Saturday, 31 August 2013

Trollbead Necklaces - Fantasy Necklace (Pearl)

Ironically, just before I bought my Fantasy Necklace (FN) I'd been having a conversation with a troll friend about how I liked the idea of a FN, but there wasn't one currently I wanted, as I'd only ever seen one combination that I've gone "Oh Wow!" about.

So what are Fantasy Necklaces?  Essentially they are a single unbroken chain that you loop over your head in one piece with a dangle permanently attached.

They come in different lengths and also have different dangles, currently you can get pearl (above), onyx or fairy with wings.  There was a limited edition version with an amethyst which is gorgeous, and you can also get the pearl one in gold too.  You add beads by threading the double loop of the chain through the core so they just fall down to sit above the dangle like so...

I loved the idea of this style of necklace but what had held me back was the choice of dangles.  I was worried that this would limit the combos, as you always have the dangle there.  In essence my opinion on this hasn't changed, I would really love to see a FN with a sculptural silver dangle that is more adaptable to different designs.

I've seen some lovely artisan versions of this necklace, indeed one with a silver dangle (shaped like a sideways trollbead, but that wasn't what I meant by sculptural) and one with an amber one in the shape of a slightly closed flower with the silver casing shaped like the receptacle (which was lovely), but still I've not seen the perfect one for me!

So why, at this point, you might be wondering, did I buy one and with a pearl on? The most unlikely dangle if I was ever to purchase a FN?  Guess what... the price was too good to pass up on!  I was also thinking about Trolltree left stranded in my bead box, but mostly I bought this to experiment with and if it worked, I'd keep it, and if it didn't, I'd sell it on to another collector.

My necklace is 120cm and this is the longest you can get them in, it's very long!!  I wanted a long one as I like having the opportunity to do more with it, and in talking to fellow troll friends who have them, those who have gone shorter wish they had gone longer... conversely I can see the appeal of having a short shorter one too so you don't have to use a splitter bead and a lock...

A splitter is essentially a bead with 3 (or more) holes, like the Elderflower bead above, you divide your FN in 2, by placing it sideways either side of your dangle so you have 2 looped strands to the left and right.  You place both loops up the central hole and pull one out the left hand side hole and one out the right hand side hole and you end up with the arrangement shown above.  You can get other splitter beads and some of the normal silvers will allow you to use them as a splitter if you have more than one hole.

Essentially a splitter allows you to shorten or lengthen your necklace to suit your design (and your body as this allows you to choose where you wish the necklace to "sit").  In order to be able to wear your FN with a splitter you attach a double ended lock to each loop, as shown below.

So what did I choose for my necklace design... just 4 beads including of course the very lovely Trolltree!

I have decided to keep my FN with pearl, I often wear black tops and this design showcases really well next to black.  It's a definite statement necklace and Trolltree works so well with it.  I was lucky to find a HUGE lake eye to sit at the bottom of the tree, it's so big it's the same size as the trollbeads faceted gemstones!  The normal sized lake eye sits within the Trolltree branches.

The bead sitting directly above the pearl dangle is called Pure Passion, another sales bargain this is a triangular bead with 2 pearls and a garnet that rotate on their spindles.  Much like the FN it was a bead I hadn't originally considered, but the price was great and I thought I would sell on if I didn't get on with it... guess what else I'm keeping!

For more ideas on different ways to wear a Fantasy Necklace
you can click this link for the official Trollbeads Guide.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Bangle of the Week - Summer Swap Bangle

Time for a Summer Swap Event - think Secret Santa with beads!

With my parcel to my swap partner safely agonised over, goodies selected, deselected, reselected, bead chosen, discarded, changed, ordered and finally posted on it's merry way.  I then waited for mine and wondered who my swap partner would be and what exotic destination my parcel would come from?

My bead travelled all the way from Yorkshire (England, UK)... where I currently live!  The surprise was my friend had been given me as a swap partner so the parcel was hand delivered last Sunday, making it the biggest surprise ever!

The bead is from the Christmas 2012 Sweet Christmas Kit and I've always wondered about this as a Christmas bead, having just received one in late Summer I think it's a perfect Summer bead.  Paired simply with multiples of the retired zodiac star beads (Taurus) I've not taken this bangle off all week!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Trollbeads Pendants - Trolltree

Trolltree has to be one of my favourite silver beads of all time.  An incredibly large and detailed bead, well actually it's a pendant, and one of several silver beads designed to be able to hold a glass bead within the silver bead itself.

I love Trolltree and was admiring one on a necklace during our Troll Date with Friends, later that evening someone mentioned it was retiring* and I made a pact with myself to buy one as soon as the opportunity arose.

