Someone posted a message in one of my online art groups today wanting reassurance as to the "usefulness" of personal art. She said (I hope tongue-in-cheek!) that it seems so self-indulgent to just play (in this case with paper, but for discussion purposes, this applies to beads as well)--that it's timewasting and childish.
Well, I'm not sure I see any of this as actually bad. Sure, stringing a necklace (or sketching a flower, or sewing a quilt square, or whatever!) may be self-indulgent, but isn't that okay? As long as you're not indulging yourself to the point of neglecting any dependents you may have?
Generally speaking, I think creative people are a lot happier when they actually get to spend some time making stuff. And then they can be nicer to the people around them. I suppose there is a deep end here, an obsession that could be lurking, but let's assume we're not talking about a 24/7 binge for weeks on end. If making something makes you happier, it makes you healthier. I don't see anything wrong with that.
As to time-wasting, it can't possibly be any worse than watching television (ooh! pet peeve! I love to hate the tv.) At least if you're making something, you're exercising some part of your mind--probably lots of your mind, depending on what problems you're solving. There is analytical stuff, like how to make part a fit with part b and what has to happen first, second, third, as well as the right-brain activity that is typically touted when discussing creative endeavors. You're also repeating and refining processes, fine-tuning motor skills and muscle memory. These all sound like good uses of time to me.
And finally, the easy one ;-) Childish? Okay. Great! I think most adults could use a little more childishness in their lives. I suspect that the "Man, I want to show this to somebody!" feeling that you get when you make something is a actually very childish feeling--and it's something that we "grow out of" or, more likely, are taught to suppress. Another terrific "childish" feeling to exerpience, if you can get there, is lack of censure. To let go and just put that red bead next to that orange bead next to that blue bead, or blop a big ol' purple paint spot on your paper and see what happens next is wonderfully stress-relieving.
So I say, go for it! Make stuff! Anything. Even if it's just for you. Maybe especially if it's just for you. I think it's time better spent, than, say, reading this ;-)