Trollbeads Inspiration: Liquid Blues


This bracelet was inspired by both the new blues of Spring 2015’s Trollbeads Collection… and also by the arrival of a pair of extraordinary uniques.

IMG_8080When designing a new bracelet, I love to blend two or three colours together to form a palette that delights the eye.  there is no better way to “gel” the entire feel of a composition than to find a few beads that include all the colours of the design.  Often, I find a gorgeous individual bead, and let the entire bracelet follow it’s lead!

IMG_8081In this case I was delighted by the two uniques that frame the “Jewel of the Sea” fish at the heart of the bracelet.  Their rich palette, crisp detailing and complementary patterns just begged to be showcased together on a bracelet.  I think these two little beads have huge potential for a collector who likes to play… they could find all sorts of

IMG_8078different applications, over all seasons.  Imagine them paired with cobalt blue and gold over the holidays, royal blue, green and white for summer, or even with some of the softer blues, such as glittering “Beach”, “Seabed” and “Fountain of Life”.  The possibilities are endless….  However, with an entire new collection to play with, and so many gorgeous new

IMG_8085ocean themed blues therein, I decided to play together a cerulean blue and aqua blend.  The luscious new blue glass, “Silver Trace, Turquoise” (shown above) is so luscious – doesn’t it seem such a natural addition to the collection that it already feels as though it must have been there all along?!

IMG_8082“Seabed” is a welcome addition as well, for those ladies who love golden murano sparkle, and long for those slightly softer tones…. “Gentle Wave” is a silver in the classic Trollbeads approach.  It feels satisfyingly heavy, and is a lovely oval shape that will balance well with “Zanzibar” or the “Cherry Blossom Bead”.

IMG_8084In the end this bracelet was very easy to play together, and I felt spoiled by the abundance of beautiful blues and soft greens I had from which to choose…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Water Lock”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Neverending, Sterling”, “Sea Glow”, “Heart Conch”, “Spring Wave”, “Silver Trace, Turquoise”, “Guardian of Treasures”, “Unique Glass”, “Jewel of Sea – part A”, “Amazonite”, “Jewel of Sea – Part B”, “Unique Glass”, “Mermaid Companion”, “Silver Trace, Turquoise”, “Seabed”, “Gentle Wave”, “Seabed Stripe”, “New Horizons”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”.


Trollbeads inspiration: Life Aquatic


IMG_6664Today’s bracelet is inspired by the arrival of a pair of wonderfully quirky and dotty green, black & white beads.  These two little beauties could have been the stars of so many possible designs, but now in the middle of the Summer it felt natural to create an aqua and white, water-themed design.  I absolutely love the design on these new

IMG_6661uniques… with their slightly abstract, splodgy design and three dimensional dots, they feel like quirky yet elegant little swamp creatures.  Perhaps not surprisingly, they pair perfectly with this year’s glass frog uniques.  Here, however, I have chosen to celebrate their crisp colour palette, and I have placed them among turquoise, aqua, buttercream yellow and white.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 5.53.41 PM“Ancient Palace” is a lovely addition to so many bracelets, and here its rich blue and gold shimmer simply glows.  I particularly enjoy this example of this bead, as it is subtly softer than many of the examples I have seen.  It’s just a little faded in spots, and the variation in the blue makes it even more appealing to me.

IMG_6659This unique glass bead, with its graphic criss cross pattern has appeared in a few different colours over the course of the Spring.  We have seen opaque, emerald green, black and white, and this clear turquoise version.  Here I placed it next to “Nomad”, whose cross hatched pattern echoes that of the glass next to it.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Urchin”, “Ancient Palace”, “White Paper Fold”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Mermaid”, “Unique”, “Amazonite”, “Unique”, “RollingWaves”, “Unique”, “Scirocco”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Nomad”, “Ancient Palace”, Unique”, “Unique”.

