Mixed media fairy house – inspired by Ireland!

mixed media fairy house-ursula-markgraf

Every day is a bit longer. The sun shines more and more often. Birds are chirping. I can find new sprouts shooting up in the garden every time I visit. It’s spring!

To be honest, I’m not a “spring girly”. My favourite time of year is fall or autumn. But after the long weeks of grey and it getting dark early and getting light late … I’m just happy that spring is here!

I enjoy working in the garden, going for walks, going hiking … and of course, riding my bike (cause that really isn’t much fun in winter!)

While tidying out some shelves I found some tiny wooden birdhouses and instantly had an idea! But the idea wasn’t just sparked by spring, but also by our last vacation. Out of the ordinary, we didn’t travel to Scotland last year, but we visited Ireland!

And one thing that I loved about Ireland was the fact that their houses are often painted in the most vibrant colours! You find houses in dark pink, bright yellow, a combination of red and blue (which I thought would never work – but it does!!!), purple …

I found it so inspiring and couldn’t get enough of those colours and colour combinations. Also, in Ireland, you often find fairy houses or fairy doors in the gardens. Sometimes it’s just one door … sometimes it’s a tree full of many different doors. It looked so enchanting and magical!

I really wanted to create my own fairy door for my garden. So far I haven’t done that yet. I will and you’ll be the first one to know. But I created …

A mixed media fairy house!

mixed media fairyhouse-ursula-markgraf

What do you think?

I tried a combination of dark purple, dark pink and yellow … and am super happy about how it turned out!
All the shingles and stones were a lot of work, but it really paid off.

mixed media fairyhouse-ursula-markgraf

And the little sign that can be hung on the house can be switched out. So you could have little messages for someone that you’re gifting the house to. Or just sweet reminders for yourself.

mixed media fairyhouse-ursula-markgraf

And this was the wooden birdhouse before I used acrylic paints, cardboard, wire, and lots of love (and time!) to create the fairy house:

mixed media fairyhouse-ursula-markgraf

Would you like to have your own fairy house for your apartment or your balcony?

There are two options for you :-)

Order your very own mixed media fairy house

For 29€ (plus shipping) you can order your very own fairy house. If you’re quick, I will personalize it for you. All you have to do is just send me an email at ursula@ursulamarkgraf.com and let me know which 2-3 colours you would like and tell me 5 little messages for the signs for the house.
Alternatively, you can of course also just order them once they are in my etsy-shop (without personalization). I only offer the personalization until all my wooden birdhouses are gone. Once all are painted, you can only buy them as they are.

mixed media fairyhouse-ursula-markgraf

Create your very own mixed media fairy house with my online workshop

Would you like to create your very own fairy house? Or even better – a whole village of fairy houses?

I’d love to show you how I made mine. I’m planning to create an online video workshop. So, if you’re interested in that one, please let me know either by commenting or sending me an email.

At the moment I have a few options of online workshops that I’m planning to create. So if there is a lot of interest in the fairy house one, then I will create this one first.

Also, if you do send me an email and let me know that you’re interested, I will send you a coupon code to buy the finished workshop at a reduced price, once it’s done. Just as a little show of appreciation that you took the time to email me.

And if you’d like to be among the first ones to know when my online-workshop is finished, then just sign up to my newsletter!

Sign up to my newsletter and try my free mixed media workshop!

 

P.S. Of course, you don’t only find colourful houses in Ireland. There is also gorgeous nature and breathtaking scenery. Here are just a few impressions:

Mixed Media Easter Egg Tutorial

Mixed Media Easter Egg Tutorial

Easter is just around the corner … and I’m really looking forward to it. A few years ago on a whim, I created these Easter eggs with faux calligraphy. Back then I used ink and a nib on them, which was a pain. Even though I really LOVED the result, I was not really willing to create more of them, as it simply was super hard for me to write with the nib on such an awkward surface. (Rounded, small, bit bumpy from the collage … ) I had an idea in my head that would eliminate that faux calligraphy/hand-lettering bit, but never really got around to trying it. This year I finally did it. This is the result:

Mixed Media Easter Eggs

mixed-media-easter-egg-tutorial-ursula-markgraf

What do you think?

Here are some more with cute images instead of words:

mixed-media-easter-egg-tutorial-ursula-markgrafThe cute images are free to download from The Graphics Fairy.

I love how they turned out! But I do love the ones with the words most!

