Permutations & combinations
Occasionally I go on a gift-making binge and turn out a dozen or so give-away rosaries for one of the various groups I belong to. With a string of glass 8mm beads selling these days for about $2-3, they aren't very expensive and are fairly quick to do -- most of the work actually goes into making the tassel, since I make my own rather than using the chintzy rayon tassels for sale in craft stores.
These pictures are of a batch I made in January, each one in a different combination of beads and colors. I barely had time to photograph them before they had to be packed up and given away, but I had fun with the project even though it was done under a time deadline.
At least one of the history groups I belong to periodically does gift-basket exchanges, and these rosaries are a much-appreciated basket item. I package them with a short flyer about rosary history and suggestions for how to use the beads. They also make nice "bread-and-butter" gifts -- a small thank-you to someone who hosts an overnight stay or a dinner party, for instance.
My mainstay for stringing these is size F or FF silk perle thread from Gutermann's, which comes in quite a few colors. It goes through the beads nicely and makes good-looking tassels as well. I buy it by the spool since I also use it for other things. The only problem I've had with it is that Gutermann's color descriptions bear little resemblance to reality -- their "dark green" is actually more of a medium-light shade. But if you ignore the descriptions and look at the thread you can still tell what colors you want.
As for beads, I stock up on the basic strings of glass beads once a year or so, and by now I've taught enough classes and acquired enough "odd" strings of beads that I have plenty of material for contrasting gauds (marker beads).