IMG_6665One final photo shows the lovely clear core on some of these unique turquoise budded beads… I love the way this clear layer allows the light to enter and shine back out again, as if the bead is illuminated from within… the Troll glass artists really are brilliant.






Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 8


Today I decided to branch out into fresh territory… time for a Fantasy Necklace design!

IMG_5625With a brand new, Emerald Fantasy Necklace beckoning in my jewellery bag, I’ve been wanting to tackle this little project for a while….I don’t use my turquoise beads nearly enough, and the idea of a necklace design that incorporated them seemed like a good idea.

IMG_5628I have found the emerald to be unbelievably flexible, pairing happily with greens, greys, aquas, pinks, purples, blues… By adding some jewel toned beads plays as a brilliant aqua, but by adding a string of aqua to grey beads it feels whisper soft.


Do any of you have a new Emerald ?  I would love to see your fresh design ideas!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Candy Bracelet


This Trollbeads bracelet design is a dose of simple sweetness!

candy2When the colours are this bright and bold, one doesn’t need a full bracelet to make a clear statement.  With stripes and dots, flowers and ribbons…not to mention turquoise, orange, coral, pink and raspberry… this composition is playful and fresh, just the way it is.  I wouldn’t add a thing!





Trollbeads Inspiration: Mossy Blues


blues5If there’s one thing that North Vancouver does well… it’s growing moss.  We do moss like nobody else… thick, fabulous sheets of it that invite barefoot walks and afternoon naps.  I think it’s odd that some of my gardening friends treat it as a weed, grumbling as it grows madly all over their shade gardens, and working busily to keep it at bay.

blues6Personally I love the stuff, and actively cultivate it.  It protects the ground and helps to keep it moist over the super dry summer months, keeps the weeds to a minimum, and is green all year round.  Love it.  It’s the lowest maintenance ground cover ever, and uncomplainingly shares its space with all the other shade loving plants.


blues8So when I designed this “Beautiful blue” bracelet, with its mossy accent tones it brought to mind my favorite bed of moss in my garden.  I couldn’t resist a little “al fresco” photo shoot, to share it with you.  The moss is ridiculously lush at the moment, thick and sproingy, and glowing emerald green in the Spring sunshine.

blues1It still bears the tiny forest of oxblood seeds from last Autumn.  Don’t they look just like the little stripes in the “Parasol” patterned unique shown above?  Many of the beads on today’s bracelet are from the newest wave of classic core uniques for Spring of 2014.  These glass are, for the most part, quite tiny and very intricately detailed.

blues2I’ve had questions from readers wondering how to integrate these tiny beads into their existing collection of regular sized production beads… I can understand the hesitation, but for me they simply offer another way to play with size in a design.  I like a bracelet to taper at the ends, so that’s an easy spot to fit them in.  In addition, I prefer a mix of sizes through the main part of the bracelet, to allow the eye a spot to pause and rest.  Think of it as punctuation for the composition – it lets the eye know where there’s something especially lovely over which it should linger.  In this case, I have chosen silvers that I think are really beautiful.  I wanted the viewer to fully appreciate their form, so I tapered down to each one with a smaller glass.  Each little grouping of glass is made up of a larger central bead, framed by two slightly smaller ones.  It gives the overall bracelet a pleasant rhythm.












Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Unique”, “Ladybug”, “Unique”, “Silver Mountain”, “Unique”, “Forget me not”, “Ancient Palace”, “Labradorite”, “Unique”, “Chrysanthemum of November”, “Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Unique”, “Troll with big feet”, “Unique”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Unique”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “Unique”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Sunshine On My Wrist


sunny-whopperIt’s a cool, and foggy day here on the West Coast… quiet, beautiful and eerie.  I do love days like this, where we feel like the mountains are wearing the clouds like a blanket, and the sky and the ocean blend seamlessly in the distance.  The clouds muffle the noises a little, but I can still hear the fog horns down on the harbour.  With the rest of the continent still

sunny-endlessrecovering from recent ice and snow storms, this calm and benign kind of winter is something for which I am deeply grateful.  Clouds or no clouds, I know that the first Spring flowers are only a matter of days away.

