Saturday 28 September 2013

What have I missed?

I've finally broken the surface to come up for air...

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy and I can't remember the last time I went a week and a half without being able to write a single blog post; and what a couple of weeks we've had release wise!!

Although I've not been able to write about it yet, I've been avidly following the global release of X by Trollbeads last week live on Twitter and the subsequent articles.  Below are two articles from two of my favourite bloggers about the launch but please do have a search of their blogs for more news and articles as both have covered X by Trollbeads very comprehensively.

Copenhagen Launch of X by Trollbeads on 17th September by Endangered Trolls

New York City Press Event of X by Trollbeads on 18th September by Charms Addict

I was lucky enough to receive a single rubber X link on launch day.  The link was sent courtesy of the lovely Steffans in one of the best marketing strategies I've seen from a retailer.  Steffans sent out black envelopes with a typically Steffans stylish invitation to start your X adventure with one rubber X link...

Did it tempt me to buy more after seeing it, and more importantly touching it, hell yes!!

Whilst I was fairly convinced I would experiment with just a rubber bracelet to start with, the question I had remaining was what did it feel like?

I'd consider myself a very tactile person; I literally shop for clothes by touch and whilst I obviously have to like the look of something, I browse by touch first.  Steffans marketing campaign answered that key question immediately and X passed my touch test with flying colours... and yes, I did order on launch day!

In the course of my own X adventure I took a little detour into Story on the way.  My love affair with Story has been a long time coming, ever since I first saw a red snakeskin bracelet featured on Endangered Trolls.  Much like my prelude to the original Trollbeads I've been looking at Story for months now before taking the plunge; definitely no regrets as I've been wearing it non-stop ever since.

I took both my Story and my rubber X bracelet on a lovely mini Troll date last weekend and got to play with someone else's beads trying to create bangle and FN combinations with beads leftover from the bead box... quite absorbing work and whilst I always joke about "will work for tea and beads" sometimes that really does happen.  My favourite and first combo of the day was this one:

I've also had most of the rest of my Trollbeads Fall Collection order delivered, a few stragglers didn't make it from the second order, but they're finally on their way now and this release has seen me buy multiples first time around... that's NEVER happened before!

Although the Halloween Release has been pulled from Trollbeads having been rolled up with the Fall release, there was still the People's Bead 2013 Announcement, again may I point you in the direction of Endangered Trolls for a great blog post and subsequent discussion with many of the winners popping on and joining in.

People's Bead 2013 blog post and discussion courtesy of Endangered Trolls

Then the Trollbeads Christmas Collection has been previewed, OH MY, just when I think we won't get any more images, even more pop up!

Christmas Collection Preview by Endangered Trolls

In between all the big release news, and I haven't even begun to make decisions yet about the new Limited Edition Stories for You release this week from Trollbeads, (as covered by Endangered Trolls here) my heating has been broken and (mostly) fixed to limp through another winter (we hope) and to keep warm I've done what any sensible woman does, and booked a  last minute holiday so...

The blog may be a bit sparse over the next couple of weeks as I fly next week and have only this weekend to dig out 2 bikinis which I think I may have lobbed (separately of course) into the 4 corners of the back of a set of built in wardrobes - being an old house the homemade (nothing to do with me the thing is hideous but at least huge) wardrobe set up is very Narnia like.  So my mission for the weekend is to hunt these out along with any other suitable summer attire which I've not kept together thinking I wouldn't need it until next May at the earliest...

I may be some time...

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Rocking my Daisy - black leather and all silver bracelet

Original photo snapped and tweeted on the night

For me, this is third time lucky.  

Long term readers will be aware of my previous failed quests to acquire the silver and gold Trollbeads Daisy bead.  It's not rare; it's a lush 2 tone, large and very detailed chunk of a bead in current production; I was just trying to collect one at a price I could afford, which was nowhere near it's RRP.  I have been watching every sale opportunity, and have made several attempts to buy, two of which resulted in orders, money taken for the bead, which were later cancelled due to no stock available.

Buying Daisy has become a bit of a running joke between myself and my troll friends as it slips out of my grasp time and time again, so it was really exciting when one of those friends sent me a message about one becoming available.

Trollbeads Daisy is made up of 3 Daisy heads back to back with petals cast in silver and each disc in gold.  Each daisy head is different and together they form a large organic triangular shape.

You get quite a lot of room around the chain when it's on a silver bracelet, nothing to worry about - it's the same with a leather bracelet and it just means you can sit the bead where you like in the design.  

