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 18


We’ve had some folks asking for some design ideas for Fantasy necklaces, so I thought today I’d share my approach of using similar designs for either bracelets or necklaces.

IMG_1555I tend to fall in love with a colour combination or blend of patterns and want to wear it all different ways for a bit.  I’ll make up a bracelet with it, and when I want a change without giving up the composition I’ll transfer the design over to a fantasy necklace, leather bracelet or choker.

In this case, I loved the combination of icy blue and warm ivory with touches of gold.  I made up the necklace first, playing the ivory off the white pearl.

IMG_1536It was so easy to expand on the concept, switch a few things here and there and create a bracelet design from the same palette.  My bicone golden amber adds another warm touch , and I am able to use both my blue dot and green dot…

IMG_1533For me the main difference between designing for the various chains is simply how to arrange the different sizes of beads.  For example, on the bracelet I tend to place the largest ones in the

IMG_1535middle, and then taper towards the ends.  I try to balance the colours evenly across the circle of the bracelet, so that it doesn’t appear heavier on one side than the other.  When I come to the last bead on each side I like to have them play particularly well together, so that when one looks at the lock it appears harmonious.

IMG_1534However, when designing a Fantasy necklace I think in terms of stacking the beads in a pile on the chain… so I like the widest and thickest bead to sit at the bottom to give it a stable and pleasing look.  (The large barrel shaped silvers are so great in that position).  Then I taper the beads as one goes up the chain with the smallest at the top.

IMG_1554If one plans to double the chain using our modified lariat approach, then the last couple of beads should be stacked on in reverse order, so that when they are slid around to the other side of the necklace the smallest bead still ends up on the top.


On a daily basis I’m most likely to leave my fantasy necklace made up with a pretty neutral composition with ivory, gold and grey.  I do wear my necklace almost every single day – with everything from jeans & worn in boots to black velvet and heels.  On those days when I feel like a change, it only takes a few moments to toss something pretty together.


Trollbeads Inspiration: “Winters Gift”

winter's gift

We woke up to snow on the North Shore this morning!

Our quiet side street is a skating rink, and the cats are disdainfully refusing to step out the door… but the delicate lace trim of snow on the trees is shivery-beautiful, and so inspiring…

It brings to mind a gorgeous piece of original art by Anne Griffiths that we have in the gallery at the moment.  “Winter’s Gift” is a rich, highly textured oil on canvas, and perfectly suits my snowy coast mood.


Reaching for the play tray, it only took a few minutes to mirror that snowy feel in a bracelet composition.  “Snow”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Faceted Chalcedony and “Dichroic Ice” gleam in the foreground of the above photo.

DSCN5332Simply tossing a group of white beads on a bracelet doesn’t really express the feel of a day like today.  The translucent inky grey ice underfoot, the frozen and brittle twigs and leaves along the paths, the snow gathering at every crevice and nook of rocks, branches and chilly garden fronds…. The ice and snow are made of countless colours.

DSCN5334Yes… there is white and blue.  But also grey, mossy green and shimmering silver.  The snow doesn’t have full dominion in our wooded nook, and everywhere there are dark twigs peeking through, lichens warm the underside of rocks, and rich moss carpets the sides of trees.

DSCN5331It’s on days like today that “Silver Mountain” truly is the North Vancouver bead.  With it’s silver, olive green, ivory and beach glass blue, it’s the most perfect expression of our unique part of the world.  We added a “Snowflake Obsidian” for its fabulous texture.

DSCN5338The loyal Saint Bernard dog makes the perfect companion for a snowy adventure.  This quirky and utterly charming  silver bead is one of the Switzerland World Tour Series that we had access to  during the Summer of 2012.


On this design, the “Cream Armadillo” offers a welcome rest for the eye, with its soft expanse of ivory calm.  The Christmas 2012 Limited Edition included this fascinating and apropos greyed-ivory bead with metallic bronze dots.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Clasp”, “Christmas 2012 Limited Edition”, “White Paper Fold”, “Plait”, “White Steel”, “Baby Boy”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Sweater”, “Silver Mountain”, “St Bernard – Switzerland World Tour”, “Snowflake Obsidian”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Dichroic Ice”, “Snow”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Christmas 2012 Limited Edition”.

Stay warm…



Trollbeads Inspiration: The Tartooful Version of Blue Ombre


So often when we post an inspiration image belonging to one of Tartooful’s own we hear from our customers that they can’t create something similar, because they can’t get the retired or unique beads…

DSCN5311So we set ourselves the challenge of creating a new necklace composition that was inspired by Cristi’s “Bleu Ombre” design.  Her original necklace contained such hard-to-find beads as “Grey Armadillo”, “Chai Bud”, “King & Queen”, and “Turquoise Dot”…

DSCN5320However, in only a matter of minutes, Cristi was able to pull a wide selection of beads our of our stock that together created an absolutely beautiful blue dye dip effect.  She began at the bottom with this iridescent “Moon Ocean” and shimmering “Eye”.

