Painting layer upon layer of metal clay paste onto Kix cereal to make beads puts me to sleep. (Although I did try it once...... ended up firing them before they were done and adding them to my scrap jar.) I also like the look of natural leaves in silver, but again find it boring to paint them with paste. (Got to find some other outlets for using my paste up.)
Using a core that will burn away in the kiln leaves a hollow bead, but there are also armatures available that don't burn out. They're called bisque beads and they come in all shapes and sizes. For the longest time I've had a few of those (and like lots of my tools) never got around to trying them. I did do a small bead once though, covered it with paste and embellished it with paper clay.
There was about a handful of very large (honker size) barrel beads in my collection so I bit the bullet and began to paint. Not sure how many layers of paste got painted on (I keep losing my way after the first layer.) Then I added textured shapes of rolled out lump clay, syringe lines (which I usually sand down to square them up) and more punched out paper embellishments. After firing the first couple and brushing them (this was when I was still using my brass brush) I noticed some paste wore off, so they got repaired and put back in the kiln.
Here is the result of that endeavor. It's much bigger and chunkier than I usually wear (although I wore it for a couple of days and liked it.) I keep trying to make my jewelry smaller and daintier but somehow I seem to be going the other way. (At least my weight is going down, whew!)