“Choose Your Own Adventure” Freeform Peyote Reveal Day

Freeform Peyote Challenge

Welcome Adventurers!

I’m so excited about today’s reveal. Karen Williams and I hatched this crazy scheme when I interviewed her for the podcast. I love the way she tells stories as she beads and has her own adventure, and I wanted more people to have as much fun as we were having!

I figured there’d be about 10 of us, but 36 fabulous beaders have accepted the challenge to play with freeform and post what they come up with. An active Freeform Peyote Facebook Group has also sprouted, and we would love for you to join us!

Moving Mountains

My ideas kept melding and shifting together throughout this process. First of all, I wanted to do freeform with spikes. I got the color inspiration from the Operation Tackle That Bead Stash challenge– use blue and brown, and there was a photo of Alaska’s Denali. I got out all my beads to start my simple bracelet, when BAM- inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks!


It morphed into a crazy, ambitious necklace! It took on the shape of the United States like if you cut it out of butter and let it melt a bit, hehe. All the textured freeform become the terrain, and I could move my mountains (baby spikes) wherever I wanted. There are about 8 of them embedded in the piece. I lined up my work with the sketch to help guide me in creating the shape.


I still have the neck straps and chains to finish, and I’m going back in to work on it after I finish this post. I just added up my time in Google calendar, and I’ve clocked 33 hours on this piece so far!


Below are my chain samples to help me choose the right combination. I’m hoping to choose the final chains and finish it up today. Then I can post the done picture!

chain sample

Update: I’ve finished the necklace, but now that I’ve photographed it, I think I might add one more strap up top. I will say I’m very proud of the result!


I would like to invite you to admire the other pieces created for this challenge! Here is the list of participants:

Adventure Guides
Mandi Ainsworth– you are here
Karen Williams

Inspired Adventurers
Bobbie Rafferty
Sarah Meadows
Katherine Gale
Leanne Kirsch
Jean Hutter

Nancy Dale
Judy Riley
Natasha Wiegelman
Pam Chesbro
Romana Tschunko

Bette Greenfield
Mary Harding
Melody Marie Murray
Shirley Moore

Sally Russick
Therese Frank
Tanya Goodwin
Christine Altmiller
Lea Paličková
Ivona Šuchmannová

Kay Haynes
Tammy Bowman
Alisa Lehman
Lori Callahan
Debbie Rasmussen

Jane Kettley
SaraBeth Cullinan
Tami Norris
Julie Schmidt Bowen
Tammi Clapper
Cynthia Machata

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • avatar Christine Altmiller February 23, 2013, 7:31 am

    Wow. WoW! I mean, WOW! This is so beautiful! It has a great shape (absolutely Softening Butter America), soothing colors, hidden surprises, and looks completely wearable.
    I really appreciate you and Karen putting together this hop and providing some of us the opportunity to be first time freeformers. It is really the nudge I needed to try it. Thank You Mandi!

  • avatar Mary Kearney February 23, 2013, 7:33 am

    This is stunning Mandi! Thanks for letting us in on your design process!

  • avatar Nancy Dale February 23, 2013, 7:40 am

    Fabulous!! Thanks so much for starting the group with Karen, and hosting this mega fun challenge!! I love how your necklace is coming along and can’t wait to see the final pic!

  • avatar Karen Williams February 23, 2013, 7:46 am

    Moving Mountains – what a great title for such an intriguing piece! I love your descriptions and you make me itch to play with some of those new spike beads myself.

    Thanks so much for suggesting and cohosting this challenge with me!

  • avatar Three Red Beads February 23, 2013, 7:48 am

    Beautiful, I can’t wait to see the finished piece! Thank you to both you and Karen for hosting the challenge it has been a lot of fun and very, very inspiring!

  • avatar Tammy Bowman February 23, 2013, 8:06 am

    Stunning design Mandi! I’m totally blown away by the sheer beauty of this piece. I also appreciate you taking me back to memories of my vacation in Alaska, I still remember the awe I felt viewing the Polychrome mountains. I’m not even 1/10th of the way through the blogs and my head is swirling with new ideas and tips!! Thank you to both you and Karen for hosting this spectacular event!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth February 23, 2013, 8:10 am

    Thanks everyone for your sweet comments! I’ve had so much fun with it. Time to go warm up my coffee and keep hopping!

  • avatar Katherine February 23, 2013, 8:28 am

    Oh my goodness that is a beautiful freeform piece. The colors are so rich and full of depth and meaning. I have always wanted to do a big necklace but never had the nerve to start. You have given me inspiration. Thank you for hosting this challenge – it was a ton of fun!

  • avatar Cynthia February 23, 2013, 8:42 am

    oh my, WOW … that is just stunning! what a gorgeous piece!! I can’t wait to see how you finish it … please post!!!

