Live your dream – a reminder to download

The year is coming to a close and Christmas is just around the corner. At the moment I feel rather discontent. There is still so much I wanted to do – so much I had planned differently. It’s not always easy to live with your own ideas of how life should be. ;-)

Reflection – my new year ritual

Feeling like this a reality check and loving reflection are such a blessing. I can’t wait to have some quiet time between the Christmas holidays and the New Year to look back over 2016 – and look forward to the new year to come. Even just thinking about this … taking the time to close this year and start a new one with intention, makes me happy.

"The biggest adventure ..." - Quote by Oprah Winfrey

Wise words by women

Another thing that always helps me when I’m having a tough time – quotes by wonderful women. I love quotes. Maybe you know that already. And this quote by Oprah Winfrey speaks especially to me at the moment.

Living your dream – an adventure

Yes, living your dream isn’t necessarily easy. It’s not like walking on clouds. But it is the biggest adventure you can take!

Reading this – thinking about it – automatically makes me view life in a different way. Makes me view the past year in a different way. Yes, this year hasn’t gone as planned. There was alot of turmoil, chaos and change. But – it is an adventure.

And adventures aren’t perfect and predictable. But they’re worth it!

And in order for you – and me ;-) – to remember this, you can download this quote as a mini-poster in A4 size – just right-click on the picture above and “save as”. Or you can download the quote in small – to use as affirmation card, for your planner, diary, (art) journal or to give away. For this version right-click the image below and “save as”.

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I’m wishing you a merry Christmas, wonderful holidays and all the best for the new year 2017!

 

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An Advent Angel just for you (free download)

Yesterday we celebrated St. Nicholas’ day. Do you celebrate that day?

(If you don’t know about that day at all, you can read a very short description of it in this blogpost.)

I love that day and the story about St. Nicholas alot. And eversince we added the tradition of putting cookies and milk out for St. Nicholas and his horse – I love it even more. ;-) I’d actually prefer tea to milk, but oh well …

And you know what – St. Nicholas left a little present FOR YOU with me. Look! A little angel! Just for you!

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To download right-click HERE and choose “save as”.

The little angel wants to remind you that during Advent- and Christmas time you should take good care of yourself. If even angels need to meditate in order to stay sane during Christmas season – why should we think that we can do it without “help”?

No, you don’t have to meditate, if that isn’t your thing. Even though I would highly recommend to anyone to try it. ;-) But you should definitely take time for yourself.

Time to figure out what is really important to you during Christmas.

Time to listen to yourself. How are you doing?

Time to decide what you wanna say “Yes” to and what you would rather say “No” to.

Time for selfcare.

Time to just enjoy the moment. Read a few lines in a good book, take a hot bath, have a good cup of tea …

A few minutes a day can make such a difference and can help to break free from all the rush that Advent time often brings. And that’s what this angel wants to remind you of.

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To download right-click HERE and choose “save as”

You can print out your angel and put it in your wallet, calendar or on your mirror. So every time you see it you are reminded to take a bit time for yourself.

Or you can also send it via email or on your social networks to your friends to wish them a wonderful Advent- or Christmastime. Just as you like.

And if you’d rather send “real” angel postcards or cards – there are still a few in the SHOP. ;-)

So, do you have a St. Nicholas tradition?

 
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38 wonderful women, that you should know

On Friday I will celebrate my birthday and turn … *tadaaaaaaaaaa* 38! And in order to celebrate this here on my blog – cause you know, you gotta celebrate properly! ;-) – I have prepared a very special blogpost.

Looking back over the last few years makes me super happy and proud of what I have accomplished. However, I do know that I didn’t achieve it completely by myself. I had help from many women – some helped me knowingly, some didn’t know about it. Among those were the following 38 women that I want to introduce to you.

Some of these women I am friends with. Some I only know from the internet. With some I already drank coffee. Others I only know because I read their books or bought their courses.  All women come from different areas of work, different places in the world, different backgrounds – but they have one thing in common (apart from having influenced me in a big way) – they are simply WONDERFUL! And I think you should get to know them. So this is a blogpost that is full of female power!

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“Summoning my powers” – mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf, available HERE

So, let’s start! May I introduce you to:

(Simply click the name of each woman to reach her website.)

I do spend a lot of my time on the internet around English speaking people, however, I do live in Germany and obviously also met and still meet many amazing German women. In order for you to easily see which links go to German-only sites, I put a G for German behind the name. :-)

1. Marie Forleo 

A few years ago I enrolled in Marie’s b-school and I can’t even begin to explain how much that has changed for me. I can honestly say doing her program changed my life. And most women in this blogpost – or even all? – I only met of her, her program and/or her community.

