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”.

affirmations-adventure-ursula-markgraf

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.

calm-wonderful-christmas-ursula-markgraf

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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21 day fall sketch challenge

I actually had this post already planned for two weeks ago. But when I returned from my birthday celebrations in Copenhagen my dog, who was my best friend for the last eleven years, unfortunately died. Needless to say that I was heartbroken and just couldn’t do “business as usual” right away. I still miss her like crazy, but feel more at peace with everything now. I’m beyond grateful that she was part of my life. Well, actually, I believe she isn’t gone, so to me she is still part of my life. Just in a different way. 

As I’m settling back into my work – which feels like it has piled up tremendously – I thought I could use something joyful as well. And as I love fall and sketching I decided to run the fall sketch challenge – which I initially had planned for two weeks ago – starting next Monday, which is the 24th of October, 2016.

These are the topics for the 21 day fall sketch challenge:

 

#ursulassketchchallenge

And this is how the challenge works:

It will be fun and free. :-)

It will start on the 24th of October, 2016 and run for 21 days.

Each day has a fall-themed topic – see above – that hopefully inspires you to draw a sketch. If sketching isn’t your thing you can just as well doodle, letter, paint, use watercolor … whatever you wanna do really. As long as it gets you creating. :-)

You can participate every day – or just pick the days you like. Whichever you prefer. It’s supposed to be FUN, not pressure!

Note: The numbers in front of the topics refer to the day of the challenge – not to the DATE. So the first day of the challenge will be the 24th of October with the first theme: Apple(s)

I will post the theme for the day – and my take on the sketch – on my facebook page as well as on instagram. I hope you will join in and post your creations with the hashtag

#ursulassketchchallenge

on instagram or on facebook  – or both. :-) If you like feel free to post sketches directly on my facebook wall – so everyone can see them.
(Of course you can also post them on your private profile, but depending on your privacy settings only your friends might be able to see them.)

It will be so much fun and you will find so much inspiration by looking at what others have created.

Let’s celebrate fall! Are you in?

 
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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. :-)

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?

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.

origami-stars-ursula-markgraf_MG_2961

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.

mixe-media--star-tutorial-E

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)

mixed-media-star_MG_2958-close

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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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:

finished-MG_2533 Kopie

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:

ursula-markgraf-step1_MG_2526 Kopie Kopie

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.

ursula-markgraf-mixed-media-step2_MG_2527 Kopie Kopie

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

ursula-markgraf-mixed-media-step3_MG_2531 Kopie Kopie

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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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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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 ;-)

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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.

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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.

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-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.

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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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