Never have I been so happy to buy a particular bead and to feel exactly that same way when it arrived, and several days later - no artificial high of being able to find it at the right price to succumb to a later comedown.  I still can't quite believe I finally have *my* Daisy.

Recreated shot - slightly more in focus!

This is what I did with it on the day it arrived and I've not changed it since.  I love the leather/all silver bracelet combination and can see this being a firm favourite long into the future.

I will get around to playing with Daisy on a silver chain eventually - my original plan, way back then, was to have a Daisy & All Amber bracelet... still sounds good after all this time!

Somebody pinch me; I think I'm still dreaming.

All Silver Bracelet with Redbalifrog (RBF) Chain

Take one Redbalifrog (RBF) Bracelet, add a Trollbeads Elephant Lock...

Choose a great focal bead, in this case Indian Elephant, and arrange silvers of a similar size either side...

The silvers are all Trollbead, my RBF silvers are still on my Winter Beach Bracelet

Add to Bracelet and Voila!

I've been wanting to make an all silver bracelet for some time now but I've always struggled to get it just right.  The difference this time was using Indian Elephant as a focal bead as it all flowed from there.

I particularly like the little details in this bracelet, such as matching the lock and the focal bead; tortoise and turtle; planets and stars, (literal and astrological), snow and berries; and the big ring on the RBF chain and the large end of the lock balancing each other out, it's a nice touch when using the RBF chain.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Aurora Flower

The Aurora Flower is one of six beads from the new Purple Heaven glass kit, part of the new Trollbeads Fall Collection for 2013. 

On release day, just over a week ago now, I intended to come home with 1 Aurora Stripe and 1 or possibly both of the other non-floral beads from this kit, however I came home with an Aurora Flower instead - this is quite unusual for me as I don't normally like the glass flower beads, the only other one I still own is Flowers on Indigo; now I have 2 glass flower beads!!

I really liked the example in the shop on the day, however 2 Aurora Stripes are now on their way to me so balance should be restored by next week lest this become a habit; for now Aurora Flower has been taking pride of place by itself on a bangle.

I've tried matching it up with other beads, I have an Aurora bead that was originally part of a bangle set but as I like to do my bangles in odd numbers I've not found a good trio partner for them yet.  When I tried to use it with my artisan aurora bead they didn't match enough for my tastes.

Aurora Flower also goes well with my new pink ridged small and beautiful bead, but again I only have 1 and I'm craving some symmetry or at least the correct "range" to make a threesome.

Aurora Flower also works quite well with the retired pink prisms, the pink agates and an artisan silver and pink charm, all great combos but a little too girly for my tastes.  

This is precisely the reason why I have so few glass flower beads as what I end up making is a bit too "Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice".

I thought my Aurora Flower was destined to remain in isolation for a little while longer until the rest of my order arrived in the UK but I suddenly remembered 2 artisan beads I had tucked away in my bead box... all sorted until next week!

Saturday 14 September 2013

Faceted Glass Beads - Saffron and Masala

Two of the glass beads I was really excited about were the two new faceted glass beads, Saffron and Masala.  They finally helped me solve a personal mystery in why I didn't love Royal Orange when it was released (orange glass faceted bead with glitter).  Royal Orange is encased in clear glass; whilst these are encased in colour.  That seems to be the detail that tips the scales between don't like and love!

Saffron is on the left, Masala is on the right.

I genuinely hope that this is the start of more to come with even more stunning colourways for this style of bead, a deep purple encased in red, or red in a hot pink, or hot pink in purple... you get my drift!

As regular readers will already know I've been using these 2 beads on my current bangles from this week...

They are very versatile and I can't wait to get more next week, until then I still continue to pop them onto random bracelets and bangles just to see what the outcome is.

My swap bangle with the centre bead swapped out for Saffron

Ironically before the Fall Collection was revealed I was planning to add more oranges and yellows to my collection, I think with these and the pods I may just have achieved my aim.

Friday 13 September 2013

Pod Bangles!

Whilst I wait for the rest of my Trollbeads order from the Fall Collection, I started playing around with some of the beads I bought on the day.

I initially thought that the Pod beads were a really cool design, however I wasn't sure they were for me and I also thought I wouldn't like the bumps... how wrong was I?  Not only did I come home with these two; I've also ordered more!

Bangles are the obvious choice for quick play as you only need a few beads and you're done.  As soon as I saw the Pods I knew what bead I wanted to try them with first, a yellow and brown unique that reminds me of a Sunflower.

