Saturday 29 September 2012

September's Swan Song

The finale to Written in the Stars.

I've hinted that I was saving my last spend of September for a very special bead, and I'm pleased to announce that the deed has been done.  Since I wrote Written in the Stars I've been researching how likely it was that I'd be able to complete my collection.  Below are the four stars I've managed to collect so far...

That left 5 of the 9 zodiac stars left to collect and only 1 was technically still available from suppliers (but no sign of any stock of this star in any shops online or otherwise that I've seen).

I asked a group of collectors that I buy from if anyone knew the whereabouts of any of the remaining stars as I realised I'd now be picking these up piecemeal as and when I could get them.

I got an offer of the star that was still technically available and quickly snapped that offer up... then the most amazing thing happened... another collector had the full set and was willing to sell!!!

Ouch for my bead fund but yay for my bead box!

The keys on my keyboard were still smoking from the heat of typing so quickly that I would buy my (now) missing 4 stars from her.  A collector that was a delight to buy from as, given this was the most I've spent in one transaction of preloved beads, she provided me with photos, back up photos, details of posting, packaging and tracking info all the way through, until they arrived with my postman who has been rather bemused by all the packages I've had to sign for this month.

So now I had 8 of the 9... and I was just waiting for 1 little star.
As a side note I do advise extreme caution when photographing delicate beads, although they survived me dropping my mobile phone on them when it slipped out of my hand... I did then spend the next half an hour on my hands and knees searching for Cancer and Pisces (the pearl one) which had shot off my desk and was hidden somewhere in amongst my work folders that I'd spread out on the floor earlier.  Sagittarius and Libra (the dark blue one) was a bit easier to find having been fired onto a neighbouring table; thankfully a soft landing into some tissues! 
The final star (Scorpio and Aries) started to make to make it's journey to me on Tuesday 25th September and arrived at it's new home 2 days later... I practically camped by the letterbox.

So that's it, I have the set.  I *love* this collection; I never believed that I'd be able to get all of them and I most certainly didn't think I'd do it so quickly.

I really have to thank the trollbead community for being such stars (excuse the pun) in helping me do this, and a special mention to the "Drunk Trolls" for helping me reach such an epic milestone in My Trollbead Journey.

Speaking of journeys I'm off on my own... to the relative tranquility of a tiny Greek Island.  I've already checked and there are no trollbead dealers there so my bead fund should also get a well deserved rest.

See you in October!

Friday 28 September 2012

Simply Beads and Bracelets

After all the excitement of the last month and the pitter patter of tiny packages on the doormat I thought it was about time to just make some bracelets.

The first one I wanted to make up was one using Skyline, my competition bead.  It's another "purply/blue" bead with gold glitter, so I chose to put this with other glitters, browns and blues.  I did a glass/silver pattern to show off each individual bead.

Whilst keeping this one to wear I used my agate beads and zodiac stars to make another.  This is now one of  the advantages of having 3 silver bracelets and 3 locks as I can assemble bracelets and not have to dismantle them simply to make a new combination using different beads.

I added Blue Goldstone (which is a glass bead) and my Jasper as focal beads at the sided of the bracelet and quite a small one at the front.  I love the way the camera has picked up the variations within the agate.

I've been good to my word in saving my last planned purchase of September for a special bead, as I've seen some lovely turquoise beads that would go beautifully with these two agate kits.

Finally I played around to see what I could make with what was left in my bead box...

I had fun picking out the rest of my purple beads and, thinking about it I really think I need some more (nooooooo I'm being so good right now... no more beads!)  I put them with blues and greens and made the bracelet combo below.  It went well with the flower lock but I need some more stoppers if I'm going to make a "short" bracelet as I like my beads to stay put... or I need more purple beads to make a full bracelet!

The more I've been looking at this combination of beads the more I love it.  I think that another Baby's breath to mirror the Flowers on Indigo central bead would work really well (if I can find another).  2 of the bigger silvers either side of the other 2 flower beads would set this bracelet off beautifully, and then perhaps to finish it with 2 stoppers either end to keep the beads together?