  • avatar Leanne Kirsch February 23, 2013, 9:01 am

    LOVE this piece…..awesome. Thanks for co-chairing this great challenge. anxious to see which chain you use. Leanne

  • avatar Chris Linacre February 23, 2013, 9:15 am

    I totally love this idea and wish I had heard of it sooner – I really need a kick to get my creative juices flowing and it looks like I have found that ! I am busily blog hopping at the moment and yours is blog 2 – I jumped into blog 1 from the facebook group which is also fantastic- the textures you have built into this piece look phenomenal and I love the colour combinations

  • avatar Tanya February 23, 2013, 9:21 am

    Wow .. I am stunned. I cannot imagine the patience or the skill needed to accomplish that. it is definitely a gorgeous neckpiece and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • avatar Jean Hutter February 23, 2013, 9:55 am

    It is amazing and I can’t wait to see it finished. I LOVE the color combination and the use space. Great job!!!!!

  • avatar Sarah (Saturday Sequins) February 23, 2013, 10:29 am

    Oh my gosh!!! Mandi, this is spectacular! I love the size of it, and I love the colors and the textures.

    I can’t wait to see what it looks like when you finish it!

  • avatar SaraBeth Cullinan February 23, 2013, 11:39 am

    Gorgeous! I like the combination of serene blues and warm copper, and I can’t wait to see how you finish it.

    Thank you for hosting this challenge and I hope you & Karen will consider doing another one, or two, or five. 😉

  • avatar Lori February 23, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Very beautiful! I live down near the bottom right on your necklace, lol. I’m just getting started with freeform and making my piece for this challenge has me hooked already. It really was so much fun. I love not knowing exactly what it will look like in the end; just going where the beads take you, and love that there are so many directions you can go with it. Thanks so much for hosting this blog hop with Karen. I’m planning my next piece tonight. :)

  • avatar Mary Harding February 23, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Wow Mandi. What a beautiful piece. So brave of you to take it on and how great it came out. Thanks so much for putting on this blog hop. I am hoping to get to all the p ieces. Has been a great inspiration.

  • avatar Bobbie Rafferty February 23, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Holy cow, Mandi, this is spectacular! You’ve inspired me to try my next freeform with the peyote rows building east/west instead of my normal north/south (does that make sense?) I really like the shape of the piece that the different orientation allows you to build. Thanks for dreaming this adventure up with Karen — it’s been a blast!

  • avatar Romana Tschunko February 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

    Yesssss, cannot wait to see finish of this freeform adventure!

  • avatar Kepi Rasmussen February 23, 2013, 3:21 pm

    Love the colors, what a lot of work. Gorgeous piece so aptly titled. Thanks for hosting.

  • avatar Natasha Wiegelman February 23, 2013, 4:04 pm

    It is beautiful, Mandi! I love the color combination – very relaxing and peaceful. And I totally see mountains in it!

    Cannot wait to see it finished.

  • avatar Ivona Suchmannova February 23, 2013, 4:34 pm

    Beautiful! Can not wait to see more…

  • avatar Shirley Moore February 23, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Holy Moly woman! What a stunner! I love the shape, the colors, everything! You and Karen are truly a great team, and I thank you so much for this hop, it has been wonderful!

  • avatar jane kettley February 23, 2013, 9:41 pm

    Wow, what a piece. I have so miuch admiration for the time you spent on this. its wonderful

  • avatar Therese February 24, 2013, 8:30 am

    Hi Mandi,
    I love your piece ist is so pretty in a melty buttery fashion. I enjoyed searching for the almost hidden spikes and other surprise do dads you incluled in your piece, the colors are gorgeous. Thank you for co hosting this challenge with Karen, I learned a lot and enjoyed the trip.

  • avatar julie February 24, 2013, 10:47 am

    I absolutely love your color choices for this piece, Mandi, and I think the theme and shape are really inspiring. Can’t wait to see the final piece!

  • avatar Lorelle McIntyre February 24, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Love this the shape texture and colours really shows how the beads have a mind of their own. Would love to see again when completed

  • avatar Marj Denton February 24, 2013, 6:52 pm

    what a lot of work Mandi. I love the shapes and colour combinations, look forward to seeing it finished. Thank you so much to you and Karen for running this hop, my first and I’m sure, not the last.

  • avatar LoriF February 26, 2013, 1:34 pm

    Holy smokes, Mandi, that is something!! Love the idea of using the spikes, and can’t wait to see it when it is finished.
    I’ve been at work all weekend and am now off to see the rest of the adventurers…thanks for starting us all on this one!

  • avatar motidana March 7, 2013, 4:46 am

    Absolutely fantastic ! I love the colors , and the creation process is really very interesting . Just taken to free-form recently and so it`s very inspiring . Cant wait to see the finished piece

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