Saturday, April 16, 2011

Does anybody carry cash any more? Is SQUARE the new shape of the dollar?

If you are anything like me you carry very little cash and even if you have money, you still might not have cash. It seems that most people today either use a debit card or a credit card to make the majority of their purchases.  This can pose a problem for people who sell goods or services and for their potential customer who isn't carrying any cash.

I am writing to tell you about some of the latest technology that can make it simple for you to accept debit or credit cards from customers.  As long as you are approved, anyone can use Square.

Yes, even if you are having a garage sale, have a brother who owes you money (yes, Jimmy!), or selling goods on Craigslist, technically you could sign up and accept credit cards with your own personal account. That's right, you don't even need to have a business in order to be able to accept credit cards. And now for the best part ~ the service is free as long as you have a mobile device that is compatible.  All you are required to pay is a small percentage for the transaction fee!

In the past craft vendors, painters, hair salons, small businesses, and even people who hold garage sales, etc. were limited to cash customers due to the equipment cost, fees or complication of having a credit card processing machine.  If a potential customer did not have the cash on hand,  they may have to pass you by in favor of a vendor who is able to accept their credit or debit card.

I recently was a vendor in a craft fair where I was able to accept cash or checks only.  Did it hurt my sales?  Although I do not know for sure, it may have. Well the next time, I plan to be SQUARE.

According to their site:
Square's card processing fees are :  2.75%  for swiped transactions (They even send you a free square that you can attach to your phone so that you can swipe)
There are 
  • no activation fees
  • No monthly fees
  • no termination fees
  • no hidden fees
  • No additional costs
  •  If you don't use it, you don't pay for it!! 

This sounds fair and SQUARE to me!! 

Now I just signed up today, and I am in no way affiliated with Square, Inc., but when I hear about something that could be helpful to others I like to pass it along.  So check it out, or pass this on to someone that you think this could be useful for.  Check it out on!

 I would like to wrap this up by saying that I am certainly not promoting the use of credit cards, as if I had my choice, I would be debt free and NEVER use plastic again! But this is perfect if you have the money, but just are not carrying the cash!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The house regains order after ice jam damage...

Room had been dried out and wet materials removed. We put new insulation in.
It's been a while since I have been here. Life has been hectic as we have been reconstructing parts of our home. I am happy to say that my daughter has returned to her room this weekend.  It has been about a month that she had camped out in our office and her clothes and stuffed animals took on a life of their own throughout our house.

Anyone who has ever had any remodeling done knows how frustrating it can be to have your home be out of control for so long. are a few photos of the upstairs portion of the remodel.... A special thank you to my husband Kevin, who worked alongside our contractor and did much of the work by himself.

new insulation installed
The dry wall up, waiting for taping
Guess we didn't take taping and sanding are the colors selected by my daughter. Purple and blue.
Loving the newfound space in her closet...makes a great fort!
Her Bobby Jack Decor, Still need to iron that curtain! Washed it and hung it damp hoping to skip that step!
New Chinese lanterns added to her room
What is a girl's room without a peace sign? This is before the stuffed animals found there way back. I happy to say we have significantly reduced their population!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Upcycling... The Story of the Rejected Belt

This is the not so sad story of my husband's braided leather belt. The belt began its' live as a what I'm sure must have been a sweet cow. A farmer somewhere had worked very hard to raise that cow, while that same farmer may have also grown the crops to feed that cow.  The fact is that it wasn't easy to raise the cow and it took lots of energy and resources to raise it from birth.  Now this same animal animal had sacrificed it's very life so that my husband could keep his pants from falling to the ground.

Although I don't claim to know anything about what it takes to make a belt from there, the skin of the cow then went through the manufacturing process where it was turned into a very nice men's braided belt.  For many years that belt did all  it was intended to do, until one day, for no particular reason at all, just like that, it had made it's way to the pile that was headed for the trash! After years of faithful service, much like the way people who have worked hard for years, have been losing their jobs, this belt had lost it's job and it's purpose.

We often bring clothing to drop boxes or donate to goodwill, but for whatever reason, it was set to be on its way to the dump.   I never did find out the reason for the sudden lack of usefulness,  maybe my husband thought the belt was no longer in style, or perhaps it was to tight, or just didn't fit quite right. Just as the belt was headed for the end, that is when I stepped in. I picked up that belt, gave it a second look and just like that I had rescued it from it's premature deadly fate.  I had no idea what would become if it, but I knew that it's useful life had not been met yet.  So into the craft supply box it went.

A few months later I received an Etsy custom order request to turn the magnets that I had been making into "boyish" necklaces that would be used as favors for a young boys birthday party. Of course I was thrilled that she had selected me to make her necklace favors, as anyone who shops on Etsy knows, that there must be millions of extremely talented people to choose from, and she asked me :)

Just like that a lightbulb (a CFL or an LED, of course) lit in my brain and I suddenly knew just what I would do with that old belt! I had figured out how I would make those necklaces "boyish".  I would use the strands of the braided leather belt!  One otherwise useless item, would now become the pleasure of many, all with a few tools and some jewelry findings.

Now it is true that we cannot save everything.  People who are crafty, artistic, frugal, or just plain pack rats may have a hard time letting things go. It can cause problems and absorb our energy when we have too much stuff.  Americans as a whole have become a nation of people with far too much stuff.  In fact I challenge you to take steps to become a more thoughtful consumer, purchase less, use the things you already have. Let's forget about the Jones' family, who wants to keep up with them anyway!!  Why not try your hand at a craft that gives new life to something you no longer have a use for?  It's fun and rewarding and good for our environment.