I may approach this differently and leave this made up for a while to see if I can "finish" it as a complete bracelet - as I tend to mostly collect beads which then get made into bracelets. (As opposed to having a firm bracelet/concept idea and buying beads with that in mind).

Thursday 27 September 2012

One Day Later...

My silver Forget-me-not arrived! Yesterday I wrote about why I wanted to collect this bead and 1 day later it appeared. (Great service from Joshua James Jewellery as usual)

It's a fabulously heavy bead and actually much larger than I remembered.  I like beads that are asymmetric and as seen between 2 of the big glass beads below you get an idea of the size of this beauty.  Those who knew the friend I wrote of yesterday will appreciate it's a "big chunk of silver".

Wednesday 26 September 2012


For new friends and old, and for those I never met but who touched the lives of people I care about. None of them will ever be forgotten.  Just missed.

Silver Forget-me-not
Photo from

This lovely silver bead is one I have been considering since I found trollbeads back last Summer.  I decided to order it today, because it marks both the second anniversary of a friend's passing and through other news I've been reflecting on people who pass through your life, sometimes very briefly, but who leave a resonance with you that stays remembered long after that time passes.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Just one (or two) more... (Falling off the Wagon Part V)

I really thought with my recent bonanza of bead packages that the temptation had abated slightly, and actually it had... I was so pleased with my extra beads, bracelet and locks that I was feeling rather content.

Of course I always see beads that I desire, however I can reign it in when needs be (sometimes).  What I wasn't prepared for was when another collector had reduced their prices on some beads I'd liked... to the point where I was totally restrained, oh for all of about 2 minutes when I saw them.

2 quick mouse clicks later (and a short message just in case you thought I was using the mouse clicks as morse code) and pink bud and the limited edition Snow Swirls from the Christmas Kit were winging their way to me...  May just be the quickest transaction to date, posted about 90 minutes after the first message, so requested, paid, packed and posted in record time!

My final indulgence of the week was Baby's Breath as described here by Endangered Trolls, it's a spacer and much smaller than normal beads.  I've shown it next to a normal bead and a prism so you can see the size comparison with production beads.  I'd really like another one but I'm being good on the bead buying (at long last) as I'm waiting to spend my final indulgence of September on something special.

Baby's breath was not released in the UK; this was bought from another collector.  The trollbead community are very generous when there are limited releases in other countries; helping out those who don't live there, or who can't, or who are not yet comfortable buying internationally and quite a few of us have benefited from their kindness in getting hold of these to pass on.  To be honest it's probably more considerate to my bank balance if I don't yet buy from abroad as I've seen some stunning beads from other collectors around the globe!!!

Sunday 23 September 2012

To Ebay, or not to Ebay?

That is the question.

As readers of this blog may have noticed I've been picking up a few Trollbead pieces from Ebay recently; namely a bracelet and one of my zodiac stars, both of which I got at what I felt was a very good price.  I also bought a non-troll safety chain from an Ebay seller and I intend to buy some more for my other bracelets.

My general experience on Ebay as a seller and buyer has been rather good, I tend to buy and sell second hand clothes and furnishings which has always been a tricky market.  As a buyer I've bought some lovely stuff but also ended up with cardigans that shed fibres the moment they come within 2ft of you (not mentioned in the auction description) and things I probably shouldn't have paid as much as I did.  As a seller I've only had one person be shirty about something they bought from me; everyone else I've dealt with has been lovely and they've had some cracking bargains on vintage clothing and home furnishings.

Therefore I wasn't a newbie on Ebay when I decided to try bidding on some trollbead items.  Although I'm relatively new to Troll, I felt confident enough to make my first Troll related purchases via auction.  There are pros and cons to Ebay whether it be Trollbeads or any other item, so should you Ebay or not?

Obviously this is *always* going to be a personal decision.  When I look for trollbead items I'm probably FAR more careful than I am with clothes, furnishings etc.  If I'm in any doubt I don't bid, I always research the sellers as carefully as I can and I never pay more than I can afford to lose if it went wrong.  So here are my hints and tips if you decide to take the plunge.