What words would you put on your DIY-Easter eggs?

mixed-media-easter-egg-tutorial-ursula-markgrafAnd if you want to create our own Mixed Media Easter Eggs and would love a bit of help – I created an easy-to-follow step-by-step PDF-tutorial for you.  It has 13 pages and guides you through the process.  Super beginner-friendly! No tutorial videos (yet!) unfortunately, but I think it’s still easy to follow along with the photos and descriptions. Also, as it’s not a video workshop the price is of course much more affordable!

Easy-to-follow beginner-friendly PDF-tutorial in my etsy-shop

Until the 24th of March, 2024, you can buy the tutorial e-book (PDF) for an introductory price in my etsy-shop.

So hop on over … and start creating some fun Easter eggs to decorate with or give away as gifts!

Calm inside – my „wrong“ meditation practice

Calm inside – my „wrong“ meditation practice

If you’re in a room with me for more than a few minutes, you will realize pretty quickly … I’m not a calm person.
For much of my life, I’ve tried to change that. I attempted to change who I am or at least how I appear. To no avail. Even if/when I tried to appear calm on the outside – and for simplicity’s sake let’s assume that it worked (which of course it usually didn’t) – on the inside it was a whole different story.

The fact is, I’m simply not a calm person.

Just like I don’t have black hair or blue eyes. That’s it.

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “Loved & enough” – available in my etsy-shop

By now I’m trying to accept and embrace it. I mean after all, what would happen if all people on this earth would be calm by nature?! It sure would be boring as hell.
Also, think about the effect it has to constantly try to be someone, who you’re simply not. Let’s just say, it’s frustrating, at least.
(That is a big understatement, of course.) And by now I’m feeling like – I’m too old for this shit. I am who I am.

Of course, it’s not always this easy. As a bubbly energetic person, you don’t only get nice feedback. (I guess for a super-calm person it’s similar. I wonder why it is, that people can’t be accepted as who they are?) So embracing myself, it’s not something that I just decided and did. It’s a way I started walking on … and I’m still working on it …

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “Loved & enough” – available in my etsy-shop

The thing with being „not calm“ – for lack of a better word – is, that it’s not only the outside that might be hard to handle for some. But my inside also isn’t „calm“. And I have to deal with that, whether I like it or not. I can’t just walk away from myself and from my thoughts. Believe me, I have tried.

All my life my thoughts have always been bubbling …

My head is always spinning. My mind never shuts up …
I thought that’s normal. That’s how everyone lives. I’m just now starting to realize, that not everyone experiences life this way.

The way my brain works makes it easy for me to have ideas. It has always been something that I’m good at. I can come up with new ideas in no time. Often, ideas just pop into my head throughout the day, without me even trying. I could fill notebooks with them. Actually, I HAVE filled notebooks with them. I love how my brain works like that. It’s amazing.

But of course, it also has downsides. For years I thought it was completely normal to go to bed and lay awake for a few hours before finally falling asleep. I have done that since I can remember. As a child, a teen, during my university studies, during my first years of being employed … Sleep was always a big struggle for me. I only realized that my experience actually isn’t normal at all, when I somehow ended up with a leaflet about sleep disorders in my hand by chance in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. I still remember the moment that I read through it and realized. It was a bit of a shock.

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “I am enough” – available in my etsy-shop

Another downside, I have never been good at taking breaks.

I don’t know how to “do nothing”.

Just sitting down and enjoying time … I literally have no idea how to do it. I always did something. For most of my life, I actually did several things at once, like knitting while watching a movie, painting while listening to audiobooks, and doing housework while learning something new with a podcast … I was always striving for „efficiency“, not realizing that the fact that I actually couldn’t do „nothing“ was a bit odd.
The thing is, I actually got along like that fine for quite some time. Especially during university studies, I felt I was thriving. I could work the way I wanted to and I managed quite well, I thought.

It kinda started falling apart when I had kids. (Not wanting to blame my kids at all – I love them and they are the best thing that ever happened to me!) Suddenly there were demands that I could not schedule the way that they fit in for me. And especially sleep got so much worse. That’s when I came across meditation. Again.

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “I am enough” – available in my etsy-shop

I actually had come across meditation before, but the idea of „thinking about nothing“ … just sounded nuts to me. How on earth should I do that? I do remember trying it a few times – failing of course. The whole concept was completely insane to me and I could not imagine how any human being could think of nothing for more than a second!
So I decided that meditation clearly was not for me. It was just too frustrating and I felt even more like a failure than before trying it!

