Thursday 28 February 2013

New Bead Resolution No. 1 - Amber beads, the end! (...for now)

So 9 ambers and a half amber bracelet later and it was all coming together very nicely.  Then my bead compulsion kicked in big style and I had to finish it... so I did... or so I thought I did...

I'd finished my amber bracelet off with 2 lucky knot beads but when I was looking at these photos I thought I needed a little bit more contrast as I had a lot of mid toned amber beads in this combination and it felt like my faceted ambers overpowered the bracelet slightly.

So along came the next (and final) 2 amber beads to finish this New Year's Bead Resolution.  I love the one that appears light but because it has a brown core it shows up as dark.

  NOW I'm finally ready to finish this bracelet.  

I kept most of the central beads in place but rearranged the rest of them, I'm much happier with it this way and it's already had several trips out, it's a keeper!

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Tsunami of Beads (continued)

Next to arrive was another Colourful Joy bead, pink this time, from the luck and joy starter bracelets...

Then via a Bristol trollfairy came some preloved beads from the US, another Milan and the smallest, cutest, most difficult to photograph ooak... none of the photos I took quite show the ooak right which is dark green in daylight with small glitter "flatter than usual" bumps.  I've had 2 sessions trying to photograph this ooak but I think I've officially given up for the time being, will have another try when I reorganise my beads but here's the best I could manage in the meantime!

So now I have 2 Milans; I bought the second one with a particular project in mind... but more about that on another day as I'm still at the prototype stage!

So this was the last but one set of beads from January, I have just one more post to show you before we finish January's Tsunami, and I promise you that it's one that is worth waiting for.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

The Tsunami of Beads continues...

The next wave of beads in my January Tsunami of Beads was a preloved silver snow bead and an unusual Harequin.

I've been after snow for a while and missed out in a recent sale to snag a new one so I positively pounced when I saw this one, relieved to finally get my mitts on one.  The Harelequin is 'almost' a glitter bead but it is so fine that under normal line of sight it takes on an olive hue with great bumpies!

It must have been the month for Harlequins as the wave that followed contained a particularly luscious example of one along with a beautiful glitter dot bead, both green of course!  The glitter dot bead was another raffle bead that I won the opportunity to buy (it was a lucky month, or unlucky if you're my poor old boiler that struggles on!)

Green Harlequin and Green Glitter Dottie beads

With 2 new Harlequins arriving it seemed like an appropriate moment to take a photo of them together with my old ones; I could have sworn I had more than 4 altogether but I think that was just wishful thinking on my part?!

Then I had the idea of taking a photo of all my white/cream based beads together, I don't have many of these compared to other styles but I did wonder how close I was to being able to do a whole bracelet of them?

All my white based beads, although technically my turtle is cream.

I'd like to say I stopped buying at this point, but I'm sure you can guess that that didn't actually happen...

Monday 25 February 2013

New Bead Resolution No. 1 - Amber beads, the hunt continues!

2 amber beads and I was on the hunt for some more... although what happened next took even me a bit by surprise, what I hadn't appreciated is how beautifully amber beads photograph.

I had chosen 4 amber beads to make up a kit of 6 beads in a "buy 5 get 1 bead free deal".  Only I wasn't 100% sure on 1 of the ambers so I asked the seller to pull another 5 amber beads so I could have a look at some more - I decided I'd replace 1, maybe 2 of my original choice with 1 or 2 from the other 5.

The Magnificent Seven!  (all amber ooaks)

The seller sent me some gorgeous photos and therein my problems started; because whilst in the group of 4 I wasn't sure on 1, maybe 2... in a group of 7 they all looked amazing.  Thankfully someone else had already snagged the other 2 I'd chosen or my guess is I would have bought all 9.

So what's a girl to do?  I decided despite my lack of bead budget I really needed to keep this group together!  My only saving grace was that I didn't add any more beads to this to make up 2 kits of 6... no really I didn't actually do that; though it was sooo tempting!

The Magnificent Seven with my World Trade Baltic Gold (3rd from left)
and my Big Amber Ooak from Denmark (far right)

Side shot of all 9, I could have photographed these all morning...

Now I have 9 ambers... time to try out a half amber bracelet.

