Tealights with a secret message – tutorial

Tealights with a secret message - tutorial by Ursula Markgraf

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:

-paper and a dark pen
-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.

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!

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

Where does a cat or dog button live?

Where does a cat or dog button live?

When I put the dog buttons and cat buttons from the last post in my shop I had to think about two little houses I sewed for my kids last Christmas. They are like tiny fabric doll houses/ stables to carry along. Super cute! :-)

Maybe you are already looking for Christmas presents for some special kids in your life. After all, now is still enough time to actually make them. ;-)
(I usually have a LONG list of stuff I want to make … which never gets done in the end.*laugh*)

Sewn fabric doll house / stable by Ursula Markgraf

My kids got these fabric houses together with some dog and cat buttons. They then could choose which ones of the buttons they wanted on the houses – and where (in front of the door, on the roof, on the window sill). And I sewed the buttons on as they wished.

Sewn fabric doll house / stable by Ursula Markgraf

(The photos of the houses were taken before I had sewn on the cat and dog buttons.)

You can find the instructions for the fabric house on U.K. lass U.S.

Little disclaimer: As always all my buttons are handmade and one-of-a-kind. When they are gone, they are gone. Right now I only have 4 cat buttons available, 2 in the shop right now. Once all of those are sold there will not be new cat buttons until somtime next year. Just so noone ends up being sad. :-) 

And if you knit there is a supercute knitted take-along house on Fusselideen.

So, what will you be making for kids for Christmas?


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Summer sewing – Mermaids by Revoluzzza

Summer sewing – Mermaids by Revoluzzza

A couple days ago I sewed some dolls. For the first time in my life! :-) I have made stuffed animals before (like this unicorn/horse) – but no dolls so far.
Feels good to try something new. :-) And my kids LOVE their Calypsos by Revoluzzza!

My daughter and “the tiny one” – who is not at all tiny anymore *sigh* – were allowed to choose what their dolls should look like. And this is how they turned out:

Calypso Revoluzza Nixe Mermaid Ursula Markgraf

A little merMAN (is that a  proper English word?) for my son – with lots of GREEN! :-) And a crown of course.

My son was so excited about getting this doll that he could not wait for it to be finished. While I was handstitching the last hole – it was his bedtime already – he pressured me to promise that I would put the doll next to him in his bed as soon as I  had finished it! :-) I thought that was pretty sweet!


And my daughter got a mermaid princess. Of course also with a crown. And lace! And a little hair clip and bow on her bikini. :-)

(And I finally got to cut into that strange gold-coloured fabric that I had laying around since forever … *laugh*)


I was actually quite thrown with how excited my kids were about these dolls. I mean I knew they would like them. But they were so happy when they woke up and found their new dolls in their beds! Just melted my heart!

The “tiny one” even insisted that he take his merman with him when we went to the library. Just cute!

Have you ever sewn a doll? Or do you think of trying? Leave me a comment – I would love to hear from you!



I did it again

I did it again

No, nothing bad. So no “ooops” ;-) I sewed another top for my daughter. It is another pattern by allerlieblichst called Karolinchen.

Genähtes Oberteil nach Schnittmuster Karolinchen / Sewn top

The sewing pattern is actually for a top that is a bit shorter – and I would have preferred to cut it that way. But my daughter did not want to hear about it. It had to stay long. *shrugging shoulder*

Genähtes Oberteil nach Schnittmuster Karolinchen / Sewn top

 I really love the fabric of the top part of the tunic.

Genähtes Oberteil nach Schnittmuster Karolinchen / Sewn topThe fabric of the bottom part is not really my favourite. But my daugher picked it – and she loves it. Oh well. She has to wear it after all. :-)

Genähtes Oberteil nach Schnittmuster Karolinchen / Sewn top I made the buttons especially for the dress. They did not quite turn out like I intended to. But the color matches the dress really well. *laugh*

The sewing pattern can be bought HERE(Sorry, in German only). Buttons can be bought in my store of course. ;-)

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P.S. Party happening tomorrow. 

Black + pink + lace = ?

Black + pink + lace = ?


I usually do not really like pink. But in combination with black it is somehow fun. I made this  top for my daughter and combined pink knit fabric, black corduroy and whitish lace. The sewing pattern I used is from the German pattern designer allerlieblichst and called Josefinchen.


I have to admit – what I like best about this tunic top is that you can embellish it so well with handmade buttons. ;-) 


The stamped heart button fits perfectly, doesn’t it? 

josefinchen-ursula-markgraf-tunika-6I am not too happy with my fabric choices however … To use a thick ribbed knit for a top that is gathered right above the tummy turned out to not be the best choice. No matter how slim the person wearing … it adds quite a thick layer and that somehow is not flattering. :-( But oh well – I learn from mistakes.


And my daughter was not really that bothered by it.  It is still pretty awesome to run around in it. :-)

What do you think about pink?
Love it? Hate it? Depends? Leave me a comment!

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Cozy woodland coat – sewn for boys

Cozy woodland coat – sewn for boys

I have no idea why but whenever I see this coat it reminds me of the woods. I suppose the handmade leaf buttons have to do with it … and maybe the cuddly brownish color. :-)

It is the first small coat I have ever sewn and I am so happy with it.  If you would also like to sew a coat for your little one but feel kinda intimidated – THIS is the pattern for you!
(It is an unisex-pattern, so it works for girls as well.)