When I had kids and the sleeping problems had increased even more I somehow found an audio meditation for moms. I was so desperate, that I tried it.

It was a guided meditation, that was just 3 minutes long.

A lovely voice talked me through it. And I was shocked to feel how it worked. I could literally feel my body relax! Do you know that odd feeling when your intestines somehow relax for the first time that day and you hadn’t even realized that you’re completely tense all the time?
I actually did relax while listening to it! I could feel my body reacting to it! It was amazing!

After that, I listened to this one meditation every day for weeks and it helped me to relax. Then I tried other guided meditations … and they worked, too. Some were better than others. But I realized, that even though I could not meditate by myself – when I had a voice to listen to and focus on, it did help me to relax immensely.

I started to listen to guided meditations every evening before going to sleep. And after a while for the first time in my life, I actually had a „normal“ sleep. I would go to bed, listen to the meditation, and fall asleep listening to it and – a totally crazy thing – would sleep through much better than before! Before I used to wake up so many times at night, even though there was no apparent reason for it.

I can say, that meditation completely changed my life!

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “I am loved” – available in my etsy-shop

To this day I have this ritual of listening to a meditation before sleeping. Sometimes, I fall off this habit and stop doing it … The thing that I have noticed though is, that even if I can fall asleep easily without the meditation, I still usually sleep much better through the night if I listen to it, compared to if I don’t. So, eventually, I always get back to the habit again when I realize I’m not sleeping as well as I’d like to.

I also got into the habit of listening to a guided meditation throughout the day. Sometimes I do it in the morning after waking up, sometimes during my lunch break. It helps me to calm down, to get my body back into a relaxed mode, at least for a bit. Somehow I usually don’t realize how tense I am. Even if I lay down and try to relax … my body is still tense, and my mind races … I don’t relax just because I don’t do anything or I „have time“. I’m often totally tense, without even realizing it. The guided meditations help me to consciously relax and make such a huge difference in my day and in my body.

wrong meditation practice calm inside

Mixed media art “I am loved” – available in my etsy-shop

I’ve been listening to guided meditations now for years. At some point, I had this idea in my head that I really should be learning how to „properly“ meditate. I should be able to do it without relying on a „guide“. I should be able to learn to do it by myself …
I tried many times. There are moments after doing some yoga or while sitting next to a river, where I actually can do some meditating without listening to a guided version. But I still can’t do it just by stopping in the middle of my day and sitting down. It just doesn’t work and trying again and again was super frustrating.

At some point, I even had a „friend“ telling me, that I was not doing it right. That what I call „meditating“ actually is not meditating.
(Maybe the fact that he told me that I was wrong, without considering that it actually was helping me, should have been a clue that he wasn’t really what a friend should be.)
It did make me doubt myself at first … but then I thought, does it matter? Does it matter if someone thinks I’m doing it wrong? Does it matter if I actually WAS doing it wrong?

Who am I hurting by meditating my way?

What is the point, of making it hard for myself and trying over and over again something that is not working for me?

(I don’t wanna say that it generally isn’t worth trying hard! I’m all for working on a skill to achieve it if it’s something you enjoy or something you want to master. But frustrate yourself just to fit into a concept that someone else has? Why?)

Why do I have to do it „right“? Or, is there actually a „right way“? Isn’t it enough if it works? Isn’t it ok to do it in whatever way works, as long as there are benefits?

wrong meditation practice calm inside
Mixed media art “I am loved” – available in my etsy-shop

I kinda decided I was fine with doing it „wrong“.

Actually, I did decide, there is no wrong. It helps me. So I’m using it. Yes, other people do it differently. I don’t mind. I don’t judge. As long as it benefits the individual – isn’t that awesome?!

And if you have tried meditation before and thought it’s not for you – hey, play around!

There are so many different ways to meditate!

If you’re someone like me and the idea of „not doing anything“ makes you break out in sweat due to fear – there are so many other ways to meditate than just by sitting down and thinking nothing! These are just a few ideas:
– guided meditations
– walking meditations
– yoga meditations
– mantra meditations
– body scan mediations
– breathwork
– nature meditations

In my opinion, meditation is a bit like art making – you have to try and see how it feels to find your preferred way!

What is your take on meditation?
Have you tried it?
Has it worked for you?
And if yes, in what way?

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. ;-)

wort-des-jahres-ease-ursula-markgraf
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?

wort-des-jahres-flow-ursula-markgraf

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

 

Dance in the moonlight

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” – SOLD OUT

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. :-)