Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Trollbead Collection Collages

Collages are something I create from time to time, in the blog it's a way to share a lot of photos in one image so as not to clog up the layout, but often I do them just for fun.

I started with the newly debuted Spring Collection from Friday.

Trollbeads Spring Collection 2014

Of course once I'd done one, I thought it would be fun to do some other Collections as well, working backwards here is Christmas.

Christmas Collection 2013

I tried to include Flowers of the Month within the full Fall Collection but the result was quite messy so I've split the Collection up as a result.

Flowers of the Month - Fall Collection 2013

Fall Collection 2013

And finally the Traditionally Sayings Collection from the recent People's Bead Contest

Traditional Sayings Collection
from the People's Bead Contest Winners 2013

Or almost finally, as Trollbeads have just recently updated their website to include some (but not all) of the recent limited editions I couldn't resist one final collage to finish this post with.

Recent Limited Editions from Trollbeads

Hope you like them, I think I'm going to keep them as a handy reference guide for when I forget which bead debuted in which collection!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Trollbeads Spring Collection 2014

Part I - The Budget Dilemma

Yesterday was the first time I've not been able to get to an LD to see a new collection I'm super excited by on launch day, so I've had to take a slightly different approach to how to choose what to get.

My normal way of approaching a new collection is to hoover up all the news about it in the build up to release day, wait for some pre-release stock images, then the live photos as retailers and bloggers get ready for Launch Day... then I go and see for myself to make my final choices.

As I'm still beset by lurgy, heating problems (as in house plumbing not me; although I must confess I'm running hot and cold in a similarly unpredictable way) and a naff shoulder - I'm doing all my choosing from my sofa bed (the consequence of needing to sleep partially sitting up and also where I go the moment I finish work... yes, yes I know I should have taken some time off to recover), anyway enough about the why, and on to the how!

I've just added up the cost of what I'd like from the new Trollbeads Spring Collection... even by my "way hey, sod the budget, must have splurge spending" it's still just made my eyes water... or that could be the lurgy but the effect is the same!

Back to the drawing board, so I took a few things out of my virtual shopping cart... even trimming this down it still came to about £400 (or about $650).  That was also the price without buying either of the new stones from the collection too.

My next attempt, after taking out more items still came to just over half that, this is hard!! So much easier to get caught up in the moment at the shop... but as my favourite LD manager will tell you, I still had to put items back in real life during the Fall Collection.  Actually maybe the process isn't that different after all?

So, what's a gal to do?  For once (and possibly the first time ever) I did the (fairly) sensible thing and thought about which beads I'd currently get the most use from.  Okay so this is actually very different, I'm doing some proper thinking, designing and planning rather than my ooh shiny approach with only the vaguest of nods to design.

Sahara Night Facet

First on my list in that case was Sahara Night, I've loved the faceted glass from the previous fall collection (I have multiples of both) and I've been eagerly awaiting what would come next in this design.  Here and now, I am going to eat my words about not liking clear glass as an overlay (although I'm not sure what colour you would put over black... I lie, PURPLE obviously) as I love this Clear over Black overlay.

I've a few plans of bracelet designs in my head as an expansion of designs I've been working on, but not yet shared with Curling Stones and I'm hoping this glass is exactly what I need.

Following this logic, but with a lot of hmming and ahhhing I've decided to buy the full new glass Sparkle Kit.

Sparkle Kit

Now although this has been an obvious choice for most collectors, after all the kit is amazing, for me I never usually buy kits, and when I do I normally choose my glass individually, either in person or via online dealers who will take photos or put photos of actual kits on their websites.

Unusually for me I've thrown caution to the wind and ordered blind - this is most certainly a first.  I blame the lurgy as I was feeling particularly woozy at that point so I'm hoping I'll get lucky and get some great examples as there's usually quite a bit of variation with these types of glass beads.  I already have Pink Desert, Brown Desert and Skyline (from the Hong Kong World Tour Collection) so I already know I like my sparkly beads!