DSCN5319This “Turquoise Ribbon” is such a treat.  Unusually large for this bead design, it adds a note of interest to this necklace.  Like all the stripes, “Light Blue Stripe” reflects the light, so it appears to glow from within.





As Cristi approached the middle of the design she reached for the softly glowing blues of “Blue Desert”, “Faceted Chalcedony”, “Blue Moonstone”, and “Silver Mountain”.  These are favorites among the collectors at Tartooful, and with good reason – aren’t they gorgeous all together?

DSCN5316Finally as she completed the design she added a series of interesting whites:  “Light Blue Dot”, “White Paper Fold”, “Dichroic Ice, and “Cream Armadillo”… These are all not-quite whites, which are so much more interesting than polyester pure, clinical whites.

DSCN5315This “Light Blue Dot” is an excellent stand in for Cristi’s “Turquoise Dot”, and some of the regular production beads that we have at the moment are outstanding:



However, if you’re still determined to obtain some of the rare and hard-to-finds, we do have a “King & Queen” in stock right now!

Have you seen a composition on the blog that set your creative energies flowing?  Come see us and let us play with your beads, let’s see what we can design!



Trollbeads Inspiration: Mediterranean Blue Christmas


This is one of Cristi’s latest designs, and isn’t it gorgeous?  Full disclosure:  her name for it is “Puttin’ on the Glitz”.  Don’t get me wrong, we love corny at Tartooful – but this is just such a delicately lovely bracelet I couldn’t bear to burden it with that name.  (Sorry Cristi….)

putting-vertical… So I looked at the classical curls of the gold and white Christmas Ornaments, and the brilliantly hot blue of the fresh new Diamond Bead… and what came to my mind was a Mediterranean getaway.  Can’t you see sun burnt grasses, blindingly blue ocean and crisp white houses?  I might have been tempted to channel Doctor Zhivago, with white furs, turtleneck collars and Lara’s golden hair and blue eyes… but really I’d rather make a mental trip to Greece this time of year than Russia – so away we go!

ornate-ornamentThis photo shows how very luxe this design feels, with tons of glitter in the dangle, a large, richly patterned silver, “The Diamond Bead Black” twinkling in the back, and the warm glow of “Silver Trace, Gold”.  (Breakfast Champagne on the patio, anyone?)

putting-on-the-glitz-s-curveThe icy new “Diamond Bead” is a fascinating shade of blue.  It dances the line between turquoise and cerulean, playing beautifully with the turquoise accents in this ornament, the teal unique in the middle and even with much more subtle “Traces”.


Clockwise from Lock:  “Dichroic Flower Lock”, “Traces”, “Limited Edition Christmas Ornament”, “Pearl”, “Silver Trace, Beige-Blue”, “Winter Snow”, “Diamond Bead, Blue”, “Dew Drops”, “Limited Edition Christmas Ornament”, “White Stripe”, “Universal Unique”, “Heart Ball”, “Silver Trace, Gold”, “Limited Edition Christmas Ornament”, “White Paper Fold”, “Diamond Bead, Blue”, “Sweater”, “Golden Quartz”, “Limited Edition Christmas Ornament”, “Cream Armadillo”.

diamond-bead-closeThis lovely composition really speaks to me… I may have to schedule a little time at our Trollbench, playing with my collection to create something fresh for myself.  (Isn’t that the fun of Troll?) I’d love to wear something in this palette using my Fantasy necklace with pearl… wouldn’t it be a perfect accessory going into the holiday season?  So fresh and pretty with denim, but sophisticated  and dressy with a little black dress.

Thank you, Cristi…


Pale & Lovely: Brigitt’s Champagne Christmas

You may recall this Tartooful-designed bracelet that was posted earlier this month here on the blog… it features a lovely little Christmas ornament in an elegant palette of greyed white and metallic gold.

A sharp eyed Trollie spotted the dangle and saw its potential for a Christmas bracelet that she already had in progress… isn’t it perfect?

This soft and subtle composition plays with one of our favorite palettes, and shimmers with a seasonal touch of gold.  Brigitt has eschewed the traditional red & green to feature instead a light and bubbly look.  This bracelet feels like white linen table cloths, silver setting, and flutes of golden champagne.  The celadon tone of greyed green gives it a slightly misty, west coast note.  This added touch gives it a fresh, original look, and makes it wearable every day.  Notable beads include the hard-t0-find golden unique faceted amber, the beautifully buttery alabaster amber, and not one, but two of Christmas 2011’s stars, the white and gold limited edition.  Brigitt has played with a celestial theme on this bracelet:  “Sparkling Star”, “The Sun Bead” and a non-troll silver star dangle together sketch out a twinkling impression.