  • Check Sellers ID very carefully - feedback scores and percentages, comments left for them as seller and buyer, comments they've left for others.
  • Look at photos and descriptions carefully - are they stock photos or photos of actual item, are they copyrighted to someone else (lots of folk use stock photos but I prefer to see a photo of what I'm bidding on) as I've also had my photos *stolen* for use by other Ebayers (reported naturally)
  • Research what you're buying - Does the item say retired when it's a current bead? Is the price inflated when you can buy new from a retailer for same or lower price? Compare details carefully.
  • Check post and packing costs closely, what can seem like a bargain price is less so when you add in post and packing.
  • Take care and don't buy outside of the auction privately (you're not covered by Ebay policies) or after the fact, and always use paypal generated by the Ebay system as you have quite a lot of rights under paypal as a buyer.
  • Don't get carried away by the excitement of the auction and pay more than you want to, decide on your maximum bid before you start bidding.

Personally I wouldn't have felt comfortable going for Trollbead stuff until:

  • I was used to Ebay both as a seller and a buyer
  • I was used to trollbeads and buying beads that I know about
  • I knew what my comfort zone was on pricing

Having written all of that it can be a lot of fun if you're careful, but it's not to everyone's taste and these are most certainly my own opinions!

If you do decide to take the plunge; have a good read of this, use your common sense and do tell me about any bargains you've picked up!

Friday 21 September 2012

More new arrivals (Falling off the Wagon Part IV - Locks and chains)

Bear in mind this is either a very high wagon I'm falling off or there's a trampoline at the bottom which means I'm repeating myself and we're only halfway through September... it's probably a good job I'm flying to an island that has no trollbead dealers on it and with no real internet access other than my outdated mobile phone or this could have continued all the way into October!  Although as Endangered Trolls has told us about the global release date of the much awaited Halloween Collection I already have my first purchase in October earmarked!

One hopes I can finish blogging about my September packages before I catch that flight!

On the same day that Taurus arrived I had another 3 packages fall through the letterbox that day.

Ebay provided me with my third silver bracelet, preloved of course and 17cm, just my size and at a great price when the auction finished.  To go with this, and it came on the same day, was a flower lock from another collector, also preloved.  This was very exciting for me as I'd been managing with only 1 lock since February and I can at last wear 2 bracelets at once without having to do a double combo.

Finally, I ordered a non-Troll safety chain off Ebay.  I've been wearing my bracelets without a safety chain since my Troll one broke (my fault), and I've never had a problem but the peace of mind a chain gives me is worth the cost, particularly when that cost is a fraction of the Troll price.  This is the first time something nonTroll has been on my bracelet.  Having received the chain and checking it's compatible and looks okay, I'm going to order some more and take advantage of the price.

Later that same week my third lock arrived, a new Swan Lock, also from another collector.  This was one of the locks on my wish list, along with Elephant Lock, which I'd missed out on the same day as securing the Swan Lock - for the sake of my bank balance this was probably a good thing!

So in a few short days I'd gone from one lock to three locks!

You can see by the photos above that all 3 locks are lovely and offer you something different to add to your bracelet.  I'm finding the Swan Lock a bit fiddly compared with the other two as there is a different shape on the Swan's neck where you fasten your chain to compared with the plain tops of Flower and Lace locks.  I'm sure that this will come with practice as it's a very new lock!

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Triple Celebration

In Blindfold Bracelet Challenge I'd joked about my stars being too closely aligned (they got stuck to each other on my trial bracelet), and in Written in the Stars my first sentence was that I'd had an amazing week, and as good as winning Taurus in an Ebay auction was... it wasn't the only astounding thing that happened that week.

I sometimes enter the Facebook Friday competition run by Fable Trading (interesting timeline here of when Trollbeads came to the UK through Fable Trading).

On one such Monday I scanned the internet on my phone at lunchtime, as you do when you're munching on your sandwich... it was a very late lunch as it had been quite a busy day...  Cue much jumping up and down, and I fear some "sqeeing" (sic) when I discovered that I'd won!!!