What I did with the belt is called Upcycling. Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. I'm not sure if you can get better quality than the original belt, but I certainly found a way to give that sweet cow new life and in the process, it cost me less to produce the necklaces.  I was able to create a high quality product and I was able to pass that savings on directly to my customer.  In fact, my customer will be getting handmade, custom favors at a total cost that is probably lower or comparable to a mass manufactured item. All this and we did our part for the environment too!!  I would be willing to bet that the children who receive these necklaces may think they are even cooler when they hear the story behind them.  Fortunately, kids today are more environmentally aware than ever!

Here are a few snapshots to give you the idea of the materials and the process.  Feel free to comment or ask questions for greater detail! Thanks for stopping by!  And don't forget to BelieveinURdream2!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

WHO can do this...YOU can! Working With Sculpey Clay

Creating this owl was not only fun, but incredibly easy to do! I have never used Sculpey III Oven-Bake Clay before in my life. I have always wanted to play with this clay and try it out.

I purchased the Crafter's Variety Pack that comes with 12 different colors and 2 modeling tools for $9.99. The package came with an insert that gives great directions and several project ideas. There is also a great website at that includes tons of great ideas for working with this clay and directions.

My 9 year old daughter Kaylee made a great little penguin in no time at all.

I prepped my surface by using wax paper as to not leave any stains on my dining room table. It took me a bit to decide what to make with all the great colors that I had, but eventually I decided that I would make an owl.
  I selected chocolate brown for his body and pottery for his face and wings. I cut small pieces from the blocks of clay and then kneaded it until it was soft and smooth. His face started as a ball that I flattened with my fingers and then I pinched him a few ears..

 I pushed the top of the pen into the clay to shape his eyes and I used just one side of the top of the pen to create his chest feathers. 
I made his eyes and his talons with yellow. His pupils are black and for both parts of the eyes I just rolled the clay into tiny balls. His nose is made from the color just orange, I used the moldeling tool to shape a triangle.  For his talons, made crescent shaped pieces and cut out the centers with the modeling tool.  I thought they looked like little fortune cookies :)  After I was happy with his looks I popped him on a cookie sheet and baked him at 275 degrees for 15 minutes and he hardened and is done.  
This is my lovely daughter Kaylee.  She is my shadow and quite artistic. In fact you be the judge of who made the cuter clay figure.  She loves penguins.... The idea for this little guy came right from  They have great directions.  He is a slight variation on the ones that they show.
HELP.... he  screams!! Put me together!
Time for a bit of sunbathing!! Getting ready to bake in the oven!
As you can see he has been eating his share of fish and is a little thicker than our owl friend, so he will bake for 30 min at 275 degrees.

This was a great little project that took very little time at all! We had a blast and it was so very easy!  Look for more projects like this one right here. Thanks for visiting and please feel free to comment or ask questions.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life Gets in the Way

As I started my blog the other day I thought I would write about all the things related to the crafts that I enjoy doing so much.  But life got in the way, just as I took my first step.  I have since decided that life will always be in the way, so rather than let it discourage me, I will include it as part of my journey.  As I am sure that anyone who reads this will also be dealing with the ridiculous battles that challenge us each day.

I had great visions of accomplishing lots of artistic creations this week.  Instead, because I live in Upstate NY, I am dealing with ice jams that have caused significant damage to my daughter's bedroom and my newly remodeled kitchen (that was a very recent DIY home improvement project).  So I have had fire restoration people, insurance adjusters, contractors, etc in an out of my house for the last few days!  Not quite what I had imagined for my vacation week from my real job.

The good news is that even with all of this going on, my Etsy site is doing well.  I have had several orders for my work. If you haven't had time to stop by my shop, please do so.  
Remember, that I love to do custom work, so please feel free to ask if there is something special that you are looking for!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Think I Can...I Think I Can...

I can and I did!!! In case you are wondering what I am referring to it is "Taking the First Step."   The first step is always the most difficult part.  But here I am, I have come far!!  I have figured out how to get this far setting up this blog!!! Now for the rest of the learning to begin...

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step........Let the journey begin, and here's to having a successful journey, filled with followers, friends and fun!

Writing has been something that I have always enjoyed doing.  I have not written anything in what feels like a million years.  I would say I am out of practice for sure.  I am optimistic in saying it's like learning to ride a bicycle ~ You never truly forget how. This time it is all different though. Now I'm connected. To who? Just me for now.  We all need to start somewhere, right?

I'd like to officially start this blog by saying hello!!  I'm glad your here. I join you to hop on board and follow me on what is sure to be an adventure!!

My name is Laurie and I live in New York. I'm ordinary, but extraordinary all wrapped in to one! My life is filled with many blessings.  To start with I have a wonderful husband and daughter.  Kevin is my husband and Kaylee is my daughter. I am sure I will refer to them from time to time! I also have two pets, a dog named Karlee who steals my heart everyday and a super cool blue Beta fish named Sapphire.  

Of course, when we start something new, we often do not know where we will end up.  I expect that I will cover many different topics in my blog.  My main purpose is to share my creative work and assist others in their experience. I have an Etsy site called BelieveinURdream.  You may visit it at 

At this point I have been dabbling if different types of crafts. I like to refer to myself as an evolving Artist!  I truly enjoy creating all kinds of things including rings, beaded jewelry, scrabble tile pendants, bottle cap magnets and jewelery, paintings, drawings, primitive crafts, working with modge podge, paper mache' etc.  As I make and create I will share with you!  I also have about a million and one other interests, that I am sure will be represented throughout my blog! Thanks for stopping by!!!

I don't care if you walk, skip, dance, run or drive....Follow me and become part of my adventure!!