Let go – about setting goals and finding joy

Let go – about setting goals and finding joy

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To be honest, I wanted to write this blogpost already months ago. And I started a couple of times … But now that I actually finally sit down to write, I realize, it will be a lot different from what I first imagined.
I have let go of many things over the last few years. And it does feel good. Not always easy, but … progress. Especially letting go of THINGS has become a slight obsession of mine. No, I‘m not even close to being – or becoming – a minimalist. But since I started traveling again I realized again and again that I own WAY TOO MANY things. And it doesn‘t feel good. Letting go of them actually does make me feel lighter, happier, and freer. But still – not easy. Progress.

Letting go of things – only one aspect you can let go of

So I always kinda assumed that when I write about letting go, that would be what I would write about. My journey in letting go of THINGS, in decluttering (over and over again), my take on minimalism or my why …
But that‘s actually not what I will write about today. The topic I will write about actually has been in my life for … years. And it has been bugging me for years.
If you have followed me for a while you might remember that at some point I said (or rather wrote) that I will create an online course. And when I created the freebie workshop or the tutorial for the origami stars – I was kinda „practicing “ for that. And I thought that‘s the direction I‘m heading into. It was my goal – my ONE BIG GOAL.
I wanted to create – and share with the world, with you – my very own online-course.

And this goal has been in my mind for … well, years. (It is kinda embarrassing to share. But … what the heck. Maybe you have experienced something similar and can relate.)

Goal setting over and over again …

So, each year when I would review the past year – which I love – and think about and plan the new year – which I also love – one of the goals I would set was MY ONLINE COURSE.

And I always felt like … SO close to it. But I never … reached it. I felt like … I have everything I need. I just need to sit down and do it.
And I did sit down …
I came up with ideas.
I sketched out workshop lesson plans.
I thought of projects which would be great for a first course.
I bought a camera to film with, a stand for the camera, …
I bought a course to teach me how to create my own art courses …
I did all the (f******) work.
Except … I did NOT create the course.

And you know what. It kinda drove me insane.

I‘m a rather disciplined person. If I set my mind to something – I do it.
If I don‘t know how – I figure it out.
If I lack the skill – I learn. (I LOVE learning! So that one never stood in my way!)
If I don‘t have the right equipment – I get creative.
I CAN DO STUFF.
So, why the freaking heck was I not able to create a simple online course???

To be honest, I still don‘t know.
I have accomplished SO much over the last years. I‘ve learned SO MUCH. And I‘m sure that I have all the equipment, all the tools, all the knowledge to actually do it. I do not know WHY on earth I can‘t seem to just do it.
I talked to a few people about it … and once in a while, one answer came up …

Maybe it isn‘t time yet. Maybe it‘s not supposed to happen yet.

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You know, this answer – at the time – made me a bit angry inside. I‘ve been working for this for YEARS – how can it not be the time YET. WHEN will the f***ing time be?

So – I just brushed that answer away when it popped up and fought on. The thing is … in terms of this one goal, I got nowhere.
Actually, I even got more away from my goal to be honest, than I would care to admit.
When I was looking back over the past year – over 2020 – I realized with a bit of a shock that I had hardly created any art at all! And that was not the worst. I actually had tried – and miserably failed – to get back into creating over the past year … But somehow … there was no joy in it.
And when I look at it now in retrospect it made me wonder … Was it maybe – just maybe – that I put so much pressure on myself with that f****** course, that I totally lost my joy in creating?

Whenever I started drawing or painting, I always had in my head that looming online course … and this thought:

„I should be creating for the course.“

I probably don‘t need to tell you that this was kinda a mood – or joy – killer and as soon as I tried to start a creative routine, I stopped it again. I could not seem to stick to anything creation-wise. And the worst bit – I just didn‘t feel the JOY when I tried.

Also, I had not written even ONE blogpost. And the thing is – I love writing. If I had to decide what I love more – creating art or writing – hugh! No idea how to decide. I love both. They are both so different, but both so utterly enjoyable. Or at least, they used to be.

So in the end – after another year – I had not created art, I had not written, but I also had STILL NOT created that (stupid) online course of mine. And it made me feel SO miserable!

And that is when I realized, this approach of mine – trying to just push through – clearly is NOT working.
Also, it‘s just stupid. I have accomplished SO much last year. I have had my third successful year as a freelancer – yes, not as an artist, but STILL – and I have grown so much and reached so many other goals. But this ONE stupid goal that I keep chasing, just made everything else feel like nothing and me miserable even though I should be grateful and happy and content!

