Friday, 27 December 2013

The Fantasy Dilemma

In a long and distant past I had a bit of a love affair with Maths, there was the whirlwind of romance, that amazing honeymoon period where we just flew along, the comfortable snuggling and then slowly we began to drift apart... I was young, easily tempted and so many bright and new shiny things to experience for the first time... and the slow burning realisation that perhaps that wasn't the life for me.

Now before you think I've been at the Christmas Sherry or that you've accidentally stumbled into a parallel universe where Mars talks Maths and not Beads... fear not!

Or perhaps do fear a little bit as I've not quite finished... you can of course just skip to the pretty pictures; go on I really don't mind... when I was deciding upon the blog title I thought to look up the precise definition of Dilemma and got beautifully sidetracked by Logic and Dilemmas, an autobiography of a mathematician, which randomly led me onto some fabulous blogs and a klezmer group... which I'm currently listening to as I type this blog.  I love the process of blogging!

Thanks to the usual heads up from Victoria at Endangered Trolls I partook of the Danish Christmas Gift Sets and bought an 80cm Onyx Fantasy Necklace (FN), complete with new In Your Heart pendant from the recent Christmas Collection and a red prism bead for less than the price of the necklace alone.

I was keen to make up a combination with some new beads that had just arrived and with this matching bracelet I was all ready for my night out - I literally threw this combination together but as it's turned out I've been wearing it non-stop for the last month without changing a thing. 

I've actually got more use out of this in a month than my 120cm Pearl Fantasy Necklace that I've had since the Summer, and therein lies my dilemma.

Long or Short? Pearl or Onyx?

Now I know that there are other things to consider, like it's Black Onyx and not Pearl, so it goes with a lot of my other stuff quite easily; plus there's the new little black and red tunic top I've just bought and wear a lot so it's not just long vs short... however over the last month I've been mulling this issue over quite a lot and have come to the conclusion that being shorter, that "Wash'n'Go" element about it is wonderfully appealing.

My long FN can be worn a myriad of ways, making it very versatile, although a tad more fussy to arrange and wear, but it's length makes it a show stopper when it is worn; it can be quite the statement piece.

So what exactly is the dilemma you might be wondering?  I have one of each; problem solved surely?

My dilemma is more a typical Mars one... Should I take advantage of the still available Christmas Gift Set price to get an 80cm Pearl FN for everyday wear, given I already own a 120cm one? be continued

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Favourite combos from 2013

Well as that's Christmas Lunch over with (yes I'm still digesting it a day later... huge feast!) and as I peek at, but studiously try to avoid the Boxing Day Bead Sales, I thought I'd cast my eyes and keyboard back at some of my favourite combinations from 2013.

In "no particular order" as they say on competition reality shows...

My first pick is my All Silver bracelet, on a Redbalifrog chain, although I must confess the tag has since had the snip; I love the chain but wasn't as keen on the tag!

My next choice is a leather combo that was usually paired with the bracelet above, and features one of my (many) favourite beads... Daisy.

I love the combination of black leather, silver with just a hint of gold.

X by Trollbeads launched in 2013 - black rubber and silver links combined and teamed here with a black lambskin Story bracelet.

It's not all monochrome; earlier in the year I was able to indulge in my passion for the retired red pink prisms and a trip to Wales saw me picking up the final 2 pieces for this particular bracelet.

It's not just bracelets either; this recent Winter Ice themed Pearl Fantasy Necklace is one of my all time favourite designs.

Nor did bangle designs miss out either; this one features not one, but two versions of another favourite bead of mine, the Navy Galaxy, one of the new designs from the "small and beautiful" dubbed unique release in early 2013/late 2012.

This year has also seen me pick up some gorgeous amber beads: the combo below features a lovely carved amber on the right hand side (to the left of the silver bead) and the first of my more unusual ambers.

It's probably no surprise that quite a few of my favourite combos are those bracelets that have survived my make and break mentality, including my Rocky Beach Bracelet and those fab Redbalifrog Silvers.

This remains made up along with my current Amber and Daisy bracelet... a departure from my continuously all amber bracelet variations throughout most of the year.

2013 saw another favourite silver design emerge, Skeleton Spirit, this bead made it's debut with the Fall Collection and by luck the one I have has the unusual tilted head!

There also had to be at least one combo from the Troll Date with Friends Series, this first one that I made to go out for dinner on the Saturday night, Summer Stones, a bangle and that unique I picked up on the troll date.

And finally, although it's another fairly recent combination, I really love the bracelet I made for over the Christmas period, it uses 4 pearl zodiac stars, and actually caused quite a few headaches as I had all the beads in almost every combination they could go in before I settled on this design.

So as I'm currently seeing double (one on the screen and one on my wrist for those of you who may be about to blame some Christmas Spirit) I shall love and leave you on this bracelet... hope you all are having a lovely relaxing time and the recent bad weather is not causing you too many problems.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Story by Kranz and Zeigler

Story by Kranz and Ziegler are a Danish brand, not as widely known in the UK as other brands but they certainly seem to be gaining popularity amongst my friends at least; as every time I show one of them a Story Bracelet the brand seem to instantly gain another fan!

