Trollbeads Inspiration:Lemon Tart & Earl Grey Tea

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IMG_1961This afternoon I’m sitting in a ray of sunshine at my desk at Tartooful… and I am craving a cup of classic Earl Grey Tea and a traditional lemon tart…. Do you know the kind I mean?  It would have a home made butter crust, with little fork marks around the slightly imperfect edge.  It would be made with free range, happy-chicken eggs with deep, rich eggs yolks… and the lemon curd would be that same, ridiculously beautiful shade of yellow.

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IMG_1953…Not too much sugar, but just enough to take the edge off the tart, citrus flavour of the fruit.  That kind of lemon tart is so satisfying.  It scratches every sort of snacking itch… buttery, flaked, baked, sweet and sour pure afternoon sugar fix.  No matter how delicious, I could only ever eat one of these decadent treasures.

The Earl Grey tea, with its subtle hint of Bergamot, is an essential element, necessary to bring a little balance to the afternoon treat.  The tea cuts the tart, firmly forbidding it from becoming cloying.  Sipping from the hot cup demands that one slowly savour the whole experience.

Sigh…. are you there with me?  It’s time for afternoon tea.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Golden Flower Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Silver MOuntain”, “Water”, “Unique Glass”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Amber”, “Smile of Stars”, “Unique Glass”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Unique Amber”, “Neptune’s Promise”, “Unique Glass”, “Smile of Stars”, “Unique Amber”, “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Neverending”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”.

C.

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Hidden Garden Bracelet

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The arrival of this stunning “Glass Trolls” made me want to create a bracelet matched its dewy and light as air mood.

With delicious shades of apple green, to golden honey, to aqua and forget-me-not blue, the dichroic glass acts as an inspiration and focal point for the whole bracelet.

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This allows me to pull together a diverse set of blues and greens that include turquoise, teal, sage, birds egg blue and even this gorgeous Emerald that takes the center position in the composition.

A pair of newer design uniques come in handy for knitting together the palette as well… these swirled glass patterns hide every shade in the bracelet, with periwinkle to teal and all shades of blue between.  I love the dimension of pattern in these glass; they invite the eye to dive right into their cerulean depths.

I find that “Tropical Travels” is a good match for the size and lush mood of this “Glass Trolls”, and I’ve added a slightly smaller “Royal” and “Ornamental Flower” to complete the set of silvers.  To me, the overall mood of this bracelet is a Summers afternoon in a rich garden.  Perhaps this verdant place is in an exotic locale, like a Florentine Palazzo’s courtyard, adorned with vines and fountains….

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Small Fish Lock” (Summer 2016 Release), “Unique Glass”, “Ancient Palace”, “Royal”, “Blue Agate”, “Florence”, “Traces”, “Glass trolls”, “Unique Glass”, “Blue Agate’, “Emerald”, “Blue Agate”, “Unique Glass”, “Tropical Travels”, “Florence”, “Blue Agate”, “Silver Mountain”, “Ornamental Flower”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Unique Glass”.

C.

2016 Trollbeads Challenge: Finale

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IMG_1854Well.  Here we are at Day 14, and the end of this year’s fast and furious Trollbeads Challenge at Tartooful.  Normally I’d be just getting warmed up, with many days left to explore all the facets of my collection, but this year we shortened the challenge to encourage more of you to take the plunge and join in.  Like every year, I feel as though I really am just getting started.  Every day that I perform the ritual of creating a fresh design, I have more and more ideas for future designs.  Like every year, I have ended the Challenge with more unexplored inspiration than when I began.

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IMG_1855I’d like to thank so many of you for your support and participation.  Having all of you playing along with me each day gives me a real sense of the extraordinary community of Trollbeads collectors that I’m privileged to know, both in the gallery and online.  I’ve been delighted and inspired by so many of your creative and beautiful designs.  Your daily encouragement and kind words for both my designs and the compositions of other collectors brings an element of joy to this exercise that goes far beyond the pure aesthetics of our designs.  Thank you, my friends….

