When will the next postcard swap happen?

When I hosted the postcard swap last year it was so much fun. You can see the lovely postcards that were created and swapped HERE . And many asked right away, when the next postcard swap would happen. Back then I said I would host the next one in summer 2016. And that was my plan.

No, you didn’t miss that one. I have to apologize cause that swap never happened. I do feel bad that I wasn’t able to host it. But I do hope that you’ll understand …

If you’re not really that interested in my longish explanation why I couldn’t host it yet just skip to the end of this post and you’ll find when the next postcard swap actually will happen. :-)lovebird-ursula-markgraf284

It all turned out a bit differently. For one, summer school holidays this year were a full month earlier for us than usually. So in order to do it before the school holidays it would have been a spring postcard challenge. However, during that time I simply was struggling quite a bit with other things – health problems, family stuff, personal challenges – it all came together. In addition I had gone back to being a full-time mom in fall 2015 – no new baby ;-), just took my son out of kindergarten – so I had no regular work time. To be honest, I struggled to at least keep my business running a little. When you check back on my blog you will notice that before the blogpost two weeks ago – there was a LONG pause. I didn’t have time to write posts, or newsletters or create new products. I also didn’t create that mixed-media online-course yet, that I’m so itching to do.

(So if you have signed up to my free mixed-media workshop and were hoping for more … there certainly will be more. It just might take a bit of more time. But it’s one of my big goals to create more mixed media resources for you.)

But why wasn’t I telling you this earlier?

I was kinda hoping that once both my kids are in school I would be able to host the challenge in the fall. But now my kids have been in school for four weeks and I just have to admit to myself – and to you – that doing the challenge now isn’t possible. There is simply way too much work to catch up to.

So, long story short – I can’t host the swap in fall. I don’t thinks it’s a good idea to do it during Christmas time.  People will be very busy during that time anyway. I don’t wanna give up the swap completely though. And I don’t wanna make you wait until next summer. So …

The next postcard swap will be in February 2017.

What do you think?

Doesn’t it sound nice to have some cozy creative time after the holiday craze is over? Create some mail art – receive lovely mail? I hope you find that as enticing as me. :-)

If you are, stick around or sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already. I will post updates about the postcard swap in January 2017.

And please leave me a comment with your thoughts about the postcard swap!

Does February sound good? Or do you have other ideas? Should there be a theme?

Do you need some peace, love, and healing?

There haven’t been any new blog posts for quite a while. To be honest, this year so far has been rather rough. There have been many changes … many struggles. There still are. But I’m feeling a lot better now. I’m looking forward to the rest of summer, to fall … to creating new art, to writing.

I actually haven’t stopped creating over the last couple months. But creating has been rather inconsistent and I haven’t shared all my work. So I thought I share a few pieces now. Hope you enjoy.

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The first one is a piece I loved so much to create. To me this piece is extra-special as it was the first really big piece I created. It measures 62cm x 81cm (about 25 inch x 32 inch). I still can feel how wonderful it was and what a freedom I felt while creating it. And so much fun! It has sold rather quickly after I showed a few progress photos on instagram. I was and am grateful for the fact that now it is enjoyed by someone just as much as I enjoyed creating it.

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As I loved the process so much I created a little lotus-collection on smaller canvases. The pieces are called PEACE, LOVE and HEALING. And isn’t that what we need to mend ourselves? To live? To thrive?

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LOVE – mixed-media on canvas, available HERE

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PEACE – mixed-media on canvas, available HERE

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HEALING – mixed-media on canvas, available HERE

I’d be thrilled if these pieces put a smile on your face when you look at them – just as they did when I created them.

And of course I’m curious – which one of the lotus-collection is your favorite?

 

P.S. Of course those weren’t the only pieces I created during the last months. If you’re curious what else I came up with and what changes will happen around here in the future, be sure to check back or sign up for my free newsletter.

Gifting love (including DIY tutorial)

 

The cards read “You are my angel” in German.

Are you wondering what to give – gift – someone you love? Maybe your kids? Or a dear friend?

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This card reads “You are my sunshine” in German.

How about telling them what you really want them to know? How you feel about them?

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This card reads “You are strong” in German.

In a way that they can always read what you want to tell them.

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This card reads “Follow your heart” in German.

Or maybe gifting them your “truths”. Or simply little messages you want to share with them?