The other beads I wanted to try them with were critters, the pods are so made for ladybugs and bees! 
(And probably butterflies but I don't have any of those)

I couldn't resist trying them out with faceted amber and the new faceted glass, although orange Pod is more yellow than orange to me; it does lend itself to working well with other oranges.

How I eventually ended up wearing my Pods on my bangle...

I'm really looking forward to the rest of my Trollbeads order, this release has been a budget busting collection, never have I wanted and bought so many beads from one single collection!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Skeleton Spirit Bangle

Whilst I wait for the rest of my Trollbeads order from the Fall Collection, I started playing around with some of the beads I bought on the day.  Bangles are the obvious choice for quick play as you only need a few beads and you're done.  

No surprise to me I went straight to Skeleton Spirit, the silver bead I'd been dying to try out!  Meet Lenny! 

Yes he's already been named, it's not something I normally do but this was an exception - although it may get confusing if I eventually get another... or not?!?

One retailer has already reported that there is a variation within this bead, which is very unusual given it's a silver production bead - it's to do with the angle of his head, mine is slightly inclined to the right as you look at Lenny head on, apparently the bead also comes with the head looking straight on too!

I don't have any photos myself of the bead looking straight ahead but I have seen some on Trollbeads Gallery Forum on a stunning silver bracelet using SIX of these beads.  To me, the bead looks fab either way, but if you are a little bit particular about your beads you may want to check this out with the retailer before you buy.

Skeleton Spirit is such an easy bead to use on a bangle, just pop a bead either side and away you go!

L-R: Saffron Faceted Glass, Skeleton Spirit, Masala Faced Glass

Skeleton Spirit flanked either side by retired zodiac birthstone stars - Capricorn/Onyx

L-R: Faceted Amber Unique, Skeleton Spirit, Saffron Faceted Glass

So which one have I been mostly wearing since the weekend?

Although a 2nd Skeleton Spirit wasn't part of my recent orders for the rest of the Fall Collection I'm not sure I'll be able to resist another one... 

Saturday 7 September 2013

Trollbeads Fall Collection ~ Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

I've been so excited in the run up to this release, you can't tell can't you?  Or did you guess because I don't usually use an extended Squee in blog posts, let alone a title?  

Lately the full collection releases have become increasingly less interesting to me, however this one proved very different; and coming so soon after the wonderful Summer Stones Collection; a tad worrying for my Boiler Fund!

I'd been hoovering up every snippet of information about the new release prior to yesterday (Release Day was the 6th September) and my usual go to blogs have not disappointed, particularly Leann (Charms Addict) and Victoria (Endangered Trolls).  In fact late Thursday night I interrupted a very good film as soon as Victoria published live shots of the collection; I love different time zones!

On release day I eventually went to visit my LD.

I had originally arranged to take a couple of hours off work in the morning, slight problem, the beads were being shipped overnight and arriving in the morning... given that I do have a day job, I couldn't justify taking the time off on the off chance the delivery was on time - argh!!  So whilst Pauline & co went for the morning "session", I arranged to meet them in the afternoon instead, but as the texts and photos started to come through early on; I started to question my decision - would there be anything left?  Pauline is VERY KEEN on the new collection!

The day whizzed by, and I whizzed with it as fast as I professionally could, picking up my new glasses on the way and multi-tasking like only a bead obsessed Trollie can do.  Argh, next problem, TRAFFIC, oh yeah there's a major festival taking place this weekend, and it's Friday afternoon, you couldn't make this up!  Finally I arrived and I think I locked the car before heading up through the Car Park to the shop... Hugs all round and then a cuppa, my first one since leaving the house that morning, boy did I need it!

Right where are the beads?  Ooh there they are!!

Special thanks must go to Beaverbrooks, I really can't praise the staff enough in our local branch - we are always looked after to such an amazing standard, they're very patient with us (as we like to take our time over our shopping), the lovely Manager, Lizzie, actually ended yesterday empty handed as I walked out with a bead she had ordered for herself, as only 1 had arrived instead of 2, it just sets the bar so high for other shops.

Although in fairness nearly every Trollbeads retailer I've dealt with has been absolutely lovely, responding patiently to "Can I have another photo please?", "Can you hang on to that bead for me?", "Oops I've forgotten I'd bagged that, can I include it in the Trunk Show?" not to mention the lovely Sales, Trunk Shows and Gifts With Purchase.

I'm rambling again, back to the Fall Collection... 2 glass kits, 4 special glass beads, 1 stone, lots of silvers, 1 new lock and 2 new leather bracelets... where to begin?

