Sunday 14 July 2013

Critter Crawls & my Garden Bracelet

Critters, as they are fondly known amongst Trollbead collectors, are those glass beads that commonly feature any form of animal.  Some collectors are critter mad, but I've not previously dipped my toe into the Trollbead market, generally preferring the artisan versions of these types of beads.

Turtles were the most common critter when I started collecting, but "common" is a misnomer, as they were more rare at that time and therefore harder to get hold of and often accompanied by a hefty price tag on the preloved market.  Roll forward by 18 months and now I could reasonably (via the Internet) pick myself up a Trollbead turtle straight from a shop and as a result they are now seen for much fairer prices on the preloved market.  Currently there are turtles, fish, ladybirds/ladybugs, bees and butterflies that are becoming more readily available in a much bigger variety of colours and types.

Personally I prefer the Luccicare turtle beads, one of which featured in my first critter bracelet and was my first critter bead.

Luccicare Turtle Bead

Christa at Luccicare is also responsible for my second critter bead, a fish that arrived last month and went straight onto my bangle!

Luccicare fish bead on my bangle

The fish is a beautiful two tone orange with yellow and the background is a sparkly glitter purple and green that includes a gorgeous galaxy swirl that you can see above between 2 of the fish.

The one Trollbead critter that I have been looking for is a ladybug (or ladybird as we call them in the UK, but I've started to call them ladybugs in relation to the beads).  I knew what I wanted, a red ladybug on a green background, preferably with a glitter line down the middle to denote the separate wings.  I was quite happy to wait as I knew I'd eventually find the one I wanted...

Trollbead ladybug, red glitter on green from Trollbeads Studio

My ladybug arrived almost a month ago, and it was exactly what I wanted, so pleased with finding this one, but I had yet to use it on a bracelet!  This is mostly due to it arriving on the same day as my second delivery of Summer Stones (review coming soon I promise) that have barely been off my bangles in the last few weeks.

So I now had a turtle, a fish and finally a Trollbeads critter, my ladybug.

I didn't intend to add to these anytime soon.

Famous last words.

I blame my holiday.

I'd booked a week off work, a mix of days out, new things to try, nights away and some boring domestic tasks... unbeknownst to me when I booked that particular week - it also happened to be the week of special Trollbead events, 24hr flash sales and a major retailer liquidating their entire Trollbead stock.  By not having a holiday and trying to save some money by staying at home, it sincerely would have been cheaper to have booked that holiday!!  Admittedly I now wouldn't have such awesome jewellery but I might have come back with a tan.

So, er, back to the story.

Goldmine Boutique held a "Critter Crawl" on their website so I thought I'd pop in for a look, it was late, I got a bit carried away... I saw a lovely yellow bee on a yellow background, bees being the other Trollbead critter that I wanted acquire.  Trollbeads Bees come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and to some extent colours, I'd not seen any artisan ones and like the ladybug I was waiting for the right one.

Goldmine's website doesn't "hold" your bead when you put it in the cart so they'd helpfully suggested buying the beads one by one to ensure you got the one you wanted.  I bought Bee No.1.  Then I saw another bee on a yellow background.  I bought Bee No.2.  By now I was wondering what I was going to do with 2 yellow beads, as I have no yellow beads at all in my collection... I know... I need more yellow beads... (it was late, I was tired, it made sense at the time).  Bead No.3 was a red ladybug on yellow and Bead No.4 was it's twin.  Bead No. 5 almost went  into the mix too (it was the twin of my original ladybug on green) but by now I'd got a bit panicky over the cost so took it back out of my cart.

Trollbead bees and glitter ladybugs on yellow

When they arrived I was so pleased the yellows matched, because once each one had been "bought" and having been removed from the website it couldn't be viewed again, so each subsequent bead was bought without being able to reference the colour and I'd spent the week worrying I'd have lots of different yellow beads that just looked mismatched...

To show my friends and as a sneak preview on Twitter I put them on a bangle with my original ladybug in the middle.

Trollbead critter bangle

By now I had an idea of what I was going to do with them, inspired by my friend Trish who had made a magical garden bracelet with troll babies and all sorts, I wanted to make a garden bracelet with critters.

I've been fiddling with this bracelet for the last week, but have finally settled on the arrangement of beads...

My critter garden bracelet

In my lurid imagination, I have a fish pond in my garden where 3 fish swim in the greeny blue water, a snake nestles beside the pond, the green glitter python bead showing it's markings.  There are bees buzzing around their hive and honey (faceted amber) and lots of flowers and ladybugs both glass and silver.  I wore this bracelet yesterday in the brilliant sunshine at a local festival for a day out, it's definitely a bracelet that makes me smile when I see it! (Probably because I think I'm slightly nuts in that I can "see" the garden in my imagination when I look at this bracelet)


  1. What an amazing design, lovely story to explain it and I can see the pleasure and fascination in these critters. You have almost persuaded me, but like you I would be concerned about colours, and can I really dabble anymore? Glad you are back to your scribing. x

    1. Thanks Kay, I've never really had the urge to give a home to trollbead critters before so I've surprised myself! I did love the ladybugs from the start though, and knew what I wanted so that made it a lot easier when I saw my first one in Trollbeads Studio, that was a "sure bet" buy.

      The Critter Crawl was half impulse, half "half formed" ideas on a garden bracelet and I'd randomly been thinking about yellow beads on and off for a while ever since I'd tried to create a troll snake that didn't work out for me (when you wind your glass beads around in a spiral placing same colour beads next to each other to create either a light to dark effect or a rainbow - which was when I realised I had no yellow beads... told you it was random!)

      I loved Trish's troll baby garden bracelet so much that it gave me the start of an idea for my ladybug, wherever and whenever the ideas came from and formed, I'm glad they did - I love this bracelet!

      It has been quite an unusual bracelet for me to make as I don't normally have such a strong idea of what I want to create. Other notable exceptions have been my Winter Beach bracelets using the Rocky Beach Kit, first on leather and then with the Redbalifrog silvers on a silver bracelet.

      The other unusual aspect of this is I don't normally worry about beads matching, but for some reason I really wanted those 4 yellow bases to be the same colour. I think it's because I wanted to tie in quite a few colours so felt there had to be some common theme amongst some of the critters

      I've enjoyed writing today. I've been so busy lately that it's been tricky to find enough time to sit down to pen something but I decided that today I would definitely make the time to write something! I've also had a photography session with the Summer Stones over the weekend so I will be finally getting around to doing a piece on those too. First I might just catch up on that book I started ;)

      Mars xx

  2. I LOVE this ..........need some critters myself xx

    1. I have to laugh at myself for ending with up with 4 critters on yellow cores in one sitting, although if I say so myself I'm rather pleased that I did!

  3. I don't have any critters myself, but I like to admire other peoples'

    Your bracelet is so pretty and happy that reading the post made me smile; and I can almost hear the bees buzzing, and smell the fragrance of the flowers.

    I imagine it looks stunning in the sunshine when the light catches all that beautiful Trollbeads glass :-)

    Debbie xx

    1. Thanks Debbie, it is a very evocative bracelet for me in that it's a garden from my imagination made in glass and silver - one of the few full bracelets that makes sense on a hot day and boy was it hot on Saturday!


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