Monday, December 27, 2010

Bring on the New Year!!!!

There are years that ask questions and years that answer
Zora Neale Hurston

Taken from the book Simple Abundance - A daybook of comfort and joy- Sarah Ban Breathnach

How are you all feeling.  I am still trying to recover from the overindulgence which is Christmas.  It's a beautiful time of year but it takes days to recover from the excess of it all, food, wine, preparations, busyness, gift buying, gift wrapping, excited and highly sugared kids that won't go to bed etc etc.  I am sure you all know the drill so glad its all over with, done and dusted for another year.  It's actually super quiet around here as hubbie and the kids are off camping for a couple of days so I decided to brave the gym this morning after not having been for over a week.  It' disappointing how much fitness you loose just in a few days of not exercising, not fair really!!

Okay so enough complaining. It's that time of year again, yes the ending of the old and the beginning of the new. I have to confess I secretly love begining a new year. I know you can wipe your slate clean and start over any day of the year but for me there is something really special and signifcant about the new year.

Maybe its a new date 2011, maybe its a new diary and a new calender or maybe is just the chance to release what was maybe an ordinary year and affirm something new for the coming year.  Whatever it is, to me it's magical. 

The quote at the top of the page really sang out to me because I have spent the year asking questions especially to my life coach or anyone that would listen really and although I have had trickles of insight I am still not convinced.  However I am confident that the year to come will finally be the year of answers. Or perhaps I am just now all questioned out and prepared to sit back and allow the answers to come that have always been there.  So with that said I am doing what I can do whilst I wait for these magical answers and getting organised, really organised.  I am armed and ready.

I have purchased my new matching calender and diary (don't gasp I am still a paper girl no digital organising for me).   I am determined and ready.  I have also been thinking about my new word for 2011.  If you don't know the theory behind "One Little Word" for each year you can find out about it at Ali Edwards Blog.

So my new calender is perfect with really large spaces for writing all the events in, more for my hubbie so he can see what's happening and when as I mainly work off my diary.  However the calender is a central way to communicate to everyone in the house what is happening and when.

Here is my new diary, how cute is it, it has to be bright and colourful for me.  I purchased this at Doncaster Shoppingtown before Christmas it was from one of the stalls in the middle of the aisles that has calenders and diaries etc.  It wasn't cheap but I don't care, it is perfect for me it opens and sits nicely opened flat and has a week to a page, which is what I love.  I have to see my whole week at once.

The only other thing that I must introduce consistently which I dabbled in last year but failed miserably was the great advice from my life coach  (who is fabulous by the way and you can check out his blog in the link.) Is to have a set routine for each week and an agenda or list for each day.  I have to be honest I struggle with routine in my day.  Being my own boss with no one to answer too other than my customers and my husband and kids it is easy to get sidetracked and disorganised.  However this year I am really going to give it a good go and although it will take a lot to set routines in concrete in the long run it will be worthwhile as then I can slowly get the kids into their routines as well.  It all feels a little out of control at the moment.    

I am taking these few days to get super organised and make a head start of things for next year.  I know once the kids are back the next few weeks will be virtually impossible to work on any planning and organising, so I am taking the time to do it now.

I am also getting back to photo journalling a page a week. More about that to come in another post as this one is already too long.

So I hope you take the time to prepare to bring in a fabulous and wonderful 2011.  I know I am.

Anna xx

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!!!

This is just my favourite Christmas song, especially sung by Christina Aguilera, just love love it.  I wanted to upload the video here but youtube wouldn't enable it so here is the link if you want to hear it. 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my customers, friends and family the most wonderful, beautiful and joyous Christmas.  May this be a time for us all to be in the moment with our loved ones even though our minds can sometimes be a million miles away.  May it be a time for an abundance of  love and gratitude for those around us.