So, I finally gave up. I surrendered. I let go!

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I thought very long and hard about what I REALLY wanted for 2021!
Yes, it was VERY tempting to put „create own online course“ as my number one goal again. I took some time and let go of that goal. And as always with letting go – I‘m not gonna lie – it wasn‘t easy.

But I thought about what I had really really missed over the last year!
And I realized – I didn‘t miss that online course!
I missed CREATING.
I missed making art.
I missed paint on my fingers … (and sometimes on my shirts, too).
I missed the wonderful happy feeling of looking at a finished piece. (Even though no piece ever really feels „finished“ to me – but that‘s a whole other topic.)
I missed writing.
I missed … this. Talking to YOU.
Yes, it probably sounds a bit crazy, but this – creating art, writing about it, sharing it with you – that is what brought me JOY! And this is what I was missing. This JOY!

So, instead of putting the online course on my goals list … I put

„Follow my JOY“

And that is what I will try to do this year!

I will try to – once again – make it a priority to do the things I love, just for the joy of doing them.
I will put paint to paper, glue, sketch, horribly ruin pieces, but also find treasures, that I didn‘t know exist. And I will write.
Not everything will be on the blog – because that‘s simply the way it is with writing. Some of it is meant to be shared, and some is just crap. But it‘s the process that counts! The process that brings JOY. So, that‘s my plan. And I will try to share with you how I get along.
So, if you have been following me for a bit and were hoping for an online course to come out soon – I‘m telling you now that there will be no online course in the near future. However, I will hopefully share with you once again my creativity, art, writing … and hopefully inspire you!

Do you have any plans or ideas for 2021?

Or have you let go of something?
Can‘t wait to hear from you in the comments – or if you prefer – via email.

P.S. If you happen to enjoy my “Let go” piece of art … it’s a mixed media piece on wood. And I’m willing to let this one go, too. ;-) You can find it in my etsy shop.

Tealights with secret message – tutorial

 

Today I have a little tutorial for your for a very sweet gift idea. It’s not my typical “thing” as it doesn’t involve any paints or such … but it’s quick and easy, you can send it via mail and even kids can help. So I just thought I had to share.

As you can see in the photo above I made a little tealight Advent calendar with this idea and mailed it out. But you can also easily create candles with your wishes for a new year for New Years Eve or candles with secret messages, wishes or even gifts for birthdays or just because … I love that the tealights look like ordinary tealights … until you light them and they burn for a while and reveal the secret message.

You have to let the tealights burn for quite some time until all the wax has melted. Then the white wax becomes translucent and you can see the secret message underneath. (Just a little warning – it takes quite some time until all the wax melts. It’s not done in 30 minutes!)

You need:

-tealights
-paper and a dark pen
-scissors
-optional a Candle-Liner

How it’s done:

First you cut out the message. You can print out the pdf below if you like and write your message into the circles. But of course you can also simply draw some circles (a bit smaller than your tealights) on some paper and write down your message on those.

Hint:
I wouldn’t recommend writing your message in the middle of the circles as that’s where the flame of your tealight will be and that might make it hard to read. Also, you should use a darker color to write down your message so it will be easy to read it through the liquid wax. A light pencil does not work too well.
;-)

Once you cut out the message, take the candle out of the metal tealight capsule. Put your paper into the capsule and put the candle back on top. Done!

Hint:
With some tealights you can very easily take the candle out of the metal capsule. With some it takes a bit more persuading. If possible already check when buying them whether you can disassemble them easily. I had some that were quite persistent not to be parted …. so I actually needed some metal pliers to persuade the candle to come out of the metal …

If you wanna make an Advent calendar then you need to make 24 (or 25) tealights with secret messages. Once you’re finished you can write the numbers on top of the tealights with a Candle-Liner. I had a glittery one, which I really liked. But you can of course also use any other color. I think red would also be very pretty for example.

If you just wanna give them as a gift, obviously you can make any number you want. And you can either draw little symbols or such on top – or just leave them as they are. I would however recommend to add some sort of instruction to them when giving them as a gift as they really look just like ordinary tealights and really takes some time until they reveal their hidden secret. And it would be rather sad if the person you gave them to missed their secret message just because they didn’t expect it … and didn’t look.

What do you think of this idea?

Write me a comment and let me know who’d you like to give a tealight with a secret message to?