My interest in the Story brand started over a year ago with this review on Endangered Trolls and whilst I've yet to indulge in the snakeskin range I seem to be adding to my collection nevertheless.

My first choice was the Black Lambskin 3 Wrap Starter Bracelet.  It came with 1 charm and I was able to choose whether it was gold plated, silver or rhodium plated, as I wasn't sure what else I'd be wearing it with I thought the rhodium would be the most versatile of the three.

The lambskin bracelets are super soft and light to wear, a great choice for around the office as it doesn't stop me from typing like my silver charm bracelets can.

As regular readers will know, one usually isn't enough... actually the bracelet I most coveted from the Story range was the incredible Garnet 3 Wrap Bracelet, made up of 5 strings of garnet beads that wrap around your wrist 3 times.  I'd tried this one a long time ago and fallen in love - it comes with a much heftier price tag than the lambskin so I'd decided to save up.

As luck would have it, Endangered Trolls offered a 10% discount a while back in conjunction with one of my favourite shops and coupled with a few vouchers I had plus another online discount on top and I picked up my second Story bracelet much sooner than I'd expected.

All the Wrap Bracelets close via a magnetic clasp and are really easy to manage one handed, at first I was a little nervous as to whether it would come apart but having worn both bracelets extensively since I bought them I've had no such issues.

My third and final choice (for now) is the Olive Green 3 Wrap Bracelet made up of 6 strings (it feels like a rougher leather cord) that wrap around your wrist 3 times.

So three very different bracelets all from the same brand, one advantage of Story is that you can easily link more than one bracelet together and the 3 I have compliment each other quite well.

Whilst I tend to wear the garnet bracelet by itself I've been wearing the black lambskin bracelet with regular trollbeads bracelets, the trollbeads bangle and X by Trollbeads as well as by itself, it really is an incredibly versatile bracelet.

For those of you based in the UK, you can find your nearest shop here.  I've been lucky enough to have a few shops near me so I've been able to go in and try them on first; indeed on my first visit I think I must have tried on most bracelets in the range, but they didn't have any in my size so I left empty handed on that occasion. (Obviously being a great shop they did offer to order in anything I wanted in my size... but I took this as a sign not to plunder my Boiler Fund on that occasion so declined)

Bracelets that wrap around 3 times come in 54cm, 57cm, 60cm and 63cm sizes and as usual I take the smallest size of 54cm whereas most shops seem to stock 57cm as standard.  I was able to buy my starter bracelet direct from the shop but I've had to order all the others online, I could have had the shop do this directly but I'm afraid I was both impatient and as is typical I wanted to take advantage of some vouchers I had and the online specials that are available from time to time!

You can get earrings, necklaces and rings to match and there is a wide range of charms to choose from.  I've decided to start with collecting the bracelets before charms as I actually like the bracelets worn naked without any charms.

Now my biggest decision is do I continue to buy bracelets and pick up that lovely turquoise bracelet in the sale or start on the charms?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas "Galaxies"

The Christmas Collection from Trollbeads saw the usual two kits of 6 limited edition glass beads.  One red kit called Christmas Love which is a kit of true reds and one blue kit called Elegant Christmas.

Trollbeads Christmas Collection 2013: "Love Sparkle" and "Elegant Sparkle"

Once again, many retailers are selling these as individual beads and like many collectors I gravitated to what I think of as the 2 signature beads, a true red and a true blue galaxy/mercury bead that follow the very successful pattern seen in the much sought after small and beautiful collection of uniques.

New Christmas red bead shown with the
small & beautiful cream galaxy/mercury beads

I quite like these 2 beads worn on their own on a bangle, the design is strong enough for that to look quite spectacular, particularly when layered up with my usual Story and X by Trollbeads combo as the only pop of colour in an otherwise black and silver ensemble.  However as I always do this I thought I'd play around a bit more.

Interestingly I found I had a bit of difficulty matching these two up with other beads in my collection, as I seem to have a lot more transparent glass and even fewer blues.  Leaving the bangles to one side for a moment I decided to try my hand with these beads on a fantasy necklace for a bit of Christmas Sparkle!

The beads themselves vary quite a lot in both size of glass and silver patterns; I've seen several examples from very pretty and neat beads to lovely messy ones like mine!  I would recommend if you're after a particular size or pattern you choose your own where possible, whether in person, or by photo, or certainly give the shop an indication of your preference if you have one.

I was able to choose my blue bead personally based on a photo and for the red bead I requested "a messy pattern of silver, size of bead is unimportant but the more the silver runs into each other or spills from one dot to the other the better!"  I think the shop chose very well based on my description!

Given the scramble for the small and beautiful beads, there are still people who didn't get any of the most sought after patterns, so I'm especially pleased that Trollbeads have included 2 galaxy/mercury style beads in the Christmas Kits.  As most retailers are splitting the kits it means that everyone has a chance to acquire one of their own, with or without the rest of the kit.  Now that's a nice choice to have to make!