My New Creative Obsession

If you came here today hoping to see some beautiful, freshly painted eggplant-color doors in the back entry of my studio, I have to apologize. Perhaps you’ll see those tomorrow or the next day. I didn’t have much free time this past weekend to do work anyway, but the few hours that I did have, I spent on my latest obsession — making beaded necklaces.

I know this seems completely out of left field, am I right? Yeah, it does. It came out of left field for me, too. And this latest hobby/obsession is only about two weeks old. It started because I was shopping all of the online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for jewelry. I wanted three very specific pieces of jewelry — a gold necklace with a “K” charm on it, a gold necklace with a tiny (microscopic 😀 ) diamond, and a gold necklace with a tiny puffy heart.

I found all of those, but in the process of searching for and finding the necklaces I was looking for, I also came across a beautiful pink beaded necklace that I really wanted. It was a simple necklace — all pink stone beads of the same size with slightly variegated color. That’s it. There was no gold, no mixture of different kinds of beads, nothing that seemed to require a great deal of talent or craftsmanship. But that simple pink stone bead necklace as $88, and that was a sale price.

As my mind does when I see things like that, I immediately thought, “My goodness, I can make that! And there’s no way it would cost anything close to $88!” So a week ago Sunday, I headed to Michael’s after lunch with my family to buy some beads to make myself a pink stone bead necklace.

And OH MY GOSH. My eyes were opened to an entirely new world of creativity that I had never really paid attention to. I had never spent hardly any time at all in the bead aisle at the craft store. But there I was, going there specifically with the idea of beaded necklaces in mind, and I was amazed at the selection! Not only did they have thousands of options, but I happened to go there on a day that the beads were 60% off.

Y’all, I went a little crazy. I had never made a beaded necklace in my entire life, so I had no real clue what I was actually doing. I mean, stringing beads onto beading wire seemed obvious and simple to me, but what do you put on the ends of the wire to hold the beads on? How do you connect the clasp? I was completely out of my element, but I wanted to learn. So I stood there in Michael’s, staring at these rows and rows of gorgeous beads, while looking up “how to” basics of beaded jewelry on YouTube. 😀

I grabbed some things that I thought I needed, along with all kinds of beads, and headed home to see if I could figure this thing out. And almost immediately, I was hooked.

I did find my pretty pink stone beads with slightly variegated coloring.

I haven’t attached the clasp on that one yet because on my first shopping trip at Michael’s that day, I ended up buying the wrong things. So I had to wait until yesterday when I had time to make another trip to Michael’s to get the right things, but by then, I was neck deep so many other beads, creative ideas flooding my mind, and inspiration photos filling my phone.

I have never had so much fun working on a creative thing that isn’t related to houses in my life. Even my art projects, while I thoroughly enjoy them, aren’t as satisfying as making beaded necklaces to me. Here’s another very simple one I made with three slightly different beads of very similar colors. This was my first one to do start to finish, and I actually wore this one last week.

In trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about making beaded necklaces that is so satisfying to me, I’ve concluded that it’s two things. First, it’s a way to be creative, but it’s also very relaxing. I don’t have to climb up and down ladders. It takes almost no physical exertion. I can sit at my desk, listen to a podcast, and do something fun, relaxing, and creative. Here’s one of my favorites. I mean, do those beads not have my name written all over them?

But the second reason I think this quickly became my favorite past time is because of the immediate gratification! I sat at the desk at my studio last night and made six beaded necklaces, start to finish, and ready to wear. Here’s one that I finished, but I think I might restring them so that the red and orange aren’t right next to each other.

But there’s virtually nothing that I do that’s home-related where I get this kind of immediate gratification. My home projects take days, or weeks, or even months. How long have I been working on my studio now? It’s been months! And I’m only about halfway finished. But these necklaces take about 15 minutes from start to finish for the very simple ones, like this green crackled glass beaded necklace with the gold accents. A very simple design like this is so fast and easy.

Sometimes they take a little longer just because I can’t quite figure out how I want the beads arranged. But even if I have to redo several times before I find the right order, I can still start and finish the necklace in one evening. Heck, I even got up this morning and made this iridescent beaded necklace before I started on the things I really needed to get done. 😀 Once I figured out the order I liked, it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish.

