Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace

Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace by Rose Rushbrooke
Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace by Rose Rushbrooke

I love unexpected surprises when I wear jewelry and having the clasp in front is fun. This Burgundy and olive necklace has a spiky focal made with a glass spike, seed beads and Swarovski crystals. It’s fastened with a snap clasp.

Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace unsnapped. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke
Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace unsnapped by Rose Rushbrooke

Here it is unsnapped.

Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace showing chain. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke
Burgundy and olive snap clasp necklace showing chain.

The diamond shapes in the chain give it a nice textural effect. The necklace is 27 inches long from end to end when unsnapped.




Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat


It sounds like something whistling or even screaming? OK. I’m just going to lay here, in the dark, and think about it before I start creeping around the hotel room as though in a horror movie.

Phew. It’s the wind pushing through the hotel room door.

Tolovanna Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Tolovanna Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon

For the 3 days we stayed at the Tolovanna Inn at Cannon Beach it rained, and stormed. Exactly what’s supposed to happen in the winter on the Pacific NorthWest coast. Magnificent. And really, really weird at night time…….

Having sent in my registration, and completely forgotten to include a check, I was looking forward to the famous PBS bead retreat. Luckily our organiser took it in stride and just laughed when I emailed my ‘excuse me, I’m an idiot’ note. And I got to go.

Yes, of course I paid.

My husband came with me and spent each day fishing. He fell in every river, even washing downstream at one point. He had a blast and got very wet. Oh, and no fish were harmed.

And so did I – have a blast, not get very wet.

This is probably one of the best organised retreats I’ve ever been to. Everything laid on – catered breakfast and lunch. Thank you so much to the 2 Englishwoman, along with their colleagues, who ran around feeding us, .

They both came from Manchester in the UK and were born in the same hospital. Not on the same day….. Then they worked for the same catering firm in America. How serendipitous is that?

English breakfast WITH black pudding
English breakfast WITH black pudding, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms – close to what we had for our Sunday brunch

When I exclaimed the brunch on Sunday was brilliant – almost like an English breakfast, one of the woman laughed and remarked grilled mushrooms and a tomato would really complete the meal. She knew what she was talking about. The only other thing missing was a couple of slices of black pudding.

This time around we had several workshops to choose from. Virginia Blakelock of BeadCats was teaching a bracelet pattern she’d designed especially for the retreat – ‘March at the Beach’.

Sadly I didn’t get to take the class as by the time I ambled up to the registration desk the sign up sheet was long filled, with a waitlist. But I did get a kit, which is stunning (the kit, not that I got one!). And I was able to sign up for a couple of other classes which looked interesting.

Fafnir's Tail bracelet designed by Darlene Fordyce
Fafnir’s Tail bracelet designed by Darlene Fordyce

First was the Fafnir’s Tail bracelet from Darlene Fordyce. Darlene hadn’t found a clasp she liked so it was up to us to design something. Magically Bello Modo had an excellent selection of buttons and bingo, bango, there was my fastening. Lovely finished piece.

Zulu bracelet
Zulu bracelet

Karmen Scmidt taught us a Zulu bracelet. We brought our own beads for this. The button I had intended using for a clasp had a broken shank. Poo! So I used a back up which wasn’t quite as nice. The bracelet still came out very prettily.

Imagine that – two finished pieces. Pretty darn good for a weekend’s work.

And what’s with the clasps…..? Bad clasp day?

AND, we had a retreat challenge – the Margaret M Scovil Bead challenge. This was bitter sweet. Margaret, who sadly I never met, died shortly before the retreat so wasn’t able to see our work.

Blue Segment by Vassily Kandinsky

For 2016 the challenge was to make a wearable piece inspired by the painting Blue Segment by Kandinski.


Took me a long time to be inspired…….. Eventually I decided to go weird, after all, I do live in Portland, Oregon.

Q. What has segments? A. An orange.

So I made a necklace of orange slices, orange flowers and leaves. See if you can find the ‘blue segment’?

Orange You Blue necklace
Orange You Blue necklace


Here are our four winners: Maxi Starr, Teresa Shelton, Karie Heib, and Cherie Calwart. I wish I’d taken pictures of the pieces they made. Stunning. Every one of them was imaginative, thoughtful and beautifully made.

Bead Challenge Winners
Bead Challenge Winners

Teresa sat next to me during the day and was a wonderful companion. She helped me with the ‘March at the Beach’ bracelet, put in a bid for me at Bead Bingo (she won a book for me!!!!), and was just a delight.