Lots of sparkle and now I can finally tell you where my Jugend and Transformation beads ended up!

Friday 22 February 2013

Guest Spot: Anne ~ A Bracelet for All Seasons

I have often admired Anne's inspired glass bracelets (we share a love of purple beads) so I was really pleased when she agreed to write and photograph a guest spot for Curling Stones this month.  Anne tells her own trollbead story and explores themed bracelets using the seasons as an inspiration.

"How it all started...

When, about 4 years ago, I saw my very first Trollbeads bracelet in the window of a jewellers I was, of course, completely captivated.  Not long after I was thrilled to be able to choose a bracelet and four beads as a birthday gift from my Darling Husband (DH).

But... what to select?  I was, as they say, like a child in a sweet shop!  I went for a completely random selection, seduced by the dazzling array of delightfully coloured glass beads.  Gradually I added to my collection with some more considered choices and, very soon, had a full bracelet.  "Great!" said my DH, "but what shall I buy you for future birthdays and Christmases?"

Too late.  I was in the grip of the addiction, and one bracelet was never going to satisfy my cravings!!  Forget just birthdays and Christmas!  Now every celebration from Mothering Sunday to Wedding Anniversary, Easter and Valentines Day all required a bead [or 2...!].   Well... you get the idea.  But I'm forgetting; if you're reading this you're probably as besotted as me?

L-R: Wisdom, Castle, Hallelujah, Musical Box

Part of the Trollbeads philosophy is "Every bead has a story" and I fully embrace this as a criteria for choosing silver beads.  For example, my wisdom bead was a gift from DH for obtaining my Open University degree, Hallelujah and Musical Box beads are symbols of my love of classical music, and Castle represents my interest in history.

L-R: English Tea Party, Spirit of Freedom,
The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina

As the number of bracelets grew I became more methodical and began to theme combinations around the personal 'story' idea.  For example, my passion for children's literature is epitomised in combinations based around the beads show above; English Tea Party, The Ugly Duckling, Spirit of Freedom [Peter Pan], Thumbelina and Castle.

A Bracelet for All Seasons

However meaningful the silver beads are, my true passion remains with those glass beads that so mesmerised me in that jeweller's window... (with apologies to Robert Bolt's 'A Man for All Seasons' for my title!)

The spectacular variety of colours available is incredible, and I recently started to surrender to their splendour by making up a bracelet for each season, symbolising their colours and moods, with minimal or no use of silver beads.


This first bracelet represents the pure icy brilliance of a White Christmas.  The star here is Ice Diamond, whose perfect glacial azure is emphasised by the exquisite Dichroic Ice beads on either side.  Whilst Hallelujah and Cherub epitomise the traditional image of Christmas, the bauble, a new addition to the Trollbeads range, characterises the commercial aspect of the festival.


I have found that the successful all-glass combinations are made up of a variety of colour, pattern and texture.  My spring bracelet succumbs to a variety of lush, verdant hues symbolic of the celebration of renewal and rebirth, worthy of Eastre the Goddess of Spring.  I chose to accentuate the elements of the season by including the cheeky smiley faced neon-green manga bead, reminiscent of the innocent joy of childhood, the Frog Prince for new life and Easter Egg dangle beads.


Turning to summer, the traditional aspect of a British seaside holiday are characterised by the fabulous pastel and ice cream colours radiating from the focal bead - the dazzling Summer Jewel.  Ice diamond loses the glacial azure of the Christmas bracelet, and, beside Pink Desert, becomes a clear summer sky.  The twin aspects of a British summer are reflected in the umbrella-like leaf over the Ugly Duckling and sun-filled days in the swirls of Joyful.


My favourite season is autumn.  Although often represented in rustic greens, reds and oranges, I prefer to illustrate the fading brilliance of summer with intense opulent tones.  Although I could explain in great detail the significance of the choice of beads here, it's just an excuse to revert to my absolute favourite colour - purple.  This is traditionally associated with, amongst other virtues, nobility, luxury, sophistication, extravagance and creativity; I wanted this bracelet, another all-glass to embody these qualities.  

The inclusion of black beads makes it a very versatile bracelet when designing a combination to go with a particular outfit.  But don't get me started on that passion......!


