Use What You Have #2 & #3

Made these as Christmas gifts.

And made this for myself to match the bracelet


This is some of the mob of corellas that visit us every few days. Lots of flying, swooping, squabbling and eating too! A bit of seed and we have free entertainment with breakfast. 
They also have the most joyous calls

Using What You Have

We need beads and treasures so that other creations can be born. We have our stash to which we constantly add- busy jackdaws,  always on the look out for one more bead, one more ultimate prize. 
The stash/cache/treasure chest grows until it becomes a dragon's hoard and beware, lest we become like an ancient dragon ensconced in our remote, secret  lair, coil upon scaly coil curled around our hoard, guarding it, crooning to it, only ever adding to it, not creating.
There have been several posts about using what we have, not rushing out and buying more because what we have does not fit the vision of the inward eye and the inner eye is often what stops us from seeing the potential in what we have.
So I was cleaning up the debris which, by some mysterious process had manage to colonise every horizontal surface and returning beads to the appropriate colour group when I spotted these top drilled biwa pearls in irridescent olive green with flashes of emerald and gold ,nobbled and mis-shapen  gleaming and shining like pebbles in a rainforest stream. The holes were really too fine for 20g wire so I idly wrapped them with finer wire. Hmmmm interesting could be useful. In a compartment next to the pearls a czech glass round with a rusty spiral imbedded in a tawny picasso finish. Spirals like new growth or the eddies in a stream a perfect partner to the pearls.
I continued to clean and buried under my 'vertical filing system' came across a spiral of jump ring I had been making and had removed from the mandrel. They had been flattened and pushed out of shape an organic tangle like butress roots or vines. The rush to create came fast, but did I have anything else to go with these treasures? .There were these seed beads in metalic rust, ferny green and bronze - perfect!. Some rollo chain in my obsession - vintaj brass and this bracelet was born.

So here it is.
Turning off the inward eye, seeing the potential in what is on hand and a bit of serendipity.
I love it. 
I love the colours, the movement and how it drapes and I am going to keep it for myself!

. . . And then there were 20

You may remember I posted pictures of 3 orphaned Tawny Frogmouths a while back, well they have now become 20!

These are the latest two and one is just a little dot.

Here they are snuggle up with the big kids in the flight aviary

These birds are nocturnal and are fed at dusk, before we go to bed and early morning. I tried to get all 20 of them on the one branch, but they could see daddy with breakfast and wouldn't stay put. Another month and they most will be released back into the wild.


This piece is inspired by Esther, from Mes Illusions Baroque.
A while ago she blogged about a necklace in which she used pieces of lace wire wrapped to a copper wire frame.
The fragments of coloured lace fit perfectly with the copper and create a great textural element.
She has posted a few pink themed designs and although I am not a pink person, I think Esther could convert me. 
So here's my version.

Textured aged brass frame, polymer clay focal, vintage german glass amethyst bi-cones, clear facetted czech glass, a fibre wrapped joiner (just to tickle your fancy) and 2 flavours of vintaj brass chain. The clasp is also textured to match the focal.
Had fun making this!

Hardware Challenge - Pivot Point

Erin from Treasures Found is having a challenge, which is to create a piece of jewellery using items from the hardware store.
Wooooo hooooo one of my fave places, along with tool shops, engineering supplies and anything that turns, clips together, unscrews or is beautifully machined.
I chose some cotter pins, also called split pins and joy of joys they came in brass!.
Heated them until dull red to give them an aged appearance and strung them with brass washers, seed beads spacers and some vintage brass (there's that word again). Not sure on the clasp may rework that. Pronounced 'cool' by number one daughter.

Blue Planet Earrings

Have these gorgeous czech glass beads with the most beautiful picasso finish which is more pronounced on one side. It reminds me of the sea and coral reefs seen from space. So the beauty would be lost in a necklace, but with earrings I was able to put the 'best side to London'

Fabricated and wrapped Vintaj brass with tiny czech glass cubes, a facetted metalic bead and a cute little square charm with a heart that has had an aged patina applied.
So, what do you think?


I was uncertain about buying these red stoned metal beads - maybe too oriental?
The more I looked the more I realised that they had a definite renaissance air to them something that may have come from 16th century Venice. 
Perhaps they graced the ears of the fair Portia as she defends Antonio against Shylock's insistance of a pound of flesh for his debt                                       

 Aged brass beads with blood red glass cabuchons, matt green seed beads and Vintaj brass

Faerie Fragments

This was created for the Art Beads Scene challenge for the month of November.