Thank you to all my customers for your support, lovely feedback, friendly emails and to even the little chats I have with customers who pick up their orders from my home.  I am so amazed at this online community.  I have been on the net for a few years now and I never would have thought I could become so close to people who live on the other side of the world.  It is trully amazing and I am so so grateful for the connection that we all have whilst we go about our day. 

Finally I would like to share a wonderful email which I recieve daily from my daily om today, so appropriate for this time of year.  I would love to share it here with all of you.

Before I do however I would just like to mention that Koko Vanilla Designs will be open for your orders throughout the Christmas and New Year period except for a few days break early in the New Year.  However I will post the days closer to the time.

enjoy the post below....

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!
Anna xxxx

Asking and Receiving

Prayer and Meditation

post courtesy of daily om

Put very simply, prayer is when we ask the universe for something, and meditation is when we stop and listen.

Prayer and meditation are similar practices in that they both offer us a connection to the divine, but they also differ from one another in significant ways. Put simply, prayer is when we ask the universe for something, and meditation is when we listen. When we pray, we use language to express our innermost thoughts and feelings to a higher power. Sometimes, we plumb the depths within ourselves and allow whatever comes to the surface to flow out in our prayer. At other times, we pray words that were written by someone else but that express what we want to say. Prayer is reaching out to the universe with questions, pleas for help, gratitude, and praise.

Meditation, on the other hand, has a silent quality that honors the art of receptivity. When we meditate, we cease movement and allow the activity of our minds and hearts to go on without us in a sense. Eventually, we fall into a deep silence, a place that underlies all the noise and fray of daily human existence. In this place, it becomes possible for us to hear the universe as it speaks for itself, responds to our questions, or sits with us in its silent way.

Both prayer and meditation are indispensable tools for navigating our relationship with the universe and with ourselves. They are also natural complements to one another, and one makes way for the other just as the crest of a wave gives way to its hollow. If we tend to do only one or the other, prayer or meditation, we may find that we are out of balance, and we might benefit from exploring the missing form of communication. There are times when we need to reach out and express ourselves, fully exorcising our insides, and times when we are empty, ready to rest in quiet receiving. When we allow ourselves to do both, we begin to have a true conversation with the universe.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Busy Weekend

We had quite a busy weekend here mainly because my mother celebrated her 80th Birthday.  Her birthday is actually on the 21st December, however we had a huge Italian Style Party of 80 people to celebrate.  It was a really lovely day and she thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a little weird for all of us to prepare everything and organise it knowing our Dad wouldn't be there and I know this was a huge step for Mum, however we all came together and pulled it off and mum made a great effort to enjoy herself and be in the moment and celebrate like Dad would have wanted her to.

Here are a few of the snaps.

Just for sentimental value for myself here is a photo of mum and dad a long time ago
I wasn't even born yet, how gorgeous, look at those sideburns oh my!!
I really miss my Dad, I am a lot like him,
he would have been a great mentor for me in my life right now.

My Mum cutting her birthday cake

Here is a family shot of all of us

A photo of my mum with her brothers and sisters,
she was one of 11, 7 brothers, 4 sisters, one of the sisters
lives in Italy so is not in this photo, the others have passed.

My funky brother who is also a DJ (the best there is) mind you
and in front his little son Cam who clearly is following in Dad's footsteps.

And finally I couldn't go past putting a family shot of the 5 of us

So that's about it for the moment, I will be back with more soon as I have some new albums on site and I want to share what my new goal for 2011 is, (well 1 of my new goals).  It involves a photo journal and getting the kids in on the act.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays its nice not to have to get the kids out the door early.  We had a big baking day yesterday for the kids at my sister-in-laws house 5 hour baking fest which the kids loved and today I think the shops are on the agenda, as my sister who is down from China for the week is taking my kids out shopping for a couple of hours and I might join them a bit later, although the thought of attempting Shoppingtown 5 days before Christmas doesn't exactly thrill me to be honest.

More Soon
Anna xx

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The picture says it all.......

