Sunday, December 27, 2009

A time to Reflect, Rejuvenate,

Louise Hay Daily Affirmation Cards

and start setting goals for the year ahead. I always get reflective at this time of year. Christmas is over with a big sigh of relief, sad I know but with 3 kids and a big family it can be overwhelming and then when its finally come and gone there is that thought of "I can so wait for another year before doing this again." Anyway Christmas aside, here we are at the ending of another year and on the horizon the beginning of a new one. The thought of a fresh new year excites me, I'm not sure why but maybe it has to do with new beginnings and an opporunity to start fresh.

If you have been scrapbooking for a while and are familiar with all the scrap blogs then you would be familiar with Ali Edwards tradition of choosing a word for the year. If not you can head over to her blog post here about one little word . Now I know we have a few days to go but I have already begun thinking of what word I might choose. I am a bit hesitant to let go of this years word because I feel I have really embraced it and still have more work to do on it, maybe however it is a lifetime of work an ongoing process. My word for this year was "EMPOWER" I printed this word in huge font and stuck it on the wall in front of my work desk. I researched a meaning for this word one that resonated with me and also printed that underneath. The definition I found suited me perfectly. Here it is

Empower "An individual's assertion of personal power, energy, force and strength in all fields: spiritual, physical, emotional and magical...."

This year I have made lots of changes and am really proud of them. Amongst some of my achievements have been growing my business, losing 10 kgs, commiting to going to the gym 3 - 4 times a week and actually achieving it, eating healthy, monitoring my thoughts, words and actions and making a real effort to choose them wisely, increasing my confidence and self esteem which really was a result of all the other things that came before it, being more patient with the kids and really trying to be present with them and give them all individual attention (still working on this one). Most of all believing in myself that I can achieve anything I put my mind to and not letting the negative self talk creep in which it so often tries to.

I believe when you choose a word it gives you somewhere to put your focus for the year. If you begin the year with a wishy washy intention you will get wishy washy resuts. Begin the year with a clear dominent intent of the person you want to become and see yourself already being that person. Choose your word and each time you need that motivation in life you remember that word, each time you have an achievement no matter how small you remember that word. Print out that word and its definition and put it somewhere prominent that you look at everyday. Your subconscious will absorb the word. Create a vision board with all the things you want to achieve, a healthy body, abundance, a perfect partner, a new job, a child, happiness, self esteem, whatever it is for you.

Never ever let yourself loose focus, look at your word each day and affirm it or create an affirmation for it. For example I could have created the affirmation for the word empower that goes something like this " I now live an empowered life filled with joy, love, health and abundance." You can make up any affirmation you wish, but it must be in the present tense like you are already doing or achieving it.

I have gone on a bit longer than I had intended but I hope I have motivated you all to choose a word. I will be pondering my new word for the next few days. Along with this I will do a big clean out of my home and declutter everything that is crowding my space that no longer serves me and making room for new experiences to enter my life. New Year resolutions as they are so often called end up falling by the wayside because your focus is on a list which is often long and unachieveable and so you just give up before you even make a start. Just choose one thing that will embrace it all and remember baby steps. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher

Enjoy choosing your word, its actually a lot of fun!!

Anna xx

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a recipe to share.


I would like to wish you all a wonderful festive season filled with joyful moments, great memories to treasure, plenty of laughter with friends and family and a time of replenishing, restoring and reflecting on the year about to end.

Thank you for being such fabulous customers and supporting Koko Vanilla in 2009. I have loved all the customer feedback and emails and comments on kits and products and service.

I absolutely love what I do, creating and designing kits and sourcing first class supplies and offering quality customer service.

Without the support of my customers this wouldn't be possible so I am truly grateful!

I look forward to an even bigger and better year in 2010.

I really wanted to get on here and show you all a traditional favourite recipe of mine which I make every Christmas. I have never shared it here on the blog and I though it would be nice. I purchased all the ingredients a few days ago and meant to make them and post the instructions then but well, I have been making them over the last couple of days and finally finished them today. By the way they are really yummy, but I am trying to be good this year as I have worked hard to loose a few kilos the last 3 months and dont want to undo it all over Christmas so not overeating and keeping up the exercise is on the agenda this silly season for me.
These are easy to make no baking involved, its sort of like the cheats way of making them but yummy all the same. Makes a great gift too. Now some of the photos were taken in the evening becuase that was the only time I had to start making these so sorry if the photos are not that good.
Here goes
Mini Plum Puddings

First you will see in the picture below all the ingredients you need. Of course you can add anything extra that you like to this recipe, nuts, more dried fruit, etc etc.