That evening I poured over the glass beads in Price Group I trying to decide which bead to choose, it was much harder than I thought it would be given that I still have so many of these on my wish lists.  After much deliberation I chose Skyline from the Hong Kong World Tour, I already had one from this collection when I bought the Dragon and Phoenix bead.

Skyline swiftly arrived just as I was leaving for a work trip 2 days later, what a service!!  I admired it but had to put it safely in my bead box until I returned, it really is a beautiful bead.  You may well have to take my word for this as I had a great deal of trouble trying to photograph it to be able to show this; very tricky bead to capture on a phone camera!

The next thing to happen was a twitter exchange between myself and my fellow blogger Michael Nand who had just celebrated 1,000 page views on his new blog.  He suggested that I should buy myself a new bead when this blog hit it's first milestone, although technically I guess it's the second milestone... as for me the first milestone was that anyone other than myself read it!  

You would be very welcome to follow me on twitter @TrollbeadBlog if you like to tweet, I mostly talk about trollbeads or this blog, but I do sometimes tweet photos that don't make it into the blog. recorded 1,000 page views exactly the following day, so, hardly needing any encouragement to buy even more beads, I treated myself to a preloved OOAK from another collector.  I haven't bought an OOAK for a while and I do enjoy them!  Again I had trouble photographing this one as well, not sure if I'm just having an "off" day with the camera!


So feeling mighty happy about things I continued on my week.

The third achievement of the triple celebration that the title refers to is a personal one, about a year ago I decided that I was carrying around a bit too much weight, nothing serious but something that had bothered me in a "my clothes don't fit me properly anymore" type of way.  As a result of doing something about this - I've been eating healthily for the last year and trying to mould my eating habits into healthy all the time, rather than most of the time, along with ensuring I get in some exercise - I hit my personal goal of a great BMI score on the Wednesday.  Rather pleased I celebrated ironically with a beer and a curry!

So I want to choose a bead to mark my achievement... but what to choose?

Silver Hare and Tortoise? This bead certainly sums up my approach to whole losing weight thing and I like Aesop's fables, it's one of the collection of stories that I like to dip into on my kindle.

Whirling Adventure? One from my wish list and that's certainly what the year has felt like, and much like it's description I certainly seized the moment when I started out.

Or to simply treat myself to something nice to mark the occasion?  I'm going to give this some more thought, (and let my bank balance recover a bit), before making a final decision.  Like the weight loss journey; there's no rush!

Monday 17 September 2012

Blindfold Bracelet Challenge

This was something I saw elsewhere; so it has very much been copied from other collectors!

I chose to do this on the weekend as a fun way of breaking up my two much loved bracelet combinations from this post and later on from this post as I was getting so reluctant to change them that I hadn't made any new bracelets for a while using all my collection.  And hey, it's not as if I don't have a blog where I photograph my bracelets and are able to replicate them again when needed!

I sorted out my glass beads into one dish and my silver beads into another...

Then I picked out 8 beads from each dish...

...and made a bracelet, for this challenge I chose the order that the beads went on the bracelet.

It was actually harder than I thought it would be, when I make up bracelets I always use an odd number, usually 17 or 19 depending on the size of the beads, and I often group beads into 3's, e.g. 3 glass to 1 silver, or some variation on this, and when I alternate glass and silver I always use odd numbers. I've also discovered that Zodiac Stars if put together, in the same direction, actually get stuck in each other!  (My stars were too closely aligned) There goes my plan for a string of them...

This is what I came up with after *much* deliberation.

For the second challenge bracelet I put all the beads back, gave them a stir and repeated the process with 16 beads but put the beads onto the bracelet in the order they were picked; the only control I gave myself was picking out glass and silver alternatively.

This is what happened...

I was surprised to see all 3 zodiacs picked out again along with the dragon, but I'm wondering if it's because they sit much higher in the dish than the other silvers, that I just touch those first and thus pick them?  I also managed to pick half of the bead of fortune bead too and a lot of the agates.  I quite like the quirky nature of this bracelet even though it's not something I'd put together myself!

Saturday 15 September 2012

Written in the Stars (a continuation of Falling off the Wagon - Part III)

Well what an amazing week I've had!