Does this look familiar?????

This image would either represent right now you looking at your own reflection or looking at the face of a loved one.  Either your wife, mother, partner, girlfriend, daughter, etc etc.  You know what I mean don't you??? don't you????

It's called overload and exhaustion with a dash of I still have a hundred things to do in the next week. helppppp!!!

Well I am here to reassure you that this image is me and probably 1 million other women right now so you are not alone and notice how I haven't included men here.  Because the majority of men look really calm right now saying you know what honey " I love this time of year."  I wonder why???? because we do it all.  We are the frazzled, short tempered, over commited, completely stressed out women trying to balance 100 things at one time so that everything will be perfect on Christmas Day. 

To be honest I dont really have time to write this post, and I would really love to write a crafty post and show you all that I have been working on.  But my husbands comment this morning as he was just about to walk out the door after taking his lunch that I made and his coffee that I made was oh do you think you could go and pick up Danielle's text books today for next year??????

Okay so I am just going to stay calm and pretend that never happened and breathe.  A week before Christmas do you think I give a S____ about text books right now.  We have 6 weeks to get text books, and now you ask me a week before Christmas.  A totally clueless husband as to how much I have to do and have done so far.

So if you are a female and this is you speak up and don't take anymore on right now, no is the answer you cannot fit another thing in unless of course if it is a massage or facial or something decadent for yourself only which by the way you deserve!!

If you are a male my advice is for your own wellbeing of course beware, be aware, just keep your mouth shut unless you are prepared to contribute in some helpful way.  Harsh I know but look at what we have to go though getting it all together!!

Anna xx

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nothing says Christmas MORE than the sparkle and shine of "GLITTER"

I am so loving using glitter on my projects lately.  I am sure it is the buzz of Christmas.  That crazy busy feeling when your heads in a fog running from one place to the next, just barely keeping your head above water.  This is where creative therapy comes in and saves the day.  All you need is some glue and glitter, some christmas carols playing in the background, a beverage of choice and you are off.  You can find a selection of gorgeous glitter in store here in an array of colours for all your projects.  I made a huge batch of these gift tags last night.

Of course if you have run out of time you can purchase the tags pictured above in store here.  There are a few different tags to choose from in our handmade papercrafts dept.  Any of these tags will make your gifts have that special something.  Find some simple co-ordinating wrapping paper so that the tags will be highlighted not disguised by a paper pattern that is too busy.

You still have plenty of time to order and recieve your supplies oin time for Christmas, orders are posted either same day or next day at the latest, we are super organised around here I have my eldest daughter who has finished school and is eager to help.  A little holiday pay even for a 12 year old is a great motivator.

Anna xx

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All I want for Christmas???????? from an 8yr old

Okay I am hot, tired and sooooo over this humid weather, and looking for a distraction to overcome this "completely over Christmas already" mood that I am in.  Am I alone in this or does everyone else feel like this two weeks before Christmas.  Anyway I am getting sidetracked.....

So I thought it would be funny to share something completely hillarious at least to me anyway.  My son at the tender and perhaps innocent age of 8 has been gradually typing up his Santa Christmas List.  We are trying to keep the santa thing going around here for his sake, although I think he has clued in to whether it might not be real, by the questions he is asking, but is going along with it since it means he gets an extra Santa gift every year. 

The other day he asked me to help him with the formatting of his Christmas list which was also the first time I had seen it.  As I scrolled down the list I nearly fell off my chair completely speechless.

Only a child with an unlimited capacity to dream, imagine and summon the law of attraction by default could come up with a list like this.  It all looked fairly normal until I got to the $1000 gift voucher.  When did we bypass $20 and $50 or even $100, and jump to $1000.  SAY  WHAAAT!!!!!!!  A papal card (meant to read paypal).  Firstly paypal cards don't exsist but I think the idea behind it was a credit card.  LOL!