Chalcadony pebbles.
Bronze,  silver-blue and dusty- mauve seed beads
Vintaj brass
Ancient artifact focal created by me in polymer clay.
However,  I much prefer the story of how an archaeologist, working on neolithic sites in Ireland stumbled upon fragments of stone ruins.
He excavated a section and to his amazement they were richly decorated with carvings of faeries. The buildings were clearly too small for human habitation and he came to the exciting conclusion that they possibly may have been built by the Sidhe.

He removed this small fragment and returned to the University to mount another dig with more resources and people, but, despite clearly marking the ruins, upon his return the whole landscape had changed and the buildings were no where to be seen.
Like many faerie gifts they soon fade away and only this fragment remains.

Beady Goodness!

Warning for all those on a no-bead diet - avert thine eyes NOW!

Some rather nice metal beads. Got these from a local importer from China. Just got a few to see what they were like. My favourite - the ones with the amethyst stones and I will order some more.

Picasso finish Czech glass and on the right gemstones. Would love to see the Czech coins in a larger size. I think 10mm is a bit small to show off the lovely finish.


Some lovely sea-green czech glass.

Now all I have to do is get creative!

Two Score and One

Today is our wedding anniversary. My husband, life partner, best friend and master of the terrible pun, and I have been together for 41 years - more than half our lives.
We are not ones for fancy dinners or big productions, so we figured a quiet breakfast in the rainforest was the way to go.
We are fortunate that the wonderful Lamington National Park is basically on our doorstep about an hours drive away.
At breakfast we were joined by a Crimson Rosella who knew that the bacon and egg roll I had was HIS and I was just minding it. He flew onto the table and marched up my arm and took control. It was a race to see who got the bigger share!

Right next to the picnic area a male Satin Bowerbird had made his bower. These birds love blue and decorate the bower with blue objects. It used to be blue berries, blue bird feathers and other natural objects. These days it is blue bottle tops , plastic straws and other man made objects. They seem to favour the man made over the natural probably because they last longer.

We then spent several hours wandering through the rainforest,enjoying the cool, the green, the peace and feeling the connection with the wild world and the connection between ourselves.

More Distractions

How cute are these!!!!
I know there are lots of folks out there that love owls, so thought I'd share these, even though they are not owls but Tawny Frogmouth chicks.

The Best Laid Plans. . . .

It would appear that all the diversion and distraction stars have aligned against me the last few weeks.

The knitted jumper I am making for newly arrived Isaac is half finished. The renovations my husband and I are doing have become more complicated and time consuming. A website I maintain has had major problems requiring a complete reload of the files and is not resolved yet and just to make life even more interesting the long dry spell is having a major effect on local wildlife. Koalas are roaming looking for better leaf and being hit by cars and attacked by dogs - rescued 3 in the last 2 weeks. Possums joeys are coming thick and fast and kangaroos are searching for grass by the road side with deadly consequences and to top it all off we have bush fires!

This is a little peek at a wallaby joey snug in this warm pouch waiting collection by his new mum.

UPDATE  Little wallaby has been collected by his new mum - even though she is a he (one of our very few male wildlife rehabilitators)


Raining Frogs!

Lorelei has a great giveaway on her blog to celebrate the forthcoming book Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton, of Green Girl Studios.
Just love frogs - used to raise them from eggs to release as a little girl. Kept them in a huge glass tank next to my bed, (along with the caterpillars and beetles and all manner of other creepy-crawlies)

HOP on over for a chance to win!

Introducing. . . .

Isaac - the brand new addition to clan McNeill! Grandma and Grandpa beaming, oh and so are mum and dad. He's the first boy!

More Dust

You could be forgiven for thinking this is a rising moon, it is actually the setting sun sinking into another approaching dust cloud. The boffins tell us that it will not be as bad as the last one, but I can smell and taste the dust so time will tell.

Dust Storm!

Wild and wooly weather here. Stong winds have picked up tons of dust from way out west and is dumping it on us. Everything is gritty and orange and even with the doors shut, dust is still getting into the house. *Sigh* I hate cleaning!


The remembered autumns from my childhood. Dry brown leaves crunching underfoot, green acorns with bronze caps growing plump on the oak trees and bright red berries.

Brass focal with aged patina
Coral rounds
Bronzite ovals
czech glass
bronze pearl spacers
vintage bronze lucite cone bead
handstitched silk ribbon
vintaj brass
As a bonus the beads on the focal make a delightful tinkle when they move.

Now Listed in my Shop

Don't Throw It Out!

