Sunday, August 17, 2014

Life Lessons Learned on the Art Journal Page and a Mixed Media Melbourne Workshop in September

I am totally loving the process of creating art backgrounds.  It is freeing and fun and I am slowly learning to let go of being perfect and not scared to make mistakes.  A metaphor for life I think.  I get to a point in my background and I think its perfect and I don't want to do anything else to it in case I stuff it up. 

So then I leave it and think hmm what can I add cause I can't just stop at the background.  This is definitely the part where I get stuck, like badly stuck and don't move forward.  Do I put words, paint images, add patterend paper, shit too many decision and it's a bit overwhemling. I'll just come back to it later and see.  Something will come to me, or I'll just start another background!  Okay so there is life again reflecting itself in my art.

I guess to keep it short here otherwise I will rant on forever, the take away might be that not every decision is the right one but that can't stop us from making any decision because, not making a decision is in effect making a choice to do nothing which is a decision.  This then has a consequence. 

To push myself even further out of my comfort zone I have scheduled to teach a mixed media class in September, see below, to force myself to overcome the fear of not being perfect and not being able to know everything about what I am teaching because I've only been back into painting for a year and a half.  However I have something that needs to be shared and a message that goes with it.  Just to add a little pressure and discomfort I will push through the lack of confidence and all the other BS excuses that I keep telling myself and just do it.  If you are in Melbourne and wish to join me details are here.

So here the pages I speak off and given that the biggest mistake I can make on these pages is with paint and paper and not with my life, time to practice making mistakes and pushing past my comfort zone so that it isn't scarry anymore.

I knew this art stuff was good for something, other than the pure fun of it and the fact that it makes me happy.  Give it a try you might like or even love it.  If you need an intro and a fun Sunday afternoon come join me I promise it will be fun and maybe just a little life altering too.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Short Break

The Koko Vanilla Team is taking a short winter break from
1st - 9th July 2014

Orders placed during this time will be mailed on
10th July 2014

Thank you for your patience and we looking forward to
returning refreshed and inspired with new creative ideas
to share with all our wonderful customers

In the meantime
 continue to
Dream, Create, Inspire


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Neon Paints

Any art/ craft stash is not complete without Neon Coloured supplies scattered throughout.  Now in store some cute bright paints that are fluoro neon to add to your art work and scrap pages.

Now available in 4 Colours.  You will find them here.  Of course I couldn't resist a little play in my journal to sample them.  Someone has to sample the stock around here! 

Green Neon

 Orange Neon Paint

Pink Neon Paint

Happy Crafting

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why do I love creating Mixed Media Art?

If you follow me on one of the numerous social media sites I maintain you would have noticed my indulgence into Mixed Media lately (actually a year or two).  As I evolve as an artist and business owner it is only natural to follow my passion for being creative.  If I didn't and only created what my customers wanted to see I wouldn't be true to myself and nor would I be creating with that passion I described earlier. 

Each day is different day for me as it would be for you, sometimes I feel like making a card and sometimes I need that therapeutic messiness that only paints can provide.  I encourage you also not to be stagnant and only try one medium or one style or one type of project.  It's kind of like eating the same breakfast every day for years.  Boring and predictable.  If you are anything like me I am a different breakfast option type of girl, always changing according to what I feel like on that day.

Being exploritive in art helps to keep the momentum going and minimises that creative rut that we sometimes get into.  If it's just not flowing TRY SOMETHING NEW!.

When we try something new, chances are

1.  We will get back into the flow and start creating again and possibly incorporate that new medium or technique into our current work style.

2.  We will move past the initial resistance of doing it only one way and create freedom in our art which we were once blocking by stubbornly wanting it to be a certain way.

3. We will step out of our comfort zone and create something so amazing that looks nothing like anything we have previously created and now have this idea of how we can keep creating more in this style, otherwise known as being excitedly creatively inspired to grab your supplies and spend hours creating ignoring all other tasks like getting kids to school and making the evening meal.  (all you arty mummas know what I'm talking about here)

I encourage you to explore and try something different and not feel as though you have to be only a card maker or only a scrapbooker or only a project lifer or only a painter.  Mix, combine and play and don't get caught up in the labels.  There are no rules only you create them, the less rules the more freedom you will have to push through the blocks and explore your creative expression on the other side of that.

How does my business fit in.  Well I create what I love and hopefully inspire you to do the same.  I come from a place of authenticity.  I don't have a design time, I do everything in my business.  I create, photograph, update my website, film my videos, pack and send packages, update all my social media sites etc.  It's slow and time consuming and sometimes frustrating to do everything I want to do. On top of this I have 3 beautiful kids and guess what they come before all the business stuff, because you only get one chance at that and then its gone.