Now don't get me wrong I am all for putting it out to the universe, but this is extreme.  I don't look at this list and see greed.  I do look at this list however as see a couple of deeper aspects.  Firstly on a lighter note it is a welcome relief to the seriousness of purchasing the perfect gift for each person (what are we thinking when we put that pressure on ourselves).  My son would be just as happy as recieving a physical gift as to recieving cash to purchase his own gift.

Secondly and a little more deeply now I do look at this list and think we were all like this once, maybe to differing degrees.  I know when my mum was growing up it would just have been nice to have A pair of shoes to walk through the snow with.  One thing however has not changed and that is the power to summon that which you believe can trully be yours.  Ask, believe, recieve.  As a child that is inbuilt in us, as we become adults all the negatvity that surrounds us then makes us believe less.  Oh we certainly still ask but as to the believeing and ultimately receiving part, well bring on years of therapy to overcome all the subconsicous limiting beliefs inbred in us about whether we are worthy or not.  When my son wrote this list he didn't even contemplate whether he was worthy or not to have these items.  That is the magic of this list not what is on it, or ultimately what he will or will not recieve on Christmas day, but the fact that he believes that he is worthy to have anything or everything on this list.  Self Esteem and Self Love is the greatest gift of all.  Everyone deserves this, especially children.  Now that I have totally analysed something as simple as a christmas list, feel free to read on and have a chuckle at how the mind of an 8yr old ticks.

Michael’s Christmas List for Santa

1. Basketball Wii games x box games

2. WII Games fifa 11 burn out

3. I phone

4. Lego

5. Rip Stick

6. Motor Bike

7. Jet Ski

8. real remote control boat

9. I pod touch

10. x box 360

11. pool

12. $1000 dollar gift voucher

13. a papal card

14. mighty beans

15. mighty bean track

16. water gun

17. dart gun

18. COD black ops

(By the way I have not edited this list in any way just copy and pasted it here)
So what are you waiting for, go and make your Christmas List today whether you are 8 or 108 its never too late to have what you wish for, you just have to believe that you are worthy to recieve it ...... and you are worthy to recieve it in case you were wondering.

 Anna xx

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Sleighbells Free Mini

Each order on site to the value of $55 or more throughout December entitles you to recieve this mini kit compliementary from Koko Vanilla Designs.

Sleighbells Free Mini Kit - December

Filled with lots of Christmassy Goodies, includjng papers, ribbons, die cuts, pearls, cute vintage Christmas Cocktail pick, a doily, bakers twine.

You can find the kit here.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Just coming up for air......

for a few minutes before I dive back into the sea of orders I am drowning in.... LOL!

Between packing kits and pizza boxes I have been adding the odd new item here and there on site.  I have 2 boxes of new stock that needs to be loaded on to the site and I am doing bits here and there.

So please keep an eye on our new arrivals as well as facebook as well as the home page on site, because I ususally update new products in those places. 

I have a new Christmas Free Mini Kit available with every $55 order or more, will photograph soon and load that up on site.  You may want to place an order just for this free kit its gorgeous.

Here is a little peak at some of the newbies.......

Prima Marketing Mariposa Butterflies


Inkadinkado Seasons Greeting Clear Stamps

We R Memory Keepers Funfetti Clear Stamps

Jenni Bowlin Vintage Sew On Green Buttons

Prima Marketing Antique Mistletoe Traditional
Also available in Blizzard Blue

Melissa Frances Pure Silver Glass Glitter

Also a little reminder there are only a few of our latest Christmas Card Kit left in stock ( see post below).  Today is the final day to order the kit and get 20 metres of free red/white cotton bakers twine added to your kit.

Have a great weekend
Anna xx

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Sparkle Card Making Kit

After the last post I knew that I had to just put everything else aside and focus on my business.  So here is the end result of some super productive hours of just me, my desk, my studio, my supplies, a cup of tea, a lit candle and the very early hours of a peaceful uninterrupted Sunday Morning.  Hope you love it.  Limited number of kits are available.