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This card reads “You are my star” in German.

For Christmas I made both my kids some “message cards”, basically cards with little messages I want them to always remember.

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This card reads “You are my treasure/ my dearest” in German.

I thought I share a few of them – maybe it inspires you to create something similar for your kids or another loved one.

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This card reads “You are my star” in German.

I made these cards similarly as I made my affirmation cards. If you want to you can find a free online-mini-workshop for my mixed media affirmation cards HERE.
The process is pretty much the same. Just instead of adding affirmations I added little messages personalized for my kids.

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This card reads “You have a special gift” in German.

You can gift these anytime – for a birthday, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s day … or just a regular Monday. ;-)

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This card reads “Let your inner light shine” in German.

You can make one card. Or you can make MANY!

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This card reads “I love you” in German.

You can make them in a color scheme, or all in the same color – or in a rainbow of colors. Whichever you like most!

 

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This card reads “You are a miracle” in German.

You can make a big batch all at once … or spend a few weeks making one card a week.

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This card reads “I’m so happy that you exist” in German.

Which message would you want to create for a loved one?

P.S. And of course it’s perfectly okay to make such “message cards” for yourself as well. We all have some messages that we need to hear again and again, don’t we?

Rituals for a new year

How do you feel about the start of a new year? Do you get excited?

As you probably know – I LOVE new beginnings. And therefore I’m always pretty excited when a new year starts. However, I don’t really celebrate the year with a big party. I rather like to start it quietly, taking time for myself and for reflecting.

I thought that I will share my little rituals that I did for the new year 2016. Just a little warning – I didn’t do all of this on New Year’s Eve. I kinda spread it out over a few days … Just so you know. :-)

A workbook for the new year

One of the things that I love to do is to reflect on the last year and on the year to come with a workbook. I created my own in German – and if you happen to be German or read German, feel free to check it out HERE. But there are many English resources out there. I list just three here for you to get started. If you have other favourite resources, feel free to tell me about them in the comment section. Here are three wonderful resources:

New Year’s revolution kit by Do what you love

Unraveling the year by Susannah Conway

Create your shining year by Leonie Dawson

Word of the year

I also decided on my word of the year – as I do every year. If you’re not familiar with the “word of the year” – in short it’s a word that you choose for yourself that will guide you through the year. If you think – which word could it be? It’s usually the one that comes to mind first. ;-)
For 2016 my word of the year will be FLY. And I even created a visual reminder for myself. Hey, last year I created my art piece to remind me of my word of the year in September. So this is a BIG achievement! :-)

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I got the idea for this piece from a workshop I took more than a year ago. It was an online-course by the lovely artist Danielle Donaldson. Now I just gotta frame it so I can hang and enjoy it.

Visioncards

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If you happen to have read my blogpost on New Year’s rituals last year, then you know, that I also always create a vision board. However, this year I felt like trying something new. I really wanted to incorporate all the things that are important to me this year into my visionboard. So that would include … three personal goals, three career goals and three feelings. That’s ALOT for one visionboard. So after quite a bit of thinking I decided to make visioncards instead.

So, what’s a visioncard?

Well, basically it’s a tiny visionboard for just one topic or theme, in my case one goal or one feeling. Or, that’s what I decided a visioncard would be. I  have no idea if there is an actual definition for visioncards. ;-) I just wanted to create tiny visionboards that are smaller and just for one theme … and called them visioncards.

I figured this way I can display the visioncard that is most important to me at the moment or even display several, if I feel like it. Honestly, I don’t know if this is gonna work as well or better than a visionboard, but I figured … I’m just gonna try it. And if you wanna try it, too, all you need is:

-cardboard as a background for your visioncard – cerealboxes or something alike should work great
-cut outs from magazines – pics and words that resonate with you – I actually sorted mine into different sleeves according to my goals, feelings, so it would be easier for me once I start arranging and glueing
-glue – decoupage glue works great – something like mod podge, but you can also use a regular glue stick
-optional: acrylic paints, brushes, marker, pencils …
-candle, tea, nice music – and a piece of chocolate also doesn’t hurt ;-)

Here you can see how I created my first visioncard – which is for a career goal that I have, to host my first show with my art work:

And here I’m creating my second visioncard, for a personal goal of mine, to create my own little haven:

I hope you enjoyed watching. Just for inspiration … I also made these visioncards:

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Now I’m curious – how did you celebrate the beginning of a new year? Do you have small – or big – rituals?