It’s one of the great pleasures of having opened the online shop that we are now able to become better acquainted with Trollies from far away places… Thank you Brigitt for sharing these photos with us and our readers.  We hope to meet you one day in person, when you come to visit us on the coast!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Tropical Getaway


The clouds only returned to the North Shore a couple of weeks ago, but already we’re missing our sunshine… We’re in those doldrums between the release of the Autumn 2012 collection and the fast approaching, fabulous Christmas 2012 Trollbeads collection.  For those of you Northerners who also are craving a little light, join us for a little tropical getaway… courtesy of RT’s “Bahamas Bracelet”.  So sit down, cuddle up to your coffee and take a few minutes of warm relaxation….

This bracelet was inspired by a spring trip to the beautiful Bahamas… clear blue water, white sand beaches, palm trees swaying in the warm wind… ahhh (I’m in my happy place…)

You may recall that we took a peek at this bracelet, back when it was barely a whisper of sand on a beach towel….

Where else to begin, than with a perfect “Beach”?  This one really is deep and luminous, with a generous dose of rose gold sparkle.  Behind it you can see RT’s high contrast “Urchin”.

RT’s design trademark is a predominance of extraordinary uniques… and this bracelet is no exception.  This intensely blue and textured unique was one that we found just for her on our Spring trip to Trollbeads’ own Tivoli, in Copenhagen.

This unique is brings to mind the regular collection design, “Urchin”… it has the same creamy background, and the same budded dots – but on a very different scale.  These dots are tiny and widely spaced, giving this bead the look of a “Baby Urchin”… So sweet!

This crisp turquoise and white bead is so perfectly tropical, it makes me yearn for gauzy printed sundresses, crisp cotton beach towels and a killer bikini.  It’s interesting to note that this is the only bead on the bracelet that includes pure white – all the other whites are in fact a warmer ivory tone.

This amazing unique sings on this composition… so unusual, and such a great colour combination!  RT’s “Mermaid” is right at home in these warm waters, as are a number of other appropriate silvers… “Pisces”, “Palm Island”, “Crab”, “Treasures” and the “Fish Lock” all complete the beach theme of this design.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Fish Lock”, “Pisces”, “Classic Unique”, “Conch”, “Blue Fizz”, “Joyful”, “Urchin”, “Beach”, “Treasures”, “Blue Stripe”, “Classic Unique”, “Palm Island”, “Conch”, “Classic Unique”, “Crab, “Classic Unique”, “Classic Unique”, “Mermaid”, “Classic Unique”, “Turquoise Ribbon”.

Well… it was a short getaway, but so worth it.  Please return your seat to the upright position and ensure your tray tables and belongings are stowed in preparation for landing back in our cold & soggy hemisphere…

Thank you for flying Tartooful Daydream, (and thank you RT!)



Trollbeads Inspiration: The New Pale

There’s a mood in the air of Tartooful recently… we’re all reaching for warmer toned beads, but perhaps we’re reluctant to part with Summer just yet… the result is a series of redesigns featuring light, oatmeal toned beads, mixed with white, gold and a little soft blue.  These are bracelets that are perfect for gently worn in denim, beloved fisherman’s knit sweaters, and velvety moccasins.  It’s the subtle transition from the high sun of Summer to the low, golden shafts of light of Autumn.

We recently posted Cristi’s refreshed and rearranged collection, which includes a “New Pale” design, and today we showcase one of Tartooful’s most ardent Trollbeads collectors… MR recently redesigned her collection, and created several new pieces.  One bracelet perfectly expresses this Seasonal Transition mood.

This extraordinary Blue Moonstone, with its unique, iridescent lilac dots, inspired MR to rethink her existing beads and start fresh.  It blends perfectly with the other components of her collection, and appears luminous and almost opalescent.

Light Blue Gold is an anchor bead in the design, warming what might otherwise be a cool composition with its rich gold leaf.   MR selected a number of her silver beads that feature Heart images, and placed them together on this bracelet for a cohesive design.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Dichroic Flower Clasp”, “Pearl”, “Hearts, Large”, “Baby Boy”, “Crown Chakra”, “Heart”, “Beige Blue Dot”, “Chalcedony”, “Heart Ball”, “Blue Moonstone”, “White Jade” (Limited Edition), “Heart”, “Light Blue Gold”, “White Bubbles”, “Hearts, Large”, “Pearl”.