This is one of my favorite ones. I had intended for it to be a turquoise, red, and gold necklace, but in the end, I decided that I preferred the red and gold without the turquoise. So my original plans don’t always work out. But that just means that I now have turquoise beads that I can use on a separate necklace!

And sometimes, the beads come from the store strung in a way that would make a beautiful necklace, so the design work is pretty much done for you. That was the case with this black and white necklace. These beads were already strung just like this, including the gold (although I swapped out the gold that came with them with a gold I liked more). So I just restrung them, added a butterfly pendant in the middle, added a clasp, and I had a cute little necklace!

This is one of my absolute favorite ones, and I’m just waiting for the opportunity to wear it. I love those big crackled glass beads!

I made this one last night right before I went to bed. Matt was ready for me to close up, so I kind of got in a hurry and clearly miscounted the white beads because they’re not equal on both sides. I’ll need to redo this and add a few more white beads on the right side, but I love those soft pastel, irregular cut stones.

Along with buying new beads, I also redid some jewelry that I already had but never wore. These beads came from some earrings that I’ve had for years, but I had stopped wearing them years ago because they were too heavy and hurt my ears. So I took them apart, and reused the stones on a necklace.

This is another one that still needs a clasp, but these beads came from the store just like this. I thought they were so beautiful on their own that they didn’t need any further embellishments, so I just strung them all together, and with a total of about 10 minutes of work, I’ll have a beautiful natural stone necklace.

Another thing I love about this whole process is finding new and creative ways to use the leftover beads from previous necklaces. I had these few navy blue beads left over from the navy blue necklace above, so I used those on a completely different design.

And I did the same thing with these few left over colorful beads from the colorful necklace a few pictures up.

And finally, this is another necklace that I already had, but I never wore because it just really wasn’t me. It was a multi-strand necklace, with with lots of gold chain and doodads in between the white and clear beads. And the longest strand was pretty long. I prefer a much simpler design, so I took the necklace apart, and restrung it with this all white and clear (and much simpler) design without all the chains and gold doodads.

I’m having so much fun with this! But don’t worry. This won’t turn into a jewelry blog. I won’t be pulling a bait-and-switch on y’all. 😀 I’ll be painting the studio doors today, and hopefully I’ll have some progress to share with you in that arena tomorrow. But I’m enjoying this new creative outlet so much that I wanted to share it with my fellow creatives. If you’re looking for a creative outlet that is easy, relaxing, and oh-so-satisfying, this could be it!



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  1. Yep it’s addictive!! I LOVE doing bracelets too. I have boxes and boxes of beads. The most fun thing is to pick up broken jewelry or costume jewelry at garage sales for a pittance and use those for very unique items that can’t be found at the stores or online. They make great gifts that can’t be duplicated by anyone else! Enjoy! Know you will come up with some “Kristi” ones!

  2. LOL! You’re now addicted to beading! Michael’s has a severe paucity of beads compared to FIREMOUNTAINGEMS.COM. They are fabulous! And, the more items you buy, the cheaper they are! Not by price but calculated on quantity, mix & match. My favorite place to get quality beads including semi-precious stones like Amethyst, pearls, turquoise, lapis, quartz, jasper and a ton more. Also have sterling silver findings and occasionally real gold. Not to mention a variety of carved stones and things you just can’t find at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Good luck!

  3. You have an amazing combination of technical precision AND artistic ability. Not only carefully assembled, your work is also creative and beautiful. Good job!

  4. I had to stifle a giggle – I saw myself through your current obsession – I was there about 12 years back – It was an insatiable lusting after pretty beads and findings (the silver goodies) – choices, choices, choices – and yes the leftover beads just led to buying more beads to work them away creatively – When I had fulfilled every necklace desire I had, my family were then gifted necklace after necklace … and just like that!!!! I got it out of my system after about a year. I still wear a few – others just hang and the glasps that I probably did not do well enough will give way under the weight of the beads and then I have a pool of beads on the carpet… and because I am still uninspired to go back to this former obsesssion, they get scooped up into a container for “maybe one day”.. If anything – my eyesight took a beating as I was not wearing specs in those days – and many late nights of straining my eyes has taken it’s toll…

  5. Your creative talent at design transends to jewelry. I’m not surprised at how pretty your designs are. I’m ready to put in my order for a Kristi original!