2. Danielle LaPorte 

Her “A credo for making it happen” accompanied me for months, actually year. There were times when I listened to it daily before I started to work. I still have it on my desktop to this day and when I feel super frustrated I listen to it and get inspired again. I also read her book The Fire Starter Sessions and have The Desire Map: A guide to creating goals with soul on my wishlist.

3. April Bowles-Olin from Blacksburg Belle 

Without April I probably would have never “met” Marie. And I probably also wouldn’t have bought the book by Kris Carr (see further below). Both things lead to huge changes in my life. Apart from that April is also a huge inspiration for building a biz your way.

4. Denise Duffield Thomas 

I learned a lot from Denise about money. If you wanna work on your money issues – and yes, everyone has money issues – then click on her name and check out her website or read her awesome book “Get rich, lucky bitch”.

5. Jo Ebisujima 

If organizing isn’t your thing, then you need Jo. And if organizing is your thing, then you still can learn a thing or two from Jo on how to improve it.  :-) She’s just awesome and super inspiring. I love how she just get’s stuff  done.

6. Megan Flatt 

Megan actually hooked me on meditating. Back when I first “met” her she had a 3-minute meditation for moms as a freebie. I loved that audio so much I listened to it daily for quite some time – and I was surprised how much it helped me. Later I increased my meditation time to longer guided meditations – and I’m meditating daily ever since. As far as I know she doesn’t offer this meditation freebie anymore but if you’re a mom with a biz check out her site as she got heaps of tips around that.

7. Oprah 

Pure inspiration. Her work, her life – everything. I especially love listening to the guided meditations that she recorded together with Deepak Chopra.

8. Susan Cain 

Because of Susan I found out that I’m introverted and started to understand myself much better. If you think you might be an introvert I highly recommend that you watch her TED-talk “The power of introverts”. If you don’t think you’re introverted I still recommend to watch that talk. You most likely have introverted people somewhere around you and knowing what it means to be introverted will help you better understand them. Also, even if you don’t suspect it you still might be an introvert. Often our idea of “introvert” is not quite accurate. (This was the case for me.) And no, being introverted and being shy are not the same thing! I’m actually not shy at all. ;-)

I also can’t wait to read her book “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”.

9 . Christie Halmick from Jewels Branch 

Christie taught me a lot about how to create gorgeous looking pdfs in Word. I’m pretty certain that without her my  e-book (sorry, in German only) wouldn’t exist. By now I use Indesign to create the e-book every year, but the first one was in Word. And if there hadn’t been the first one, there probably wouldn’t have been a second one. Her pdf-Workshop truly is just amazing!

10. Martha Beck 

If you know me already for a while you probably know that I love Martha Beck. I recommend her books to everyone. I love the content of her books, but also her humour. It makes reading just fun. Her book “Steering by starlight” is my absolute favorite (I read all her books) and changed my life.

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“Determination” – mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf, available HERE

11. Elizabeth Gilbert

As I love traveling I also loved the movie “Eat, pray, love” – simply because it was about traveling. :-) I also loved the book. And when I listened to this interview of Elizabeth by Marie Forleo I knew she was one of my heros. By now I also read “Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear” and recommend it to anyone. Awesome book on creativity!

12. Brene Brown 

Brene is a scientist who researches shame and vulnerability. I find her work is amazing and life changing. If you don’t wanna read one of her books – she has several out – you should watch her videos, for example her Ted-Talks or this an oder dieses short video about empathie. I read “Daring greatly” and am super-curious about “Rising strong”.

13. Julia Cameron

I love the book “The artist way: a course in discovering and rediscovering your creative self” by Julia Cameron and recommend it to everyone who wants to bring more creativity into her life. This book changed me and helped me to find my way and create more room in my life for … well, myself and creativitiy.

14. Byron Katie

If you don’t know Byron Katie yet, you definitely should check out her site. I read the book “I need your love -is that true? How to stop seeking love, approval and appreciaion and start finding them instead” and would recommend it to anyone. And for kids – small kids or grown up kids ;-) – the picture book “Tiger-Tiger, is it true? Four questions to make you smile again” is just wonderful.

