Friday 29 August 2014

Bangles: Orange, Pink or Purple?

A few weeks ago we had an invite to go to dinner with some lovely friends of ours.  Dining out at home is one of my favourite things to do, food, wine, good company and when we can walk there, no arguments discussions about who's driving!

A lovely balmy summer's eve, just right for a rather eye catching patterned summer top I own from the now defunct Principles (original, not it's subsequent reincarnation) in vivid tones of orange, pink & purple!

Of course I couldn't miss the opportunity to make up a bangle to match... only whilst my top has managed to combine these three colours beautifully, that was more than could be said for me, as I attempted to mix the colours onto a bangle!

As I valiantly attempted to get all 3 colours onto 1 bangle, my other half reminded me that we really needed to leave, so defeated I gave up trying to combine all 3 colours and settled for 3 beads that combine just pink and purple, but oh so beautifully, in each bead.

I normally don't blog my "outfit bangles" as they change on a fairly regular basis.

However I realised that not only has my central bead on my chosen bangle for the evening, the Limited Edition "Be My Valentine"  never been worn or blogged before... but the pair of orange uniques on my discarded (but pretty) orange bangle have also never been featured... therefore, unusually, I give you not 1, but 2 of my recent outfit bangles!  

Even if the orange one didn't get worn that evening; there's always another time!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

...Still Space to Adore! Thomas Sabo Karma

I've been considering the Karma range from Thomas Sabo ever since Abi brought my attention to it back in April; and now I've finally taken the plunge...

Told you I'd blown my bead budget all to hell this month didn't I?!

The Bracelet
I started with the blackened bracelet, taking a chance on the size as the opportunity was to buy preloved rather than new.  I take a 17cm Troll Bracelet that I normally wear with a 2cm lock, so 19cm in total which sits quite loose - unless it's an all amber bracelet with big ambers.  For Karma I'm wearing an 18cm bracelet (overall length) as the beads are a lot smaller than Troll, so I'm assuming I won't need quite as much length.

We'll see how my Mars Logic fares as I fill up the bracelet!

The lock is a clasp that one end of the bracelet is permanently affixed to and the other end slots in when open, and when you close the clasp it's locked in.

It looks like a bead in it's own right and for me, I love that the branding is nice and subtle, it does say Thomas Sabo but it doesn't scream it at you, it's more of a whisper.  I really don't like overt branding on jewellery but this is definitely within my acceptable limit.

A nice touch for those of us who like to fiddle with our beads whilst wearing them is that the clasp can spin freely where it's attached to the bracelet, so it not only looks like a bead but also rolls like a bead when it's "on" the chain.

The Beads
As lovely as that in shop experience is, I've started down the preloved route with my beads too.

The Matt Black Obsidian bead often comes with the bracelet as a promotional offer.  I intend to buy a lot more of these; as unlike when I started with Troll and it was a case of Ooh shiny! I want that one... this time around starting with a new brand I'm going to think about my 1st bracelet design before I get too carried away!

Karma Bracelet Display at Hugh Rice (May 2014)

The Obsidian also comes in shiny, faceted and carved versions (see the display bracelet above) and is an absolute staple; this will go great with the black rubber X by Trollbeads in a stack and I'm going to use them to tie my design together.

The beautiful, heavily detailed all over, Om bead was always top of my Karma Wishlist, so I was extremely happy to be able to pick this one up immediately.  It's just the one for now, but don't be surprised if this turns out to be a multiple buy in future!

So out of 3 preloved beads, 2 were already from my wishlist!

The third bead, White Lotus, is from the latest collection.  It's a very bling bead without being over the top.  More whispering and less shouting to continue the metaphor, it features a large white zircona surrounded by blacked silver in a lovely pattern with even more bling inset in the silver itself.

This bead comes in 3 other versions, and whilst White Lotus wasn't on my wishlist for Karma, the Black Onyx version was, yep, you guessed it - called Black Lotus.  

Although it was the onyx version that was top of my wishlist, I did like the White Lotus when I saw the live photos.  I ummed and ahhed about adding this one as I'd already spent a fair bit even at preloved prices; then I decided to just go for the hat-trick as I like my beads in odd numbers!

