Christmas Lima Bean

I just love these beans! Sometimes they’re called Christmas Beans (usually the color is more brown than red though) or Calico Beans. Each bean is unique with its own color patterns.

Step 1: Drilling

The first step is drilling holes in the beans. I bought a handy little battery-powered Dremel from Amazon and then had to special order a drill bit small enough for the tiny holes needed for stringing.





First try:

The pictures below were taken of the first version of this necklace.

I never did really like the horn center-piece but that was all I came up with to start.
Several days later, I was rummaging through my “stuff” and re-discovered this piece of bone. Perfect!

Back to try again

Of course, this meant re-doing the entire necklace since the center-piece was truly in the center and the two ends of the clasp had been finished with crimp beads and the excess stringing wire cut off. So, another longer piece of wire. My work table seems to have many of the “un-done” pieces of wire.
First, cutting off the clasp end and starting to undo. No specific order in
sequencing this necklace, so re-stringing it is easier. Just have to be sure the center-piece ends up in the middle.

Another failure

All re-strung and ready to go — BUT! The center-piece bone now doesn’t (or won’t) lie flat. How can you have a center-piece that doesn’t lie flat??

Back to the drawing-board. The more positioning I tried, that bone thing would not lay flat. Tried making the necklace shorter, but that didn’t work either. Thought I might hang it vertically, with something tangling from it.

Here are a few of the options being considered.

Nothing seemed to work. More rummaging. Found this pendant in a box down underneath several other boxes. Voila!





Back to re-stringing — hopefully finally!

To see the finished product in all its glory, go to

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Susan Gibson-Grafe

Just for fun:

More about the Christmas beans.

The Christmas Lima Bean is a large, flat, heirloom-variety pole bean with a swirling maroon pattern on a white background. These markings remain visible after cooking. Its chestnut-like flavor and flaky texture make it a distinctive bean for a variety of culinary applications.

  • Colorful pattern remains after cooking
  • High in fiber and protein
  • Naturally gluten free
  • Heirloom variety

The Christmas Lima Bean (Phaseolus limensis), also sometimes called the “chestnut lima” due to its similarity in taste to the nut, is an heirloom-variety pole bean related to the standard lima bean and the giant Peruvian lima. It is quarter-sized, flat, and white, with a swirling maroon color pattern that remains after cooking. The bean’s chestnut flavor, combined with its festive coloring, led to the name Christmas lima.

Accounts of the Christmas lima bean’s use in gastronomy date back to the 1840s in the American Southwest, and they became particularly popular around the turn of the 20th century. The hardy plant grows well in the hot, dry conditions of the high desert, producing large yields.

Christmas lima beans have a flaky, baked potato-like texture when cooked. They are perfect for countless variations on traditional succotash, salads, fresh vegetable-based soups, stews and casseroles.

Christmas lima beans are members of the larger family of legumes, plants used for their edible seeds and pods that boast a high nutrient density with low-maintenance production and storage. They contain high levels of protein, essential minerals and fiber while maintaining a low level of fats.



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