Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Story by Kranz and Ziegler - Red Snakeskin Bracelet & Footprint Charm

Writing down my resolutions earlier this month reminded me of a promise I made to myself a long time ago.

Photo courtesy of Endangered Trolls
Please do not reproduce without permission

I saw this bracelet on Endangered Trolls back in 2012 and ever since I've really wanted one for myself; I totally adored it.

However, when it came time to choose my own first Story Bracelet, I was far more practical opting for the black lambskin starter bracelet; in all fairness this went with everything I was wearing at the time, and still does, it gets a lot of use!

Late last year a retailer was reducing their stock, both in price and size and as a result I have my own bracelet to admire!

Sadly I believe they are dropping Story as a brand in favour of a cheaper competitor - I used to have 3 stockists quite near me but now I only have 1.  I think I definitely have a thing for Danish brands!  

I've teamed it with another charm from the same sale that's also been on my Wishlist for a few years too - Footprint.  This has often been marketed by some Jewellers as charms for Men, but I never take any notice of whether something has been marketed to a specific gender... I think we can all choose our own jewellery based on our individual tastes.

Story Footprint Charm

I've been wearing this solo for a while, but like all Story Bracelets it's a great stacker too!

Story Red Snakeskin Bracelet with Footprint Charm

I've waited to buy this for two years - it's slipped further and further down my wishlist whilst I chose more practical bracelets first.

Let's just say the wear it's getting now is more than making up for it!

What have you waited years for that was worth the wait?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Trollbeads Spring Collection 2015

So yesterday saw the official debut of the Spring Collection from Trollbeads, and as Curling Stones tradition dictates here is my collage made up from Trollbeads Stock Photos!

Trollbeads Spring Collection 2015

As you can see from the size of the collage, it was a mammoth release!  2 glass kits (6 to a kit), 4 new style hematite beads, 1 glow in the dark bead, 2 new leathers, 4 rings, 1 lock and another 23 silver pieces including beads and pendants.  Phew!

I've got the Spring Collection in my hand!!

"I've got the whole collection in my hands, I've got the whole wide collection in my hands..." okay so I actually took this photo at Trollbeads Cambridge's Spring Collection Preview Event, and they were only in my hands for a while... and I'm not holding the leathers or the rings as I'm also taking the photo and I only have two hands... but I hear the song in my head everytime I look at this picture!

Click HERE if you want to see the individual live photos of the collection or to read about my trip to Cambridge.

I'd restricted myself to preorder only 3 beads from the new collection and these were my top picks from the Preview Evening.

Blue Hematites with Path of Life

The hematite beads were simply stunning, I fell in love with the blue ones in particular and definitely needed a pair... actually I need a lot more than a pair, and more colours, but 2 Blue Hematites will do for starters.

The silver bead, Path of Life, is one that I'd not paid as much attention to initially from the stock photos - but as soon as I saw the bead - it went from a not on my list to top of it!

I have a much longer wishlist from this collection and I will tell you all about that another day; for now, I just wanted to show you a photo of my newly arrived, still in the box, lovely new beads!

What are your favourites from the New Collection?

Monday, 19 January 2015

Trollbeads Cambridge - Spring Collection Preview

So after 28 hours, 7 trains, 3 taxis, 1 bus and shanks's pony it was all over bar the waiting... what a wonderful whirlwind of meets, greets and treats!

Official pics courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge, collage by Mars

It all started on Thursday morning with the usual "Oh my god, what do I wear?" dilemma.  Not the clothes - the jewellery!  Final choices selected, bags packed, triple checked, note pad, kindle, phone and charger (the staples of any blogging trip) and I was off!

Tickets check, bridge check, bracelet check, mocha & kindle check, final train to Cambridge check!

The sun shone all the way there until I actually got to Cambridge whereupon it got a little grey, however my welcome party were waiting for me at the station to brighten up my arrival.  Yes of course I have a welcome party arranged, er, okay, so my friends are pretty cool and had sorted out a lot of stuff before I arrived, thank you!!

Off we set to the first rest stop, time to grab a quick drink, sketch out plans for the evening, explain what Trollbeads are and aren't and whilst half the welcoming party escorted me to Trollbeads Cambridge, my suitcase was duly whisked away in the opposite  direction and direct to where I was staying for the night... okay so I'm not exactly sure it was opposite as I was barely there enough time to get my bearings; but for the sake of artistic license opposite is as good a direction as any!

In the meantime I'd made contact with the lovely Kay, arranged to meet her at the shop and had a quick guided stroll through Cambridge... 

Pic courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge

Trollbeads Cambridge has got to have one of the prettiest store fronts I've ever seen and inside it's beautifully compact and bijou.  Combine this with Trollbeads new store furniture, great lighting, clever use of mirrors and display space and blissfully free from other brands and the whole package packs an amazing punch considering it's footprint.  