The New Lock

First things first, I definitely wanted the Water Lock, woo-hoo it's not floral! As explained elsewhere it's very small and perfect for us folks with wee wrists!  Beautifully detailed and quite gnarly, someone said it reminded them of tree bark, I can see elements of natural wood as well as water in this one, it's just lovely!

For those who are disappointed it wasn't another large lock, I really think there would be mileage in Trollbeads producing both small and large versions of popular locks to suit both wrist sizes and preferences for smaller/larger locks... if they did a large version of this I would definitely buy both!

The New Leather Bracelets

I was very pleased to hear about two new 2-tone colours entering the range; as you all know I love my leather bracelets.  However I won't be buying these anytime soon, unless I have a specific idea for the new colours, as they are somewhat "safe", Black/Grey and Light/Dark Brown.  However for those collectors who've yet to indulge in a leather - it's really great to see new colours come out - more choice to start with!

What I really would love to see is some really rich colours, deep purples, hot pinks, dark green for example, now that would make me add to my already rather extensive leather bracelet collection (well okay, extensive is perhaps an exaggeration, I only have 5; but give me hot new colours and I'd have a lot more) .

Skeleton Spirit

Silver wise, what really stood out for me from the start was the Skeleton bead.

I hoped it was as good in real life as the stock photo and campaign images.  I love my Bead of Fortune because of the skull; and because it's a really clever 2 part bead; and I'd adore the skeleton necklace (should a wealthy benefactor wish to gift me one).

The new Skeleton Spirit didn't disappoint and this one was most certainly coming home with me - thanks actually to an incredibly lovely Manager who opted to wait for hers a bit longer so I could have the one that arrived yesterday, thank you Lizzie! Thanks also to Pauline who also wanted one!

Purple Heaven Glass Kit

The first glass kit, Purple Heaven, is a more typical Trollbeads release, I was super keen to see Aurora Stripe, along with I think every other trollbead collector on the planet.  I love my Aurora Bead and would happily have more of these but I already have 3 bangles so it's looking a bit unlikely...

Aurora Flower is floral (duh) so I wasn't sure I'd like it.  Guess what, I left Stripe in the shop (it's lovely but I can wait) and brought Flower home with me!  It's a lovely example and I really don't do flowers unless I *love* a specific example of a flower bead.

The other 2 flowers (Ivory Violets and Amber Violets) were unsurprisingly not my cup of tea at all, however Pauline loved them! There are some beads we just don't need to do that "Who's taking this one home today then and who's ordering it in?".  I should probably practice being more gracious, as I've definitely had more than my fair share of bring them home on the day beads!!

The final two beads  in the kit were nice, Purple Rippling Bubbles (on the left) and Moonlight Bubbles (on the right), but I want different examples of them than those I saw on the day; there's quite a lot of variation in these.

You can see that they compliment the Aurora Stripe quite nicely in the photos above and I can really see Purple Rippling Bubbles working well with some of the Small and Beautiful Beads.

So much like my Amethysts and Red Mud Jaspers from the Summer Stones Kit, I'll be looking at more of these 2 designs, but I really don't mind waiting for the right ones to come along.  At least with them being production beads, unlike the Special Edition Summer Stones, I won't have to search for these in a hurry and I can take my time.

Native Elements Glass Kit

On to the Native Elements, what a kit!!  Having only scant hours before said I like the design of the Pod Beads but I don't think they're for me... I came home with 2!!!


Red and Orange Pod, and, er, I think I need multiples of these two... one of my friends has already ordered 2 sets for herself... popular was an understatement.  Note again that I came home with them *makes mental note to buy an extra round in next time we have a boozy lunch*  There wasn't a Green Pod Bead to see so the jury is still out on that one as I can't tell from the stock photos what colour the "bumps / petals / leaves / lips / things" are.

The other 3 beads from this kit, after seeing the live shots I also thought were lovely but not for me and first impressions yesterday didn't change my mind... until I looked at them more closely that is.

Aqua Edge Pumpkin (top 2 photos) has an amazing effect, it looks like one of those juicers encased in glass, stunning!  Aqua Edge Triangle is cool just because it's a triangle!

Again we didn't have the 6th bead (Aqua Edge Petals) to see so I'm not sure about that one either - I am so tempted to buy a full kit as I think I may want at least 5 out of the 6 on top of the 2 Pods I brought home yesterday... eek, my poor old boilers!!

