A Very Tartooful Christmas to You


It’s hard to believe, but here we are at Christmas Eve already.  The year has simply flown past!

IMG_7815I simply adore Christmas, everything about it is so terribly Tartooful.

It’s a time of beauty and light in the middle of our darkest months… a time to connect with family…

IMG_7816to find and share treasures with loved ones… to indulge the senses and to perform revered family rituals and traditions.  Is there anything more fun than finding that perfect treat that will light up the eyes of loved ones?


IMG_7813On this special day of the year I’d like to share with you, as Tartooful’s little treat to you, this fabulous Christmas bracelet that belongs to one of our equally lovely ladies.  Isn’t it perfect?  With a gorgeous mixture of small & beautiful uniques, limited editions, Christmas themed uniques and just the right silvers, this is a meticulously designed bracelet that will delight for years to come.  It was such fun for us to see the design take shape, and finally be finished just in time for the Christmas season.


clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Christmas Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Mistletoe”, “Christmas Unique”, “Unique”, “Limited Edition Christmas 2013”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Swan”, “Christmas Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Christmas Limited Edition 2013”, “Unique”, “Christmas Unique”, “Mistletoe”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique”.

From our family to yours…. Wishing you peace and prosperity, health and happiness for the Christmas Season and for the New Year to come!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Honeycomb


honey7When I was little I remember going on a shopping trip to one of the food markets in Ulus, Ankara’s old town.  The steep, winding streets that follow the curve of the ancient hill are lined with different types of wares depending on the area.  In one it might might be mostly traditional copper wares, with men sitting

honey2outside, repairing and tinning copper vessels for a new lifespan.  On another block it might be mostly spices mounded high in bins.  Brightly coloured clothing, plastic household goods, carpets that are rolled and are fragrantly woolly… it’s all there in Ulus, you just have to know which street to wander down.

honey4This was not only on the other side of the world, but in another century… so I am a little fuzzy on the details of this particular Ulus adventure.  However, I do remember stepping away from my mother in an area filled with beautiful pyramids of fruit under sunlit umbrellas.  I knew just where she was, and wasn’t worried at all.

honey9Looking back on the incident with the clarity of years, I think she thought she had lost me, and when I reappeared she was exceptionally happy to see me again.  She didn’t scold me, at all… but in her relief she did let me pick out a piece of honeyfilled, waxy honeycomb from the jar she had just bought.  I must have been very sticky as I happily extracted all the honey from the soft beeswax, but she didn’t mind a bit.


Isn’t it funny the moments that stick in our memory?  It’s impossible to predict what minute incident will simply engrave itself and be there forever.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Unique”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Happy Fish”, “Honey Dawn”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Mocha”, “Dew Drops”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Drifting Seeds”, “Harmony”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Unique Amber”, “Scirocco”, “Unique”.



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: A Bracelet of Calm.


paddy5Today’s bracelet is a blend of beads that belong to one of our clients and beads from Tartooful’s stock… the challenge today was to create a design that utilized her collection of pale blue beads in a fresh new way.  She previously had these beads blended with aurora series pinks, but was in the mood for a change.  With a busy life and many balls to

paddy4keep in the air, I thought this lady could use something calm, beautiful, and meditative.  A dose of serene greys and meaningful silvers seemed just the thing to lend a peaceful air to her cerulean blues.  I knew right away I wanted to include “This too

paddy-tortoiseShall Pass”… a wonderful reminder to cherish the moment we are in.  The new “African Tortoise” is to encourage patience – both with daily frustrations, and with ourselves.  I love the detailing on this new, classic series of silver designs.  Just look at the texture on the shell, the sleepy eyes, and  his little toes…

paddy6I selected the Swan for a few reasons… firstly, it is a lovely balance for the size and weight of the Tortoise.  I also liked the idea that it seems so feminine, serene and yet powerful.  It’s a state of being to which I aspire.  Lastly, I can

paddy3imagine the swan carelessly shaking drops of water off its broad, white feathers… and I’m going to channel that image to aid in managing stress gracefully.  With light blue and cool grey this bracelet might have felt cold – but I wanted a comforting mood – so I added a couple of touches of warm gold, adding a glint of sunshine to the design.


paddy2The hint of gold comes from “Honey Dawn” and “Scirocco”… not a lot – not enough to change the whole palette –  just enough to hint at warmth.  The “keystone” bead on this design, however, is this stunning example of a “Fossils”.  This particular one is a warm greenish grey with lots of lilac purple and silver, accented with points of black.  It almost singlehandedly transforms this bracelet into a sophisticated and serene composition.  Isn’t it amazing the difference that just one bead can make?