  6. It’s so nice to find a way to get immediate satisfaction from our creativity. Sometimes we just need to do something that doesn’t take days!
    Your jewelry is beautiful, as is everything you do!

  7. I have a good friend that “went over to the dark side” with beading much as you have.

    It was pretty much the same story – discovered the beading aisle in the craft store (had birthday money, there was a sale / clearance), went crazy and bought everything. She made tons of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, most of which she gave away. People gave her old beaded things (one aunt who garage sales and sells on eBay gave her tons of stuff). She found it very gratifying and thoroughly enjoyed beading. After she buried us all in her wares, she needed to find an outlet for them and ended up selling her stuff annually at a yearly craft bazaar that raises money for kids sports. She’s been doing this for 15 years.

    So enjoy! What you’ve shown us is beautiful! And you’re never too late, too old, or too whatever to take up a new craft. My mamaw starting crocheting at 85 (I still have the afghan she made me).

  8. So glad that you found another outlet for all that creativity and energy that you have. I have been doing this for years, they make great gifts and also when I was working in an office, I had jewelry that no one else did and I loved that it went with my suits and dresses. I have been a big fan of Fire Mountain Gems for a really long time, as the only Michaels I have access to is over an hour away and the Hobby Lobby just under an hour. The sky is the limit, I make some into Christmas ornaments, napkin rings and just some sparkly doo dads to put into flower arrangements. My husband says that if he isn’t careful, I might just put some sparkly doo dads on some of my tractors, well, maybe just the chicken coop. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment, because you can always restring it, so much easier than repainting something I can tell you. Please keep us posted with the creations, I like your style. Cheers.

  9. It’s such an easy thing to get addicted to. I can’t walk past that area without buying something …. and I haven’t done any beading in a couple of years! But look at it on the bright side. You now have something else you can do in your new studio and you now have a whole bunch of beautiful handmade Christmas gifts (that don’t look handmade)!

  10. Yes, I would say you are hooked. You will have to wear a necklace a day for a month. They are lovely. I’m curious about what you strung them on. Did you do wire? How did you learn to attach the clasp? Maybe a tutorial for us lesser knowledged folks????
    Well done!

  11. Uh Oh….your genius mode is going into multitask side project motion. I can’t wait to see where you go with the new beading ideas.
    It’s good to have new and different instant gratification projects. Gives you some relaxing time as you create beautiful necklaces and such. I’m glad you discovered this new side time project discovery. I love how you say, “This one is my favorite”…on your different necklace creations.
    I surely am looking forward to seeing the Eggplant painted doors. In due time though. Enjoy your new side projects.

  12. Nice! You deserve this creative break that brings the pleasure of wearing your art. You can’t wear a table or a cabinet so it’s great you are mixing this in!

  13. As a craftsperson/artist/carpenter I can relate to your finding this a relaxing form of creative work. Be sure to visit an independent bead store for material too- they will have a better selection of beads than Micheals. Have fun!!

  14. Very nice! I too love to make my own necklaces! At times I will buy a bag of random costume jewelry from an estate sale just to disassemble the necklaces inside and maybe find a cool pendant? I’ve also made quite a few cute stretch bracelets too. I have chubby wrists, so I can make them my size and to my liking! Best thing is you can make them even faster then the necklaces and stack several together for a fun look! They make great gifts too! Enjoy your new found stress relief! LOL

  15. Oh I love beads but had a hard time staying to a design and using what I got. I tended to have more supplies than ideas. That would turn into an orgazational thing sometimes too. I did ornaments as gifts, I never wear jewlery. So I felt like I was unloading if gifting. Since my creations were not enjoyed at home.

    Binder clips sometimes are great as a low budget clamp for your string. Also ice cube trays are great to have around to sort things. I reccomend using baggies (and recycling them as you use up things) in an index card case or collectable card case. The more containers you get, the bulkier the collection is.