15. Kris Carr

Her book “Crazy sexy diet: Eat your veggies, ignite your spark, and live like you mean it!” was the first book that I read about nutrition. It changed my world view. And it was the trigger for changing my diet and that of my family. And no, we’re not vegan. ;-) But you don’t have to be vegan or wanting to become vegan to enjoy her book. But you can, of course. ;-)

16. Kelly Courson von Celiac Chics

If you want to – or need to – learn more about gluten-free food and gluten-free living, check out Kelly’s website. Changing your diet is never easy – but with Kelly’s help I learned so much and it made the change a bit easier and so much more effective.

17. Cat Ruehle von A well nourished life

If you’re avoiding gluten and refined sugar, but still wanna bake some amazing and eye-catching cakes, get the book “Let us all eat cake”. Before I changed my diet I was an enthusiastic – and pretty good ;-) baker. At some point I even was thinking about opening a little cupcake cafe. But when we went gluten free and stopped using refined sugar baking was hard. It just wasn’t the same anymore. It was so hard to find good recipes and everything I had learned about baking over the years, just didn’t apply anymore. It was like starting from scratch all over again. I was frustrated and as a result didn’t bake a lot anymore. Until my sister asked me to make her wedding cake. That’s when I bought Cat’s book and it did not only help me to create a gorgeous wedding cake, but also brought my joy of baking back.

18. Christina Caudill

Christina is an astrologer – and I have to admit that I’ve always been rather suspicious of astrology. But when she did a birthday reading for me, I was just blown away by how accurately she could describe my personality, my weaknesses, my preferences, but also my struggles. (No, she didn’t know me before.) I got so many amazing, helpful and practical ideas and suggestions from that reading. Among other things that reading prompted me to start using Instagram :-) If you are interested in her readings, you can check out the info about them HERE or you can find awesome astrology resources on her website.

19. Tracy Ryan Jastrow

By now I feel Tracy is like a good “internet-friend”. A while ago she coached me with the help of tarot cards and the nine star ki. Again I was fascinated how accurate she could describe my challenges and my specific traits or strengths. (At the time she didn’t know me that well, yet.) That coaching changed my perspective on many situations and my view about myself and helped me to deal with some tough ongoing challenges. I’m so beyond grateful for that. If you’re interested in Tracy’s work you can follow her Facebook-Fanpage.

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“Holy” – mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf, available HERE

20. Lissa Rankin

Lissa’s book “Mind over medicine: Scientific proof that you can heal yourself” has changed my view about health and healing. A wonderfully encouraging and empowering book! If you ever struggled with health problems or know people who did, read it. There also comes a lovely guided meditation with the book that I just love to listen to.

21. Erin Motz from Bad Yogi

If you read my last blogpost where I shared my favorite links to free yoga videos, then you already know Erin. Her wonderful yoga-videos are fun and easy to incorporate in every day – so perfect for me. And I love her general approach. Amazing!

22. Adrianne Munkacsy

If you write – a book, a blog, for a website or “just” product descriptions – you need to take a look at Adrienne’s blog. She has amazing tips for writing that actually help. When I opened my first own online-shop where I sold handmade buttons – seems like ages ago – she helped me tweak my product descriptions. Her suggestions were amazing and made a huge difference. I should actually keep them in mind and overhaul my current product descriptions. ;-) On her page she offers some amazing free worksheets that help you hone your writing voice and clarify your message.

23. Sara Gottfried

Sara’s book “The hormone cure” should be read by any woman. Honestly, I had no idea at all how important hormones are and how and where they influence my body and life. Not only is it interesting to know that sort of stuff, but also super helpful.

24. Anne Lamott

Her book “Bird by Bird: Some instructions on writing and life” has been recommended to me so many times. I finally bought it and am reading it right now. And even though I’m not finished yet, I can already tell that it’s awesome and I recommend it to you as well. Especially if you write or would like to write.

25. Amy Scott

It’s no secret that I love travel. And in my heart I’ve always had that dream to travel the world. Amy was the first one that made me realize that this dream doesn’t have to stay a dream and that there’s not one way to travel the world. That “traveling the world” can be something that I can do the way it fits to me and to my lifestyle. If you happen to be someone who likes more freedom and would like to be location independent, check out Nomadtopia. It’s a lovely resource for inspiration and information about being a nomad – your way.

26. Megan Potter from Limitless Living

Megan is just simply amazing. I can’t say enough good things about her. If you ever want to learn more about clearing, energy, the elements or simply how to live a limit-less life, you need to check out her site. Over the summer she created an awesome video series about money which is called “Summer of money”. Definitely worth watching! And on top of that she’s an inspiring mixed media artist.