Trolltree is designed predominantly to be worn on a fantasy necklace and you can fit a small production sized bead in it's branches as well as it will also sit on another one beneath it's trunk

Although I don't have a fantasy necklace, I've seen some really great bracelets, particularly Halloween themed ones, with Trolltree as a focal piece, so when I finally had the opportunity during a sale to pick one up, I did!

I soon set to work trying it out on a bracelet, but my tiny wrists scuppered my plans... I take a 17cm bracelet and I just couldn't get Trolltree to sit right, it was way too big for my wrists and not only was it slightly uncomfortable, it didn't look right as it dominated my wrist (and not in a good way)... there was much disappointment and some rather choice swearing when I discovered this, clearly the really cool bracelets I've seen Trolltree on were much longer than 17cm.

Oh well, I shall just have to admire this one IN the bead box for now.  Get rid?  Not a chance!!

*I haven't verified this info and Trolltree was in the UK May 2013 Catalogue so nobody panic!

Monday, 26 August 2013

My Winter Beach Bracelet

This bracelet has been a long time coming...

if you want to skip the "long time coming" story you can just scroll down to the bottom of the post
and definitely don't click on any of the links, your tea will go cold ;)

It all started with a Twitter conversation with Victoria over at Endangered Trolls back in February this year.

John Greed, a jeweller from the UK, were running a Blogger competition and Victoria suggested I post an entry, which I did, to read my entry you can click here to open it in a new window.

I didn't win but I really enjoyed writing the post and I became obsessed with creating the Winter Beach Bracelet I'd written about.  Firstly I needed a good* Rocky Beach Kit, I knew exactly what I wanted and was fortunate enough to find them as one kit.

*good is subjective: there is so much variation in this production kit that it's worthwhile seeing it first (whether in person or asking the seller/retailer to take photos for you).  What I was looking for in my kit were "gritty" examples of the beads that would evoke the type of beach I wanted to capture in my bracelet and from my original blog post.

I decided to make a leather version first, as buying the blue green version of the leather bracelet sparked off an idea, you can see that post if you click here.  I was also trying to cut down on my spending and knew I would need a lot of new beads to complete my idea.

I had no idea when I wrote that blog post what it would lead to... I had quite a few requests to blog a tutorial for that bracelet and leather bracelets generally, that tutorial can be found by clicking here.  The post proved so popular, to date it still has the largest hit count of my blog, predominately because it featured first on TrollbeadsUS both on Twitter and Facebook and then got picked up by several retailers' pages.

My long term plan was to create a full silver bracelet by picking up the different elements I wanted over time.  From my long term wishlist for this bracelet I acquired the Redbalifrog silvers, some great production beads with a twist, a lovely agate dendritic which was just how I imagined it would be (that was a long search for the right one) and a faceted Green Jasper... only this is where you should always be prepared to deviate from your original plans.

My mock up Winter Beach bracelet

I did a quick mock up to show off the newer beads but I was never 100% happy with it.

So it was dismantled as I went back to the drawing board.  In the meantime I'd picked up another Labradorite from a friend, and then the last piece slotted into place.  I picked up Crab via one of the recent sales.

Suddenly it all came together, I ditched a lot of my original ideas, including what I thought were key pieces of my design and NOW I finally have my silver Winter Beach Bracelet.

I've been wearing this for a couple of weeks now and the photo doesn't do it justice, it's such a lovely bracelet that goes with bright colourful summer dresses as well as looking good in the office or out and about with jeans and a t-shirt.

This one may even make it into my rare don't get broken up collection of bracelets.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Bumpy Heaven - Florence, Milans, Moon Ocean & Artisan Bumpy Bangle!

Earlier in the week I was working in the office, I had no meetings so I was able to dress down in jeans and a t-shirt and I fancied a new bangle design to match.

L-R: Milan, Moon Ocean, Florence, Luccicare artisan, Milan

New arrivals on my bumpilicious bead bangle are Florence (centre bead) and Moon Ocean (2nd from left), teamed with old favourites, my double Milans, and my Luccicare artisan bead which regularly gets mistaken for Moon Ocean in photos.

Florence was originally part of the Tuscany Glass Kit that also included Milan (2 outer beads), it's a really nice kit and I don't think I've paid it proper attention before now.  You can click on the name link to see the full kit.

Moon Ocean is a Price 2 glass bead so it has always been sold individually, it's a beautiful translucent blue bead with a mirror edge surface as a background to the also translucent bumps, it's very very pretty.