  16. Isn’t beading fun? I’ve been making necklaces and bracelets for myself and friends for a little over 30 years. I must say at the moment I just make things for specific outfits or as a request so I’m no were near as prolific as you were over this weekend. I do have q few tips for you. First, consider how long you might want to wear the piece for. Any findings that aren’t sterling or 1/20 14K gold filled will quickly loose their shininess and or their gold tone, sometimes after only a few wears. This includes gold plate which doesn’t last. The second is to watch what you use for stringing. I personally like the Beadalon products for their wide choice of strength and flexibilty and their durability. Be careful with products like Stretch Magic. It’s fun so make stackable stretch bracelets out of but it you touch the bracelet to something hot, it will break. I once accidentally touched some bracelets to the side of a pot I was giving a quick stir to and we all had to pick beads out of our dinner. : ) Lastly be warned, you’ll want nicer and nicer beads and they’ll be a lot more expensive than what you find at Michaels.

  17. Welcome to the fun world of beading! If anyone needs a relaxing hobby that offers quick satisfaction, it’s you. Your necklaces are gorgeous. I hope you’ll keep going. Since you seem to prefer long necklaces, maybe a clasp isn’t necessary. I like to make my own beads of polymer clay. The options are unlimited and the beads will be unique.

  18. I love this! I do all sorts of different creative projects. I used to do jewelry years ago and I would use the extra beads to make matching earrings or bracelets. Since you made an additional necklace you could layer them and wear both together! Your creations are beautiful! Have fun!

    1. You have a great eye for color, texture and design – no surprise there. Almost every town has a bead shop so it’s fun to score some new beads when you travel, too.

  19. I’ve made jewelry for years. But I also make my earrings to match. I love making them. It’s so relaxing. Plus I love the end product. I used to sell them, but not anymore. I’ve slowed down so much the past 5-ish years. But how fun for you. Love it.

  20. When you get to the point where you have all the necklaces you could ever want, and so does your family and friends, but you still want to create necklaces you can consider donating them different places. Shelters who help women prepare for job interviews might be able to use them, retirement communities, things like that might give you a good reason to keep creating.

  21. Girl—you are headed down the rabbit hole! Just wait till you discover the joys of wire wrapping😉. By now you’ve probably gotten the tools you need and another handy thing is one of those beading boards, usually covered in a felt material. They resemble a racetrack and can keep track of how many beads on each side nd little round ones don’t roll around so much. I was going to suggest thrift stores for old funky costume jewelry and deconstruct them to be reimagined. But you beat me to it. I’m all agog at the charms available at craft stores; I use them for my bookmarks made from beautiful ribbons or my watercolor pieces I’ve cut up. It does get addicting as you’ve found out!
    Have fun😊

  22. I had to laugh because I can relate. I am a member of a craft group at church that makes items to send on mission trips or support local ministries … think knitted hats, scarves, quilts, dresses, shorts, pocketbooks, feather lace necklaces and now bracelets. Ninety nine percent of the materials are donated. This year we had a team going to Kenya on a mission trip. Someone had donated a lot of beads so the decision was made to make 40 bracelets to take with us. I was in charge of the project since I was leading the trip to Kenya. I watched UTubes on how to make the bracelets, what mm stretch fiber cord to use and how to tie and bury the knots so that they didn’t show. These bracelets were beautiful. We made the first 40 and the women wanted to make more the next month and the next month until we had 248 bracelets and had all but run out of beads. These bracelets are been sent to Kenya, Costa Rica, Virginia and Guatemala this year with our mission teams. We are going back to Kenya in 2026 and the women want to make necklaces. It is definitely addictive…LOL. Enjoy your side gig for awhile, I’m glad you are getting a mental break but still using those creative juices.

  23. OK, now you are getting on my level! I would hate (like) for you to see the beads and findings I have all over my craft room! I have lots of desire and supplies, but no time to have fun! Maybe someday, but I do make gifts for my friends and family who wear a lot more jewelry than I. And sometimes I use the beads for something TOTALLY different than jewelry. I have made necklaces for myself a few times when I had a dress or outfit that nothing could match. I would just make what looked best with it, and the colors were perfect. I know you will find it fun designing as you go along…the ones you made are already really nice…there is an incredible amount of ideas floating around. Have fun, in between your home projects. It IS a nice relaxing craft. Do look at Fire Mountain…lots of ideas, videos, advice, and supplies. If you get yourself one of the necklace boards, it will let you know the length you are wanting to make, and you put the beads in the little indent, so you can really see colors, etc., as you design. It’s a great tool…easy to add or subtract or change as you design before you string your product. (Next I bet you will be making ceramic beads, with the inks…oh the ideas are endless!!!)