Christmas Sparkle Card Making Kit
Designed by Anna Pontikis
exclusive to Koko Vanilla Designs
(All images copyright Koko Vanilla Designs)

It's the silly season for 2010 and at Koko Vanilla we have searched high and low to find the most beautiful and festive supplies to create a stunning Christmas Card Making Kit. Featuring a range of papers from Echo Park, Lilybeedesigns and a few others, including some rub ons from Rasberry and finally the most beautiful selection of embellishments to bring the cards and tags to life.

In this kit you will create 4 large cards and 3 gift tags. You will recieve all the supplies needed to create this kit, including instructions and photos.

If you purchase this kit before Friday 3rd of December you will recieve included as a bonus gift 20 metres of red/white cotton bakers twine, to complete your Christmas Wrapping.  Shop here for this new Kit.

Anna xx

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where has the week gone???

Why is it that as you approach the end of the year time seems to really fly.  I can't believe a week has passed since I last posted.

To be honest I have had such a busy week and not much creating.  So I was thinking well what do I update my blog about.  Feeling a bit lacking in blog inspiration for myself.  As I have been blog surfing I see others creating so many wonderful Christmas Crafts and I just think I want to do them all.  Reality though there are only so many hours in the day and I just have to accept the fact that I can't be and do everything.  Such a hard pill to swallow for us multitasking mums.

So there you have it, maybe it's this humid Melbourne weather which feels more like QLD weather at the moment that's making my brain feel blah!

Of course I can't leave without uploading something crafty.  You will find this card in the shop for sale here.

Sweet Wishes Musical Butterfly
Handmade Card

Anna xx

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Decorating Koko Vanilla Style - Dessert Table

After being inspired a couple of weeks ago at viewing Amy's blog on Dessert Table, I knew I would love to give the whole decorating thing a go. So here are a few snaps of my how I decorated the party room aka our Kitchen/Meals area for her party of 12 friends yesterday.

If I had more time and planning I would probably have done a much better job with it.  But given it has been a chaotic and busy month this is the best I could do considering it was a last minute rush job and I had a family party the night before.  I guess my tip would be to choose your colours and then theme everything to those colours.  I chose pink, green and turquoise.  I love that combination and then hunted around for what I could find, from candle holders, to pink jellybeans to paper plates and cups, to making the perfect shade of pink icing for the cupcakes.  I found the cutest green roses for the tops of the cupcakes at a local cake shop around here.  My sister-in-law Meri made the tissue paper pom poms which she does as a business so if you would like some made up for a special occasion or even to hang from a bedroom ceiling they look really adorable.  If you would like details send me an email and I will put you in contact with her. 

The girls had an amazing time, Melanie just enjoyed having only her school friends to concentrate on, my eldest daughter organised and ran most of the games, I am so proud of her she did a great job and even my son was really well behaved considering there was a house full of girls.  Glad to see he relates well and knows when to hang back and not interfere and when to get involved. 

All in all a great couple of days, tiring but fun and we are all partied out for the moment.  Today has been a clean up and relaxing day.  Beautiful sunshine and I now feel like all the big occasions have come and gone and I can relax a little more and conentrate on myself and my business for the next few weeks before it begins all over again with Christmas and School Holidays.

Happy Sunday
Anna xx

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthday Party Time

It's that time of year again for our family.  Birthday party time.  When you have 3 children it seems like no sooner is one party finished that it starts all over again.  I have to admit I am really over organising birthday parties, but since my daughter is turning 10 this can be her last big one for a while.  I think I have hosted around 27 big parties for my kids combined, no wonder I've had enough.

Anyway here are some pics of the invites.  We are doing two parties this weekend, one on Saturday for all her friends and family on friday night.

These invites went out to her friends.