Or tell me what little gifts that are easy and quit to make you like to give?

P.S. Here’s the pdf – just right-click and choose “save as”. Have fun creating!

Blanc circles PDF

 

Meditating reindeer Christmas cards are here!

Finally they’re here. The new Christmas cards! And this time with a meditating reindeer.

After all, Christmas is not only stressful for us, but for reindeers, too. That’s why they do some yoga and meditation to be able to have a wonderful and relaxed Christmas time.

And if you do feel stressed, too, then just try it! Do a bit of yoga or meditation!
If it helps angels and reindeers, it’s gotta work for you, too. :-)
And afterwards you can finish wrapping the gifts … relaxed …

I’m especially excited that I was able to get the new cards printed on the lovely mother of pearl cardstock I love so much. It has such a gorgeous shine to it!

Unfortunately my photography skills aren’t good enough to show that shine off. :-( But if you have ordered Christmas cards from me before you might be familiar with it’s wonderful look and feel.
(Not all of my Christmas cards are printed on it. Some had to be printed on linen-cardstock as the mother-of-pearl cardstock wasn’t available when I got cards printed last time. So I’m super excited that it is again available now.)

And in case you’re curious how this Christmas cards actually developed … here are some snapshots. :-)

From the first sketch to the “salted reindeer” and to coloring … I had so much fun creating this. I hope you’ll have just as much fun writing and sending them off.

They are available in my etsy-Shop – of course with matching envelopes – either as single cards or in a more afordable set.

And of course the “old” Christmas card designs and Christmas postcards are also available. And if you’re rather stressed about the idea of having to write Christmas cards, why not read my five tipps to make it a calming ritual.

I’m wishing you a wonderful and relaxed first of Advent!

And if you have ideas or suggestionsn for me what kind of Christmas card motives I should create next year – just let me know in the comments! :-)

40 free mixed media tutorials for you!

40 free mixed media tutorials for you!

40 free mixed media art tutorials collected by Ursula Markgraf

I turned 40 in September! *yeah*

And yes, I was totally happy about that. Which is odd, as I usually don’t really care about the actual number of my age. But this birthday – I was really looking forward to it. For the first time in my life it kinda felt like a milestone. :-)

And since it’s always more fun to celebrate with others and spread the joy I was thinking about how I could do that. I was mulling this over for quite some time …
But then it was easy. If you’re here and reading my blog you probably love to be creative. And you might even have tried the mixed media technique. So I spend some time and searched the internet for you and put together 40 free mixed media tutorials. So here you get 40 times fun and creativity – for free! I really hope you enjoy it!

And here they are! *tadaaaaa*

40 free mixed media tutorials:

1.A super inspiring video about the importance of keeping a sketchbook by the lovely Tam from www.willowing.org

2.A lovely video about being crative on the go by Jeane from www.jeaneoliver.com

3.And a little creativity quickie ;-) A tutorial about how to create postcards with watercolors.

4.Free inspiration by Danielle from www.danielledonaldson.com – I haven’t tried her free workshop yet, but some of her paid ones. I love her art!

5.A tutorial for abstract flowert – so you can create your very own “Secret garden”. Awesome!

6.A process-video, that shows how a portrait develops – by the lovely Kara from www.karabullockart.com

7.Another video by Jeanne from www.jeanneoliver.com: Documented Life Collage Journal

8.A video-tutorial showing how you can create a lovey mixed media background with gesso. I LOVE gesso!!!!

9.A gorgeous art-journaling video by Roben-Marie.

10.And of course you’d need something where you can do art journaling in … so here’s a post with 10 ideas for handmade art journals.

11.A picture tutorial showing how to create a mixed media storm or hurricane.

12.An inspiring video by Toni Burt, showing how she creates an art journaling page with a mixed media background and a portrait.

13.And another tutorial for a handmade art journal.

14.Also a tutorial for a junk journal. Sounds fun!

15.A video showing the creation of an art journaling page (you  have to scroll down in the blogpost).

16.And another art journaling page video – called “Carefree” by Mimi Bondi.

17.A tutorial showing different image transfer methods.

18.This one is not really a mixed media tutorial, but a little adorable sketch video on the “Yes and Amen blog”. Just love it and find it totally inspiring. (You have to scroll a bit down in the blogpost).

19.Another video on what you can do with gesso. Did I mention I love gesso?

20.A tutorial for a cool technique with alcohol ink.

