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-   -   Bead Exchange - Sign Up By May 1st! (

mareseatoats 04-08-2014 11:36 AM

Does anyone want to do a bead exchange? For those who don't know, this is where we get a list of everyone who wants to participate. Then everyone sends one volunteer a self addressed mailer and enough beads for everyone participating. The volunteer divvies up the beads so everyone gets one, and then sends them back. Every mama ends up with a bead from each person and she can use that to make a birth necklace :) I don't think I could be the volunteer, as we are moving in about a month, but if there is interest I'm sure we can find someone who can! I think it's a pretty neat tradition. I still have the necklace from DS's DDC.




Sign Up By - May 1st
Send Beads to Caledvwlch By - ?

Mamas Participating:
Caledvwlch (who also very kindly offered to be the bead divvyer)


Ideally beads will be neither too tiny nor too big. In previous bead exchanges there have been beads that couldn't fit on the elastic or were too big to fit comfortably on the necklace. 


Ideas for the best way to ship the beads back are welcome! We have discussed a few ideas in the comments. 

Caledvwlch 04-08-2014 01:45 PM

Oh, I would love to do that! How fun. My friends and my own family were left behind in my move, and I would love a blessingway (I didn't have a blessingway or shower for my first - I was very very very young and my friends/family knew nothing about natural birth or such things, and the situation was quite taboo) but don't really have the relationships formed here yet that someone would say, "Hey, let's throw her a blessingway!"


I would be happy to organize - I would suggest, though, that in lieu of a self-addressed mailer, that each person participating sends a certain amount of $ that could cover return shipping as well as a uniform mailer cost (so the mailer could be selected based on the size/amount of beads per person). I've hosted co-ops and swaps of this sort in a few different places, and my organizational skills are pretty stellar, if I do say so myself.

christianyvonne 04-08-2014 03:59 PM

I would like to participate. This sounds like so much fun!

turtlemamameg 04-09-2014 06:12 PM

I think it's a neat idea. The shipping could be different based on location, so how would we know how much to send for shipping?  If I might make another suggestion that the beads be medium to small, as we did this for dd's birth and we got all these weird sizes and shapes that made for a very awkward and uncomfortable necklace that I never wore...heavy also, due to the several blown glass beads. 

Caledvwlch 04-09-2014 06:25 PM

One way to get around the shipping/weight issue could be using small Priority flat-rate boxes or envelopes (ship price is $5.60-$5.80, and shipping materials are free, so it could just be a flat fee - boxes might be better to secure items). This assumes that everyone participating is within the US - we'd have to tweak something for anybody outside the US. Or we could just have everyone send something like $4 (depending on how many people participate, I suppose - there'll be a difference in weight for 10 beads vs 50 beads) and do "cheapest possible" shipping with bubble envelopes, with the understanding that the difference in shipping for one person would cover the excess in shipping for another person. I don't know. It would probably be best worked out once there's some sort of final list of participants or deadline for participation.

turtlemamameg 04-09-2014 06:43 PM

Either of those suggestions seems like it would work.

sortanerdy 04-13-2014 04:46 PM

I'm in! :)

Caledvwlch 04-13-2014 05:58 PM

Do we want to get this solidified? If we have 1-2 weeks to sign up, we could take about a month to order and receive beads - that would put us to the end of May/beginning of June. Give 1-2 weeks for the organizer to receive beads, put the bead groups together, and get them sent back (maybe a week assuming the organizer is dividing up/packing beads as they're received)? That timeline should get the beads back to everybody by middle to end of June. At any rate, if we're going to do this, we should probably get it started/signed-up now.


Anything to add or suggest? Group mods (bremen and vivica2)?

turtlemamameg 04-13-2014 06:42 PM

Sounds good to me.  Sign me up. Should the deadline for signing up be May 1st?  And then, you will PM each of us with your address? 

Caledvwlch 04-13-2014 07:12 PM

Originally Posted by turtlemamameg View Post

Sounds good to me.  Sign me up. Should the deadline for signing up be May 1st?  And then, you will PM each of us with your address? 