In my previous post I reflected on the joys and processes of blogging, the trollbead community and shared that I'd finally spent some of my holiday fund, actually on a holiday, rather than on trollbeads.

Some of the thoughts and ideas behind that piece was to expand on the short My Blog piece that sits along the right hand side of any posts you might be reading, to explain how my blog process happens and why I write a blog in the first place and finally to give some background on the lack of posts for the week given how many packages were popping through my letterbox (and still are... a'hem).

Today I want to get back to telling you all about some of my new beads and return to a theme I've talked about before.

Silver Zodiac Birthstone Stars
The first bead to pop through the letterbox was another retired silver birthstone zodiac star, Gemini.  As blogged, I love this collection but it was retired before I started collecting.  I've only ever seen 4 beads for sale since I discovered them out of the total collection of 9.  (For those wondering several of the star signs are doubled up so it's not a collection of 12 like other zodiac collections).  My Virgo bead, which I bought as a reminder of my Dad and was the first in my bead box, was shortly followed by Leo as my second bead from this collection.

By a process of simple logic Gemini was my third, this bead was purchased online via a retired beads sale so I got this at a bargain price.  When I bought this bead I suddenly started to get the fear that if I didn't buy the other one that is still available I'd miss out on the chance of it.

The fourth silver zodiac bead that I'd seen on sale was Taurus, I was just about to order this at full price from another online retailer when I spotted it on Ebay.

I buy and sell on Ebay but had never done this for Trollbeads before; online I do buy from other collectors but that is on a more personal level through the trollbead community. I wanted Taurus so much, but I was sensible enough to not want to pay over the odds for a preloved bead when I could buy new from a retailer.  With my bidding plan decided, I bid, I won, I *love* my new bead and it's been on my leather constantly since as shown in my last post!

I played around with with my two new zodiac stars to make a new combination without breaking up my current combinations and this is what I came up with.

Obviously I couldn't do this piece without showing you my favourite Virgo bead below ;)

So what are the rest of the beads in the collection?

Aquarius - this has a gorgeous turquoise bead which would work brilliantly with my agate beads on a bracelet and is also my live-in geek's star sign.

Libra and Sagittarius - not only do I want this bead because I'm Sagittarius myself; but I think the deeper blue would look great with a lot of my beads, as I have a high proportion of blue and purple beads in my collection.

Capricorn - this bead has onyx as it's stone, I've mentioned before that I have a fondness for the stones!

Scorpio and Aries - I adore the red colour on this bead and have recently started to increase the red colour in my collection, my first bead with any red in it was featured on my first finished bracelet.

Cancer and Pisces - this star has a pearl on it, I recently saw a photo of a leather bracelet that contained 2 of these, the bead looks very pretty on a cream combination.  Obviously those who know me, know that I'm unlikely to ever have a cream/white combination but I'm sure I can think of a few different uses for this bead ;)

So finding those 5 beads would make up my first full collection of a particular release and render my Zodiac Wishlist obsolete; I've not yet done the research to find out what my chances are of collecting the final five!

Monday 10 September 2012

Reflections on blogging and my journey so far (Part 1)

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog (apart from doing something more with all my phone photos of beads and bracelets) is that when I was starting out I really wanted to hear about more trollbeads, see non stock photos of an individual's actual beads and hear the stories behind why they bought or were given that bead and what it meant to them.  When I first started looking for these things I didn't find as much content as I thought I would, given how amazing the beads and bracelets are!  Once I'd ended up with a collection of photos I thought this is exactly the sort of thing I would have liked to have seen back when I was looking for it... ergo the blog came to be created.

I also wanted to keep in the habit of writing - as like a lot of folk I mostly write emails or make use of shortened forms of communications, such as social media to keep in contact with people.  Having a blog would help me continue to keep writing, keep contact with friends, indeed make and share content with new people and continue to do something with my trollbeads that I'd started out doing, taking photos of beads and sharing them.

