Just a little update. Here is the link to my first post if you want to see what they looked like when I started out. They have come a long way. They shrunk and fattened up a lot! Last year they were just brushing my shoulders and now they are starting to get more length again. As they shrunk, all the blonde tips I had got eaten up and I never bothered to re-dye them. My hair was soaking wet in that pic as I had just gone swimming (I effing love that lagoon and have been going regularly as it is only a short drive from my place) and is a bit messy.
And here's a close up of my first and only bead. It's actually an earcuff that I wore way back when I was a teen and still wearing gold. I just bent it to make it a snug fit.