If you want to order the beads individually they are named as follows, however if you want them all you can make a saving by buying them as a kit as the price is equivalent to 5 beads - so the 6th is free.

Beads named left to right, top to bottom:
Ancient Palace, Desert Rose, Fountain of Life, Magical Lamp, Oasis and Scirocco

Finally, I wanted to buy one silver, well actually I wanted to buy a lot of silver, silver & stones, silver & glass, stones, leather bracelets and so on but you get my drift... so my final choice for now as I'm being good, was the Babylonian Nymph.

And believe or not, that's all I've actually ordered for now... I had a budget and by some careful shopping around comparing the £ with various currencies, factoring in taxes and customs, delivery dates and discounts I've managed to find a combination that suited my budget, now I just sit back and wait for my lovely new beads!  

Part II - The other Mars must have one day sooner rather than later

So what did I also want but have to put back... firstly it was the lock, the lock and oh did I mention the sun, moon, stars lock???

I love this lock, this is the Trollbeads lock I have been waiting for!  Heavily textured, NO FLOWERS, and the theme of sun, moon and stars is beautifully done.  So why you might be asking did this get put back for now?  

This is where my head really did rule my heart.  Due to price if I'd chosen to keep the lock I would have to lose one of the beads and the overall spend would have been higher, I do have plenty of locks, and I can manage without this for now, but as soon as I have some more in my bead fund this goes on the list.

Shortly followed by... the snake!  A cute price 1 silver, again once the bead fund is replenished I hope to pick this one up quite soon.


Another of the silvers on my wish list was this one, Moroccan Cushion reminiscent of the retired Aztec bead (which I've yet to pick up myself), this is slightly lower down the list for me, I have several silvers in this shape already so it's a must have but I can do without it for now.

Moroccan Cushion

I think the fact I put Drops of Delight in was more a wish than a reality right now, but I love this silver and rose quartz drop!

Drops of Delight

The live pictures I've seen have the rose quartz as much more pink than the stock photos suggest but this will be one I will keep my eye out for.  This is a "save up for" bead so we will see how long I remain sensible... 

The next on my list was a stone, this time Moss Agate, these will have lots of variations being a natural stone so definitely a choose in person or by photo bead. 

Moss Agate

Again I was being sensible by putting this back; blimey I'm not liking how many times the word sensible is coming up in this blog post... this is most unlike me!  The price cost of stones means that I will often tend to wait until there is a sale, preloved opportunities or I find my perfect example in a shop - as stones are so different my perfect example could be your horror story!

Part III - The I'd like these but I have other priorities

Other priorities also include my central heating, warmth and hot water... because whilst Emerald is actually a must have for me, the price unfortunately puts it way behind getting my Boilers sorted.  I shall just have to make do with my other stones for now.


The Sahara Jewel faceted glass I'm not sure about from the stock photo, this is one that I really must see in real life I think before I decide whether this should be in Part II or Part III, or even relegated to Part IV of this blog post!  Picking the average I've pitched it in Part III for now, I love faceted glass and use them a lot on my bangles in multiples in particular, but I need to see how this would work for me first.

Sahara Jewel Facet

I'm fascinated with the other two silver&glass/stone beads, Dromedary and Ruby Falcon they are both very striking and if money were no object I'd buy them for that reason alone.  If I had these I would make use of them but as the title says I have other priorities for things that I'd get more use of personally and that are consequently better value for (my) money.  I can't wait to start seeing these two on other collectors' bracelets, I think they are fab!!

The collection is debuting another 2 two toned leather bracelets.  Light Blue/Dark Grey and Brown/Light Grey.  Much like the two that debuted in the Fall Collection, I would pick these up if I had a specific idea for a leather combo or if I didn't have any at all I'd be tempted - the two tone bracelets really make a nice change from full silver bracelets or bangles.

The red leather bracelet and the green leather bracelet are retiring from this year so if you've fancied one of those but have yet to indulge, now is a good time to pick one up. 

Part IV - So what's left?