21.A tutorial showing you how to create gorgeous feathers with watercolor. Also not a “true” mixed media tutorial – but hey, I LOVE feathers. And watercolor! ;-)

22.A tutorial on how to age paper.

23.And if the tutorial under 22. is not enough for you, here are 6 ways, you can use to distress or age paper.

24.Inspiring mixed media video by Christy Campbell Tomlinson.

25.Wanna use handlettering in your mixed media work? Here’s an introduction to handlettering.

26.And if you wanna learn more about handlettering, HERE you can find lots of ressources to dig deeper.

27.Inspiring video by Ady Almanzac showing how she creates a magical fairy. It is truly magical watching her!

28.Wanna try your hand at mail art? Here are three tutorials by The Postman’s Knock. (She has LOADS of more awesome tutorials on her site!)

29.More mail art – a little video tutorial to create a mixed media postcard.

30.And another photo tutorial showing how to create a mixed media postcard.

31.An inspirational art journal video by the lovely Suzi Blu.

32.An inspirational “start to finish” blogpost by Iris, where she shows how some of her mixed media work is created.

33.A lovely free mixed media workshop by Ivy Newport, where you can also work with encaustics.

34.A tutorial on how to create your own mixed media stickers.

35.If you rather wanna create something a bit smaller – how about some mixed media “message” or affirmation cards.

36.If you wanna give your mixed media creations a “distressed” look, then this tutorial doesn’t give you ONE but FOUR ideas how to do it.

37.A video tutorial to create mixed media ATCs. (Artist trading cards)

38.And another video tutorial for an art journaling page.

39.A wonderful mixed media workshop with little birdies by the awesome Brandi Dayton.

40.Last but not least  – a  video-tutorial by me how to create a mixed media star.

Also, feel free to check out this pinterest board by me. It has all the tutorials from this blogpost on it … and more.

And for the ones who like my postcards and books and art pieces … you can get a discount of 40% in my etsy shop until the 20th of November 2019. Wohoo! That’s surely not gonna happen again until my next birthday. ;-) This is the code to use:

HAPPYBIRTHDAY

(The coupon code is valid until the 20.11.2018 and can only be used once per person. There is no minimum order amount. The discount is valid for all items in the shop EXCEPT for Christmas products.)

Now I’m wishing you lots of joy creating! Let me know in the comments which tutorial you wanna try first.

P.S. As the internet changes all the time – if you come across a link that doesn’t work, please just let me know and I’ll fix it. Just write me a comment or drop me an email.

P.P.S. Yes, there will be a new Christmas card design this year. I will show it probably next week. So watch this space! Or sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know. :-)

Advent Creativity Challenge – Me-Time <3

Advent Creativity Challenge – Me-Time

In fall a few people asked me whether I would be holding another fall sketch challenge – like last year. Unfortunately I simply didn’t have enough time to do so. But, I have been thinking of creating a little something for Advent – as I love this time of year – for ages. So I simply threw both ideas together and *tadaaaa* – the Advent Creativity Challenge was born!

And this is how it will work:

  1. Reserve a time each day for “me-time” and being creative. <3
  2. Create a sketch, a painting or some other type of creative work that fits the prompt for each day. (see below)
  3. If you like show your creation on social media. You can do so here:
    Wenn du magst, zeig allen anderen die mitmachen deine Kreation. Das kannst du hier tun:
    on my facebook-page
    in my facebook-group
    on Instagram
  4. In order for others an me to find you, use the hashtag #ursulascreativitychallenge
  5. Have fun!

And please, don’t take the word challenge too seriously. The goal isn’t to finish each day of the challenge no matter what. It’s not supposed to add another to do to your long list. It’s meant to create a bit of space each day for yourself where you can just BE and CREATE.

Cause often this time of year just rushes by. We’re trying hectically to finish all the tasks we have to do … bake cookies, go to Christmas parties, decorate the apartment, buy presents … I LOVE Advent, but the fact that it’s just a big rush that’s over so quickly makes me sad. So I thought maybe we – you and me – could slow down the speed a bit by just taking a few minutes each day and enjoying. Make your creative timte extra festive by lighting a candle and having a cup of hot tea or punch. A few cookies don’t hurt either. ;-) These are some of my favourite by the way. ;-)

What do you think about my idea? Are you in? I’m looking forward to your comment!

