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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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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Summer Postcard-Swap

Do you love to receive postcards? Yes, I am talking about the „real“ ones. With stamps. ;-) Then this blogpost is for you. Read on. :-)

Letters/ Briefe - Ursula Markgraf Since I started selling my own postcard collection I have been thinking alot about if and where postcards still have a place in our life. When I was a child I wrote lots of letters and postcards. And I received quite a few as well. Of course I got a bunch when it was my birthday. But I also got them on regular days. Back then we did not have email and no telephone. So if I wanted to talk so someone that did not live in the same town – like my grandparents, friend I had made during vacations or a pen-pal in Australia – I had to write them. There simply was no other way.

Today of course that has changed alot. When I want to talk to my best friend in Berlin then I call her. And if I need to tell my friend in the US something, then I write an email. Then there are also things like facebook … When I receive letters, then they usually contain invoices. :-(

Kinda sad, isn’t it?
Cause I do love to receive letters. Alot. When I receive a thick letter or an unexpected postcard – isn’t that fun?
Of course today letters and postcards do not contain the same stuff as they used to when I was a child. When you wanna tell someone something you write a quick email or talk on the phone. So there is no need to write that in a letter or postcard. But still, letters and postcards still have a place in our life. They should at least. As little pieces of joy, little glimpses of hope, tiny presents or inspirations. Just to show someone „Hey, I have been thinking of you“

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had more of those little joys in our everyday life? That is why I hereby announce the first summer postcard swap.

Summer postcards swap 2014 at www.UrsulaMarkgraf.com/postcards/summer-postcard-swap Come on over and join! :-)

Totalls easy – AND FREE ;-) – works like this: If you wanna participate just send me an email until the 30.06.14 to this address

ursula@UrsulaMarkgraf.com

Subject: postcard swap

Inside that email tell me if you would like to have a German or an English swap partner. (Important!)

Starting at the 1.7.14 I will send each participant a swap partner. You then will swap your snail mail address via email with your partner and send off your postcard until the 30th of July, 2014.
You can send whichever card you like – handmade, a card of your favourite place or city, a card with a quote or saying – anything you would like to receive you can send. :-) Also it would be lovely if you would write a lovely message on the backside of the card. Just something that you would love to read when you receive a card.  :-)

So, are you up for swapping?

Where do you hide your treasures?

Do you remember when you were a child there were always treasures to be hidden?
The beautiful rocks you found on a walk. The old necklace your mom gave you. The old photograph that your grandad gave you. A cutout photo from the newspaper. Sticks, leaves, sometimes bugs or snails. ;-) And of course the buttons out of your grandma’s button box.

And where to put all those treasure? Of course into your (secret) treasure bag.

treasure-bag-ursula-markgraf_MG_8404

And today? Do you still have treasures?

treasure-bag-ursula-markgraf_MG_8462

As part of my little virtual online-shop opening party I will gift one of these handmade treasure bags to the first 9 people that order buttons. To be used for buttons or other treasures. ;-) 

treasure-bag-ursula-markgraf_MG_8408

 And handmade by yours truly! Which means hand-dyed, hand-sewn and hand-printed! :-)

What would you put into your treasure bag?

 

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Ready to party?

I’m getting ready to put up some whimsy fun pennant banners and have a little virtual shop opening party for my handmade button shop.

And would like to celebrate with you!

There will be a welcome gift in the shop and a little extra-treat for the first buyers. Wanna know more?
Hop on my mailing list ASAP and get a proper invite! :-)

(And you get some goodies for hopping on as well. Just in case you did not know.)

What are you waiting for? :-)

 
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 P.S. Did I mention a the welcome goodie for everyone? ;-)

 

Sneak peak

Just a teeny sneak peak into something I am working on. :-) And no, it has nothing to do with sewing. ;-)

(No, neither with knitting.) 

sneek-peak-ursula-markgraf_MG_7442 2 1

 

What do you think about the photo?

Are you curious?

 

 
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Wooly – and spooky ;-) – for your head

I thought I might not even be able to show you these hats anymore. After all, who wants to look at wooly hats in spring?!

But when I look outside my window a wooly hat would actually be really nice to have. At least when you plan to go outside. You can of course also just cuddle up on the sofa with a cup of hot tea and … knit! ;-)

ursula-markgraf-wooly-hat-2013-01-26-muetze01

This was my first knitted hat – ever! Was so proud! And it wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be – so I made a second one. :-)

The earflaps are fastened to the hat with buttons – so if you like you can take them off. Of course I used handmade buttons. And they glow in the dark! FUN!

ursula-markgraf-wooly-hat-2013-01-26-muetze02

Unfortunately after I was done with the two hats I instantly got another “order”. Mini-man (or my son) requested one in his favorite color green. With sheep buttons. :-) Looks like I have to buy some green wool.

sheep-button-schaf-knopf-ursula-markgraf_MG_6921

If you would like to make your own earflap hat you can download the pattern for free on ravelry.

So, download the pattern and happy knitting! 

Or do you have a favourite hat pattern already? If yes, please share in the comments! I love to hear from you!

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Do you want to see my tiny gingerbread house?

After such a long post yesterday I thought I give you a little break today. ;-) So today there is not much to read – I just wanted to show off the tiny gingerbread house I made.

For years I wanted to make a gingerbread house myself but with two small kids it just always ended up being of the store bought variety. The one that you buy in pieces and put together. Which was okay. But this year – with a little trick – I got my gingerbread house. :-)

(See the tiny bird on the pile of wood logs?)

The trick? I just made it VERY small! *lol*

Very. Seriously. It is basically made out of cookie sized gingerbread. And as we make cookies all the time with the kids this was actually a really fun project.

Here you can see HOW small the gingerbread house is. The spoon is a tea spoon.  

 I had made a few blank ones as well that the kids decorated. It was so much fun! 

What fun baking projects have you done this Advent? Share away in the comments!

And check back tomorrow for another “tiny” Christmas goody in the Crafty Christmas series. No I will not tell you just yet what it is …. ;-)

 
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The secret revealed

On my facebook page I posted this image

and asked people what they thought it could be.  So I guess it would be mean to keep it a secret any longer. :-)

So, here you go – light on:

Yes, a crocheted green cat with glow-in-the-dark eye-button. :-) Which is of course handmade by me, thank you very much. ;-)

But if you wonder why I would crochet a green cat? Simple. I had made a crocheted black cat for my daughter.

I gave it to her when she started school so the cat could be with her all day. The glow-in-the-dark eyes of course were an extra-bonus. My kids LOVE these. 

(They actually hide in a dark room just so they can see the eyes glow.*lol*)

My son of course loved the cat very much, too. BUT – his favourite colour is GREEN. So he asked for a green cat. So … I made a green cat and on the 6th of December St. Nicholas had put the cat into his shoes. Where the cat sat and looked around … even in the dark. *lol*

I used this TUTORIAL to make the cat. (Sorry, it is only in German. Maybe using google translate could help if you want to make one, too?)

 

I thought it worked out pretty well with the glow-in-the-dark eyes.

 

How would you use glow-in-the-dark eye-buttons? 

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