Let me start with the disclaimer that there is nothing I actively dislike in this collection and I can't say that about many collections (remember my reaction to the sunglasses bead) so this is something of a first, I could make use of all of this - although clearly there are some pieces I would wear more than others and this has been the whole reasoning behind why I've chosen what I've chosen but with my budget and my boilers firmly in mind too!

I've shown the remaining animal beads on the chain as I think placement can play a big part in whether you would use a particular bead in a bracelet or not.

I *really* adore this bead;  African Tortoise.  It only makes it into Part IV as I honestly can't think of where I'd use it at the moment and I'm trying to be brutal with my choices based on bracelet designs I'm going to be wearing.  As far as animal bead design goes I think this is one of my favourite animal beads that Trollbeads has ever produced!  I'm clearly going to have to think harder about design so I can push this up my list, bah being so practical is no fun sometimes ;)

The following are Arabian Hare, Falcon, Jewel Fairy Basslet and Swan

Although I'm a fan of the engraved beads I'm not as fussed on the two new ones, Engraved poetic and Engraved Romance, the colours are a tad too pale for my tastes.  Again, much like a few of these I think they're worth a look in real life before I make any final decisions; I tend to prefer stronger colours but I'm not adverse to the odd pale one!  (Yep I'm sitting firmly on the fence on these two for now)

The final silvers are only here as I'm being really good with prioritising my budget, I love when Troll produce nice big silvers that can be used in a myriad of ways, below you have Nomad and Kaleidoscope respectively.

So where is the traditional 2nd kit you might be wondering?  Or possibly not if you have the Internet and like to read blogs ;)  Even if this kit were new - it would still be in Part IV for me, but it's not strictly new as it's actually an amalgamation of what everyone initially thought were 2 retiring black and white kits... which seemed a bit odd given that aren't that many black and white beads in the production line.  

However Trollbeads have retired half of each kit and combined what was left to make a "new" kit that's been released with the Spring Collection, good news for Black and White fans or there was going to be a bit of a gap!

I already have a Black Armadillo I picked up a while ago and will probably be tempted to get White Steel (front right bead) at some point in the future but as a kit it's the usual I like a few but not enough to get this one.

Well congratulations to anyone who's made it this far into the blog post!  Nice to see you here! :)

Someone pass me the bubbly Lemsip (other over the counter medicines are available)
and I shall raise a glass mug to a stunning new Spring Collection of 2014!

Well now you all know what I'm doing and why with this collection, I'm super curious and would love to hear what you're going to get, or not get and what you think about the new release?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Story doesn't end here...

On Saturday I posted about my new Story Charms and how I was really good in resisting buying a whole heap of sale stock... okay confession time... after publishing that very post, I couldn't resist going back for 2 more charms that had caught my eye originally, but that I had left in the shop... this was after finding and ordering my "third" Story charm online!

Okay so having a mental note of 3 charms for my resolution ended up being 5 charms in reality - in my defence, such as it is, they were all in a sale of some description with some very hefty discounts.  

Yes I am justifying that I've just bought 5 charms instead of 3, I so rarely see Story discounted anywhere that after thinking about it for a few days I decided I'd be daft not to buy a few more whilst that option was still available to me.

The fourth charm is the Story Silver CZ Heart Charm - a simple heart with a heart inset containing a cubic zircona.

This is not my "normal" style of charm, and certainly one that surprised my other half, but I knew exactly where I wanted this to go and what I wanted to pair it with - my Ellie wrap, a present from a very good friend.

The fifth and final charm I went back for is slightly more in keeping with my main style and was added to my black lambskin bracelet immediately, it's taken a bit of fiddling until I found an arrangement I was happy with but here it is on the bracelet.

The charm is the Story Silver Grey Pearl Drop; the colour of the pearl compliments the rhodium plated charms and the silver setting matches that of the snake's head charm quite nicely... Now I just need the last charm (number 3) to arrive and this should be complete! I won't spoil the surprise of what I've ordered; I'll save it for the next blog post!