Travel companions by Ursula Markgraf, inspired by Life book 2016

“Travel companions” – art by Ursula Markgraf, inspired by one of Tam’s lessons in Life book 2016, not for sale

27. Tamara LaPorte 

Tam is a wonderful and amazing mixed media artist who organizes Life book, a year long mixed media online course where different mixed media artists teach. I love Life book as you can experience so many different styles, teachings, projects and inspiration. Highly recommended!

28. Amy Won 

Amy is also an awesome artist and you should definitely check out her website – simply eye candy. Her art is so magical and whimsical. Like looking at dreams. Amy taught me so much about websites, branding, design, and art. I did build my own website, but without her lovely “talks” via email and chat it surely wouldn’t look the way it does today.

29. Jeanne Oliver

Jeanne is also a mixed media artist and her online-course “Creatively made”,  was the first mixed media course I ever took. And we know what that lead to. ;-) Forever grateful!

30. Danielle Donaldson 

Another wonderful and inspiring artist that I admire and learn from. She has such a special and lovely style in her art – so definitely check out her site. And if you’re interested, take some of her online-courses. She also wrote a book that I can’t wait to read: “Creative girl. Mixed media techniques for an artful life”.

31. Lindsey from The Postman Knock

If you ordered something in my store over the last year, it’s very likely that you held the influence of Lindsey on my life/biz already in your hands. :-) Lindsey is an amazing calligraphy artist. With the help of her worksheets I finally found a way to make my outgoing orders a bit more unique. Now I regularly get lovely feedback from customers that loved receiving their order. One of my lovely customers even made a quick unboxing video (in German). :-) It makes me so happy to have found a way to show my customers how much I value them and to make them feel special. If you wanna see some truly amazing letters or are interested in learning modern calligraphy definitely check out The Postman Knock.

32. Jane Davenport

Jane’s another wonderful mixed media artist with a webpage for browsing. She also offers online courses and workshops with different thopics. And she has also written a book “Drawing and painting beautiful faces: A mixed-media portrait workshop”, which I totally love and highly recommend.

33. Sandra Heim from Mama Revolution (G)

Sandra was the one who recommended one of Martha Beck’s book to me. Forever grateful. :-) She’s also an amazing coach for German women that are mothers and build their own biz. While working with her miracles happened.

34. Meike Linden from LindGrow (G)

Lindgrow  is a German manufacture of handmade natural soaps. I’m so happy that I have found those and don’t use anything else for my skin anymore. Meike lives on a gorgeous old house at the Storchenhof , where you also can rent rooms – in case you visit Germany :-) and  is a SUP instructor. Can’t wait to try that.

Mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

35. Liana Kuschel from Noa-Style (G)

Liana creates jewellery and was the first woman to request a custom painting from me. In our first phone conversation I had actually planned to gently explain to her that I don’t do custom work. However, her enthusiasm was so infectious that by the end I agreed to do it. And I’m very grateful for that experience.

"Geburt" - art by Ursula Markgraf

36. Jobina Schenk from Meisterin der Geburt (G)

Jobina was another customer of custom art. I created an art piece for the cover of her book “Meisterin der Geburt”  (which is about giving birth). I loved her idea and her enthusiasm and love for her work. And it was so much fun to work on that project.

Urvertrauen - art by Ursula Markgraf

37. Jennifer Weidmann from Urvertrauen (G)

Jennifer is another of my first custom order customers. I loved working with and for her and also love the name of her business Urvertrauen, which means basic trust.

38. You!

Yes, you have touched my life as well. You are reading this blogpost … maybe you even get my newsletter or have ordered from me before or supported me by sharing what I do. Maybe I was able to put a smile on your face with what I wrote or with an art piece of mine. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I am forever grateful for that!

 

And now I’d like to know from you – who are you grateful for? Which woman, has touched, changed, or influenced your life?

Leave a comment and share a link as well, if you like.

The other readers and I can’t wait to meet even more wonderful and amazing women!

P.S. Just in case that it wasn’t entirely clear already – I do not receive any sort of commission or the like from this post. There are no affiliate links in this post. Those really are just women, books, courses, products … I love and that have changed my life and I wanted to share that.

 
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Do you love yoga? (Free yoga and new yoga postcards)

Postcard set YOGA-LOVE

To be honest, I don’t remember when I started to do yoga. But I do remember that I was truly blown away when I did some pregnancy yoga with my second child and it felt SO good for my back and my stomach. It was simply awesome. Ever since I did yoga on and off. And over the last years it’s become a regular habit that I treasure. (Yes, I do fall of the yoga-wagon once in a while. I haven’t found a cure for that one yet. But I do always get back to it.)