 
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You’re a star – mixed-media star ornament tutorial

A little while ago I made a bunch of origami stars out of old book pages.

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Even though I really liked those stars I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I add a bit of paint, a few stitches with my sewing machine and some words. ;-) So I finally tried it ….

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… and loved it so much, that I made some more.

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I’m planning to use some of them as tags on Christmas gifts, some will go on a little Christmas tree and the rest will probably looks sweet in a window.

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If you wanna create your own mixed-media stars, you can. Just for you I filmed how I made them.

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But first, here’s a list of what I used. Of course, please feel free to swap out stuff or simply use what you have on hand. This is meant just as an inspiration.

List of materials:

-origami star made out of old book pages, instructions on how to fold the star can be found HERE
-gesso (alternatively white acrylic paint)
-sewing machine
-silver acrylic marker or acrylic paint
-white acrylic paint
-materials for mark making like old credit card, little tube cap, piece of drinking straw or similar
-decoupage glue or matte medium (if you don’t have either you can use any clear drying glue)
-printed out words or similar, scraps of fabric
-little silver stars or similar decoration
-button
-wire
-little glass bead(s)

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And this is how I made the stars:

I’m wishing you lots of fun making stars! If you make some, I’d love to see them! :-)

And if you have any questions, just ask in the comments!

 
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Christmas card writing as calming ritual – with 5 tips and my Christmas card collection

I love Christmas. And I love writing Christmas cards. The first one has always been that way. The latter … not.

Eversince I was a child I loved to write. Letters, cards, diary, everything. Still, there have been a few years when I did not write any Christmas cards at all. Why? Cause it was additional stress in an already stressful time of year.

A few years ago I started to say NO alot more often during Christmas time. No, I won’t bake 20 different kinds of cookies. No, I won’t attend every Christmas party. No, I won’t go to every Christmas market or fun sounding activity with my kids.

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Christmas card “Calm Christmas” – available HERE

Interestingly at about the same time I started saying YES to writing Christmas cards again. :-) Why?

Cause it turned into a little ritual that helped me to be more calm during Christmas time. Slowing down. Enjoying the moment. Fountain pen in my hand, steaming tea in front of me, cuddled up in a blanket, candle burning … A few minutes just for me and the recipient of a card in a busy time. :-)

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Christmas card “Angel hug” – available HERE

Even though I don’t write a huge number of cards, I still never write all cards in one sitting. I take my time. And each time I sit down to write a few cards, I get more into the Christmas spirit.

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Christmas card “Christmas hug” – available HERE

If you wanna create a little calming ritual with your Christmas card writing for yourself – here are a few suggestions:

1.Start early to get everything to gether that you’ll need – cards, stamps, address labels, favourite pens, stickers or other embellishments, tea, cookies, chocolate … ;-)

2.Only use things that you truly deeply enjoy. Use your favourite mug for your tea. And have a cup of that special tea, you’re saving for special days. Light a candle. Use cards that you enjoy – the picture and the feel of them. Write with a pen you love.

3.Have everything you need for your little Christmas card writing break in one place. Nothing disturbes the mood like having to search for that one pen, the stamps or the ink … while your tea is getting cold.

4.If you like involve your family and create a little family tradition. I personally like to have the writing time just for myself. But my kids love to help sticking stamps and address labels onto the envelopes.

5.Take your time. There are probably only few people that enjoy the prospect of writing 30 cards at once. No matter how much tea is involved. ;-) So, only do as many cards as you truly enjoy. I for example tend to write around three cards in one sitting. If you’re rushing it, it’s no fun – and definitely not calming – anymore.

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Christmas card “ChristmasTREE” – available HERE

Addtional idea:

You can try to find something that will make your Christmas card writing time extra-special for YOU. Maybe you’ve been meaning to learn handlettering or calligraphy? Wouldn’t that be the perfect time to do so? You’d definitely have lots of opportunity to practise. Do you enjoy being creative with others? Check if you can join a workshop in your town on making your own Christmas cards. Do you like to paint, draw, take photos … all those things you can bring into your Christmas card writing. They will not only add a wonderful extra-personal touch to your cards, but will also make the time even more enjoyable for you.

