Trollbeads Inspiration: A Breath of Summer…


IMG_6115Recently here on the West Coast we’ve been treated to the first breath of real Summer… with warm days, and balmy, breezy nights that are just right for resting.  The clear blue sky promises sunny days forever…but of course we know from long experience that we will still see a good dousing of rain before Summer can be relied

IMG_6125upon.  Meanwhile we are all a bit giddy to see bright light after our long dark winter!  I don’t think I am the only one who rushed straight to the beach with the kids… there is nothing that says Summer quite like an afternoon spent poking about at the edge of the water.


IMG_6121I loved watching as the kids crouched over with rapt concentration on their faces… as they tipped up stones on the rocky beach, checking for the scuttling baby crabs beneath.  They’d cry out in delight as a little orange herd of them would emerge.


IMG_6116Often they’d jog over to me, to show off one that was unusually pale, or perhaps had a sprinkling of charming freckles.  Meanwhile I happily comb through the pebbles at the water’s edge, marveling at the beauty of each wet stone.  Truly, is there anything more beautiful than perfectly turned beach stones?


IMG_6128Of course, this all sounds so peaceful… but perhaps I should mention the border collie who keeps it all just a little zany?  She wonders what I am looking for among the rocks and helpfully digs a big hole for me… and then gallops over to check on the children, thinking perhaps she can help out there instead!  Border collies love to help.


Ah… Summer… welcome back!




Trollbeads Inspiration: All our love…


v2Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!  I know, I know… it’s a cheesy holiday, but really, why not take the time to tell the people you love just how much they mean to you anyhow?  Perhaps one shouldn’t need a special day to do that, perhaps one ought really to tell them every day.  But just in case it occasionally gets forgotten, a special day doesn’t hurt.

v4We at Tartooful prefer thoughtful gestures – a handwritten love note… a heartfelt homemade card with scrawled Xs and Os to Mum… the first blooms of Spring from the garden… We’ve made up an inspiration bracelet with love, as our gift to all of you today.  Hopefully its exuberant palette is like a ray of sunshine for those of

v5you still snowed under by Winter!  We’ve included lots of the Valentines Limited edition release, “Be My Valentine”… we love this Aurora series bead, with it’s shimmering glass depths and fascinating little copper heart.  The heart feels like mother of pearl, as the glass works its magic on the rosy toned metal.  “Aurora Flowers” makes a pretty

v3companion, as does “Aurora Stripe” and the now retired “Silver Trace, Pink”.  A lovely heart unique helps to gel the Valentine’s theme, as do the “Trefoil Knot”, “Endless” and “Swan”, with it’s little heart hidden beneath its’ breast.  An Amethyst helps to enhance the lavender tones in the Aurora beads, and its facets add sparkle…


However you plan to spend this Valentine’s, we wish you a beautiful day, with lots of love…

xo, C.



Trollbeads Inspiration: Navy & Claret


If there’s one colour that is speaking to us at the moment at Tartooful it is navy…

oxblood4Fresh, crisp, bold, yet easy to blend with other everyday neutrals such as black and grey… it feels very much of the moment and yet completely classic.  A quick browse through popular style sites such as

oxblood7Pinterest show that we are not alone in this… In the constant cycle of style and fashion,  navy has shrugged off it’s stuffy image and is now cool and edgy.  However, as always it’s a new twist on the approach – fashion never replicates, but reinvents.  Where once Navy would have been paired with vibrant green or crisp white, today’s navy

oxblood5prefers the company of slinky black and bad-boy oxblood.  Rather than a pure white, reach for all shades of grey for softer contrast.  We were inspired to create this bracelet when we stumbled upon a grouping of lovely uniques that feature inky blue with a perfectly subtle,  pearl grey background.  It was a simple matter to add an array of

oxblood3blacks and oxblood tones to fill out the design.  We featured one newly designed unique that neatly tied together the entire design, including pearl grey, navy and claret all in one.

oxblood6At first glance oxblood might be a tricky colour to find in the collection, but in fact it all came together so easily.  Here, burgundy tones come from a rich, silver cored “Ruby”, a sparkling “Amber” with wonderful inclusions, the new “Ruby Falcon”, and a coveted, unique Armadillo.  There’s even a beautiful sheen of gold and oxblood in the “Black Silk”.  Recent retirees such as the “Eye Bead”, “Flowers” and a sparkling “Blue Goldstone” show here why they will be missed.  If you have not already picked up a “Blue Goldstone” be sure to track one down… with Navy on the rise it is bound to be one of our go-to beads!