Trollbeads Inspiration: Cristi’s collection Re-Imagined

Autumn Inspiration has officially struck Tartooful, and even Cristi has succumbed.  Cristi has stoically kept the same arrangements on her bracelets for years… but the acquisition last Christmas of a Fantasy necklace was the first strike towards change, after which more than a few new beads were added to the collection, and now that the new Autumn 2012 Series has arrived, her old designs have finally been swept away by completely fresh arrangements.  So grab a coffee, pull up a chair… Are you ready?  This is going to take a little while!

Her necklace is magnificent… super long and so rich with a tapestry of colours and textures.  It displays an enviable collection of uniques, retireds, and lots of unusual expressions of old favorites.

The golden tones of her old purple and gold composition help to bring rhythm and cohesion to the new design.  In addition, the abundance of translucent bead designs give a brilliant, jewel box feel to the necklace.

Cristi’s pale blues have been reincarnated as a much more subtle and moody composition with the addition of earthy notes such as “Labradorite”, “Milan” and “Organic Bubble”.  “Midnight Flowers” and an Artisan Bead introduce deep indigo.

It’s really the “Milan” in this design that brings it all together… at first glance this bead appears to be simply black and sand in colour, but close inspection reveals grey, vanilla, rust and a remarkable, brilliant blue.  When placed in a composition near to blue, this bead shows off it’s colours in a most surprising and delightful way.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp” (retired), “Artisan Bead”, “Hydrangea”, “Turquoise Ribbon”, “Neither Fish Nor Bird” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Mermaid”, “Light Blue Gold”, “Summer Jewel, Small”, “Midnight Flowers”, “Art Deco”, “Milan”, “Mocha”, “Light Blue Stripe”, “The Kiss”, “Organic Stripe”.

One of our favorite design themes is a blend of warm and cool whites, and Cristi’s collection contains some fascinating neutral toned examples that are anything but bland.

She has combined coveted retireds such as “Chai Bud”, “Grey Armadillo” and “Turquoise Dot” with current collection stars such as “Conch” and Switzerland’s World Tour entry, “Mountain Crystal”.  A very unusual, grey “Blue Desert” plays as a neutral, and a retired “King and Queen” beautifully echoes the blue dots of the “Turquoise Dot”.  The retired “Sparrow” is a sweet touch…

Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp” (retired), “Grey Armadillo”(retired), “Deck of Cards”, “Turquoise Dot”(retired), “Happy Fish”, “Conch”, “King and Queen”(retired), “Blue Desert”, “Sparrow”(retired), “Chai Bud” (retired), “Royal”, “Mountain Crystal” (Switzerland World Tour), “Heart”, “Beige Blue Dot”.

… What could you do with your beads if you re imagined them?


Trollbeads Inspiration: Marguerite

The recent arrival of a fresh and lovely set of uniques set Cristi and I into design mode, and we created this yellow, grey and white composition inspired by the classic motif of a daisy.

Here in Canada this simply brings to mind Summer sunshine, and perhaps childhood memories of making daisy chains in the grass.  However, in Denmark the symbol of the daisy, or Marguerite, is a matter of National Pride, and is repeated in many legendary Danish jewellery companies.  Margaret is a name that repeats through the history of the Danish Royal Family, and indeed is the name of the current Queen of Denmark: Margrethe II.  She became queen on 14 January 1972 and is the first female monarch of Denmark since Margaret I, who ruled in 1375–1412.  Walking through Copenhagen there are little daisy elements in many unexpected places, it’s truly a cultural icon.

The Daisy Uniques that sparked this bracelet have a clear, soft grey base with white and yellow daisies floating on the surface.  The colour combination of grey & yellow is particularly chic at the moment, perhaps due to the resurgence of 1980’s fashion.

This Unique, with its strong lemon yellow and grey mosiac pattern is a perfect companion for the daisies… it’s richness and opacity are a lovely juxtaposition, and the colours are just right .  We added a buttery Alabaster Amber to the bracelet (seen above) for even more yellow.

To further emphasize the grey element, we needed another grey bead.  However, grey is a tricky colour to find in Troll.  We were happy to find a “Blue Desert” which is really a gunmetal grey.  We placed it next to “Gold Silver Trace” to bring out the sparkle.

Silver “Carved Flowers” offers a daisy pattern… fit for a Queen

Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Clasp”, “Malawi Unique Daisy”, “Carved Flowers”, “Gold Silver Trace”, “Water”, “Blue Desert”, “Rosary”, “Unique Alabaster Amber”, “Malawi Unique Daisy”, “Dichroic Flowers”, “Spirit Light”, “Malawi Unique Grey-Yellow Mosaic”, “Leo”, “Grey Prism”, “Silver Trace, Beige-Blue”, “Large Berry”, “Crown Chakra”, “Malawi Unique Daisy”.