Ingredients two packets of christmas Fruit cake I use the coles brand as you end up adding lots to it so its fine. I usually also buy a dark and light cake and mix them in together, I like the combination but you can do either one only if you prefer. 2 - 3 bags of milk choc melts, you can use the block chocolate as well and you can use dark chocolate also, but we like the milk chocolate around here so that's why I purchased that one. One bag of white chocolate. Alchohol of your preference I used rum and a little sweet sherry, use about 3 tbsp in total of the alcohol otherwise its too strong once again optional and you could use brandy if that's what you have or something nutty like frangelico, choice is yours. Some desicated coconut and some glace cherries and then I had some green sprinkles so I added those as well, but you could buy any soft green lolly like the spearmint leaves and chop them up to make them look like leaves on the puddings.

Now here is the fun part open the cakes up and crumble them together and mix them up. Add to this 1/2 cup of the coconut, the liquor and I added because I had some in the cupboard some chopped up dried cranberries. If you have chosen to add chopped nuts or anything else now is the time to add that also. Mix it all up together, the liquor will make it a little soggy so that it sticks together. Now roll up little balls of the mixture pressing them together until it sticks and make it round like a ball. Did I forget to mention this is a hands on project, oh well getting your hands dirty and creating in the kitchen will save you years of therapy bills (so they say)! Sorry have to throw in some jokes, after all if you were in my kitchen and I was teaching you how to make these I would be throwing in the odd joke in true Anna style. It looks like this before you roll it up into balls.

Now that you have rolled them up into balls melt all your milk chocolate I usually do it in the microwave for 1 - 2 min depending on your microwave. If unsure do it small amounts of time so you don't burn the chocolate. I add a tsp of oil in before I melt, not sure why I do this I am sure I learnt it somewhere and have always done it. Optional of course.

Once the chocolate is melted get a spoon and pop each little ball in the melted choc coating using a finger from one hand and a spoon to get it back out of the chocolate and then place the balls all on baking paper on a tray so they don't stick. They should look like the picture below. Make sure you melt the chocolate in a deep small container as you need to be able to dip the whole ball in. Now I know they are not perfectly round, but it doesn't really bother me because once you decroate it all it looks great. If you are a perfectionist and have lots of time on your hands by all means make them all perfecly round.

Now pop them in the fridge so the chocolate goes hard, if you are in a hurry pop them in the freezer to harden more quickly. Once that is done melt your white chocoalate, chop up the glace cherries into 1/4s and then spoon some of the white chocolate on top, (by the way don't melt the white chocolate too much just as long as its melted it needs to be thick and runny not thin and runny otherwise it falls straight down the sides and isn't thick. It's meant to look like custard on a pudding. Spoon a little white chocolate on top, spread it a little and then it will slowly drizzle down the sides, if it drizzles straight down it is too runny just wait for it to cool and harden, then continue. Straight away add you decorations on top glace cherry etc so that it sticks on top as the white choc hardens. That's it, its all done. Easy Peasy. It makes heaps I didn't count how many but at least 20.

Well I hope you have finished all your shopping. I did the last of mine this morning at 8.00am at Chaddy. I had a couple more things to purchase, so I decided to brave the crowds. Actually it wasn't too busy at that time, quite nice really I left by 10.30 am so I wasn't sure how busy it was after that but I did hear they had record crowds through the night.

Anyway I need to go and get some pressie wrapping done and organise some platters for Christmas Drinks with friends this evening.

Have a lovely day tomorrow!
Love and Light to all!
Anna xx

Monday, December 21, 2009

Precious Moments!!

Today I spent most of the day at my mums as it is her birthday, 79 wow, what an effort. My mum is beautiful and caring and loving and accomodating to everyone not just me. She has always been dedicated to pleasing her family and is the ultimate giver. Women like this rarely exist today. She provides what I call real unconditional love to all of us.

A couple of years ago Dad passed away and it has been a bit of an uphill battle for us all, as we are a really close family especially for mum, but little by little we have all pulled together and helped each other through it. I know Dad would be proud of mum, like we all are on how she has pulled herself together and is coping so well. I hope I am as strong and full of energy as she is right now when I am her age. We have a lot to learn about life from this older generation, the stories and insights they have to tell is really priceless. Being the youngest of 4 and having older parents was sometimes a conflict as the generation gap was so big, but I guess the older you get the gap seems to get smaller. Always take the time to listen if you are fortunate enough to have someone older around you, it may surprise you that a lot of what is written in today's self help books, our parents instinctly lived their lives that way without having the books to refer too.
Finally on a completely different note I am beginning to reduce some items in the Christmas Shop, of course when stock is sold out, it's gone as I would like to clear it all out over the next month, as I am sure that next Christmas there will be a new array of gorgeous products and supplies released. So head on over and take a look and stock up on some supplies to complete all those festive albums and scrap pages with all those photos you will be taking over the next couple of weeks. January is a great time to get up to date with those albums and get the kids to pitch and help or maybe create some pages of their own. It great to see their perspective on things. Christmas Shop click here.
I will be taking a short break in the new year for a week or so, however the store will remain open and orders can be placed as usual however will not be filled until my return. I will put more specific dates up closer to the time.
Back with more tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When one door closes another one opens...

