We sent our Nikon to be repaired and actually just received it back in the mail today, unrepaired. Apparently, when we bought it back in 2009, it wasn't from an authorized reseller and is considered "Grey Market". They won't repair it, even for a fee. Sooo, still no camera.
I am in the process of trying to find a macro lens for better bead pictures. We think the problem is just the lens, so if we can confirm this, then there is no need to send the whole camera to someone else for repair. And actually, it's cheaper to buy a new "basic" lens, than to send the current one for repair.
So I am very much around and making oodles of beads. Just can't take pictures without a camera. Hopefully will be able to soon, and then I shall inundate you with many lovelies!