Free affirmation cards for you! (free pdf-download)

Affirmations about selfcare - free to download - by Ursula Markgraf

So, I finally have a new goodie for you. How is that?

I created a new sheet of affirmation cards around the topic of self-care.

You can download them for free HERE.

(Just right-click on the sentence or on the image below and use save-as.) Then you can print the pdf and use it.

Affirmations about selfcare - free to download - by Ursula Markgraf

And if you are new to my site and love the free affirmation printable, you can download another one HERE.

Like them? Please consider sharing! You would make the day of an artist SO much brighter! No kidding. To make it easier you can use this tweet(Just click on it, change the text if you like and tweet.)

Or just use the share buttons below or on the side of this post. THANKS so much! *big hug*

Wishing you a wonderful day and hope these affirmation cards are helpful to you.

Let me know in the comments!

 
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Dance in the moonlight

The last couple days I have been working on my first ever video about my little German book I had created.

(Or rather had my husband working on it and was trying to be super helpful by commenting on everything that I did not like yet.)

But … as you are probably not too interested in a German book  – or video about it ;-) – I was thinking what could I share with you. And one of my fav quotes came to mind.

(I hope I’m not the only one seemingly addicted to quotes!)

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Oprah Winfrey [click to tweet]

Love that quote as much as I do? Click on it to tweet it!

Dance in the moonlight - mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

 Mixed-media art print “Moonlight” – available HERE

You know, quotes are awesome. But in the end they are just beautiful words …. if we do not act upon them.

So go on, celebrate your life! Today! :-)

And don’t forget to dance in the moonlight. ;-)

P.S. The next video that I create will be a workshop video … so stay tuned if you are keen on videos. ;-) Might take me a bit … but it will happen! That’s a promise. :-)

 
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What you definitely should do TODAY!

Mixed-media postcard tutorial video with Ursula Markgraf

This is a little reminder to up your selfcare. :-)

Over the last weeks I was working on a project where I had to think about selfcare ALOT.

I just published a little booklet in German that’s all about selfcare. If you do read German or are just curious, you can take a peek HERE

selbstachtsamkeit-ursula-markgraf_cover

But the thing is, as the deadline drew closer and there was still so much to be done … what did I drop first? Even though I was reading, writing and thinking about it all the time? Of course. My selfcare. And what happened?
I did not feel good, I got even a bit sick, and my mood was of course nowhere near where it should be. I did not enjoy life, bitched at my husband and kids, and simply did not feel like my usual self. (I really hate that feeling.)

Art print “Tree” – to remind you of your selfcare – new in the shop :-) 

Lesson?

There is no right time for selfcare. It is ALWAYS time for selfcare. Selfcare is not the luxury you add on top of a good day.

Selfcare is the underlying foundation of everything else.

Yes, I know. I probably will have to re-learn this lesson over and over and over again. Cause even though I know by now how important selfcare is for me, my well-being and ultimatley everyone around me – I still forget.

I still work too much or too late. Or both.

I still eat in a rush cause I want to finish something for work and did not take the time for lunch that I should.

I still skip my yoga or meditation when I think I’m short on time.

I still try to “push through” when there is alot to do.

Yesterday I stopped. Even though I had a gazillion things to do – I took a break – or rather – I slowed down. I meditated first thing in the morning, I ate my lunch outside in the yard on the swing, I read a chapter in my fav book on my way to pick up my son instead of doing work on the train … and you know what? Yes, I did not get everything done that I wanted to.

BUT – noone died! Everything is still fine. AND when I went to bed in the evening I actually felt good. Not completely exhausted and edgy and irritable. But good.

So, this is my gentle reminder for you to take better care of yourself today. TODAY!

What will you do? Tell me in the comments?

Will you drink an extra glass of water? Sit for 10 minutes in the sun? Or just stop working early? Can not wait to read your comments!

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“Play time” every day? That’s how I do it.

First of all, what IS play time.

It is rather simple as the name suggests it is all about PLAY. Your only goal is PLAYING. Nothing else. The product or result should not be important. You should just enjoy the process!

Do you have "play time" every day?

I believe play time is important for everyone, even – or especially – creative professionals. Spending all day producing creative things can leave you kinda pumped out. You do need to recharge your creativity and just play. Also, it simply is a very good way to care for yourself and make yourself feel good.

I actually developed a list of different things that I do for play time and depending on how much time I have that day I choose one of these. More than a year ago I wrote a guestpost for April from Blacksburg Belle where I shared that list. I totally intended to share it here as well … but I forgot. :-( During the last weeks I was working on a project about selfcare which reminded me of the importance of play time AND … my guestpost. So, if you wanna see what my play time looks like – here it is *tadaaa*:

Why you need play time and ideas how to fill it

Leave April a nice comment while you over there. And once you are back here …

I’d love to know what are your favourite ways to fill your play time?