Official pics courtesy of Trollbeads Cambridge, collage by Mars

It certainly feels a lot bigger than it is and there are several distinct areas to browse and buy.  As you would expect from the UK's first concept store they carry the full range of Trollbeads as well as the newer line of X by Trollbeads and the staff are warm and friendly, attentive without being clucky - a rather perfect mix.  I had no preconceptions before I arrived, and I genuinely liked the layout and design of the store, it's been very well thought out.  

On arrival I spotted Kay straight away, met Phillip for the first time and enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and just talked beads to everyone for ages.

Trollbeads Cambridge - Spring Collection Preview Evening

It was one of those surreal but lovely times in that I "knew" quite a few people in a virtual sense from emails, facebook, Twitter, bead forums, Curling Stones and the Internet generally, but until this evening I had never actually met any of these people in real life.  

I especially had been looking forward to meeting Kay, who not only has been a contributor to Curling Stones in the past but is also someone I've been talking to for over 2 years without actually meeting in person - pssst don't tell her... but she's even more lovely in real life than she is on the Internet!

There was a nice vibe in the shop and a fair bit of shopping as well as LOTS of chatting!

The event itself was split between two venues, the shop served as first point of call and had Amanda the lovely beadmaker installed in the corner designing and making Trollbeads for everyone.

Beadmaking with Amanda! Design and have your very own Trollbead made just for you!

The second venue was just around the corner from Trollbeads Cambridge, upstairs at Don Pasquale's for canapes, cake and wine and the reason we were all there... the Trollbeads Spring and Valentine Collections.

A large display board held most of the collection on, complete with names and descriptions for everyone to browse, there was also plenty of time to get hands on with the new beads on a necklace whilst having a bite to eat.  The team from Trollbeads HQ were presenting the collection along with the team from Trollbeads Cambridge and it was great to see such strong support for the event.

Should you wish, you could enter the guess the amount of beads competition and take home a goody bag and eat more cake and pizza than could be got through in one evening... I did nibble away but I was eating with friends later so I only hope the staff were VERY hungry once we'd all disappeared!

New Collection and Canapes!

The two venues worked well as people went from one venue to the other and back again, allowing everyone to have time to take the evening at their own pace.

Taking photos, chatting, eating, drinking and bead fondling can be a bit tricky when you're trying to do all of these at once, the venue where the beads were being shown had very low lighting so photos were a bit tricky... but here is the new collection from the big display board for your perusal.

Sea Glow is firmly on my Wishlist as I love all the glow in the dark beads!

Blue Hematite was a firm favourite, as were all the hematite beads in the new collection.

Gentle Wave is another silver I've added to my Wishlist, to be fair there was a lot to like from the new collection

Compass is a bead I think I need to play with on a bracelet more, I can't decide whether it's on or off my list yet!

I almost bought Red Hematite on the night, it's a lovely purple/red, not that you can tell in this light,
but take my word for it, it's a very nice bead!  Dragonfly also appeared very popular, a very dainty bead.

Spring Leaves was a favourite of mine as soon as I saw a stock photo, it's another one for my growing Wishlist.

I love Guardian of Nature, it's a very endearing bead!

Path of Life was one that I hadn't "noticed" as much from the stock photo, but totally fell in love with on the night.

If you like hearts you'll love the Valentine collection, they are all very well done.

I really liked Live, Love & Forgive when it saw it's debut in Gold,
so glad the silver version has made it into the main collection

Life & Love is one that has also made it onto my Wishlist, I definitely have a soft spot for scarabs!

White & Red Love Symphony is a great match for Asian Hearts

So there you have it, I couldn't get photos of everything in a logical sequence but instead of chopping up the photos to just show one shot of each bead, I've kept the extra details and not cropped the photos so that you can catch more than one glimpse of each bead.  I didn't get any good photos of either of the leathers or the lock, and the Dolphin Heart pendant is best seen in the collage where I am holding it in my hand.  I've not been a fan of any of Trollbeads previous dolphin beads but I think the Dolphin Heart pendant has been beautifully done this time.

The evening was drawing to a close and it was time to say good night to everyone and head off home, or in my case off to meet my friends and have some food... more pizza!

I sorted through my goody bag whilst we were ordering food and found an extra special present from Trollbeads to all the attendees, thank you!!

My hosts for the night were the lovely Rob and Liz who run The Haymakers in Chesterton in Cambridge.  Not only did they organise the logistics for the Cambridge end of my trip but I got to finally have the lovely pint of Nero I've been promising myself since the last time I visited.  The new pub is lovely and I took some shots in the morning before heading off back up North!

The Haymakers in Chesterton, Cambridge - a rare sight to see it empty (only when it's shut!!)

Time to head home, and now I was against the clock to race back and make my appointment with the hairdresser for 3.30pm...

Humber Bridge as you approach by train

1 taxi, 4 trains, 1 late & almost a missed connection, 1 bus later and some more shanks's pony and it was finally time to doze whilst my lovely hairdresser sorted out my mane of grey streaks!  Yes, yes, I know - most people would sort themselves out before a VIP evening out, not after, but then this is me we're talking about!