And if you try all these things and you still can’t stand writing Christmas cards?

Then I hereby give you permission to not write any. The world won’t stop turning – I promise. ;-) It’s your life and your time. You are the only one who decides how you wanna spend it.

But if you are in the mood for some Christmas card writing and could use some special cards, I have a special offer for you in my shop this week:

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If you buy FOUR sets of Christmas cards (each contains 5 folded cards that you can pick) – then I will gift you a fifth set. All you gotta do to take me up on that offer is order 4 sets until the 22nd of November, 2015 and pick the cards you want. (While ordering you just tell me how many of which cards in the comment field.)

Now I’m curious, do you write Christmas cards? Do you enjoy it – or is it a dreaded must?

Do you have any additional ideas for me and my readers how one can make Christmas card writing a calming ritual?

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Wanna see the most amazing postcard-mail art?

Omg, finally the long awaited post about the postcard swap. First of all I wanna say a BIG BIG BIG thank you -again!- to every single person who participated. Yes, it was ALOT of work for me to organize. And yes, I totally underestimated how much work it would be. *laugh* But looking at all the gorgeous cards and artwork going through my hands – it was totally worth it!

THANK YOU!

I really deeply hope that every single person had as much fun and joy participating as I did while I sorted and sent off all these wonderful artworks.

I actually tried to take a photo of all the gorgeous postcards spread out on my living room floor – but … well, my living room was too small! If more people participate next year, I will need a bigger house to host the swap. *laugh*
So, here’s a photo of the first batch being sent off. I can for sure say that I have never in my life sent off so many postcards at once. :-)

Postcard swap 2015 by Ursula Markgraf

Here a few fun facts about this postcard swap:

– more than 70 people signed up
– 50 people actively participated in the swap
– 3 envelopes – so far – have not made it to me :-(

So in the end all in all I sent off 188 postcards, of which 47 were handwritten by me.

Participants came from the

-Germany
-Switzerland
-Helvetia
-USA
-Australia
-Great Britain
-Slovakia
-Canada
-The Netherlands and
-Hawaii (Okay, I know Hawaii is not a separate country. But I still thought it’s kinda cool!)

And now for the best part – here are a few of the gorgeous and wonderful postcards that were swapped. I only put those cards in the gallery, where people explicitely agreed that I could show the cards. If I made a mistake or forgot to show a card even though you agreed – please just email me.

Let’s put it this way – I had no idea what I was getting myself into with the blogpost idea. *laugh* Next time I do the swap each participant will automatically agree that I can show the card – that way I won’t have to double-check 47 emails to see whether someone agreed or not. ;-)
The writing up of this blogpost actually was WAY more time-consuming than the actual postcard swapping bit. (And that took me two days.) So, if you find your card and want anything changed – let me know. If you don’t find your card, but would like me to show it – let me know. :-)

(You can just click on a photo and it will enlarge and you can go through it like a slide show … if you want to.)

Aren’t they amazing? And, many envelopes actually had more than three cards in them. The kindness and creativity of all the participants just warmed my heart!

Of course I will do this again. :-)

I think I will make it a yearly “thing” from now on. :-) I’m not entirely certain yet when I will host it next year. Probably a bit earlier than this year, so I can give people more time. I was quite surprised myself how long some letters took to actually get here.

If you wanna participate next time, make sure to sign up to my newsletter so you won’t miss it. Just click HERE to sign up. :-)

How to create mixed media postcards (Video)

Mixed-media postcard tutorial video with Ursula Markgraf

I finally managed to film and edit my first ever video. And here it is:

I hope it inspires you to get creative!

If you have any questions or would like to show me your creations, just leave a comment! :-)

And of course I’d be thrilled to get any feedback!

And if you’d like more videos like this – please sign up to my newsletter. :-)

 
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Celebrate life everyday – mixed media step-by-step photo tutorial

Today I have a mini-photo-tutorial for you on how to make a mixed-media postcard. I hope you enjoy it. :-)

Quite some time ago I participated in a postcard swap which I really enjoyed. The theme for the swap was “Celebrate”. As I loved creating my card back then so much I decided to create a similar card and share the process of making it. This is the finished card:

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As you see, this time with a tea cup. I LOVE tea. And to me a good cup of tea is a perfect way to celebrate my life. Every day. :-) Wanna make your own? This is what you need:

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Of course you can use any other art supplies you have around. And you certainly do not have to use everything I put in the picture. This is an awesome project for playing with what you have and like. Anything goes. :-) When you have all your supplies ready, you create a background. (I created two. I love creating backgrounds.)