Just popping in to say hi! on this quiet and relaxing Sunday, at least it is for me. After a really busy few days I can finally sit back and breathe a sigh of relief, that well most of the fesitivties and activites have come and gone and I survived it all!! It has been a busy 2 months with lots on and on top of it all trying to run and maintain a business which has also been really busy as well.

Friday was a hugely emotional day for me with tears beginning before I'd even dropped the kids off at school. It was my daughters final day at Primary School and I'm not sure why but for me it was a really big deal. I managed to hold it together mostly by the end of the day. On top of that my sons school teacher was moving to another school and that was also a little sad and a few tears were shed there with all the mums saying farewell and good luck.
Trying to get a photo of the 3 kids before we left for school was a non event. As it was the last day I would be dropping off my 3 kids to the one school I wanted a photo, of course it was 8.47am and we had to get going but I couldn't get them all to cooperate and smile at the same time, so I took 3 photos none of which I am happy with, and in my rush I was taking them at the wrong angle anyway, I just gave up and took them to school. So there are my 3 monkeys, which I absolutely love and adore and who definitely drive me crazy a lot of the time but on the flip side they are all becoming a little more grown up each day and I can see their personalities really beginning to come through and I love the way sometimes the comments they make just crack me up.
I am really nervous about my eldest starting high school next year, she has really loved her friends the last couple of years and she has also had a fantastic teacher the last two years and I know she is a little hesitant to leave it all behind. I guess though we all need to change and grow and in those moments where we are taken out of our comfort zone coming through on the other side can be really rewarding. So I am holding onto that thought that a new school and new friends will be really good for her.
The last couple of nights we have had parties on the first on Friday night was my nephews 21st party and last night was a friends 40th. I just have to absolutely laugh because everyone at the 40th partied much harder and longer than the 21st on the Friday. My husband and I were sort of looking at each other on the way home this morning at 3am, saying isn't it meant to be the other way around!! What the??? Having said that though well my husband is now having an afternoon nap to recover. What it is with men and their naps?? Anyway both nights were really good, but I have missed my kids both nights because they weren't invited to either parties and am looking forward to a night at home with a movie and popcorn and some time with them.
This was a hugely personal post and if you made it to the end well done. I am going to try and make an effort to post every day or so if possible this week especially leading up to Christmas.
That about wraps up my events for the weekend I hope you have all managed to get your Christmas shopping done I have done maybe 3/4 so it will be interesting now finishing the rest with the kids home.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The week's wrap up...

Vandoros - Snow Drops Red and White

Vandoros Saint Nick Grossgrain Red and Green

Vandoros Red and White Herringbone

Wow what a couple of weeks it's been. Exhaustion is the first word that comes to mind and all partied out and I have a weekend of two parties to go. I'm not sure how I'm going to get enough to stamina to do 2 late night parties back to back. I have to say I don't know how these young kids do it. Usually going to the gym 2-3 times a week gives me the energy to get through my busy weeks, you know what they say the more energy you use the more you have to use, but even that isn't really helping I think I have officially hit overload. Hopefully next week once all the Christmas shopping is done I can take a step back and chill a bit.

Onto some more exciting goodies, in the last week I have had some new stock arrive, one of these is a huge order of ribbons from Vandoros. You can find all the ribbons on site here, but take a look at some of the yummy designs available pictured above, and its not too late to get some in time to wrap your Christmas Presents or decorate them and your cards and gift tags.
Also I managed to source a bit more stock to make another 3 Merry Christmas Wishes Card Kits so if you still want to have a go at making a few gorgeous cards in time for Christmas you will find it here. They will be shipped out same day as payment is made so you have them in time to make them for Christmas Day.
I'm off to keep packing orders and ploughing through my to do list. Hope you are all coping with this hectic silly season!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Be in a Christmas Giveaway

The very lovely Chantelle from fatmumslim blog has organised the hugest most wonderful Christmas Giveaway. She has pulled together a whole lot of her favourite Aussie Etsy Stores to each contribute something from their Etsy store, so that someone can win this awesome prize valuing a total of $600 worth. Wow!!!
Great job Chantelle, and some great Christmas Spirit from all the Etsy sellers out there. Koko Vanilla has contributed a cute pack of Baboushka Circle Tags pictured above which are available in store as well as on Etsy. To be a part of this giveaway just head over to her blog and read the top post and then of course scroll down and see all the goodies that make up this prize, and don't forget to take a look at all the gorgeous Aussie Etsy stores out there and tell all your friends as well. Good Luck. Enter Here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Double Birthday Wishes

Arrian and Michael

I've had the most hectic day today, but I could not let the day pass without wishing these two wonderful people in my life a big happy birthday on their special day.