If you want to know anything at all about the new collection or my trip, please ask as I also have a copy of the new Trollbeads catalogue and details of the new collection that came in my goody bag.

Super big thanks go to all the staff at Trollbeads Cambridge and Trollbeads UK, Amanda the Beadmaker and all at The Haymakers for all their help and hospitality, and especially to Trollbeads Cambridge for the wonderful official photos!

What do you think to the new collection from Trollbeads?
Would you be interested in attending more of these launch events in the future?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Trollbeads Cambridge - A Treasured Invitation

On the 20th November 2014 in Cambridge, a very special thing happened, it may have passed you by unnoticed but you can be forgiven as you're reading about it now, aren't you?  No?!  Stop skipping ahead to the photos, come back, I haven't finished with you yet!  The UK got it's very own concept store for Trollbeads, yes, that's right, a shop which is JUST for Trollbeads, what bliss!

The reason for giving them a particular mention today is that I'm on my way to Cambridge to meet them and lots of other Trollbeads Fans later for a very special evening to preview the Trollbeads Spring Collection which has it's official debut on Friday 23rd January... just as soon as I've decided which bracelet/necklace/bangle I should wear... I may be some time!

Some beautiful photos taken by Trollbeads Cambridge
(obviously I couldn't resist making them into a collage)

Trollbeads Cambridge have a presence on Twitter and Facebook as well as their own website/blogPinterest, G+ and Instagram and there have already been some great beadmaker events, competitions and currently the #Trollbeads30daychallenge running on their main social media sites simultaneously.

Trollbeads Cambridge 30 day challenge

If you're curious you can follow my trip via the Trollbead Troll on Twitter for live updates (you don't need to be on Twitter to see these, just click on the link) and perhaps keep an eye on here for a more in depth write up next week!

What has been your most favourite invitation recently?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Elfbeads - A Sensational Launch Offer!

Elfbeads really started to gain momentum in 2014 and it the was the launch of the brand in the US at Great Lakes when I finally decided to join in with all the fun.

Elfbeads bracelet & lock (view is of the bottom of the lock)

4 beads duly ordered to qualify for the amazing promotional offer of a free bracelet, lock and Limited Edition Dragon bead and I was away.

Double helpings of Midnight Flames and Stardust Dunes were ordered and these have already featured in my Spirit in the Sky Bracelet and complementary bangle last month.  However what you won't have seen yet is the middle bead below which was a gift from Great Lakes due to a longer than originally anticipated wait for the order.

My first 4 Elbeads with an unexpected free bead!

I really didn't mind waiting as both Great Lakes and Elfbeads had been very clear that if they opened up the promotion to those online (originally it was only ever intended to be an in store promotion) then the wait could be very long indeed as they promised they would honour all online orders by making extra beads, dragons, chains and locks, no matter how long it took... given how popular the promotion was I'm surprised they managed to meet all the demand before Christmas!  Do you think they actually had to employ real Elves to achieve this?

Midnight Flames and Stardust Dunes in use on my Spirit in the Sky Bangle and complementary bangle.

I don't have many navy beads (they are nearly all on this bracelet and bangle) so it was quite unusual for me to start with the blues, but I adore the Elfbeads blue beads.

My favourite use of them so far is in this Bracelet that was put together by Victoria over at Endangered Trolls using Alex Cramariuc's Octopus.  I foresee there may be a few more blue bracelets in my future, and hopefully some of Alex's fabulous work too!

So what about the Dragon?  Well as you know if you've read Curling Stones for any length of time, or followed my A to Z series, I'm rather fond of  Dragons, so a dragon in glass curled around a bead as a body was definitely going to be a hard one to resist.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my lovely glass dragon, now called Idris, but I never worry about where beads will ultimately end up... it generally all works out in the end!

Finally the lock and bracelet in more detail.

The Elfbeads system is similar to my Karma bracelet in that you have a hinged lock that closes around the bracelet end, but different in that the bracelet is completely free of the lock (like other modular jewellery systems) so that it's completely interchangeable with different locks, or will be once Elfbeads move on to their next design.

Elfbeads bracelet - beads are loaded on the smaller end and the cap at the larger end stops them falling off.

There is 1 lock design currently, the Elfbeads Treasure Chest.  Mine is clearly in silver... but this has also seen a version in Gold that debuted at the Great Lakes launch.

The lock also has two separate sides to open, the trick is to remember which end the beads come off so you don't open that one first!! (A common issue for charm enthusiasts)

Elfbeads Bracelet and Treasure Chest Silver Lock

There are 2 different ends to the bracelet, the smaller one is where you load your beads on and the larger one stops your beads falling off.

Elfbead bracelet ends in detail

What makes this bracelet and lock system interesting is that the lock completely sits on the bracelet as a bead in it's own right.  I'm really looking forward to what lock they make next!

I'm hoping they'll make some stoppers as well... and I've definitely got my eye on some of their silver beads... but one thing at a time!

Have you discovered Elfbeads?
What do you think - have you indulged, want to, or will you pass?