P.S. And if you are looking for special Christmas cards or Christmas postcards, I’d be delighted if you check out  my etsy-shop. <3

Moving Sale

Moving Sale

If you follow me on social media you might have noticed that I moved recently. I’m still in the process of settling into a new life, which is exciting, but not always easy.

For me there is a lot LETTING GO involved. Not only letting go of my way of living and old habits, but also of many material objects. I used to live in a house. Now I moved into my own apartment with two rooms for my kids and one (rather little) room for myself. So due to limited space I really have to think about and decide what is worth keeping in my life – and what has to go.

It’s a rather liberating process. But – again – not easy. :-)

This is the file folder where I keep everything important for this year – with a mini vision-board on the cover :-)

Of course that means that I also have a problem with all the original art, the postcards, books and prints for my shop. I need to store them somewhere. And it’s not only those things – I also need packaging material which needs to be stored. So, I’m still thinking about if or how I will manage all of this in the future. At the moment I simply don’t have enough room for all the things I would like to keep.

(That’s the reason why I still have 3 or 4 boxes sitting in my old studio that need to picked up. I just don’t know where to put them.)

Moving Sale Ursula Markgraf Mixed Media Art

That’s why I have decided to hold a moving sale. So if you buy something in my shop and enter the coupon code NewStart, you receive 50% off on your whole purchase. The code is valid until the next new moon on the 23rd of June.

And if you’re curious how an artist copes without a studio, just come back in a while or sign up to my newsletter. I will tell you. :-)

But now have fun browsing my shop! ;-)

Your “word of the year” on canvas?

Your “word of the year” on canvas?

Personalized "word of the year" canvas - a reminder for you about what's really important
Do you pick a word of the year?

And do you happen to love feathers?

If you answered both questions with yes, then I have a special offer for you!

(If you don’t know what the word of the year refers to – check out my blogpost on rituals for the new year.)

You can custom order your “word of the year” canvas (size about 30 cm by 60 cm, which is about 12 inches x 24 inches) in the colors you choose for 111€! This excludes shipping, as this is different depending on where you live. (And yes, I do ship worldwide.) You pay 111€ plus shipping and get a gorgeous feather canvas with your word of the year to hang in your space to remind you all year … and beyond.
This is a special and the offer – my custom work usually costs more, especially in that size – is good until the 31st of January or until 3 spots fill up. Yes, there are only three spots, so if you’re intrigued be quick. ;-)

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Imagine, being reminded all year of your word of the year by this lovely canvas. Each time you pass it in your home you are reminded of what is important to you this year.

If you’re interested in ordering your personalized “word of the year” canvas or would like more info about it, simply send an email to

ursula@ursulamarkgraf.com

And if you already have a reminder for your word of the year, please tell me in the comments – what is your word of the year?

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The feather “Trust” is available in my etsy-shop. All other feathers already have a home.

 

Live your dream – a reminder to download

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!

 

An Advent Angel just for you (free download)

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?

NEW Folded Christmas cards 2016

Finally the new folded Christmas cards have arrived as well and I quickly put them in the shop. (If you happen to be looking for Christmas postcards, you can find that post HERE.) As the mother-of-pearl cardstock unfortunately wasn’t available anymore I had to choose a new one. The new cards are printed on linen textured white cardstock.

(If you fell love with the mother of perl cardstock that I used last year – there are still a few of those folded cards left, too. You can find the designs when you scroll further down.)

Folded Christmas cards

– printed on 280g linen textured cardboard –

 – gorgeous silver envelope is included –

calm-christmasangel-ursula-markgraf

Calm Christmas Angel – folded card available HERE

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Snowglobe Angel – folded card available HERE

weihnachtswuensche-ursula-markgraf

Weihnachtswünsche – folded card available HERE

calm-christmas-ursula-markgraf

Calm Christmas – folded card available HERE

The cards printed on mother of pearl cardstock still available in the shop are the following:

angel_mg_2470

Angel hug – folded card available HERE

hug_mg_2462

Christmas hug – folded card available HERE

calm-christmas_mg_2451

Calm Christmas – folded card available HERE

christmastree_mg_2411

ChristmasTREE – folded card available HERE

And there is also the mix and match 5-pack of folded Christmas cards – you pick any 5 folded cards for 9.90€!

Just go HERE – and don’t forget to tell me which cards you want during the ordering process. ;-)

Now, do you have any suggestions or ideas for new Christmas card designs for next year?

Can’t wait to read your comment! :-)