Have spent the last four days without hot water, and, as a result DH and I have become dab-hands at the bucket shower.
Finally service bloke came and removed the offending element. I took one look at the wonderful colour of the copper tube of the element and I can see spacers and other things. Now if I can just find the pipe cutter. . . . .

Wildwood Flower

About 4 months ago I went to a bead show in Brisbane. Usually bead shows here get to share floor space with quilting shows, but this was beads and gemstones on their own!, so I set off with high hopes of snaring some treasures.
Now I should explain that I have this problem when looking for something. Either,
1. nobody makes or keeps what I have in mind or
2. they stopped making/importing it 4 years ago
Welllll - the show was ok, bearing in mind the two above points. Bought a few strands of gemstones, some porcelain beads and a few other bits.
While examining some strands, these cats-eye chips lept off the hook and fell at my feet. Ah-ha said I they have chosen me and they were rather nice colours and shapes, so I took them home.

Last week I was watching a program about flowering plants and it featured the alpine meadows of China and all the wonderful wildflowers. For days the phrase wildwood flowers kept going round in my head and I remembered these chips and thought they did look like little splashes of coloured flowers, and the result is Wildwood Flower

The Joys of a Metal Roof

We have a corregated iron roof on our house.
There is something about this material that is part of the Australian psyche. Early settlers with their bark huts and iron rooves, countless outback shearing sheds, iron-rooved country pubs and still in the landscape, timber and iron sheds neglected and leaning, grey timber and rusted iron a study in gentile decay.
A corregated iron roof will sing. The gentle' tic, tic, toing', as the roof expands in the sun and a similar song when the heat has gone. On 'in-out days' when the sun pops behind clouds they sing even more.
At night the local brushtail possums use our roof as a shortcut between the eucalypts. For such a small animal they have a very heavy tread - 'bomp, bomp,bomp' and, if they chose to run you can be forgiven for thinking there is a clydesdale horse on the roof! It always brings a smile to our faces.
The best thing of all is when it rains. It has been 2 months since we had any good rain and a few nights ago we were able to go to bed with the gentle sound of rain on the roof. Bliss.
I feel sorry for people who don't have an iron roof


After much lamenting about how, if it was raining soup I'd get stuck with a fork, it looks like my fork might JUST be leaning towards a teeny spoon.
Entered a give-away and wadayaknow here is my booty. Some chaledony and smokey quartz.


Just got a copy of the new Australian Beading magazine and there I am on
page 15 right hand side.
Lotsa clapping and jumping up and down!

Followers Welcome

I'd like to welcome all the people who have chosen to follow my humble blog. I love the sense of connection and community the internet offers.
Hugs to all

Autumn at the Garden Gate

Every month Vintaj Brass have a design challenge.
This month the theme is "Orchard's Palette"
The inspiration comes from autumn - the colours of the leaves, fruit and berries.
I imagine an old neglected orchard, trees intertwined glowing with colour. The last of the summer dragonflies flit among the branches in the warm sunshine and brambles grow by the old gate.
UPDATE:- go to
HERE to see the other beautiful entries

Green Girl Studio Giveaway

Gorgeous mermaid charms are looking for a home,and they are just the thing for a southern summer bracelet or necklace. (My favourite is the mercat)
Go to
Art Bead Scene to enter. I'm in what about you?


What is sprummer you may well ask?
Well as the northern latitudes slowly slide gently into autumn, here in subtropical Queensland, we are at the end of the cool season - (read winter) and also well into the dry. Not for us the gentle awakening of spring, soft rain, blue skies, bulbs pushing up from the ground, soft green leaves unravelling and blossoms on bare boughs.
We get sprummer.
As the orbit of the earth grows closer to the sun and the axis tilts, suddenly the heat of summer has arrived. The air is filled with dust and haze and the smoke from fires that break out this time of the year. Some of the subtropical trees are beginning to drop their leaves in preparation for new growth when the rains come. In the mean time we are hot, and dry with itchy eyes and hanging out for the first storms of the season to bring cooling rain to renew the land.

Art Bead Scene Challenge

I have been following some of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges and love the idea of having a set theme and seeing all the different interpretations of that theme. The challange for August is based of the wonderful Japanese woodcut print
"Great Wave off Kanagawa."

I have toyed with submitting to previous challenges, but always developed cold feet and let them slip by. This time I have made up my mind to have a go, after all no one bites!
I was attracted to the limited cool palette and the movement. So here is my interpretation of the block print.
The focal is glazed polymer clay with blue-grey seed beads, blue howlite rondelles, bronze pearl spacers, lapis cubes, vintaj chain and closer.
This necklace would look just great with denim and soft greys - all it needs is a name any ideas? How does Denim grab you?