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If you had a wish …

what would you want from me?

Lately I am thinking about creating a new freebie for the secret page. But … well, there is a “little” problem. If you do know me a bit you might guess it. I am having WAY TOO MANY ideas what I could create for you. So I was listing them down and trying to decide what I should do. But, as much as I love coming up with gazillion ideas, I hate making decisions. I am THE worst decision maker EVER.

So I figured, hey, I am creating this for YOU! So, why not ask you what you would like?!

"Dream" - mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

Art print “Dream” available  HERE

So if you had one wish, what would you want me to create for you?

Here are some ideas to get you started. But if nothing from these ideas sounds like “IT” to you, feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. :-)

1. More printable affirmation cards so you have a larger variety to choose from.

2. An online workshop that shows how to create your own affirmation cards using mixed-media techniques. So you end up with custom-made affirmation cards, paint-stained fingers and hours of fun! :-)

3. A free chapter from my upcoming ebook on how to live YOUR life. I am working on the German version right now, so this one would take a bit longer …

4.  A little online mixed-media workshop that get’s you creating. Something else but affirmation cards. ;-)

"Teapot house" - mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

What would you like? This is your chance to make a wish. :-)

Can not wait to read what you would want!

 
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Why do I create what I do?

Quite some time ago I took part in an artist bloghop, where one question I had to answer was: Why do I create what I do?

And to be honest, I get asked this question quite alot. In different versions. With “What is mixed media art?”  and “How did you end up doing this?” it is dfintely in the top 3 of questions I get asked.

Why do I create what I do?

So, why do I create what I do?

Because I want to change the world. Even if it is only for one person.
Because I believe that each person has to live their life THEIR way, in order to be happy.
Because I am certain that everybody can live their dream but we often simply forget our dreams or where discouraged in the past.
But figuring out what makes YOU happy is the only way to live a happy life. Which everyone deserves!

"Trust" -mixed-media art by Ursula Markgraf

I create in order to remind women of their dreams. I create to remind YOU of your dreams. I create mixed-media art pieces. I create sketches. I create books. I create postcards. And I am certain many more things will follow. I create because I love creating – it is what I just HAVE to do – and it helps me to tell women that their dreams are imporrtant. That it is important to listen to them. And that it is not selfish to follow them. That you need to find your own definition of success in order to be happy. And that it is possible to live your life according to your own beliefs.  I want to encourage you to take your life into your own hands. I want to inspire and empower you to follow your own dreams.

Just recently I started to re-write an ebook about how to create a wonderful year for yourself, which I had published in German in January. I wanted to make it better and put together a questionnaire so I could figure out what customers would like to see differently or would want improved. There also was a field for “Other feedback” and in one of them I read:

„Your workbook, dear Ursula, has given my life a new direction. I am now clear on what I want and what I do not want and I even created directions on how to get there. This is something that no money can buy and I am endlessly thankful to you.”

(This is my translation of it as the original feedback left was of course in German. But I tried to stick to the actual words as closely as I could.)

The questionnaire was filled out anonymusly, so I have no idea who wrote this. But while I had tears in my eyes when I read it I thought to myself – THIS is exactly why I do what I do!

So thanks to whoever wrote this – it made my day and showed me that what I do can make a difference. And I am endlessly thankful for knowing that!

"Hug" - mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

Now, I’d love to know – what do you do? And why do you do it?

Did you ever have such a moment, where it was just crystal clear to you WHY you are doing what you do?

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Wanna know what you are?

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Valentine’s day. But I do love to make people feel special. Putting a smile on someone’s face is just wonderful. Telling someone with a little something that you care. Showing someone that they are appreciated.

"Du bist ..." Postkarten-Kollektion von Ursula Markgraf

That is why I created my new postcard collection with some of my mixed-media art on them. To tell someone with a little card that they are loved. (The writing on the left side of the art piece reads “Du bist geliebt” which is “You are loved” in German.)

geliebt-ursula-markgraf-mixed-media

To remind them that they are worthy. (“Du bist wertvoll” in German.)

ursula-markgraf-du-bist-wertvoll-600-2

To make sure that they never forget that they are free. (“Du bist frei” in German.)

frei-ursula-markgraf-mixed-media

What do you think of my square postcards?

"Du bist ..." Postkarten-Kollektion von Ursula Markgraf

Of course you can see more pictures of the postcards in the SHOP. And as the postcards are brandnew they will be available for a reduced introduction price until the 21st of February, 2015.

Who would you want to send one to?