If everyone wants me to organize, sure. I don't know if that's "official" or not. Perhaps mares could edit the OP title and post with whatever information is solidified, so people will know about sign-ups, deadline/dates, and requirements/what they need to do. (Again, do we need to run this by the mods? mares, you've done this before...)


I will be traveling for a bit in May, and can ask my husband to retrieve any bead packages for me, but would ask that anybody who has their beads in-hand (whether they order them and have the beads sent to them, or make/buy them locally) wait until I return home to send to me. :)


One other concern - hole size in beads. I don't have any elastic/cord available right now to gauge size, but is there a certain minimum mm size that the hole should be to enable threading on a quality cord?

LiLStar 04-13-2014 08:25 PM

I'm interested in participating

Caledvwlch 04-14-2014 11:16 AM

Oh, something that just occurred to me -


I'm not in the Facebook group, but could someone maybe mention the exchange over there so that anyone wanting to participate can post here to sign up?

mareseatoats 04-14-2014 12:35 PM

Caledvwlch - Thanks so much for taking charge of things! I will edit the post/title to reflect the timeline, etc. Let me know if there's other info I should change or add.


I do think we should have not too tiny of holes in the beads, but I know nothing about the gauge and bead size, but I don't know how we should regulate that. I'm not on facebook either, but I'm sure someone else can mention it. I think that's a great idea.

Caledvwlch 04-14-2014 12:47 PM

Mares - I'm just about to head out for a bit. I can try to do some sort of Google Docs form (responses would be private/viewable only by myself) for addresses and the like.


Should we tackle "swap" obligations once we've reached May 1st? If we don't have many people, it seems like a small flat fee to cover shipping + materials. If we do have significant participation (increasing package weight), we could probably just request a flat-rate-shipping fee from everyone ($5.80 at the most), US at least, and that would cover shipping + materials.


Thoughts? Will sort through when I return.

Caledvwlch 04-14-2014 08:48 PM

Okay - I created a Google Docs form that will put the data in a spreadsheet. Unless there are objections or some other issue, this will be the sign-up. I did put in a few "terms of agreement" that you just have to check off - namely, keeping up with updates (final head count for bead totals, shipping due dates, payment due dates if not sending payment with beads, etc) and just agreeing that you'll send the right number/size of beads by the due date and also send along enough money to cover return shipping. It would really stink to have hurt feelings or miscommunication.


Please please please could we get an official "okay!" on this from the group mods? I'll post the form link after it's okayed.


Just to make sure that this is kosher - I really don't want to get the ball rolling and then have to backpedal. :)



LyndsayMW 04-15-2014 07:39 AM

I did this with my second baby and I'm totally interested to join this time!! I'm so excited!

Something that we did last time that worked really well was just include stamps enough to cover return shipping already attached to a self addressed envelope in the package with the beads. I used a padded mailer to send my beads and had the post office weigh it twice- once for sending the package to the divvyer and once for the return padded mailer- I figured the extra mailer in the sending package was enough to account for differences in bead weight on the return package. It's much less work for the divvyer to not have to stamp and address envelopes too.

sweetestday 04-17-2014 10:45 AM

I'd love to join in. 

I know with my last baby, I ordered up beads online and had them sent to the distributor. It wouldn't have worked to send a stamped envelope, though that sounds ideal. I just have nowhere nearby that carries crafty stuff, so it's simpler to order online for me.  

redrockband 04-17-2014 02:59 PM

I'm interested in participating

Caledvwlch 04-20-2014 10:32 AM

I figured the extra mailer in the sending package was enough to account for differences in bead weight on the return package. It's much less work for the divvyer to not have to stamp and address envelopes too.


This situation ^^ only works, as another poster has said, if you have the beads in-hand and you send them. If you make a bulk order online, why would you cover shipping (to you, and then to me) twice?


