Portland Bead Society Retreat 2017

Day 1, Thursday: leave the house, husband driving, get to Tolovanna Inn at the south end of Cannon Beach. Pouring with rain – how unusual! Go and eat WAY too much supper at Mo’s.

Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017
Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017

Go back to hotel room, sleep.

Day 2, Friday: get up and get ready really fast. The line will be forming from outside the retreat room all the way down the stairs into the hotel lobby. 8 o’clock – sign in, grab bag and look for a seat. Find one next to Lori and her friend Elaine. Good choice.

Get things out of bag, set up table, yack to everyone in sight, eat excellent breakfast of half a bagel, cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, and tangerine (do this every single morning except the last when they had run out of the best poppy seed bagels and I had to have a plain one), walk around looking at vendor’s tables. Buy stuff. Yack to more people.

Start working on interesting bracelet pattern offered by Michelle at Village Beads. Go look at more vendor’s stuff. Yack.

Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017
Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017

Eat vast lunch – pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad. Yum. Yack. Look at vendor’s stuff. Take a class about exploding triangles – beading can be quite entertaining. Yack some more. Go back to hotel room, eat and watch TV with husband. Husband has been fly fishing so there’s weird rubber stuff drying all over the room. No, we are not kinky.


Day 3, Saturday: get up and get ready fast. No line, but I want a poppy seed bagel etc. Eat. Start working on bracelet, yack. Look at vendor’s stuff. Yack some more. Eat excellent lunch of chef’s salad.

Take interesting class on 3-d beaded objects. Had to think………

Took class with Carol Perrenoud and Virginia Blakelock. Funny people. Funny class. Lovely bracelet.

Got back to room to find drying rubber stuff all over the place. We are not kinky (and even if we were, I wouldn’t tell you).

Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017
Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat 2017

Day 4, Sunday: get up and get ready fast. No line, but I want a poppy seed bagel. NO POPPY SEED BAGEL. Had to accept plain.

Watched incredible hail storm.

Looked at all the pieces made for the bead challenge – the Animal Within. My piece had to be tweaked as a bit of it was misaligned. Difficult to do as no-one is supposed to know who made what. A sort of surreptitious sneak up to the table, a quick hand out and a little push. Made mental note of which pieces I liked and then back to the voting slip.

Ate excellent brunch. Baked beans, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and potatoes. Yes, I know there was healthy stuff like fruit but I’ve already eaten a tangerine…….

Won second place in competition. Cool!!

Tried not to look too monstrous while having endless pix taken.

Started packing up, yacked, looked at vendor’s stuff – paid vendor’s.

Took bags to front lobby of hotel and found husband waiting.

Left. Husband drove us to Camp 18. Ate. Drove on home.

Went to bed very tired and happy, ready to do it all again next year.


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.