However.  Every now and again a girl – even a devout West Coastie like me – needs a little light.

sunny-front(Cue the triumphant yet ethereal music)

sunny-smileToday I’ll wear my sunshine on my wrist, as a personal and portable antidote to the dark days of winter.  It’s  a budget busting way to enjoy a little tropical sunshine – think of all the bead money you’ll save by not jetting off to a tropical getaway!  Even better, the beads are forever, and will be patiently wait for you, nestled in your jewel box,

sunnyfor the next time you need a little sunshine…

To create today’s warm and vibrant composition we combined golden yellows of various types with brilliant blue and a touch of clean white.  The blues range from a “Light Blue Gold”, to

cross-shaped-ambera very intense “Light Turquoise Prism”, with a classic core unique and “Turquoise Ribbon” to fill in the range of tones.  It doesn’t take much of such a distinct colour to create a strong palette for this bracelet design.  In fact, one could remove all blues from this bracelet – there are only four – and replace them with pinks, greens or lavenders to create an equally lovely design.  The golden yellow and white elements are a neutral base on which one could create endless variations.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Plain Lock”, “White Pearl”, “Unique Amber”, “Light Turquoise Prism”, “Endless”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Blizzard”, “Unique Cross Shaped Amber”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Light Blue Gold”, “Unique Oversized & Faceted Amber” (It’s a whopper!), “Classic Core Unique”, “Three Siblings”, “Unique Amber”, “Crown Chakra”, “Unique Amber”, “Three in One”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Classic Core Unique”, “White Pearl”.



Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 28


IMG_1654It’s a beautiful morning here on the West Coast, and I have a packed schedule today… this morning I am pottering in my garden, followed by brunch and playing in a friend’s garden.  It’s a hectic pace, but I’ll do my best to keep up!

IMG_1659For this kind of laid-back, blue sky day I felt like classic blue & white… and looking back over the photos from the past month I see that I haven’t paired my turquoise with crisp white at all!

IMG_1658The “Sakura” bead steals the show wherever it goes, and here it offers a welcome dash of floral pattern.  On a bracelet like this, with a very nearly pure blue and white theme, the touches of lilac and apricot in the heart of each blossom really stand out.  I particularly like that this bead includes both the blue and white, neatly tying together the palette.


IMG_1655This black and white “Spot” is an interesting bead… have you ever noticed that the pattern is more complex than first meets the eye?  The clean modern dots on the surface cast shadows through a clear layer of glass,  onto the lower layer of opaque white glass deep within the bead.  Like so much in Troll, the more you look, the more you see.

IMG_1656… and then there are the things that only I can see:  This “White Steel” was a gift to me from my oldest Son the day I turned forty.  He chose it for me because it felt modern, abstract, and different… and he thought I liked things like that.  The “Black Dot” bead was a gift from my husband when he returned from a business trip to Los Angeles.  He walked miles with a heavy bag, just to find Trollbeads to bring home for me.


In the end it’s the combination of the things seen by both the eyes and the heart that makes Trollbeads so special to wear.




Trollbeads design Challenge: Day 13


IMG_1420Today I woke up determined to work with some of the beads that I hardly ever incorporate into my designs.  I adore the brilliant turquoises, teals and blues in this bracelet, but find them overpowering when blended in with my subtle and misty hues.  They really need their own composition to shine unabashedly.

IMG_1421The Sakura bead from Japan’s World Tour collection is a much loved bead that I find tricky to incorporate into my day to day designs.  I love the depth and detail of this bead’s flowers.  The touch of apricot and yellow at the center of the flowers gives it that lift that makes me smile.  I must make better use of this bead.

IMG_1426However, I am realistic about my taste; I need to find a way to celebrate these colours without feeling like my bracelet is wearing me.  Maybe using deeper olives and greens might work?