Clockwise from clasp:  “Sun Moon Stars Lock”, “Ruby Falcon”, “Black Armadillo”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Unique”, “Unique Amber”, “Flowers”, “Ruby”, “Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Nomad”, “Blue Goldstone”, “Unique”, “Unique Armadillo”, “Harmony”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “The Eye Bead”.

Trollbeads Inspiration: A Blush of Blue in Vogue


aurora-moonlight-bubblesThis subtle palette caught Cristi’s eye as she flicked through the December copy of Vogue Magazine today at Tartooful… it’s a sunset on the Bosphorous… so romantic!  The traditional and feminine polka dotted frock, with its indigo blues, is just what one would want to be wearing on the occasion of such a dusky rose sunset.

aurora-stripeIt only took Cristi a few minutes to tease together this equally pretty and feminine composition.  With a few designs from the Autumn Trollbeads Collection, such as the “Aurora Stripe”, and “Moonlight Bubbles”, it’s so simple to create a strong rose and deep blue palette.  She deepened the blues with the addition of “Moonlight

midnight-flowerflowers” and “Flower of Dawn”.  A touch of richness comes from the faceted, natural stones… “Blue Tigers Eye” and “Rose Quartz” are just the right pieces to give real strength and sophistication to this design.  I like the way the “Fish Lock” and wave patterns in the glass are a little nod to the ocean channel seen in the photo.


aurora-stripe-redWe paired this romantic bracelet with a stunning art deco platinum and diamond ring from the Mollard Collection.  This kite shaped ring is sooo flattering on the hand, and sparkles in that magical way that only old diamonds have.  It simply does not come retired-pink-prismmore fabulously romantic than this.  The Mollard Collection is made up of estate jewels from the past 150 years, sourced by a Vintage jewellery expert with an eagle eye for the exceptional – and curated by yours truly at Tartooful.  All of the jewels are professionally appraised and made available to our customers at a tempting 50% of appraised value.  So… not just romantic but very smart.


… one last glimpse of this lovely design by Cristi… all beads in stock at Tartooful.




Trollbeads Inspiration: The Vogue Project Day 1

December-2013-Fashion-Magazine-Covers-PicturesDecember 2013 Vogue Cover

This week we take inspiration from that Grande Dame of fashion, Vogue Magazine.  If we only bought one publication a year, it would be the September Vogue… I’ve spent countless hours over the decades poring over that epic volume, garnering ideas about fashion, colour, decor, homes, food, and people.  The December issue is a close second for sheer daydream value, as it’s filled with gowns, jewels and cocktail worthy ensembles to fill a girls’ dreams.  Let’s take a peek inside the pages of this encyclopedia of current taste and find some images that teach us a little something fresh about colour….


day1-frontOur first image shows Pixy Geldof wearing a lush printed dress by Carven.  This page’s unusual palette caught our eye, as it has an intriguing combination of several trend colours that we can see being relevant well into the spring.







day1-bfmNote how the designer has blended several shades of cool greens with the warm parchment and spicy chestnut.  The claret lip, contrasted with the blush collar and nail brings this vintage feel garment firmly into the now.  The final touch is the slate blue background of the shoot, which resonates nicely with all the cool tones.

day1-slateblueI would have thought to blend the chestnut and green, or the chestnut and blue – but perhaps not all three, and the additional touches of claret, pink and parchment take the palette to an entirely new level.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?  (The fourteen year old deep down inside of me is practicing that mona lisa smile in the mirror right now…)

day1-burgundyFor rich golden browns we reached for unique ambers, the slate blues were ably provided by our perennial favorites, “Azure Bubbles”, and the rich claret comes in the form of “Third Eye” and its companion Classic Core Uniques.  The myriad of greens are brought to the bracelet by “Black Flower Mosaic”, with its highly textured blue and olive

day1-slateblue2tones.  Even the dichroic glass accents in this example perfectly fit the needed palette.  The  gorgeous rich green unique at right is just what the bracelet needed to express not only the colours of  inspiration photo, but also the verdant print of Carven’s dress.  Finally, a hint of lilac pink is added by the “Golden Cave”.