“Freya Lock”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Small & Beautiful Unique”, “This too”, “Unique”, “Honey Dawn”, “Blue desert”, “Traces”, “Swan”, “Blue Moonstone”, “Fossils”, “Unique”, “African Tortoise”, “Chalcedony”, “Blue Desert”, “Scirocco”, “unique”, “Three in One”, “Unique”, “Grey Prism”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: “Honey Dawn” and Friends.


Three days of continuous sunshine in Vancouver must have gone to my head, because just look what I was inspired to build today at the gallery…

honey-dawn2I began with this beautiful example of “Honey Dawn”… It’s an easy bead to love, with a buttery yellow heart, covered with layers of iridescent clear glass that shimmer in the light.  Little hits of pink, blue and green are subtly visible, and it changes dramatically with the light.  With this bead in the middle of the bracelet, I worked my way out,

honey-dawn3reaching for lots of warm whites and a few sweet yellows to be friends for the “Honey Dawn”.  Some of our favorite warm whites are shown here – “Conch”, with its generous texture and oyster undertone is always useful.  “Cozy” finds its way onto many Tartooful bracelet designs as its organic texture  is so compatible with natural

honey-dawn6stones and another of our favorite beads, “Silver Mountain”.  The “Diamond Bead, White” brings a hit of crisp white and huge sparkle to the design.  Normally this bead could be a scene stealer, but on this design the scattering of yellow keeps it from hogging the spotlight.  The different tones of white are brought together by another

honey-dawn10useful bead, “White Paper Fold”.  This design incorporates many different shades of white, from pure, crisp, icy white to ivory and even oyster.  The shadows cast by the inside structures create this fascinating array of tones, which allows this bead to blend different whites together into a cohesive palette.  Very useful.

honey-dawn11The new design, “Scirocco” ties the golden yellows and whites together perfectly, so it was a natural choice.  Next, to find some friends for the “Honey Dawn”… some new “Small and Beautiful” uniques arrived on Monday that turned out to be just the thing… This one at left is the colour of a rich custard, blended with cream.  Delicious.

honey-dawn4The other little one I added has a very subtle set of colours… definitely yellow, but a range of shades from very soft to quite deep – and then overlaid with a sea glass green top coat of clear glass.  The overall effect is unique and beautiful.   To help this little stunner blend in on the design I added two honeydew coloured, clear ambers that are of similar lemon-yellow tones.

honey-dawn9Simply Scrumptious.


Clockwise from clasp:  “freya Lock”, “Pearl”, “Unique Amber”, “Diamond Bead, White”, “Nomad”, “Unique”, “Spirit Light”, “Soft Heart”, “Cozy”, “Honey Dawn”, “Scirocco”, “Transformation”, “Conch”, “Unique”, “Whote Stripe”, “Soft Heart”, “Unique Amber”, “White Paper Fold”, “Flowers” (Retired), “Unique”, “Unique”, “Pearl”.



Trollbeads Inspiration: The Swan Bracelet


swan6This bracelet combines soft and misty lavenders, lilacs and blues for a gentle ode to Spring… I was inspired by the new Swan silver, and wanted to pair it with the lock of the same name.  The palette had to match the quiet elegance of a swan, so I began with some delicately patterned new classic core uniques with white, lilac and gold.


swan4It was easy to add a grouping of floral silvers, to give the swans a lovely home…. “Forget me not”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, and “Cherry Blossom” make the bracelet feel like a garden.  I am quite fond of the new “Kaleidoscope” silver, and can see using it on many different types of bracelets… With its narrow silhouette, it will beautifully balance “Dream Catcher”, “Troll coin” and even “Happy Fish”.  Here its little bit of extra height allows me to sneak a Dromedary into the garden.  As one does.  (“Dromedary? What Dromedary? Absurd”.)