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On countless occasions I’ve explained Trollbeads to neophytes as “Like Lego for Ladies”.  In other words, Trollbeads are cleverly designed components that can be built and rebuilt as many times as you like, in endless combinations.  To emphasize the versatility of Trollbeads,  I’ve chosen to finish the Challenge by creating a “convertible” design that can easily be worn as either a bracelet or necklace.  For this design you’ll need three bracelet chains, with two of them the same length.  You’ll also need two decorative locks that are similar in form. They don’t have to be identical, here I’ve chosen two one-piece locks with different patterns.  You’ll also need a third lock to close the necklace at the back of the neck.  Place a simple but elegant group of beads, and center them on a bracelet chain with a pair of stoppers.  On the other two bracelet chains add a handful of beads that are twins, so on each bracelet are a very similar group of beads, in the same order.  connect these two chains to the bottom one with the centered grouping using the matched pair of locks, and voila!  A necklace.  Remove the center portion, and it can be worn alone as a bracelet.

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There are endless variations on this – filling all the chains with beads, using a leather for the back of the neck and so on… but the basic concept that you can create a necklace – by combining your various Trollbeads components remains the same.

In the end, Trollbeads is simply a creative toolbox to design whatever jewellery you wish… and it just begs for play!

Thanks for playing along with me!

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Challenge Day 13

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Today I’m tackling another design challenge that I have visited in past years.  I thought it would be interesting to see how the finished bracelet would look and feel with the recent updates to my collection.

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IMG_1913Over the past couple of years I have made a conscious effort to add certain shapes and sizes of silvers to my personal collection.  I’m very particular about each silver – it has to have a meaning that makes me happy, but it also has to function well for the way I like to build my bracelets.  I tend to make balanced compositions, so that means that pairs of silvers are useful.  However, with very few exceptions I tend not to actually buy duplicate designs, but rather prefer to find patterns that are complementary to each other in both theme and dimension.

IMG_1919Luckily for me, Trollbeads tends to have a few relatively standard size grades within which they produce a number of designs.  For example, “Jugend””Carved Flowers””” and even the “Rolling Troll” all have a similar form and size, so they work well to balance each other in a bracelet.  I often use “Ball of””Sweater” together for the same reason.  One bead that I simply had to twin in my collection was the “Bee on Hive”… it’s one of my favorite silvers, as it features the Bee image that I take as my personal emblem.  It’s soooo useful to have that one pair for bangles, necklaces and so on.

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IMG_1915I like to group silvers not only by appearance, but also to some extent by narrative theme.  For example, I usually place my “Ball of Yarn” and “Sweater” together on a bracelet along with my “Spider”.  I like to think that the spider is a crafty little knitter of webs.  Similarly, I place my “Frogs”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird” and two “Happy Fish” on a design together for a wetland sort of a theme.

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Perhaps the most relevant habit that I usually employ, however, is that I always…*nearly always* mix the glass or stones in with silver.  Occasionally I might make a bangle with only one metal bead.  From time to time I might make up an all-amber or all-glass bracelet.  But all-silver?  Nope.  Only for the challenge!  It’s a tough one for me, as it’s missing the colour elements that are my comfort zone.  It’s also very tricky to build all-silver while creating a sense of order to the design.    This year, with the addition of more size pairs, I think I’ve managed to design a bracelet that I would make and wear again.

It has a very comfortable amount of movement on the bracelet, which results in a very fluid feel in the hand.  It’s satisfyingly heavy and I am enjoying wearing it today!

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C.

 

Trollbeads Challenge: Day 10

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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.

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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!

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C.

 

Trollbeads Challenge Day 9

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IMG_1794Today I hankered for a soft, simple composition that felt calm and meditative.  I decided to start with a whispery soft Purple Jade for the very middle of the bracelet, and framed it with a pair of Labradorites.  That felt so perfect that I decided to carry on with only natural stones in the softest tones that could find in my collection.  IMG_1800

I wanted the silvers to have a similarly calm mood, so I used “Shortcut”, “Spot”, “Heart” and “Smiling Cylinder”, whose clean lines and smooth surfaces felt just right.

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Ahhhh…..

C.

 

Trollbeads Challenge Day 8 (Happy Mothers Day!)

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Happy Mothers Day!