The over sized and dramatic scale of the photograph’s jewellery dictated the style of the silvers for this composition.  “Opposites”, “Large Berry”, “Thoughts”, “Zanzibar” and “Transformation” shine in this role.  All the beads used for this project may be found online in our Tartoofultoo online gallery.


Oh – and in the spirit of the season we decided to add a companion cocktail ring to each bracelet… (As one does…) Here we showcase a lovely smoky quartz and yellow gold ring from the Mollard Collection of vintage jewels.  It makes me smile just to see it, it’s just delicious.

Tomorrow:  Vogue Day 2… Ciao darling, don’t ever change, we must do lunch.



Trollbeads “Share Your Story” Design Competition: LC’s Secret Garden


lc-secret-garden-catHave you ever seen a more lovingly and patiently created design than this one?  This beautiful bracelet immediately impresses with its rich and vibrant colour palette, featuring blues that range from turquoise to teal and verdant greens that are straight out of the garden.  Don’t mistake this for a tropical confection, however – the deeper greens and

lc-secret-garden-autumntouches of brown and black help to ground this palette and keep it in a cooler, more temperate region.    After the initial delight of this bracelet’s brilliant colour… one can begin to look more closely and observe the meticulous care that has gone into its’ creation.


lc-secret-garden-crowningtouchEvery single glass is thoughtfully chosen to help to establish the palette, set up a rhythm of colour and create a balanced composition.  A series of budded caterpillars set a high standard for the rest of the beads to follow… with tiny floral motifs, and swirls, dots and ‘dillos of rich tones.

lc-secret-garden-unladybugThis shy ladybug unique glass is not so very ladylike.  It’s the “antibug”, perfectly camouflaged and barely noticeable among the other greens and blues.    It’s the only way I could imagine LC placing a “critter” bead on her bracelet, and suits her taste & personality to a tee.


lc-secret-garden-cat2Note how all the silvers are carefully chosen to further enhance the garden theme… with lotus flowers, bees, waterlilies, silkworm, cherry blossoms, narcissus, snake and even a little spider lurking in the corner.  Not all the inhabitants of this garden are sweet and cute – just as a garden has a variety of characters, charming and otherwise…


This garden has taken a long time to grow… this collector has taken her time and selected carefully and patiently – and it shows.  What a beautiful result!

Thank you to LC for sharing her bracelet with the readers of our blog.. If you think she’s done a great job be sure to take the time to “like” it on our facebook page, as it will be entered in our “Share Your Story” Trollbeads design competition.  By encouraging her and the other entrants in the contest you’re increasing your own chances of bringing home a prize, too – as we’re awarding prizes for both the most favoured design and the most supportive fan!  (Win-Win!)


Inspiration found… the Autumn Garden


This time of year it feels as though the garden is having one last little celebration of the year… one final fling before it’s time for many of our favorite plants to take a few months of well deserved rest.

secret-garden-alchemillaEver since I was a child I’ve imagined the deciduous trees dressing up in their party best of gold and red to throw one final celebration of a year well done.  After all, they’ve been working hard ever since Spring… busy busy, make the flowers, make the leaves,

secret-garden-mushroomsgrow the leaves, time for new shoots, grow those branches, reach for more sunlight, go go go…. then time for fruit and berries, set those nuts, make the seeds, busy busy busy no time to rest if you are a tree.  Until October.  Then, it’s time to have a wild celebration of colour and pass out til Spring.  Isn’t it fantastically fun?  I’ve always thought it would make a great childrens’ book, with lovely watercolour illustrations.  Perhaps one of these days I’ll get to that project.

secret-garden2In the meanwhile the Autumn garden offers me unlimited inspiration.  Even as flowers finish and die down, leaves become tattered and the songbirds flee South… the quieter, more subtle stars of the Autumn garden come into their own.

secret-garden-dew-on-webYou’ll have to look a little closer to notice some of them.  The macro lens that I use to photograph Trollbeads glass is trained on tiny droplets of dew glistening on Lady’s Mantle leaves.  A carpet of moss is a miniature forest, with seeds glowing in the warm light.