  24. Oh you are hooked now! I have been beading for years and there is a whole beautiful world out there. Seed beads, wire wrapping, leatherwork, enameling…. Look out, you may find your house falling down around you as you happily string more beads. It is definitely addicting! And it looks like you have some great holiday gifts there, too. (check out kellie’s bead boutique on youtube — she is an awesome teacher.)

  25. It is nice to have another creative outlet. Shipwreck Beads is has a beautiful selection of beads and findings.

  26. I’m cracking up picturing you up on a ladder painting your ceiling dressed in paint splattered old clothes wearing a lovely necklace you made. It’s good to take time off to explore new hobbies. I think the pink necklace is my favorite.

  27. I could tell how excited you are about this newfound hobby. That is so good because you do need a craft to do in your craft room, right? The necklaces are so pretty. I like the one with the turquoise and brown beads. Lovely. And I love the last one you made over from an old necklace. I will see many more jewelry pictures which is fine with me if you promise to stick to home improvements too!
    Could you maybe get the eggplant mixed up with the dark green, and paint the doors,
    dark green??
    Have great day/evening.

  28. JTV has a Sunday morning jewelry-making show! Some of the guests are great. They break
    it down for you. I see a new business in your future!!

  29. What a great hobby. I really like your pink necklace! Then I saw the green crackled glass beaded necklace with the gold accents and fell in love with it. Your family and friends are very lucky people as I’m sure you will pass on your creations of love. Merry Christmas to you and Matt and your furry family. (Which we don’t hear much about?)

  30. Those are all so pretty! Everyone needs a stress reliever of some sort, a hobby that relaxes you and lets your mind wander. Seems you have found yours! Looks like you probably have over $88 invested there!😉 I can’t tell you how many things I have tried over the years that just didn’t work or didn’t hold my interest! My daughter keeps sending me “busy work” gifts, such as watercolor projects that I mess up, or embroidery kits, one that I would love to do if I could get the needle threaded! It’s on a sheer fabric and the needle is so thin, but I can’t get three strands of thread through the eye, even with a needle threader! So they just sit there annoying me.

  31. Yes, making jewelry is the best creative process I’ve found, and two very big advantages are speed and compactness. I suggest reading Belle Armoire Jewelry for more inspiration and instruction.

  32. Oh great, now I want to do that too! And I don’t have the time! Thankfully, I also don’t have the beads! lol But I so get why you are so excited: Sit down, have a cup of coffee, finish a pretty thing! How could you NOT be excited? Plus, great to have a little creative outlet to use as a break!

    Btw, I think there are trays, sort of like palettes really, for beads. You can arrange all your beads in them, and then string them – look them up!

  33. Everyone of them is so beautiful!! I love the reuse of beads you already have. I collect and wear necklaces I find at thrift stores. Now I will have to “relook” at them. Gorgeous!!

  34. You have found one great hobby. I started beading about 13 years ago, when I saw a junk turquoise (which is real turquoise, but not the best quality), short multi-strand necklace in a department store for $225 and I thought, no way, I can do that. I found junk turquoise beads and made my first necklace…for under $50. Okay, I was hooked. Earring, necklaces and bracelets are now made with all kinds of beads, stones and pearls. I don’t do as much today, as I used to, but just knowing how to string, and put findings on the jewelry have saved me so much money…I use all sorts of findings and metals…some are extremely cheap and some much more expensive…depending upon my projects. I found sterling and gold are now almost not worth the price unless I am making a keepsake for a grand or great-grand child. Enjoy!

  35. My mom started making beaded jewelry during COVID lockdowns. She ended up with hundreds of necklaces & bracelets and didn’t know what to do with them so she opened an Etsy store. When the lockdowns lifted, she started selling them at craft fairs. She quit her job and makes jewelry full-time now.