...To be continued

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Story by Kranz and Ziegler - Charms

It's been a busy time for news and new releases, and whilst I've been eagerly following the news, I've been in my own little bubble here in Mars land.  Mostly it's because I've been in pain, literally with my shoulder and figuratively; 2 failed MOTs - fingers crossed for No.3 and 2 different plumbing company visits - we have heat again... for now...

The silver (and rhodium plated) lining in my cloud this week was popping into a shop and finding a Story Charm Sale.  Although the stock was low and somewhere where I never would have seen it without asking; a careful search revealed 2 charms that were on my hit list.

The first of these was Amethyst Flower Button Charm, I've been drooling over this since way before I even had a Story Bracelet, I love purple and although I normally shun a lot of flower glass, I don't have the same feelings towards metal flower charms.  I would love a bracelet with multiples of this charm, but this is much like my Trollbeads Skeleton Spirit imaginary bracelet, something that is in the far distant future!

The second find was Silver Snake Head, a dangle with jewelled eyes and a little forked tongue.  I've not noticed this in recent stock pictures I've been browsing but I did remember this from that very first time I saw Story when it was featured by Victoria on her red snakeskin bracelet.  I almost missed this charm as it was hidden amongst a heap of others and as it had an unusual sheen to it I had dismissed it initially as being a gold plated dangle (not on my shopping list) - thankfully I'd decided to have another trawl through ALL the charms and a quick scrub later it was confirmed!

Happy with my purchases I left the shop and was keen to get home to try these out!

If I was buying everything from scratch I wouldn't necessarily be designing a Story bracelet with these 3 charms together, but when you're starting out and a sale comes along, you take your chances with the charms you *love* and worry about co-ordination later down the line when you have a few more to play with.  At least that's how I do this.  I love both of these charms and although by different choices I could have had a more co-ordinated bracelet, I wanted these two the most.

One of the things I admire about Story is the versatility of the brand to be matched with everything else I love, on the day I rushed home to try out my new charms I was already wearing a double stack of X by Trollbeads as featured in last weekend's post.

A few months ago I probably would have really gone to town because of the sale and bought these and a whole lot more, but as I said in my intro, it's been a tough couple of weeks, so I resisted, stuck to my New Year's Bead Resolution No. 6, and am on my way to achieving No. 5.

When I set Resolution No. 5 I never specified the number of Story Charms I was going to buy but in my head I've had a mental note of three.  I know exactly what I want the third one to be so it's just a case of finding it, and yes I have already searched the remaining inventory at the shop with the sale on... although I'm going back there just to make doubly sure!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

X by Trollbeads - Bronze Lock & Single Links

Last week I was rather excited to get a delayed parcel through the post.  

So much so I did a show and tell with my friends online, which was a bit delayed as I got sidetracked after showing them the boxes so they had to wait an hour to see the contents, oops - sorry guys!

I won't show you both boxes (nor leave you hanging for an hour) as today I want to show you Bronze X by Trollbeads.  I'd already received (but not blogged) 2 bronze X links before Christmas and had incorporated them into one of my X bracelets below.

I love the look of Soundwave between 2 bronze links, I think it makes Soundwave's rather smaller size something of a feature; showcasing what I still maintain is one of the best single link X designs, but one unfortunately that gets a bit lost when sat between 2 rubber links. 

Now I had enough Bronze to make proper use of it within a bracelet.

However the absolute first thing I wanted to do was to try an idea I'd had for a necklace instead... using the lock and a link as the focal point and attaching a pendant via the lock.  

The heart pendant is a lovely glass lampworked piece from Lush Lampwork finished with copper and ever since I picked this up I've wondered if it would match Bronze X, up to now I've been wearing it on a black leather cord necklace.

I made a few bracelets out of my X stash... but I finally settled on the fairly simple bracelet below.

This I teamed with another I made up so I can wear them as a double stack...

I think the bronze makes X more interesting, although I've really enjoyed making and wearing my black and silver combos and stacking them with other brands, for wearing just X by itself the bronze adds that finishing touch. 

I'm counting up my pennies to see when I can afford to buy some more bronze links to add to what I already have; although as I'm sat toasting my feet on a portable heater as I type this; it may be a bit longer than I'd like!