All photos by Anne.

Monday 18 February 2013

Spectacular mail days! (Part 3 - Trollfairy in the Stars)

Like most people I love receiving packages in the mail, and as I buy many beads from overseas (as well as the UK), I never quite know when they're going to arrive, and in what order... it becomes a bit of a lottery as to what will arrive first and I love surprises.

This is the third post of three that spanned only 2 days and what made it spectacular wasn't just the beads (although they are ALL stunners) but all the surprise extra bits and pieces that were included in with the beads.  How to turn a great package into a spectacular one!

I've saved the best for the last of this series of posts.

As regular readers know I'm a BIG fan of the retired silver birthstone zodiac stars, I go slightly nutty over them and have been heard to say that if I could only have one collection of silver trollbeads it would be these.

I was so excited when I completed my collection of stars last September that when I was writing and thinking about my New Year's Bead Resolutions for 2013 my No. 2 resolution was to start to pick up some multiples of these before they disappear completely.  It's fab having the full collection but sometimes it would be nice to have 2 of the same stone to use on a bracelet...

(Hands up how many of you noticed the multiples of the Cancer and Pisces 
Zodiac Birthstone Star in the Valentine's Day Bracelet post?!)

Enter my Trollfairy from Australia... not only did she tell me about a lost treasure trove of zodiac birthstone stars (and other beads) in her Local Dealers, but waited until there was a massive sale that included retired beads, and went to the shop several times to photograph their entire stock, and reserve items, and come back and show photos, and go back to the shop to handpick out certain stars, and then send photos of the final choices... Then to pay and pick them up and send them (along with Angles Tip, another silver bead I've been searching for) all the way to the UK, with extra bits from Australia.  And, as if this couldn't get any sweeter, she did the same for several of us all at the same time!!  Halfway through this process we decided she needed to be promoted to a Trollangel because as fabulous as fairies are, this was way above and beyond the already excellent standard of Trollfairy.

As much I desired it, I couldn't stretch to the full set in one go (stretching to 7 was hard enough),
so I had to make a choice as to which 2 would get left behind this time.
I finally made a decision based on the current colours of the beads in my collection.

Not only did I get a great set of beads, but the wrapping was superb, an Australian flag napkin which also revealed other goodies...

There was a limited edition Australian Afternoon Tea and a coaster on which to rest my mug of tea!

I was delighted with the whole package and couldn't believe how she'd managed to fit so much into such a small package!

As you can see it was less than the width of 3 trollbead pouches, best use of space I've seen in a packet!

I will leave you with a few more choice shots of the beads, as after all, these were what all the fuss was about.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Spectacular mail days! (Part 2 - the new style beads)

Like most people I love receiving packages in the mail, and as I buy many beads from overseas (as well as the UK), I never quite know when they're going to arrive, and in what order... it becomes a bit of a lottery as to what will arrive first and I love surprises.

This is the second post of three that spanned only 2 days and what made it spectacular wasn't just the beads (although they are ALL stunners) but all the surprise extra bits and pieces that were included in with the beads.  How to turn a great package into a spectacular one!

This bead came with a Jewellery polishing cloth for my silver beads; very pleased to receive this as a gift.

This bead has a white core that's encased in green glass with ridges/ruffles along the edge

This is one of the new style beads and is highly sought after.  I've seen them called ridged and ruffle beads and they appear to come in 2 colours, this beautiful green/turquoise colour and pink.  Leann from Charms Addict has done a great piece on Small and Beautiful Uniques which I found really helpful as there has been much confusion as to what of the new style beads are included in this latest release.  I hadn't realised they were quite so limited (although I knew they were very hard to get hold of) so I'm feeling really lucky that I managed to pick up this one!

This was the second of the raffle/knockout beads that I won the opportunity to buy, in the same week... I was truly gobsmacked to win this one as 74 other trollbead fans had also put their names into the hat!  What to put it with though as I don't normally do pale and delicate?

Well I knew it would go beautifully with my new ooak, and whilst I was pondering this I canvassed a few friends for suggestions on other beads... this led to this next trio of beads.  

I don't have a plan on how this will develop but I very much like the start!