Both glass kits are nice in their own way, but the Native Elements Kit is fresh and exciting for Trollbeads.  If I were to buy a Native Elements Kit this would only be my 3rd full glass kit.  Summer Stones and Rocky Beach Kit are the other 2 exceptions I've made in this direction since I've been collecting.

As amazing as the glass kits were, what I really wanted to see were the 2 engraved glass beads and the 2 faceted glass beads.

Faceted Glass Beads

The 2 faceted Glass beads are called Saffron Facet (left) and Masala Facet (right) and you can see why from the colours, they're so rich in the all the photos I've seen and look just as good in real life.

I was 100% certain I would love both faceted glass beads and I did, unlike Royal Orange which I wanted to love but didn't, I adore these and I've now been able to finally figure out why I didn't love Royal Orange; it was encased in clear glass, whilst these 2 are encased in coloured glass - mystery solved!  They both came home with me *clocks up another lunchtime round of drinks* and I am most certainly getting multiples at a later date, and maybe not too much of a later date, a'hem, it will be a mild winter won't it?

Engraved Glass Beads

Equally as show stopping were the 2 engraved beads, Engraved Fuchsia (left) and Engraved Azure (right), you can see that the engraving is actually quite deep and on the surface of the glass, and I suspect may have a habit of getting dusty,  perhaps a couple of beads you may need to pay more attention to keeping clean!

These two didn't disappoint either, very lovely and it was a difficult to make a choice as to what was coming home with me and what was staying in the shop yesterday, but the faceted beads just pipped these at the post.  I will be ordering some of these in the not too distant future... maybe the next Trunk Show perhaps?  Which by a happy co-incidence is happening all over the US this weekend!

Sapphire Bead

Whilst I love the variations I've seen so far in the Sapphire Bead this is currently way out of my price range as it's the same price as a full glass kit.  I actually prefer the ones that look more rock than traditional Sapphire so it just wouldn't make sense for me to buy this.  What I'm really hoping is for Trollbeads to bring out a Sapphire Rock similar to Ruby Rock, now that would be just perfect!

Mr and Ms Ghost Fighter 

I loved quirky Mr & Ms Ghost Fighter (aka Pac Man as we all know what they remind us of) but I couldn't see me personally wearing these on a bracelet, um, until I saw these in person yesterday.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE them, they are so much better in real life than the photos.  They didn't come home with me but it was close, actually until my total spend was added up and my conscience kicked in and I put some beads back!  Thankfully they didn't need to spend a lonely night in the shop as they went home with Pauline!  We were doing a really good job of trying to buy all the stock in the shop on Day 1.

Flowers of the Month Beads

The charms I wanted to see most, just to see whether or not I liked them weren't there, the 12 Flowers of the Month, all set with a pearl.  I did see June's Rose shortly before it disappeared into my friend's bag (she did pay for it I hasten to add, it didn't disappear in a shoplifting sense) but the 2 I really wanted to see were September's Bindweed, and May's Buckthorn.  I shall have fun searching these out in person over the next few weeks and months.

Love and Family and other beads

Finally the silver charms to do with family and love I have no interest in at all. 

I think Grandma and Grandpa are beautifully executed for those where this would have some meaning to the wearer and I suspect they will be very popular much like Maternity and Paternity are.  It will be interesting to see if these appear in silver and gold in the future if they sell well in silver.

The buggy/pram (officially Baby Buggy) is a lovely design and beautifully detailed but hangs weirdly on a bracelet (in my humble opinion) as it goes through where the baby would be, and the Diamond in the Rough, well I personally really dislike this bead but I took some photos for you anyway so you can make up your own minds.  Thankfully we don't all like the same beads so there is something for everyone.

The crown is small (officially Prince and Princess) but cute (again not for me but I can see the appeal) and I didn't like the I Luv U charm at all.  When I saw stock photos I thought it was a slightly different version of other heart beads but it really does spell out I <3 U, only to me the sideways I looks like a H, or maybe that's just my new glasses bedding in - in fairness they were crushing my skull at this point so I'm not sure I was feeling that patient with harder to love charms.

So as my first impressions of the new Collection are laid out for your reading pleasure, here's the final tally of what I brought home with me yesterday... now to start writing out and whittling down my Trunk Show lists!!


P.S. - I owe the girls a few drinks for my "Bring it home on the Day" Beads
and I must remember to retweet Beaverbrooks to tell them how awesome their staff are!

Till receipts and June Flower photo courtesy of Pauline, all others by Mars (as usual)