I couldn’t resist playing with the quirky camel.  I have a soft spot for them, and besides, it’s a handsome animal, gazing nobly off into the distance…. Furthermore, the sparkling glass ball that this one is perched on matches the cool lilac tones so perfectly.  Oddly enough, both the pink and the blue deserts that we are receiving at the moment have a distinct lilac cast to them, so they play beautifully together.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Purple Prism”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Cozy”, “Blue Desert”, “Mom’s Bouquet”, “White Petals”, “Silver Mountain”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Swan”, “Golden Cave”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Chalcedony”, “Blue Desert”, “Forget Me not”, “Purple Flower Mosaic”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Dromedary”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Rosa Pearl”.




Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s Hellebore Bracelet

photo 1photos:  Margaret Church

IMG_4547Today I feature a bracelet that came out of Cristi’s and my Bead playdate last week… This bracelet is composed wholly of beads from her personal collection, but it’s an original combination that I have never seen her wear before.


IMG_4546Ordinarily I’m more attracted to the warm side of pinks… those pinks that lean towards the yellow side of the colour wheel, that hint at apricot and peach.  However, this bracelet schools me in the allure of cool pinks with a hint of blue, that whisper lilac.  Maybe it’s the contrasting warmth of the ivory that keeps it from being cold…

photo 2Photo:  Margaret Church

IMG_4544… But I think it may be that it reminds me of an old fashioned flower, the Helleborus Orientalis, or lenten rose.  I grew up in a garden that had a huge bed full of them.  My garden obsessed Mother planted them en masse over the course of many years, until they began to cross pollinate, creating countless new colours and forms.  Each Spring it was completely out of control gorgeous.  Cristi has recently fallen in love with these subtle beauties, and has started her own collection in her garden.  Perhaps it’s their plum pink, creamy bone and barely green palette that inspired her in this composition.

IMG_4542All beads from Criti’s personal collection.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Snowy Woods


photo-11when I was little I was was exposed to poetry for the first time by a wonderful volume, filled with classic compositions and amazing, contemporary illustrations.  It’s inspired in me a lifelong love of poetry, and I still have the book, somewhat battered but beloved.  When my own children came along I spent hours reading to them from these old pages, sharing favorites such as “Jabberwocky”, “The Tiger” and “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” on to a new generation.


IMG_4552One of the pieces that stayed with me over the years was this one that describes a quiet moment in at the edge of a snowy forest.  Today this poem is coming to life in front of me, as the snow is softly falling all over Vancouver.  My front garden is a wild patch of woods, and looking out my kitchen window I feel as though I am in the poem.


IMG_4556Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

IMG_4554To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

IMG_4555The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

IMG_4553Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Sigh.  It’s still just as shivery-beautiful as the first time I read it.
This bracelet is just the right mood for today… with a slate grey sky, silvery ice crystals clinging to the feathered edges of last autumn’s leaves and the earthy browns of all the trees, reaching through the falling snow.

all beads from Cathy’s collection…


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s Tropical Holiday Bracelet


IMG_4567This bracelet design by Cristi came together in a flash… she was playing together some new bracelet ideas with her collection, and this palette almost built itself, jumping onto the playtray rod in only a minute or two.  It’s not that it’s so familiar to her – I can’t recall her ever having worn this palette before.  However,  this grouping of

IMG_4569colour drenched beads is so powerful and rich that by following their lead Cristi was able to rapidly create this gorgeous composition.  She scattered the unifying teal and turquoise beads evenly across the bracelet… made sure that the two flame coloured beads were well spaced and balanced on either side of the design… and then filled in the rest

IMG_4568of the bracelet with warm golden glass elements.  Lots of silver allows the eye a chance to pause as it takes in the saturated colour.  Too many glass in a row makes it harder to really “see” each bead as an individual design.  Golden toned beads used here include a lovely unique, Lime Prism, Honey Dawn and the hard-to-place “Power Chakra”


IMG_4570You’ll note that Cristi has placed complementary tones together in each micro composition of glass elements – creating greater colour contrast and a high energy feel to the overall bracelet design.  She centered the Lime Prism, as it is a little different in shape and tone than any of its companions on this bracelet.  This is usually the simplest way to utilize a bead that otherwise might throw off the balance of a design.


As soon as Cristi had teased this joyful design together she declared that it felt like a Tropical getaway… I’d have to agree!


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”.