Normally I write a lot of my rough blog content on the weekends, I have a full time job during the week so I find what works best for me is to concentrate on ideas, mock up rough drafts, and try things out, then during the week I'll go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes, polish it and publish, or scrap it, or put it on hold as a good idea (but not ready yet).  Some pieces do just come straight away where they're written, edited and published all in one go, but mostly I follow the former process.  This weekend I was planning to have a long session writing; I had received 7 packages (oops) last week and wanted to have a day of photography and putting pieces together.

I got sidetracked by life (in a good way) and spent the day instead sorting out a last minute, decided to do it the day before, holiday with a friend who lives the other side of the country... so the combination of deciding on which airport we could both get to, where to go (we're both easy going so narrowing down deals was quite straight forward), how much to spend, working out how to squeeze in an extra days holiday when you've booked up all your leave allocation (that was the most complicated bit but I chose this over the more convenient flights and returning to a destination) and booking it took up most of the day on and off, the evening was spent larking about with other Trollies as I'd just spent my going out money on some beads (quelle surprise!) - oh and of course Doctor Who!  Everything stops for Dr Who in our house, even trollbeads.

Sunday I thought, I'll do some writing Sunday!

Again sidetracked, this time by a road block, an impromptu shopping trip (why don't they sell non seasonal clothes anywhere out of season) and trying to remember just how high a factor of sun cream I need when abroad. I am easily sidetracked (or led astray) so I guess you can see how the buying of too many not enough trollbeads occurs.

Anyway (see I'm even getting sidetracked writing this) I have a few draft pieces that aren't quite ready so I decided to write abut why I blog, and also why I didn't blog this weekend.

What I was hoping to find but wasn't sure quite where to look, and was utterly delighted about when I found it, and that Pauline wrote about so eloquently about... was the community element to collecting trollbeads which has been, to use the cliche, the icing on the cake.

Especially since I started blogging, and also buying from other collectors that has now become a really enjoyable part of the trollbead journey and one that has opened up other interests; when my bead fund recovers I have seen  some of the most amazing artisan beads made by artisan bead makers and whilst this takes me away from the trollbead path, it is most certainly part of my Trollbead Journey.

So given that I've not delivered on any choice photos of my new beads for today yet, here is a peek at what one of my packages contained, and the arrangement below is down to seeing some other leather bracelet photos where the beads are more organised (as I tend to wear mine in a normally chaotic fashion).  So thanks for the inspiration girls!

Because above all what I really wanted from My Trollbead Journey was great jewellery that I can wear!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Falling off the wagon Part II (new bead, new finished bracelet)

So you might be wondering, just what *did* arrive on Saturday whilst I was typing my last blog entry?
(or you might not... but I'm going to blog about it anyway)

The small bead that arrived was something off my wishlist; one Limited Edition single Jasper bead, a beautiful green colour with brown along one edge.  Preloved as someone was selling the set and they were snapped up like hotcakes by hungry (bead) hunters, I was lucky in that the one I was after was available and came to live with me this weekend.  I did discover that it's a bit tricky to photograph, but most of the photography in this piece was tricky so I started as I was so clearly meant to continue!

I dismantled my summery bracelet of reds, oranges and blues to make up something that was more in keeping with my usual style.  I wanted to include my Jasper obviously, to use some of my silvers and to try sticking with more natural tones to compliment my new bead.

The good news was I was really pleased with my efforts; the bad news... I don't think I want to break up this bracelet in a hurry either, argh!!

The second thing I discovered about my new combination is it went well with my other one.  I tried the two together using one lock as copied from the MyTrollbeads Facebook page and loved the results...

I was pleased with my efforts as this is the first time I've put together a double combo, I've always admired them but didn't have enough complimentary beads to do one (nor the bracelet for that matter).  It's a bit difficult to photograph your own wrist one handed whilst twisting your arm around... so the photos are a bit of a mix and match to try and show off the beads as best as I can.

Although I've seen the 2 bracelets 1 lock (not a euphemism) combination on other sites, I personally would worry about the stress on the lock and I'm currently without a safety chain after stupidly breaking mine by pulling on it really hard one day forgetting it was held in place by a stopper!  So I think the double combination is a "style piece" for now until I own a second lock.

Very happy with this bracelet; now to await the rest of the deliveries!!!