A few flowers stand bravely in the garden… Coneflowers, Japanese Anemones, sedum and hardy fuschias are still adding flourishes of raspberry in various sunny corners.

secret-garden-musroom2… and oh my the mushrooms!  Love these magical little things, more creature than plant, popping up unexpectedly in crazy patterns about the lawn, flower beds and all over.  Such amazing shapes and forms.

secret-garden-lookupFinally, after one has been looking closely for some time, it’s easy to forget to look up… in my garden its way, wayyyy up to the top of the trees… sometimes clothed in low lying clouds, other times catching the sun and glowing madly.  The trees feel like the real owners of our piece of the world – having been here long before our family, or the family before us, or any of the houses.  Surely these sturdy mammoths will be here long after as well.

It’s wonderful timing that the same day I took these images, one of our most beloved Trollies popped into the gallery with an inspired bracelet composition that she calls her “Secret Garden”… stay tuned to see a design that could so easily have been created with these garden photographs in mind…


Trollbeads inspiration: Big Rock Bangle


big-rock-bangle2Today we feature a recent bangle design by Cristi that combines some of the hot young stars of the new Autumn 2013 series with “Dichroic Ice”, a classic bead design that is long time favorite of ours at Tartooful.  The clear white dichroic glass is fascinating to examine, as it alternates between clear white and shimmering iridescence.

big-rock-bangle-4(See what I mean?)

This chameleon quality allows it to settle comfortably into classic white bracelets, but also to bring out blue, pink, green, or purple from its neighbours in a composition.

big-rock-bangle-5Here it echoes some of the fuschia and blue from the newly released “Moonlight Bubbles”.  This bead is part of the Aurora family of designs, and ranges beautifully from almost completely blue all the way to nearly orange.  All of the examples have waves of shimmering glass dotted with clear bubbles that feel like pearls.


The flash of shimmer and colour on this bangle might be what catches the eye… but the two “Diamond in the rough” silver beads will be what brings a smile to the eye… how fun!  They play on all our cultural associations with diamonds, and then brazenly toss them aside.  These are “rocks” for a very self sufficient, and utterly modern sort of girl.  What a wonderful gift from one friend to another… or to oneself!


One final note… I’m hoping to the “diamond in the rough” featured on lots of natural stone bracelet designs… what could be more clever than to blend it with other gems?

Where are you planning to put your new “rock”?



Trollbeads Inspiration: Pistachio & Candied Violets


This subtle and pretty bracelet makes me think of the gently sweet treats of my childhood…

pistachio6Think Baklava, dripping in orange blossom honey… warm pistachios sitting in the sun in a bustling spice market… and candied violets, perched delicately on florentines at a fragrant tea shop… these are the old fashioned and faraway treats that come to mind.

pistachio3Making a trip to the local tea shop was a coveted treat.. a reward for a good report card, or perhaps a birthday celebration.  I can see the little curved glasses full of strong tea the colour of amber, passed quickly and nimbly from table to table on a steel tray with a tripod handle.  The glass is elaborately decorated with fairytale tendrils of shimmering gold.

pistachio7So magical to the eyes of a little girl….The tea is too hot to drink right away, so take a moment to inhale the tea’s perfume.  While you’re waiting,  pick a sugar cube from the little plate on the table.  Each cube is decorated with a curl of icing, this one like a pink rose, that one a tiny violet.  Pop a crunchy square of sugar into your mouth…

pistachio5then gingerly sip the scaldingly hot tea through the sugar cube so that it melts into a sweetly bitter mouthful.  Heaven.  The best part is that sitting there on the edge of the round wooden bistro chair, swinging my legs above the polished floor, I felt so very grown up.


Sweet treats, indeed….



Trollbeads Inspiration: Triple Threat


Something as beautiful as these Trollbeads Gold beads can stand alone… as is elegantly shown by these simple sterling bangles.

triple-5We chose some of our favorite gold beads to highlight on Trollbeads’ new sterling bangles, each one centred and framed with Troll’s simple sterling stoppers.  It goes to show that even just one little gold, all alone can make a huge design statement.


triple-4Blending different metal tones is white hot, which is good to know if you’re the sort of person who keeps track of that kind of thing.  I’m happy to say that the vast majority of our lovely Trollbeads collectors are not the least bit concerned with what other people think of their personal jewellery choices.  They’ve been merrily mixing metals for years, and looking fabulous doing so.

So simple, so gorgeous.  Love it.