I fondly remember shared time with my Mother, enjoying the charming poetry of A.A. Milne together… This poem is my gift to you today.  XO

Disobedience

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don’t go down with me.”

James James
Morrison’s Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison’s Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James Morrison’s Mother
Said to herself, said she:
“I can get right down
to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea.”

King John
Put up a notice,
“LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
JAMES JAMES MORRISON’S MOTHER
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
LAST SEEN
WANDERING VAGUELY:
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN
TO THE END OF THE TOWN –
FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD!”

  James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.
James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he:
“You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me.”

James James
Morrison’s mother
Hasn’t been heard of since.
King John said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?”

(Now then, very softly)
J.J.
M.M.
W.G.Du P.
Took great
C/O his M*****
Though he was only 3.
J.J. said to his M*****
“M*****,” he said, said he:
“You-must-never-go-down-to-the-end-of-the-town-
if-you-don’t-go-down-with-ME!”

A.A. Milne
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Trollbeads Challenge Day 2

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Day one’s daunting greens were such hard work for me… I decided to play something together today that was pure joy and really oh so easy.

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IMG_1733Truthfully, this bracelet practically built itself and threaded itself right onto the chain… warm, teal blues and golden yellows are perfect complementary tones, and are among my most beloved colours for Trollbeads.  It took me years to understand the appeal of the amber-y yellows, but once I started I didn’t look back!  I now have enough in my collection for at least two full bracelets of these toasty colours alone, and I love every single bead.  The problem, of course, is that if I put them all together on one bracelet… I can’t use them as complementary beads for my blues, purples, greens and so on.

IMG_1734It was during the course of another Challenge, a few years back that I came to the profound conclusion that “I NEED More Yellows!”… and I have been watching, stalking and lying in wait for special yellows ever since.  I’ve added quite a few to my collection since that Challenge year, and I have a feeling that there are still more amber and yellow toned beads in my future…There are just too many combinations that benefit from the addition of a light and deft touch of honey golden yellow.  Oooo imagine if one had enough Grey to tease together an entire grey and yellow combination…

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The hint of tangerine hiding in the depths of this yellow bubbles bead always gives me joy!

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This one isn’t an Azure Bubbles, but rather a Classic Core Unique!  It must be cousin of some sort though…

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Ta da!  A well behaved group of teal and golden yellow…

C.

 

 

Are you ready to take The Challenge?

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It’s almost May, and that means it’s time again to take up The Challenge!  (Dun Dun Dunnnnn…..)

The objective is to find new inspiration and new possibilities in your collection of Trollbeads.  The method and rules are simple – and meant to be bent!

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  1.  First, decide which designs you would like to take apart.  Perhaps it’s bracelets that you love, but never wear.  Perhaps it’s ones you used to wear but now find a little boring… or maybe it’s ones that have just never settled in your mind.  Some people take everything apart, others choose certain parts of their collection and leave other parts complete.  There’s no right or wrong way – just choose whatever you’d like to play with!
  2. Lay out the designs that you plan to take apart and photograph them.  That way, you have a permanent record of your designs, and after the challenge if you like, you can put them all back together again.  This is KEY… it makes the challenge an absolutely risk free, no-stress affair.
  3. Unleash!  Breathe deeply, and take ’em apart… feel the freedom!  I like to lay my beads out on a play tray like an artist’s palette, so I can see exactly what I have to work with, but whatever works for you is perfect… (Hey, if you want to put them all in a big pile and and roll around in them, who am I to judge?!)
  4. Start to play!  Every day take a few moments to put together a fresh design from your collection, and enjoy it just for one day.  Take a photo so that you can remember your new designs and share them with us on our facebook page or via instagram (@tartooful, #trollbeadschallenge).  (If you don’t “do” facebook you can email them to us at tartooful@gmail.com and we can upload them for you).

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This year I am making one BIG change to The Challenge… Over the years I have heard from a number of people that they shy away from participating because of the long time period involved – traditionally we have carried it through the entire month of May.  This year we are switching it up and trying an intensive, Fourteen Day Challenge to entice all of you to join in and play along!

So… Starting on May 1st, join us in The Challenge!  Unleash your bracelets and indulge in some Trollplay!

C.