To see the other entries go here

I'm a Winner!

As someone who rarely wins givaways, raffles or lucky door prizes I was delighted to be selected by Angie Coulter of Which Colour Beads for her giveaway this month. Five pieces of Vintaj brass (which I love) will soon be in my mail box!
Angie is a lovely obliging person so drop in and visit her website.

Thanks Angie

Secret Garden

Old Keys are wonderful objects as they are inherently mysterious. Their function is to lock or unlock something. Perhaps a old box with a hidden treasure, a door to a forgotten room ( or a dust cupboard full of mops!). Best of all is a key that unlocks an old iron gate that leads to a . . . .
Secret Garden.


I love peeking into other artist's studios. Some range from coffee tables to beautiful custom made areas with a place for everything and everything in it's place.
So here are some shots of my mess errrr work area

This is storage and includes a little kiln (thinking bronzclay) my trusty toner photocopier. (Its so old the serial number is in roman numerals), various draws of beads and bits'n'bobs
Next is the main work table with more stuff - pasta machine, little oven etc. And no I didn't clean up before the photo. Lastly is the rest of the table on the right hand side.
In case you are wondering what the object is on the far right hand side, it is an intensive care unit. This area also doubles as hospital room for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. The whole room was once devoted to wildlife, but since we are relocating in about 6 months, have cut back drastically on animals. It was not uncomon to have up to 10 birds and animals in this room.
I think their spirits are still there, wild things keep popping into my design ideas

Kidnapped by Numbers

The last two weeks i have been assisting in compiling information for a court case on behalf of the company I used to work for. Early starts and very late finishes and all weekend. The bright spot was I was able to assist my daughter who got the unenviable task of number crunching for the solicitor. (Pretty grim when you consider this kind of activity as "quality time" with your daughter, but anything to help her)
As a result all creative thoughts have been driven from my head, there is mountains of washing to do, the pantry is bare so will be a few more days until I can return to what I really enjoy.

Under the Sea Wind Necklace

The water is aqua from the horizon to your feet. The glassy waves break clear and hiss up the sand. The dunes are stitched by pale grass that, with the assistance of the sea wind, scribbles patterns on the pathway to the beach, and a lighthouse gleams white in the afternoon sun.

One of a kind wash glazed polymer clay focal, czech glass, flat polymer clay spacers, Vintaj brass chain and findings.

When Size Does Matter

This polymer clay focal was originally made to be part of this bracelet....... but I got carried away with the size and it is too large. (I think my muse really wanted a necklace)
Working on another project, my eye keeps going to it, so tonight it will become 'Under the Sea Wind"

Looking Out to Sea

The soft breeze, the salt tang, the sparkles on the water, the cry of gulls, and there you sit on the warm sand...... looking out to sea

Amazonite, aqua fire agate, czech glass, lampwork round, vintaj brass and a brass gull charm.

Marmalade Skies

This is a bracelet made from some of the goodies that have arrived in the mail over the passed few days.The grey and black cracked agate rounds have the most wonderful crazing and a lovely matte surface. A porcelain oval bead, dark grey diagonal spacers, carnelian rondelle, Vintaj brass findings and chain and a brilliant faceted, aurora borealis drop

Thoughts on the First Sale

When you work in a creative field, especially something so personal as making jewellery, every piece has a part of your heart in it, some more so than others.

Friends and family keep saying "you should sell your jewellery", however to put your creation out into the public domain is sometimes like standing naked in the street. Will someone like it, will everyone hate it, are your friends and family wrong and only being kind?

To have someone select your piece from all the other beautiful jewellery made by many talented designers is a heady experience!

First there is the excitement of the actual sale, and then there is the warm feeling of connection to the buyer. You wonder what they are like and where they live and what it was that made them decide that your piece whispered to them and to make it part of their life.

And so my very first sale - Fly by Night is off to France!
Thank you so much Isabelle, I hope my creation from my hands and heart gives you ongoing delight.

Fly by Night

A polymer clay focal with a little owl, agate rounds, wrapped wire spacers, czech glass beads, vintaj chain.

Forever Young

Since it is my grand daughters birthday, I have made her a bit of 'baby-bling' in the form of a cute little bracelet.
A little 'sweet bird of youth' charm, swarovski crystal and vintaj chain.
Happy Birthday Abby!