This is the final photo of how they were given out.  Instead of putting them in envelopes I like to use the invites as a decorative feature to get the wow factor when they are hand delivered to her friends, which was certainly the case. So they were popped in clear bags and then tied with a bit of the new pink/white coloured twine we now have in stock.  I am loving the turquoise and pink combination at the moment. In  fact I am loving turquoise and red too which is the theme of the newest card kit coming soon.

I will have more photos of the party decorations I have a few cute ideas up my sleeve for this one.

anna xx

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bakers Twine Pale Pink/White available now!!!

So here it is the newest colour of cotton twine available at Koko Vanilla. 

Pale Pink/White

You can purchase it in store here pale pink/white twine.

Below is a photo of all the colours available.  You can purchase 5 rolls in one listing as I know its too hard to pick just one colour, and the rolls work out a little cheaper that way also.  Find them in store here.  Please be sure to tell me which colours you would like in the comments otherwise you will recieve the default colours I have listed on site.  There are 8 gorgeous colours to choose from.

Bakers Twine Cotton Assorted Colours

Hope you get a chance to enjoy the sunshine.  I am torn between sitting inside and getting work done, and going out to enjoy the sunshine.  I know what I must do but also know what I would like to do.  I might sneak 15 minutes later on in the afternoon just to enjoy this beautiful weather.

Anna xx

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Have you filled your cup first??

I greeted the day today with a mixture of exhaustion and relief.  As much as I love supporting the school with their fair and helping to coordinate and run craft, it really couldn't be at a busier time for me.  I feel as though I put my life and work aside to assist on and off throughout the year and then a big chunk at this time of year.  I enjoy doing it but then there is the other side of the equation, what have I neglected and now need to catch up on.  I once read this amazing saying which has stuck with me since I first saw it.  "When you say yes to something or someone what are you saying no to"  So I try to remember that before I say yes to a commitment.  For me it is so easy to be the accomodating people pleaser, which makes me feel good because I have contributed to something and done an act of service, however the flip side is sort of like a hangover the residue of the adrenaline kick of trying to squeeze more into an already overloaded schedule.  Another great metaphor which I have heard is "When your cup is filled and overflowing only then you can give from your saucer."  Okay it sounds kind of corny, but it really does make sense and it's an easy visual to have.  Fill your own cup first, when you try to give from a half filled cup you only do a diservice to yourself and the people your are helping are probably only getting a half hearted effort from you anyway.

I have to say that it really is most of the same parents and teachers that year in and year out  put their hands up to help out, to organise, to run and then ultimately to donate and support these events.  It's these amazing people that make it happen and go beyond their job description of parent and teacher.  It's not always about donating or spending money either, that's easy enough, but when you give time and energy and enthusiasm, that I believe, is even more priceless at these events, because without all that positive energy and momentum it wouldn't happen and wouldn't be very successful.

That said it was a wonderful and fun day, perfect weather, beautiful sunshine, a great time chatting and laughing with friends and the kids just had the best day ever.  After all it is all for them.  My day started at the fair at 12.30pm and we didn't finish packing up our stall until 7.45pm a very loooong day.  Needless to say I had a very early night last night.

So today has been catch up day around here and I am feeling a little more on top of things but there is still a lot more to be done before I feel like I am really back under control.

Anyway I didn't get a chance to show some wall decor I created for the craft stall at our fair.  I just loved how these canvases turned out and I almost didn't want to give them up.  However, lucky I did because they both sold within the first 1/2 hour of the fair starting which always makes me feel good, when my artwork is appreciated.  I had lots of fun making them and most of the supplies can be found on site.  All that you need to purchase that isn't on site is modge podge, a canvas, butterfly and flower nestabilities and paint brush.  The rest can all be found here.

Dimensional Butterfly Canvas

Vintage Flower Dimensional Canvas

That's the weekend update for me.  Off to prep for the week ahead.

Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend!!

Anna xx


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