I tried adding a touch of olive to my leather bracelet of day 7, and was quite happy wearing that… so perhaps that shade of green is a good bet.  Olive has long been a neutral that we’ve used at Tartooful for our clients designs to tone down bracelets that are too brilliant, or too sweet.  I don’t know why it’s so easy to see solutions for other peoples’ bracelet conundrums and so hard to see them for ourselves!


I could have put a few more of my greyed-olive beads on this bracelet to make it even more subdued, but for today’s exercise I wanted to make use of as many of my bright turquoises as possible.  I do think, however that a couple of Labradorites would be great on this design.  At first I thought I had to leave the green-lilac unique armadillo off the bracelet, because of the purple… I decided to use it after all when I remembered the lilac in the “Sakura” bead, and used them opposite each other in the design.  I selected silvers that are appropriate for a water theme… “Cells”, “Neither Fish nor Bird, Big”, “Waves”, “Spot”, “Viking Ship”, and “Frogs” all found their way onto this bracelet.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 7

IMG_1215Happy Father’s Day!

Wow!  We’ve made it through the whole first week!  Today it’s a day of relaxation for me… the gallery is closed, and I am spending today with family, and of course honouring all the special Dads in our life… (Especially my own dear husband, Greg!)  It’s a good day for a casual leather, with fun colours and just a few beads.

I decided to try a new twist on my usual approach to designing with the leather bracelet.  One most often sees it with the beads scattered around its strands.  I often wear mine quite full, as a choker necklace… or sometimes use it to help build a very long and dramatic, opera length necklace.  (I must remember to show that to you.  It’s amazing.)  By the way, leather bracelets like this are verrry yummy on a guy, especially with just a few well chosen, chunky silvers.  However, not to get distracted, here.. today I decided to make a surf style wrap bracelet, with neat lines of focal beads.


With only a few beads in play, I chose some designs that I often find tricky to integrate into larger compositions.  The retired “Green Armadillo” is a wonderful acid green, but it can dominate my subtle and soft collection.  However, its energy is well matched by the retired “Turquoise Armadillo”.  The “Christmas in Australia” limited edition nestled between them ties the whole palette together.  The “Small and Beautiful”, teal feather unique at top left is a treasured gift from a Trollbeads friend in Virginia… thank you again, LM, I love it so.

Give your special Dads big hugs today! If your own Dad isn’t around to hug anymore, maybe just lift a glass of something special in his memory and take a few minutes to remember…


Trollbeads Inspiration: RT’s Troll Tree

Here’s a first peek at a composition in progress by the incomparable RT…

She is playing with two slightly different interpretations of the the feminine and lovely colour, lavender.  Anchored by a beautiful series of unique beads, and featuring her signature big, bold silvers these bracelets are distinctly RT.

One bracelet is made up of glass on the pink side of lavender and soft grey.  Glass such as “Grandma’s Favorite” and “Whirling Adventure” pair beautifully with the sophisticated black pearls of “Triple Pearl Black” and the “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.  The exceptionally pretty “Chalcedony” feels luminous.

Isn’t “Grandma’s Favorite” a stunning design?  I’m always astonished at how beautiful this bead is when viewed closely – try turning it on it’s side… looking at it from this unexpected angle gives it a totally new appearance.

The second bracelet is a blend of aqua and lavender, with a gorgeous “Troll Tree”  as a centerpiece.  This is an unusual choice for a bracelet, as it is easily large enough to make a dramatic pendant.  However, RT is not one to shy away from a bold statement, and as you can see, it’s a definite success.

RT pulls this delicate colour palette together with a painstakingly acquired series of uniques that incorporate both aqua and lavender.  The stripes, swirls and dots of these one of a kind beads are mesmerizing and beautiful – a gorgeous reminder of just how talented the glass artists at Trollbeads really are.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted as RT continues to create these lovely new designs … C.