I can see why my artisan bead sometimes gets mistaken for it where I've used it on a full bracelet, but the side by side shot below, along with the bangle shot above shows you the difference in the two designs.

L-R: Moon Ocean and Luccicare Artisan Bead

I love the look of this bangle, it's quite unusual in appearance but beautifully quirky!

I *adore* my full on bumpilicious bangle!

I've been pretty much wearing it all week, it's also very very versatile.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Short'n'sweet on Stones

Look what lovelies I've been picking up over the last few months, thanks to the UK sales and some lovely troll friends selling their preloved beads - I'm always willing to give a stone a new home!

L-R:  pinky/purple Jasper, African Bloodstone, light grey/lavender Jasper, black and yellow Jasper,
Labradorite, Green Jasper and Zebra Jasper

L-R: Reverse sides of  pinky/purple Jasper, African Bloodstone, light grey/lavender Jasper,
black and yellow Jasper, Labradorite, Green Jasper and Zebra Jasper

I've been using stones in a lot of my bangle combinations recently but I'm also starting to make up some full silver bracelets again, nothing new to show you today; I just wanted to show you my lovely line up of new (to me) stones!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Easter Dangles 2012 and wedding bracelets!

Following my usual fashion of picking things up late, here are my 2012 Easter Dangles...

They were released back in 2012 in time for Easter and are Universal so they will fit other bracelets.  Originally sold in sets of 3, all random colours and as limited edition sets.  I was lucky to pick up a set of 3 in the colours (purple, pink and green) I would have chosen for myself.

One of my troll friends on hearing I'd just acquired these remarked "But I thought you didn't like dangles?" My reply "No, I love them, I just don't own any"

I've always loved dangles and it's one of the reasons I asked Anne to do a guest spot as it was her creative use of dangles in all glass combos that really stood out for me.

Recently Anne made up a wedding bracelet that showed off some of her dangles from both the 2012 edition and the 2013 updated version beautifully.  Here it is as a bracelet shot and then with all the trimmings!

Bracelet design and photo courtesy of Anne

Bracelet design, bag, nails and photo courtesy of Anne

As I had my own wedding to attend (as a guest) I wanted to use some of my new beads to make a bracelet, using Troll with Gems and my Small and Beautiful Peacock (as the bride used peacock feathers for decorations and my dress had very subtle peacocks on) as well as my new dangles.

I tried lots of combos with lots of dangles for the wedding but finally settled on just using one placed near the lock to add some interest to what was already a very busy bracelet.

As you can tell I'm rather fond of budded python uniques!

Unfortunately I have no photos of the bracelet with the nails and dress but it was all fabulous, as was the wedding!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Troll with gems

I've had Troll with Gems for over a month now and when I came to take photographs for the blog last night, I was reminded just how amazing this bead is.

Essentially it's a weighty chunk of silver, carved (well cast but the original model must have been fun to carve) with 2 trolls of different sizes/aspects, a spiral and other marks set with 3 gems, amethyst, garnet and opal.  The stock photos show the stones in different places so I guess they do vary where on the bead they are placed... I never noticed this until comparing the stock photos with my own, oh no, now I want more with stones all in different places!!!

Troll with Gems: My big troll face has the amethyst as the top of his bead, and garnet for his chin

Troll with Gems: My big troll's chin of garnet showing the spiral and you can see the opal peeking out

Troll with Gems: My opal is under the spiral and being grabbed by the smaller troll underneath

These photos were all taken with the bead the same way around, i.e. starting at the big troll face and just spinning the bead on it's axis, the next photo is with the bead the opposite way so the smaller troll with more body detail is the right way up.  On my bead they both share the amethyst as the top of their heads.

Troll with Gems: smaller troll right way up sharing his "amethyst head"

Troll with Gems: Better detailing of his arms shown from the side

As you may have gathered the 2 black stoppers are there as the bead is bumpy so I needed something to hold it in place to photograph it, it has quite a big hole so my guess is it may fit thicker bracelets than Troll (but don't take my word on it as I'm only guessing!), side photos below showing all that lovely detail around each hole.

Troll with Gems: Side view 1

Troll with Gems: Side view 2

If you're ever thinking of splashing out on the more expensive beads I think this is definitely my new favourite one to recommend, I adore it's quirky nature.

Over the last month or so, I've been a lot more strategic when a flash sale hits, as much as you can be given the nature of them.  I've taken the opportunity to purchase 1 (or sometimes 2) more expensive beads rather than a handful of Price 1 glass or silvers for the same spend.  Troll with Gems was actually my first "strategically bought" bead.

I've already blogged some of the others
just click on the name link if you missed them first time around.