As far as dealing with mailing - Multi-Order Shipping tool through PayPal. ;) Copy, paste, print, tape, drop off at USPS. Nobody gets burned either way on shipping (I've run co-ops before where the VAT fees weren't able to be calculated until everyone had already paid for the list price of the items, and ended up having to cover VAT fees/currency conversion differences because everybody said, "No, we didn't anticipate this cost, you can't invoice us for that beyond list price of items in original currency!" Head. Desk. I don't run international co-ops any longer for this reason) and we can decide on shipping cost (whether we have enough beads to need a flat-rate box or if we can just ship them in smaller envelopes) on May 1. If shipping cost is an issue for anyone, I'm sure we can work something out. I'd rather not cover shipping and request PayPal individually after-the-fact.


I just cleared it with Cynthia - she encourages us to take photos and that she'd love to see them!


I tried to cover my bases with this form - the little "check boxes" are just so everyone is on the same page and that there aren't any misunderstandings. I know that not everybody accesses the forum regularly, or even posts much when they do, so one of my biggest concerns is that the number of participants (# of beads to order) or specific dates might get lost in the shuffle.


So - if you could do me the favor of filling out the form, I'd appreciate it. :)


Link to form here, responses viewable only by me. Please let me know if there is any difficulty. I can let you know total # of participants (# of beads to order) as well as "need beads by" date when sign-ups close on May 1.


Thank you!


ETA: I'm inclined to say "ship beads on or by June 1" so that I can tackle the dividing when I get home, and get them sent out ASAP for anybody who might be birthing in June. If "you" want to order/ship them ASAP to get it out of the way, that would also be fine by me. I'll have my husband collect whatever arrives while I'm traveling mid-May.

turtlemamameg 04-20-2014 06:27 PM

Wow Caledvwlch, very thorough form...I think we found a great organizer.  I assume you will PM all of us with your address?

Caledvwlch 04-20-2014 07:05 PM

Yes, everyone will have the sending address when I can also pass along the other information (# of participants, due date, etc). I didn't want to make it publicly accessible, obviously.


And thanks. I blame work for the mindset and having done these things once or twice for the "hey let's get everybody on the same page and outline expectations" part. ;)

mareseatoats 04-20-2014 10:43 PM

Originally Posted by turtlemamameg View Post

Wow Caledvwlch, very thorough form...I think we found a great organizer.  I assume you will PM all of us with your address?

x2! That was incredible!! Amazing, Caledvwlch. Thank you so much.

turtlemamameg 04-29-2014 06:17 PM

Reminder about tomorrow sign up deadline.  If you want to participate:

MamaMem 04-30-2014 09:34 AM

I was just wishing I could do something like this...  I have not been in here for  while bc my computer was broken. SO GLAD I came by today. ;)

Caledvwlch 05-01-2014 10:42 AM



At last count, we have about 8 participants. Feel free to send out a "last call" on the Facebook group or if you know anyone who wants to participate. If the total remains about the same, the per-person fee will probably be around $2-$4 to cover mailing envelope and shipping.

Caledvwlch 05-01-2014 08:14 PM

Form is now closed.


We have 8 people total. Because we have such a small group, is there anything special or extra that you would like to do in addition to the birth beads, or do we just want to limit it to "order/send 8 birth beads, and receive a complete set of 8"?


Participating -









LiLStar 05-02-2014 03:54 PM

I thought of a question. Should we send you all 8 beads, or just 7, and keep one for ourselves? On one hand, it seems silly to mail something to have you mail it right back, but on the other hand, it might keep it simpler for you not to keep track of which bead gets left out of each package, plus anyone who orders online shipped to you will be sending you all 8 regardless. 

Caledvwlch 05-02-2014 05:43 PM

Sending all 8 would be easiest for me, I think - that way, I can just make equal sets of beads and send them. Besides, beads are smallish and can get misplaced easily - what if "you" misplace yours in the meantime? You're also right about ordering online.


Hope this helps?

turtlemamameg 05-02-2014 06:41 PM

Caled, are you going to pm us your info? 

Caledvwlch 05-02-2014 06:45 PM

Yes, just wanted to see if anybody had any thoughts on doing something beyond the 8 beads because we're such a tiny group, before anybody orders. I'm honestly surprised - out of two hundred something "members" only 8 of us are participating.

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