Finally come the stoppers, which here I am using multiples of as spacers!  Like most stoppers, they have a rubber inset to keep them in a set place on the chain.

The stoppers come in several designs and Karma also boasts a skulls version in the range which are slightly bigger; so along with several of the skull themed beads they are most certainly on my Karma Wishlist!

Silver Skulls Karma Bead - top of my Karma Skulls Wishlist

In Summary
Every time I visit a jewellers that stock Karma I've been leaving little telltale signs of drool on their cabinets.

Karma Display at Hugh Rice (May 2014)

My original plan had been that I'd leave Karma until Christmas, given I'd waited this long, and we had the new collections from Redbalifrog, Trollbeads and X by Trollbeads to come.  But, as all us jewellery addicts know, the best laid plans are often put aside when an opportunity presents itself at a great preloved price!

I've been absolutely delighted with Karma so far, it's everything I hoped it would be.

Now that I've started, I've invited friends to take bets
on how long it will be before I give in
to my compulsion to finish my Karma bracelet...

Feel free to join in - no prizes, it's just for fun!

p.s. thanks to Alison for the inspiration for the title, she actually meant to type "still space to add more" in a message but I liked it with original typos and stole it for the blog!

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Quick Bead Play - Stones & Trolls!

I've been having a crazy busy week since I published all the lovely stories from World Trollbeads Day; it's a been a whirlwind of work, catching up with friends and we even managed to fit in some time in the Bus despite the Wind warning but that's another story... consequently there's not been much (er, actually, hardly any) time for writing or bead play... but I, er, I have managed to squeeze in some bead buying! I know, I know, my budget's ruined!

Part of my haul including picking up some lovely preloved stones and this led to a very impromptu bead play late one night, and several dark and fuzzy photos.

In the morning I thought the bracelet at least deserved to be photographed in the light!

World Trollbeadz Day Bead 2014

I love the soft greys with the orange and a splash of black onyx, the only thing I would change now I've seen the bracelet in the light is to swap out my lovely flashy labradorite for one of my more grey toned ones!

World Trollbeads Day 2014 Bead - Grey & Orange Bracelet

Trollbeads Grey & Orange Bangle

So glad I took the time to take some proper photos of these two... right, back to the grindstone!

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Community Guest Spot: World Trollbeads Day 2014 - Part II ~ Parties around the UK

Yesterday I told you what I got up to on the 1st August... but I was keen to find out what you all got up to on World Trollbeads Day.

So, being the curious blogger that I am, I asked a few of you, and this is what you told me...

Anne at Robinson Goldsmiths in Bangor, Northern Ireland

How far would you be willing to travel to take part in the inaugural Trollbeads Day?  100 miles... 200 miles?

Photo courtesy of Robinson Goldsmiths - Please do not reproduce

Well my journey by road and air was 517 miles!  Actually, this isn't quite as extreme as it sounds!  We had already booked a short break to Northern Ireland and it wasn't until much later that I discovered the great news that Robinson Goldsmiths in Bangor were planing to celebrate Trollbeads Day [not that Darling Husband (DH) was quite so thrilled!].

Photos courtesy of Robinson Goldsmith & Anne - Please do not reproduce

We arrived at Belfast International Airport at 9.15am and drove straight over to Bangor.  Robinson's have recently revamped their shop and Jennifer has designed a unique, eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary to great effect.

Photo courtesy of Anne - Please do not reproduce

The shop was decorated for the Trollbeads Event - balloons, goody bags and a photo booth.  I got chatting to a couple of the local Trollbeads fan[atic]s - swapping bead stories and designs, we were treated to the most delicious cupcakes I have ever tasted.

Photo courtesy of Anne - Please do not reproduce

I had reserved the Trollbeads 2014 Day beads for myself and a friend, and was thrilled when I saw them on display - so Gothic and truly Troll!

Photos courtesy of Anne - Please do not reproduce

I made some other essential purchases whilst DH was napping [we had been up since 4.20am] and had great fun in the photo booth.

