HOWEVER. There are prizes too. For each monthly challenge completed, there is a drawing among the participants for a small prize... I won it once, and it was fun to receive my beads from someone in Wales! But also, beaders receive one point for each completion. Then there are additional points throughout the year for various "flash" challenges. At the end of the year, everyone's points are accumulated, and there is a random drawing for a larger prize.
Guess who won this year's grand prize??? That's right -- ME!!
I gotta tell you, I had no idea it would be so amazing. But today the prize package arrived, and I'm... not exactly speechless, but just sort of blubbering. It's so much beautiful stuff, so generous, such quality... each little bit wrapped separately, like a birthday in January... I'm stunned. It's like "Dayenu": just the challenges would have been enough, just the new friendships would have been enough, just learning new stitches and discovering new resources would have been enough, but there's even more! This is over-the-top.
A basic principle of all of our beading challenges is that we try as much as possible to use existing "stash," meaning beads we already own. Buying new stuff is jokingly referred to as "sinning." Of course, we end up "sinning" a lot in between, but we really do try to complete the challenges with only stash. When people confess to their bead shopping sprees, they are sent to the "Naughty Step," or as the British members call it, the "Norty Step."
So perhaps the best part of the prize I won is a little slip of paper enclosed, which exempts me from the Naughty Step for a full year!! Get that Visa card ready, here I come....
I'm so grateful to the OTTBS moderators! They do such a great job. And this group has been one of my best experiences ever.