Even though I do it quite regularly I do feel rather shy telling people about it. Cause in all this time I have only once taken an in-person class. The rest of the time I do yoga with the help of online-videos or DVDs. So, I might think I’m doing yoga, but someone watching me might think I’m doing some weird form of interpretive dance while watching yoga-videos … who knows. ;-) But at some point I figured, you know, as long as it feels good in my body and is good for my soul – why should I care what anyone else thinks!? I love yoga. And that’s why I finally created these YOGA-LOVE postcards and am so excited to share them with you:

Postcard set YOGA-LOVE

And I thought in order to celebrate the launch of my cards and share a bit more of the yoga-love I share with you my fav online yoga resources. So, here are five yoga links I wouldn’t wanna live without:

1 My all-time favorite go-to resource is Erin Motz from the Bad yogiI simply love her free classes. (She has awesome longer paid classes, too, though.) There are certain themes to the classes, so you can easily pick what feels right at the moment. Also the classes are usually about 10 to 20 minutes, so short enough to squeeze them into even the busiest day. My two favorite free classes from her at the moment are “Perfect as I am Flow” und “Yoga for when you feel run down”.

Little extra tip: Starting in October Erin runs her free 30 Day Yoga-Challenge again. This was the challenge that helped me to do yoga regularly in the first place. So if your goal is to do yoga more regularly I recommend signing up. You can thank me later. ;-)

YOGA-LOVE postcard - easy seat/ Schneidersitz

2 I just recently – finally – managed how to do the forearm headstand and I’m super proud. Not because I think it’s so important that you’re able to do that. But I had tried for so long … it was just such a nice feeling to finally figure it out. And I did figure it out with the help of the video “How to do a headstand for beginners” by Adriene. She explains so well how to set it all up – and that made all the difference to me. She has many other yoga-videos, too. So check her out.

3 Doyouyoga.com is a pretty big site with many articles on yoga. When you register you can try out a bunch of free classes.

YOGA-LOVE postcards - tree/ Baum, mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

4 About a year ago I discovered YIN-Yoga and fell in love. I find it especially wonderful on those days that I just don’t feel like doing regular yoga – or doing anything at all. ;-) It did need a bit of getting used to as it felt kinda weird at first, to not move as much and hold poses quite long. But once that initial awkwardness was over it just felt amazing. I do love doing this: 30 minute yin and meditation class.

5 Once in a while I try some of the videos by Ekhart Yoga. I do like for example this Yoga for digestion.

YOGA-LOVE postcards - dancer/ Tänzer, mixed media art by Ursula Markgraf

I hope I could inspire you to try out some new yoga videos. And if you have a yoga-person in your life you want to send some greetings to or just want a visual reminder on your wall – check out my YOGA-LOVE postcards HERE. They can be framed as a sweet mini-gift as well. ;-)

Do you have any favorite yoga links or resources? Dvds, books, online-shops?

Looking forward to your tips in the comments!

And if you don’t wanna miss anything – new yoga-Christmas cards for example ;-) – then sign up to my free newsletter. :-)

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.

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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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:

Christmascards-Ursula-Markgraf

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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What is success for you?

Success. Such a strange concept.
We all strive for it, don’t we. Often we work our ass off to get it. But once “there” we often realize – “Hey, this does not really feel as awesome as I thought.”
Ever had this happen to you?

To me that used to happen ALOT until I started my own business. At that point I figured that I must have my defintion of success wrong.

Yes, you get to define what success means to you.
There is no one-size-fits-all defintion! (Even though some people want you to believe just that.)

Working for myself made me really think about what success means to me. Very hard.
And even though I think that in a way I always knew what matters to me most, for the first time I really put it into clear words. For myself. And it was incredible how much that helped and changed my perspective on things.

I live my dream - affirmation - Ursula Markgraf

You can download this image and more as free affirmation cards HERE.

Cause once I had put it into words, I realized that I actually AM living my dream in many ways already.
Which is kinda hard to realize if you are busy comparing yourself to others and measuring yourself on their definition of success. ;-)
And it also helped me get alot more clear on what to do and what not to do in my life and in my business.

To me success means that I can live my life my way.

It means I can work WHERE I want to, WHEN I want to and of course I also choose WHAT work I want to do.

To me success means that I can live my life according to my priorities.
That I can put those things first that mean the most to me (my kids!).
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my work! But I still want to plan my work around my life – not my life around my work!

Success also means to me that I can make a difference. For one person at a time!
When someone tells me that what I do made a difference to them – best feeling ever.

So, what does success mean to you? Let me know in the comments!

 
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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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