Photo courtesy of Anne - Please do not reproduce

As soon as we arrived at our hotel I set about redesigning a bracelet I had taken with me to incorporate the new bead.

Photo courtesy of Anne - Please do not reproduce

It is presently in a combination that includes Troll with big feet and glass trolls, but there are endless possibilities to create!

How far will I travel for Trollbeads Day 2015?  Watch this space...

Mars says - I especially loved the idea of the photo booth and contacted Robinson Goldsmiths to find out more!  It turns out that Jennifer and the team had been very busy as they were also raising money for a local hospice as well as organising all the fun things for World Trollbeads Day; this is what she told me...

Jennifer from Robinson Goldsmiths in Bangor, Northern Ireland

As soon as we heard about Trollbeads Day we couldn't wait to be involved!  We ordered decorations, we handmade all our own Trollbeads T-shirts / Photo Booth Background / Ribbon Bunting and gathered up our dress up items from far and wide... Oh, and not forgetting the fabulous cupcakes which were baked especially for the day.

We actually had to start decorating the shop the day before just to be ready on time and we couldn't have been more excited to greet our customers in the morning!

We were also raising money for the Northern Ireland Hospice by holding a Trollbeads Raffle with all the proceeds going to help extend and renovate the new Adult Facility being built.  (You can read all about it here - Mars xx).  Prizes included the new limited edition bead, coffee table book and bead and the candlesticks and dish from World Trollbeads Day!

All photos courtesy of Robinson Goldsmiths - Please do not reproduce

Trollbeads also supplied us with lovely biscuits, sweets and goody bags for our lovely customers, and as you can see from the photos we had a brilliant day dressing up, eating goodies and celebrating Trollbeads!

We even held a best photo-booth photo competition; the winner receives a Trollbeads coffee table book and the Tourmalated Quartz Bead!

Photos courtesy of Robinson Goldsmiths - Please do not reproduce

Thank You to all our customers for visiting us from far and wide!  It was a truly magical day!

Jules at Beaverbrooks in Doncaster, England

Jules headed out to Doncaster to sample the delights of what Beaverbrooks had to offer on World Trollbeads Day.
Photo courtesy of Jules - Please do not reproduce

Beaverbrooks was very busy, but I was the only person who had turned up for World Trollbeads Day!

Photo courtesy of Jules - Please do not reproduce

I can't say enough good things about Beaverbrooks staff really... They were so busy so I sat and chatted with the postman!  When Emma was free she made me a drink and we sat and had a chat... I ate so many of the sweets I had to make the wrappers into a ball so no-one could tell how many I ate! (You and me both Jules! Mars xx)

Photo courtesy of Jules - Please do not reproduce

I was not only given the goody bag with my bead but the candlesticks as well, I really love this unglazed look although I know it's not as popular in the UK as Denmark.

Photo courtesy of Jules - Please do not reproduce

As to the bead, initially I was a bit disappointed, but I've just read Anne's description and yes-Gothic!  I've just visited York and he is very Roof bossy/Lincoln impish, I decided to have a bead play and see what happens!

All photos courtesy of Jules - Please do not reproduce

What do you think?

Mars says - I think your bracelet is divine and I have serious bracelet envy; green is one of my favourite colours but your eye for design is so to my personal taste!

Tracy at Paul Gentile in Cwmbran, South Wales

Now Tracy had a very important date on the 1st August (think Mother of the Groom), and sadly couldn't attend World Trollbeads Day at her Local Dealers... however like most Trollbeads retailers, they always go the extra mile, so even though she couldn't make it on the day - look what was waiting for her at the shop!

Photo by Tracy - Please do not reproduce

Angela at Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport, South Wales

Since our little group last met, we decided it would be great to meet again for World Trollbeads Day... but where would we all like to visit this time?

Photo by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

I had called into Liz's shop twice and I was convinced that I'd be happy to support her even though she's not an established Trollbeads retailer... yet.

Nevertheless, she's a collector herself and is so enthusiastic to promote the brand in Newport that I feel she deserves to do well.  Liz had sent out written invitations through the post and we were all invited to request any "special" beads for the day.