 
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Have a wonderful year 2015 (plus ressources)

A new year started …. and I am a lover of new beginnings. I love the feeling of endless possibilities, that nothing is set yet, all open. Explains probably why I love Mondays, moving and new notebooks. ;-)

And even though most people do not share my Monday-love, most of you probably agree that the beginning of a new year has some sort of magic to it. Many people start a new year with resolutions. Unfortunately that has never worked for me. I always ended up not feeling good about myself and about what I had achieved cause usually I would find my list with resolutions sometime mid-year and realize that I had worked on none of them. :-( A tad frustrating.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Steve JobsAt some point I simply gave up and ditched resolutions for good. But by now I  have found some awesome alterantives – rituals that work for me and that help me to create a wonderful year:

1. Word of the year

Two years ago I tried something new. I decided on a “word of the year” which stayed with me the whole year. Last year I wrote a blogpost about it. For me this works really great as it is alot easier to implement than resolutions. And it is alot easier to remember, too. :-)
My “word of the year” for 2015 will be EASE. What is your word of the year?

Mixed media "Brave" by Ursula Markgraf

2. A workbook or planner for the new year

Last year I tried something else that was new for me. From a friend I got a wonderful workbook which helped me to plan out goals, to write down ideas, wishes, dreams. I loved this idea so much. I also used the wonderful free New Years Revolution kit by Do what you love. You can find this year’s version HERE. Go download it and try it out.

3. A visionboard for 2015

Last year I also created a vision board for 2014. You can see it below. I LOVE creating visionboards. You can make them big or small. I even created one in a notebook. You can create them for the whole year or for a project. They are so much fun to make and such a strong and powerful visual reminder. I hung my visionboard in my bedroom, so I can see my dreams each time I wake up or I fall asleep. :-)

Visionboard von Ursula Markgraf

If you would like a bit more instruction on how to create a visionboard you can check out this offer by the lovely artist Desiree East – she will lead an online-workshop on how to create your own visionboard January 11th.

So, now you have three ritual- ideas that you can use to jump-start your new year – having a “word of the year”, working in a planner for the new year and creating a visionboard. Which ritual do you like best?

Or do you have another ritual that you use to make certain that 2015 will be YOUR year?

 
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Favourite Christmas cookies – Ginger cinnamon cookies

I love Christmas and I love Advent and of course I also love … Christmas cookies. :-)
During the last couple days I was baking with my kids and these ginger cinnamon cookies are one of our favorites. And since I was asked for the recipe a couple times already I will be sharing it here and now. Lucky you. ;-)

Ginger Cinnamon Cookies

*gluten-free *refined-sugar free
(If you would love to save and print the pdf of this recipe, please keep scrolling.)

ginger-cinnamon-cookies-ursula-markgrafIngredients:

3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup coconut sugar (granulated)
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
1/2 cup chocolate chips – or more ;-)

ginger-cinnamon-cookies-ursula-markgraf_MG_6426

1. Stir together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.

2. In another bowl beat butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. (If your sugar is in pressed form – “cakes of sugar” – chop or grind finely before adding to the butter.)

3. Add egg and vanilla to butter mixture.

4. Add flour mix to butter mix and stir together.

5. Add chocolate chips and stir until well incorporated.

6. Chill about 1 hour.

7. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough to 1/4inch thickness. Cut out cookies.

8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned.

ginger-cinnamon-cookies-ursula-markgraf_MG_6433

Tips and alternative suggestions:

-sugar:
In this recipe I use a mixture out of granulated coconut sugar and pressed palm sugar (sugar cakes). As the palm sugar is pressed I simply use a knife to cut it into small pieces – kinda like cutting up chocolate – and measure it then. Once I mix it together with the butter I mix it really long – so it starts “blending” a little. It does not dissolve completely though. But my kids totally love the tiny caramelized sugar blobs in the cookies, so it does not really matter. :-)
You can also make the cookies just using granulated palm sugar or brown sugar.

ginger-cinnamon-cookies-ursula-markgraf_MG_6431

-vanilla extract:
We make our own vanilla extract out of used vanilla pods. Kinda like recycling. ;-) You can also simply scratch out a vanilla pod or use vanilla sugar.

-gluten-free flour mix:
We mix our own blend: 600g rice flour, 250g potato flour, 150g tapioca starch, 2 tsp carob gum, 4 tsp psyllium husk

-chocolate-chips:
I try to use chocolate that has no refined sugar added to it (and no milk for that matter). Here in Germany that is not easy. I do order online or buy raw chocolate. But for baking I sometimes also buy really dark chocolate that has only very little sugar added to it and I prefer the ones that use raw cane sugar. I do not usually like eating really dark chocolate but in the already sweet cookies it does blend in nicely. As those chocolates come in bars I just chop them up in small pieces. Done.

ginger-cinnamon-cookies-ursula-markgraf_MG_6453

I hope you will have alot of fun baking. And in order to make it even easier – here is the recipe in pdf-form (letter-size), so you can just download and print. If you prefer A4-size, download HERE.

Ginger cinnamon cookie recipe by Ursula Markgraf

Just right-click, choose save-as, save – print – done. :-)

Happy baking! And what are your favourite Christmas cookies?

 
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