra”, “Healing Heart”, “Troll With Big Feet”, “Blossom Shade”, “Diamond Bead with Gold Core”, “Meditation Bead”, “Soft Wind of Change Orb Bead”, “Fragile Purity”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Rainbow Bridge”, “Trinity”, “Engraved Romance”, “Light Blue Gold”, “Fan of Kindness”, “Rosa Pearl”.

I know that in other parts of the continent, people are still cleaning up after the recent snowstorm, but here, after our grey months, I’m so grateful to be looking forward to the first days of Spring!

C.

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Trollbeads Inspiration: The Softer Side of Coral

IMG_0497Sigh… this just says “Summer” to me…

IMG_0500Is there any colour that sings “Summer” more clearly than a rich, vibrant coral?  This delicious colour, poised neatly between red, orange and pink, is warm, exotic and downright tropical.  I’ve always adored the colour, and have often blended it with warm soft pinks for a sugary confection with just an edge of sexy.

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IMG_0501Today I mulled how to tone down this rambunctious colour to make it more wearable every day.  Choosing all beads from within Tartooful’s current stock, I found the unique glass at left, with its unusual combination of espresso, softest grey blue and dots of hot coral.  It’s the perfect inspiration for an everyday coral composition!

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IMG_0496First I found a group of glorious corals to play with… the Summer Stones 2015 series offers Matte Orange Agate, as well as polished Carnelian. The contrasting textures and range of natural, spicy tones make these designs a pleasure to work with.  Next, I tried various neutral and softer toned beads as companions…

IMG_0495The inspiration unique has a generous dose of espresso brown, so it would have been easy to select various chocolate and walnut brown elements and blend them with the corals.  Perhaps the addition of some clear or ivory beads for some punch?  I tried this approach, and it resulted in a gorgeous combination – but it felt much dressier

IMG_0499than I envisioned.  My goal was a bracelet that would be super easy to wear on a daily basis, with sun dresses, shorts and even jeans.  I started again, and this time I emphasized the soft grey blue that was also found on the unique.  “traces”, “Silver Mountain”, “Sandstone” and “Aquarium Pastel” all have that sublime, subtle blue, combined with a touch of earthy texture that make them perfect for this bracelet.

IMG_0493  Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Carnelian”, “Lucky Knot”, “Golden Cave”, “Sandstone”, “Royal”, “Orange Agate”, “Three Siblings”, “Orange Agate”, “Traces”, “Orange Agate”, “Path of Life”, “Carnelian”, “Three in one”, “Coral Bubbles” (retired), “Aquarium Pastel” (retired), “Art Deco” (retired), “Carnelian”, “Silver Mountain”.

After a bit of play, I found a balance of coral and blue, silver and glass that make my eyes happy… I would happily slip this bracelet on everyday this Summer!

C.

 

Don’t Forget… Trollbeads Day at Tartooful 6th June 2015

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Don’t forget… Tomorrow is Trollbeads Day!

We have been busy as bees, creating a wonderful event just for you…

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blog2with tempting price specials, prize drawings, amazing bead selection – including all the newest stars in the collection – bubbly… treats… and even an opportunity to trade with fellow collectors!  Bring a friend, and we’ll give each of you an extra entry for one of our fabulous Troll prizes.

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Our specials this year are simply fabulous:

  • Buy three beads and receive the fourth bead as our gift to you.
  • Buy a decorative lock and receive the sterling foxtail bracelet chain as our gift to you.

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We hope that as many of you as possible come out and enjoy all the celebrations with us in person – but if you are far away and simply cannot join us… you can still enjoy all the benefits of being a Tartooful Trollie.  Drop us a line at tartooful@gmail.com, or ring us at the gallery at 604-924-0122 and let us help you find just the right additions to your collection to make your Trollbeads Day 2015 a memorable one.

Hope to see you in the village…

xo

C