Firstly to my nephew Arrian Happy 21st. Wow I can't believe my nephew is now 21, wow how they grow. All the best for a beautiful year ahead.

Secondly to my hubbie who is 40 today Happy Birthday! OMG how old is that, no I shouldn't say that, just kidding, it's just I am a few years younger, and so not there yet, I do sympathise though. Well they say life begins at 40, whether it does or not it's a great time to reinvent yourself anyway.
That's all for now sorry about all the personal posts its just the time of year. There is a business still going on in the background here and your orders are getting filled and mailed and I have ordered some great new stock due to come in the next couple of weeks. A new brand of punches arriving straight from Texas soon, more on that when it arrives
Happy Weekend to All
Anna xx

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Believe ......

A celebration of stars

dance into the night.

one for each dream

about to take flight.

And by dawns' early hour

they all have a plan

to burst into your life

as fast as they can.

But you've got to believe

that dreams really come true

if you want all the gifts

that are waiting for you!

Life seems like a worldwind of moments some that pass by without a second thought and some that take your breath away. Last night was the later. I can't believe I have a daughter who will be in High School next year. Last night we celebrated Danielle's Yr 6 Graduation night.
For me it was a time to look back and reflect on all the growth and achievements from my little girl now nearly a teenager. For her it was just about having a really great time.
It's so important to cherish beautiful moments like these, no matter how crazy life can be at times, the challenges that seem to pop up here and there to test us. It's times like these where finding joy and happiness in the present is the most important emotion to feel. As for the message I want my daughter to head to high school with, well I think the poem above says it all. An excerpt from a book I am reading "Choose them Wisely" by Mike Dooley. I want my kids to know that hard work alone doesn't achieve everything, you also have to see it, believe it, think it and feel it with every part of you. Action, plus thoughts and feelings and of course believing you can do it complete the whole picture.
To everyone out there about to embark on a new change, remember to put all your heart and soul into it, and most importantly enjoy the journey!!!
Anna xx

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beige & White Polyester/Cotton Bakers Twine Now available

Finally a polyester cotton blend of beige and white bakers twine, now available on site to purchase both in a huge 1600 metre roll or in lots of 50metres. This twine has a subtle contrast of colours but is just soft and perfect for wrapping and packaging, gift tags and cards. To purchase click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What does Christmas Mean to Me???

At the moment this gorgeous stuff, I know sad!!. Candy striped red and white bakers twine. I have never been so happy to see the delivery man. Oh I know it just twine but its so delicous and so perfect for Christmas and well you guys have been ordering this like it's your morning coffee, wanting it asap well its finally here and there's more where this lot came from due next week. This lot is about to be wrapped, packed and posted all the way around the world from a couple of suburbs away to as far as Seattle, don't you just love the net.
So just to let you all know that it is available for order on site but keep in mind that orders are processed in order of being recieved. If your order doesn't make this batch they will be sent out next week, you can always email me to confirm when your roll will be shipped. All orders that have been placed to date will be sent today. I am doing my best to get everyone's order out asap, keep in mind the delay is all the way down the line, from manufacturer to the posties. I am pre-ordering as much as I can but its hard to know the demand.
Now that said here is a new little goodie about to be loaded on site. You've been asking and well I know its not red and white or brown and white twine but it is poly/cotton blend twine which you have all been wanting. It's gorgeous and just perfect for any sort of tags and wrapping and comes in a huge 1600 metre roll and will be in smaller amounts also. I am working on getting the brown and white twine in, hopefully in the new year.
Beige & White poly/cotton blend twine

Okay so I am off to pack. Happy weekend to all!! We have another lot of get togethers this weekend! I think I'll need a holiday away just from all the socialising.
Chat Soon

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Special Christmas Wishes - Create your own Christmas Cards

It's finally here and selling like hotcakes there are only a few kits left in stock, be quick if you really love it and want one, introducing....

Merry Christmas Wishes Card Making Kit

Designed by Anna Pontikis

To take a closer look and purchase click here.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Still here!!!!

Hey Everyone,

I am still around just snowed under packing pizza boxes for all you guys, my wonderful customers. Wow its like everyone just realised Christmas is only just over 3 weeks away OMG I'm so not ready either!!!. So am doing my best to get all your orders out as quickly as possible. Just wanted to pop in and say I loaded some adorable new Christmas stamps on site yesterday. Take a look here. Well no time to chat about my eventful week, but will be back with more later. Also as promised FINALLY a new Card Kit for you all. Check back later in the Card Kit Dept it will be up this afternoon, promise.



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