Karie is a remote member – she is living in Chicago right now but her heart is with the Portland Bead Society. I get to see her at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI. Also a top notch beadweaver and designer.

Maxi Starr – well, I have no words. She does magnificent work, she has a standard poodle companion named Katie. Katie came to the bead retreat and visited all of us. Just another reason to love standard poodles and Maxi.

Guess what? I’m so seriously going to next year’s retreat. CHECK ALREADY WRITTEN.

Fafnir’s Tail bracelet

Fafnir's Tail bracelet

This bracelet was made during the Portland Bead Society’s annual bead retreat in Cannon Beach, OR. Darlene Fordyce taught the workshop. This is a clever right angle weave design with the middle row of dagger beads set in the opposite direction to the two outside beads. When the bracelet is fastened the ‘dragon scales’ lift up and create a pleasing effect.

Much knashing of teeth went into the making of this – sometimes a pattern comes quickly and begins to make sense early. Other times, such as this, my brain goes into meltdown mode and it doesn’t matter how many times I repeat the section it won’t stick.

Fafnir's tail bracelet open

The button was a fortuitous find and works perfectly with the colour of the beads.

Brown and Crystal bracelet

Brown and Crystal Bracelet. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

This is a piece I made during June Huber’s Masterclass at the 2014 Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, WI.

Seed beads and fire polish crystals, finished with a slide clasp. Modified right angle weave – an extremely useful technique.

The bracelet is 7 inches long from end to end.

Update on window display at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

Window display at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

We did a quick drive by last weekend to see the window display at the Justice Center in downtown Portland. Other than the billion police cars surrounding the Center, parked in every conceivable spot (quite glad really, the contents of our display were properly guarded!) – it was a terrific show. People were actually stopping and looking in the window. I took some fast shots which didn’t come out very well, I hadn’t taken into account the bad glare and reflections. Oh well, you get the idea……

Royal Crustacean Cellini spiral necklace displayed at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

In amongst all the other yummy work is my Royal Crustacean Cellini Spiral.

Summertime Donut necklace displayed at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

A better shot of the Summertime Donut necklace.

Summertime Donut necklace at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

And again, in with baskets, scarves etc.

There are 60 feet of display area – a lot of very nice items to see.

TOHO 2014 Challenge

Fuchsia Necklace by Rose Rushbrooke
Fuchsia Necklace by Rose Rushbrooke

TOHO offered a box of beads at the Bead & Button show and I signed up. This is one of the pieces I made – a fuschia flower necklace. You can see what other beaders created – 2014 TOHO challenge.

Below is a closeup of the fuchsia flower.

Fuchsia flower pendant
Fuchsia flower pendant

And this is the chain and clasp.

Chain and clasp for fuchia necklace
Chain and clasp for fuchia necklace

Interactive Colour Wheel

Colour is ………. Well, what can I say, it just is. And some of us can use it to advantage and some of us need help.

Hibiscus - watercolor paintingWhen I painted in gouache using colour seemed pretty obvious. I painted stylistic landscapes and still lifes and used the colours I saw, or a derivative. This is a watercolour painting of a hibiscus. It was growing in the garden of my little Caribbean apartment.

BTW. This is the first painting I ever made.






It got a bit more complicated when I switched media to fabric. Then it was necessary to suggest colours, find them in the fabric stash, lay them out next to each other and decide if it worked.

Large image of Lydia - fractal art quiltSometimes I had a pre-coloured design I worked from – such as this fractal art quilt Lydia, and sometimes just the line drawing. A minor complication was whether the fabric was solid, tone on tone, or multi-print. But even this could be dealt with by squinting my eyes, looking at the piece of fabric from a distance and gauging the predominant colour.

Then I started working with glass beads. And things got really strange……..

Because now you are working with transparency, metallic finishes, matte and opaque glass. So many different ways light reflects colour. Beads reflect onto each other too, add this into the mix.

One way to get started with colour is to play with an online interactive colour wheel. I found one here – The Interactive Color Wheel.

Interactive Color Wheel
Interactive Color Wheel

What’s specially neat about this colour wheel is the bar which pops up on the right hand side. It shows the hue and the tints and shades of a particular colour. Very useful.

After I found this I discovered Interweave were offering a live seminar – Seed Bead Savvy: Get the Most out of Your Seed Bead Colors and Finishes from Beki Haley. She discusses how to understand different seed beads and pick the right ones for your project. Just what I was thinking about. Thoroughly serendipitous I say.