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!
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.