Liz joined one of the bead forums, TBGF, started the Welsh page on there and next came a dedicated Trollbeads Facebook Page for the shop.  She was very humbled that we would all take a chance on her but, in fact, I feel that Liz and Scott did us proud.

There were hard to find uniques we had all asked for plus a good selection of current uniques and production beads.  Liz must have really charmed the rep because we were also able to choose from some retired beads brought in especially for the day from Trollbeads HQ.

Photo by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

None of our group live in Newport - we travelled from The Vale of Glamorgan and from as far away as Bristol, Herefordshire and Wiltshire.

Photos by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

We had a lovely party in the shop and Liz had gone to so much trouble - the shop decorations were inspired by Copenhagen and customers were hosted with cupcakes which she'd iced in her favourite colours.  We were made welcome with tea and coffee on arrival and the highlight for me was my introduction to Pink Lucozade, it tasted so good!

 Photos by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

For each of us making a purchase we were able to select an envelope to open.  Inside we were able to see what our surprise was.

There were Trollbeads travel cases up for grabs, ten retired glass beads to choose from and discount vouchers for future purchases.  I "won" a voucher which gives me an excuse to call again, not that I need an excuse!

In true party fashion we were included in the raffle for a Trollbeads white jewellery box; here is the only pic I got of Liz on the day, unfortunately not in front of her wonderful displays!

Photo by Angela - Please do not reproduce

All these well thought out ideas, not forgetting the goody bag which included extra treats, made World Trollbeads Day a fun day out in Newport.

Photo by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

Thanks to Liz and her very best efforts we all had a fabulous day!

Photo by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport
Please do not reproduce

Mars says - As a blogger I get to see a lot of really cool things, a lot of which I don't always get the chance to blog about... however, when I saw the photos from Jeffries in Newport I *knew* I would be including these in today's blog post.  In fact they almost got a whole post to themselves because of the sheer effort they went to in throwing a great party for their local, and not so local, trollies.

I asked Liz what the day was like from her side of the counter and this is what she said...

Liz from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport, South Wales

The day was fantastic, I couldn't have wished for better... being a collector myself I try to go that extra mile for my customers and I know how it can be to collect and look for something special with Trollbeads.

I wanted to create a party atmosphere to celebrate, but to also educate those unaware of Trollbeads since it was World Trollbeads Day.

My event carried a Copenhagen theme, showing videos of how the Trollbeads are made, images of Copenhagen, the flagship store and the one in Tivoli theme park and also information about the name "Trollbeads" as I have a lot of non-Trollbeads customers question it as they don't understand why a brand would carry this name.

I think the biggest hit was my feature tree - named the Troll Tree inside an internal cabinet on the shop floor.  I wanted to pay a tribute to the flagship store in Copenhagen and the tree they have in the glass cabinet in their store, so I did my best to recreate this... hanging Trollbeads off the branches!

Photos by Liz Heaven from Jeffries Fine Jewellers, Newport - Please do not reproduce

Of course there were prize draws and giveaways... We had a prize draw to win a luxury white Trollbeads jewellery box.  By filling in a form which at the same time gives you membership to Jeffries... which means free jewellery cleaning, discounts of certain jewellery lines and other perks.

We also had envelopes laid out and with every Trollbeads purchase the customer could pick an envelope of their choice.. everyone went away with something for free.  Prizes were a free bead, luxury gift bag, a travel jewellery case and gift certificates for Trollbeads.

It was so lovely to see so many people all bonding over the same thing, having a good time and enjoying themselves!

Final word from Mars...
So dear readers that was a snapshot of some of the many parties that were happening all over the UK, it's really great to see these kind of events and what can be done to promote Trollbeads and give customers a really great day out!

Did you attend any of the World Trollbeads Day parties, or buy the bead,
take up snapchat or go to any of these stores on the day?

Feel free to pop in and tell us what you think!

HUGE THANKS to Anne, Jennifer, Jules, Tracy, Angela and Liz
who wrote this post and allowed their pictures and stories to be told.
You guys ROCK!