Saturday 16 February 2013

Spectacular mail days! (Part 1 - the OOAK)

Like most people I love receiving packages in the mail, and as I buy many beads from overseas (as well as the UK), I never quite know when they're going to arrive, and in what order... it becomes a bit of a lottery as to what will arrive first and I love surprises.

This is the first post of three that spanned only 2 days and what made it spectacular wasn't just the beads (although they are ALL stunners) but all the surprise extra bits and pieces that were included in with the beads.  How to turn a great package into a spectacular one!

There was a tote bag, pouch and some sweets!

The most important part of the package, the bead itself!

This photo always makes me smile, I half expected the next heart to read
"more trollbead!" to make a pair of hearts...
I should market this; it's a great idea!
(Don't forget you saw it here first)

This bead came from a "raffle" where you put your name in for the chance to be able to buy this bead.  I'm not normally a fan of the paler pastel shaded beads but this one really caught my eye.  It has a white opaque core, encased in clear glass, with a repeating soft mint green with a lilac outline leaf shape pattern all around the bead and is reminiscent of a garland of leaves.  I was delighted with my bead!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day Bracelet

My Valentine's Day Bracelet is centered around my Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund bead, and it was put together as a tribute to my late Father-in-Law.  All the beads have been chosen to show off the RAFBF bead as the focal point of the bracelet.

This is the second version of this bracelet, as the first didn't include the Cancer & Pisces Zodiac Birthstone Stars for his birthday.  There was (and still is) a third version that was planned but unfortunately one of the two beads I'd ordered to complete it didn't quite make it here in time!

Tuesday 12 February 2013

New Year's Bead Resolution No. 1 - Amber beads, the beginning!

The first of my New Year's Bead Resolutions was to start collecting Amber beads.

I already had 1, the World Tour Baltic Gold which gets a lot of use in my bracelet combinations but I wanted to start collecting more with a view to making a full amber bracelet.

Early on in January I picked out my second amber bead.  It is quite large (much bigger than standard production glass beads) and came all the way from Denmark, but 2 ambers does not a bracelet make!

The hunt was on...

Sunday 10 February 2013

John Greed Jewellery's Valentine's Day Blogger Challenge

Normally, as most readers know, I ramble on about my trollbeads collection in what may seem like quite a haphazard fashion.  Blog posts normally follow bead collecting patterns, a bracelet I've made or something that happened that week.  

My mood board for the John Greed Blogger Challenge
Center and repeated around the edges: Rocky Beach Kit £115
Bottom right: Silver Sea Urchin £35 and Silver Starfish £35
Top left: Green Jasper £47
Total £232

Today's blog post is courtesy of twitter; a fellow blogger mentioned the John Greed Jewellery's Valentine's Day Blogger Challenge.  Well one should always have a peep at these things... the challenge is to create a mood board (mine shown above) made up of jewellery from John Greed that you would like to have for Valentine's Day and to tell why you want these, the spending limit was £250 and you must pick a minimum of 4 items.  So as every bead has a story, here is my story and why I would love these beads!  

Flamborough Head, February 2006

Any wintery, cold and bracing but dry day, including Valentine's Day, is always improved by a drive up the coast with my live-in geek to Flamborough Head in Yorkshire for a walk along the beach.  I love beaches in winter, probably more than in summer and the east coast is very good for blowing the cobwebs away! It makes returning home to warm winter comfort food and a hot coffee even sweeter!

My jewellery choices to reflect this day can mostly be found in the new Trollbeads Spring Collection 2013.  I used the Rocky Beach Kit with 2 of the new silvers from this Collection and finally Green Jasper from the Trollbeads Autumn 2012 Collection on my mood board resulting in the start of my Winter Beach Bracelet to remember this day.

Something for my live-in geek

Amazingly (for me) there's even change to buy one last thing... a stack of bracelets for my live-in geek so he doesn't feel left out! I'm may have to "borrow" the middle one but I know he'd love the 2 brown leather ones, and at £16.95 for all three there's £1.05 change from the £250 total, bargain!

For all bloggers, fashion lovers and jewellery fans
for details of how to enter this competition please go here.

Happy Blogging and Good Luck to all!