Seriously, it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. The steps are illustrated with photos and the pattern itself is rather simple so even beginners can handle it! 
Would love to make  a coat out of wool felt sometime … next time. ;-)


Considering that this was the first project ever that I made out of quilted fabric – I am really super happy with how it turned out! After all, it DOES look like a coat! ;-)

It would have been alot better if I would not have made the buttons holes (4 layers of thick quilted fabric!) with the finest jersey needle I had available! *argh*
But other than that … :-)

Have you ever made a coat? What was your last “OMG, I can not believe I made this”-project?

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Fresh from the sewing machine … girl’s tunic

Fresh from the sewing machine … girl’s tunic

Finally I spent some quality time with my sewing machine again.  This time I made a tunic for my daughter. The pattern is called Evelinchen and it is from the German pattern designer  allerlieblichst. I even cut into some treasured cotton jersey (dark brown with flowers) for this top that I had ordered from the US quite some time ago. I think it looks great with the natural colored cotton jersey I used for  the rest.


 Apparently the tunic is very well suited for running around in it. ;-) My girl had a good time shooting the photos. Very short time though as it was crazy cold! No wonder that she hardly stood still for a second. I was already freezing just looking at her – and I was wearing a thick coat.

Of course she also chose one of my handmade buttons – one of the stamped ones – and to make it a little extra-special I put it onto a little heart applique.


 I am sure this was not the last tunic I made. Already have some other ideas in my head that I definitely have to try.

What have you sewn lately?

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Cuteness alert! Teeny origami stars

If you know me, you know I like “tiny”. No idea why. So after yesterday´s tiny gingerbread house I have another “tiny” one today. Tiny origami stars!

Look at them! They are SO cute!!!

And with a teaspoon for scale! I LOVE these.

Once you have figured out how to make them it is really easy. To me it always takes a bit to wrap my head around such stuff … But it really is not that hard. Now even my daughter loves making these.

And it is so easy to decorate with them. Just put some in a clear glas container … or on the table … It always looks good! I love easy decorating! :-)

If you want to make your own there are MANY tutorials out there. I used these:

video instructions and written instructions


And as you can see I made them using old music sheets. Flea market score! :-) I am a sucker for everything “musical”. Just look here

But you can use ANY paper to make these. Old magazines, printed paper, newspaper … anything really!


Do you like them? If yes, don´t be shy and leave a comment! It makes my day! :-)

And check out all the other Crafty Christmas goodness. :-)

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Do you want to see my tiny gingerbread house?

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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Easiest Christmas ornaments to make with kids

Easiest Christmas ornaments to make with kids

Here comes another post in my Crafty Christmas series. Another quick and kid friendly craft – how to make cute and SCENTED applesauce-cinnamon ornaments. You might have already seen this wreath in my tutorial on how to make crocheted gingerbread house tags. But this time we focus on the cute cookie-like ornaments. :-)

Now please – these are not meant to be eaten! They may look tasty! I am pretty sure they are not. But the good thing – they last several Christmases if you are not throwing them around too much. :-)

So how to make them? It is SUPEReasy. You can either google for applesauce-cinnamon recipes. Which I did. And then just ditch the recipes and throw together applesauce and cinnamon. Which I also did! *lol*

(I love google. But I get overwhelmed quickly.) 

1. Make dough:

So, I did not add other stuff. If you do search you will find all kinds of recipes … some call for glue and other things. I literally just mixed together the cinnamon and the applesauce. Now, you do need ALOT of cinnamon so you might not want to use the best and most expensive one you have around. I used about 2 parts cinnamon and 1 part applesauce. But it does depend alot on what consistency your applesauce has so I encourage you to just play around and add a little at a time.

 You wanna end up with something dough-like that is not too sticky. I only made a rather small batch but it made quite a bunch of ornaments! 

2. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter

Now let your kids get “dirty”! ;-) Sprinkle cinnamon on the table to prevent the dough to stick to it.

 (WARNING! Do NOT use flour for this AT ALL! I did that last year – I thought I am clever – and the ornaments with the flour ended up with some rather not so pretty mold on them. :-/ You do not want to have that believe me! Especially not if it is followed by a discussion with your 2-year old WHY on earth you are throwing out HIS amazing work!)

You can roll out the dough with a rolling pin – but you can just as well press it flat with your hands. That is what we did and the kids can help!

Then go nuts with your cookie cutters!

(Smaller shapes work best. Also very intricate shapes might break easily.)

3. Let your “cookies” dry

In order for the ornaments to harden I just put them on a plate and let them sit near the heater for a couple of days. I have read that some people bake them. I never did that. 

I was never in a hurry AND if you let them sit and dry your house will smell AMAZING like cinnamon.

So if you happen to get sick from the smell of cinnamon – please do not do this project. ;-)

After the ornaments are dry (it does take a few days) you can draw some “icing” on them with acrylic paint if you like. Then hang and enjoy! 

If you like this post you might also like yesterday’s post on how to make fingerprint Christmas cards … or just hop on my email-list to not miss anything! :-)

Comments are highly appreciated as well. ;-)

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