For the backgrounds I just added some collage bits, used water color crayons, my chalks some white acrylic paint, some distress ink and some spray tint. When you have your backgrounds ready you need to print out some words. (Or write them down with a permanent pen.) I printed the words “Celebrate life every day”.
You will also need a cutout of a cup. You can either use paper scraps or old book pages – which I LOVE. You could also paint one onto some thick paper and cut that out. If you make several cups, play around until you find the one that you like best on your background.

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Then arrange your words and your cup on your background and – glue them down.

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In the next step color your word paper strips with some water color crayons or chalks. Outline them to make them stand out more. Also outline your cup and add a shadow around your cup.

step4_MG_2533 KopieLast step is to add some steam – if you like – and maybe some fun embellishments. I added a tiny little polymer clay heart to my cup. Cause I LOOOOOOVE my tea. :-)

ursula-markgraf-mixed-media-step5_MG_2536 Kopie KopieHave fun making your own “Celebrate” card!

And if you show off your card, comment and leave a link to it in the comments. I’d love to stop by and take a peek.

P.S. I’m planning to post more mixed-media tutorials in the future, so if you enjoy them, hop on the list for my lovely emails so you don’t miss any:

 
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Postcard swap 2015 – sign-up NOW!!!

Do you love receiving snailmail? To me a sweet postcard is like a little miraculous gift … it brightens my day, puts a smile on my face and just makes me happy. If you feel similarly, then the postcard swap is just the thing for you.
The postcard swap last year was so incredibly fun, that it was clear to me that I had to do it again. So, here’s the 2nd round. Can’t wait!!!

Postcard swap Ursula MarkgrafThis is how it will work:

Each participant sends  me (in Germany!) an envelope with:
THREE selfmade postcards with a little message on the back
(you choose whether you’d like to include your return address or not)
FOUR sticky address labels with YOUR postal address on it
(please write it so that it is okay for international delivery)

You will also have to send 3,70€ to my paypal-account for postage stamps (details will be in the email after you sign up).

One postage stamp for international postcards costs 0,80€ here in Germany. From your money I will buy four so I can send four postcards to you. Yes, the money is slightly more than 4 x 0,80€ – you’re a smart cookie! ;-) The difference is to account for the paypal fees that I will have to pay when you put money into my account (1,9% + 0,35€ per transaction).
I’m just explaining it, so you can see – your money is only going toward the postage stamps for your postcards. I’m not earning anything on this. :-)

(If you are living IN Germany, just put 4 postcard stamps in the envelope.)

After I receive all those postcards and the money/ stamps I will SWAP all those cards and add a card of my own on top. So I will be mailing out four postcards from four different people to each participant. This way I can make sure, everyone who did send postcards also gets postcards. :-)
Of course I can’t account for the mail service loosing mail, which does happen. However , I think that it’s VERY unlikely that the mail service would loose all four postcards that go to one person! ;-)

Postcard swap Ursula Markgraf

So, how does that sound? Interested?

If you wanna participate in the postcard swap you have to SIGN UP until the the 30th of July, 2015 – which is WORLDPOSTCARD DAY. Nice timing, ey. ;-)

To sign up all you have to do is click below and sign into that mailing list and and you will get all further information via email. Don’t forget to confirm the link in the confirmation email!

With signing in you will be put onto my regular bi-weekly newsletter list after the swap. However, if you do not enjoy my emails you can always unsubscribe after the postcard swap is over.

If you are already on my list, please sign up again as I will send the swap information only to this specific list. :-)

Postkartentausch Ursula Markgraf 2015

Here are all the important dates:

– SIGN-UP for postcard swap until the 30th of July, 2015
– envelopes and postage money via paypal have to reach me until the 30th of August, 2015
– all postcards will be send out again until the 15th of September, 2015

So during September you can be looking forward to receiving four different postcards!

Ready to sign up?

Sorry, sign-up is closed. The next swap will probably be held in summer 2016. Sign up to my newsletter, to not miss it. :-)

Postkartentausch Ursula Markgraf 2015