Let me step back a little and give you some tiny backgound you may understand me more this way.  I grew up in a hardworking family business which was a Reception Centre.  My parents worked their arses off and so did all of we.  We banded together and helped I was waitressing at the age of my youngest now 11 every weekend, for weddings of 400 people, two parties going at once as we had two rooms.  The first half of my life I did what I could to help my parents I never questioned it, I just did it, cause that's what you did.  Family was and is everything.  I  also spent a lot of years living with aunty when I was younger, my mums sister she had no children and was more than happy to have me and in fact she mothered me like I was a Princess.  But guess what I hated going there as I got older because I felt isolated and like I didn't belong to my family.  Why am I telling you this?  This particular upbringing is why I run my life and business the way I do.  I swore I would never do that to my kids.  I am lucky that I have a husband that supports me financially so this business is my project.  But until my kids are adults they are and will always by my main project.  Only because I know what it feels like to be on the other end of parents that are not emotionally available and don't have time for you.  You know you are loved but you don't feel like you matter.  It's just the way it was then and they didn't know any better.  They came from nothing and wanted the best for us and they thought the best for us was to provide financially and give us opportunities they never had like great private schools, saving for your first house etc.  However fast forward to today and things have changed we now know all that stuff means nothing if your kids don't feel loved and important and cared for by you their parents. Yes they want all the nice stuff but the foundation needs to be there as well the emotional connection, the love!

So now that you know why I am not here just to make some income I am here to share my souls calling to create art and to inspire you all to create art also and hopefully to heal as well  We all have a life event or events to heal from.  I don't care whether you think you do or don't we all do.

I have said a little more than I had planned to say. I just wanted to be up front with you, so you all know my journey and why I do what I do.  Also why I am always encouraging you to explore art and spend time expressing yourself that way.  It is a form of self love too.

Below are some expressions of my new passions.  Plenty of supplies in store to get started with this style of art.  There are stencils, paints and papers and stickers all of which have been used to create here.   Its a little different from card making but just as much fun.  Give it a try.  I will be making a You Tube of the process soon.  Make sure you follow me on FB as all the updates are on there daily.  All the buttons for my socal media link are on the home page of the website here !

If you read to the bottom of my Sunday Rant, I am honoured.
Enjoy your Sunday and break through the blocks and find the real you!
Anna xox

Friday, May 9, 2014

Handmade Cards Inspiration

A little inspiration of some cards I have been working on lately.  A mixture of Mother's day, Birthday and some generic cards.

I know I don't tend to post here all that often but I am definitely a lot more active on all the other social media platforms.  You can find all the links to these on our website home page in the top right hand corner.  So if you miss keeping up to date with happenings around here be sure to follow us on facebook and instagram as I  usually post daily, if not at least a few times a week.

Hope you have a lovely weekend and if you are a mum enjoy having some time to yourself.  I nearly forgot to mention we are offering gift vouchers valued at  $50 for only a $40 investment.  Available until Saturday.  You then have 6 months to spend your voucher so make sure you hint to hubby that you would love one!!

Click on image below for more details

Koko Vanilla Designs Handmade Cards

 anna xoxo

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Kids April Easter Holiday Workshops 2014

Hello Everyone

School holidays are nearly upon us again in Australia so I thought it would be great to hold a couple of new workshops to keep our kids inspired and creative during the break.

Classes are listed  below with links to each respective class.  Discount of 5% for two siblings in the one family.

Any questions you can email me at

See you in class xo


Kids Card Making Workshop
April Easter Holidays
Tuesday 8th April 10am - 12pm
To be held at Clota Cottage Neighbourhood House, Box Hill
This class is for kids aged 11+.

Your kids will love being productive and creative instead of sitting at home bored during these school holidays.  Bring them along for 2 solid hours of card making creativity and fun.  Kids will come home with fully completed cards, similar to those pictured which they can use throughout the year. 

All supplies will be provided.

This class will be fun but busy.  All levels welcome and great for boys and girls.  When purchasing this class please add particpants names in the comments section.  Full address of class location will be sent to you after purchasing your class place.

5% discount will apply when purchasing for 2 or more places for siblings in the same family.  The discount will be applied during checkout.


Mixed Media Creative Canvas Workshop for Kids -
April Easter Holidays
Monday 14th April 1pm - 3pm
To be held at Clota Cottage Neighbourhood House, Box Hill
This class is for kids aged 11+.

Your kids will love being productive and creative instead of sitting at home bored during these school holidays.  Bring them along for 2 solid hours of Mixed Media Canvas creativity and fun.  Kids will complete a large canvas, using a mixture of art techniques and supplies.
This class is suited to those that would love to discover the process of using different mediums to create a finished canvas with images and words of their choosing.  All items will be provided, just bring your kids.

The image provided is just a sample of what a mixed media canvas looks like, the kids will be making their own version, more samples to come.

All levels welcome and great for boys and girls.  When purchasing this class please add particpants names in the comments section.  Full address of class location will be sent to you after purchasing your class place.

5% discount will apply when purchasing for 2 or more places for siblings in the same family.  The discount will be applied during checkout.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

New Card Making Tutorial - Beautiful Hexagons

A brand new tutorial is now up on You Tube,

Along with this video I have created a kit for those of you who love to follow along and create your own cards using my designs.  You will find the link here to purchase the kit with the supplies used in the video.

I hope you enjoy watching and sorry it is a bit blurry at the beginning, not sure why this is as it looked fine before I uploaded it.

Anna xox


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