Friday, February 15, 2013

MILK + COOKIES - Cookies in a bottle

If you liked our 'Cookies in a Jar' you will SUPER love this. 

The same recipe fits very nicely into our Vintage Milk Bottles (available HERE in our store) - the perfect play on milk and cookies!! 


Layer the following into a Pint size jar or milk bottle:
1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup white sugar (mixed together)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
Cover lid with pretty fabric or paper, bind with twine and tie on a tag with the following directions:
Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.
Empty contents of jar into a bowl.
Melt 100grams butter, beat one egg, and add to dry mix.
Drop tablespoons of mixture onto oven tray.
Bake for 6-7 minutes.
Makes approximately 12, delicious, crunchy and chewy cookies!!!
(Mine turned out more chocolatey, as the melted butter melted my chocolate chips!)

Tips when constructing: 
Use a funnel (or make one out of paper) for easier pouring in of ingredients. 
It is better if the denser ingredients are at the bottom.
Use a chopstick to spread ingredients around evenly if necessary (brown sugar needs a bit of help!)

I separated the flour mixture and constructed as two layers for a bit of variation, and then stuck some washi tape around the bottle as a label.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Pavlova Story....or a saga

I don't know what drove me to do it I'm 6 months pregnant and cravings have gone into overdrive, but I decided that this summer I would master the mighty PAVLOVA. I made my first real pav quite a few years ago for my Mum's birthday and it was absolutely PERFECT....but things haven't been the same since....

I've narrowed my pavlova recipes down to two over the years - one is soft and marshmallowy, but not very crispy - just how my husband likes it. And the other is a nice hard shell, slightly chewy, and soft and fluffy in the middle - just how I like it. Here's a story, don't believe what you see in the photos....

The first real pav that I made for my mum quite a few years ago Instagram wasn't invented then so I made this pic look a bit flash by applying a filter. Perfectly crisp, chewy, soft and marshmallowy inside. No 'weeping', perfect pale colour, perfectly whipped cream and fresh fruit which just looked like it did in the cookbook. Beginners luck? No, I am officially the PAV QUEEN!!! gloat

This summer I went Pavlova crazy. Here's the first I made for one of our family Christmas dinners. Doesn't it look amazing! It 'wept' - I can't think of another way to describe it. You know how gum weeps out of a tree? Sugar syrup wept out of my pav. sunk and majorly cracked. Blow!! Nothing a whole lot of cream and fresh fruit won't fix....

Take two: mini pavs for the 'trio of desserts' I made for our other family Christmas dinner....Made at my mother-in-laws so a different oven. I'd just finished baking the brownie in the oven, so it was already warm. Asked husband to turn oven onto 130 degrees for me, which he did. Put the tray of pavs in the oven, half an hour later....nothing happening. Hour later, not much more happening. Felt the oven - stone cold. OMG, I'm trying to be all fancy in front of about 20 people and I have to plate up soon. Turns out there's a timer thing on the oven which needs to be activated in order to work. So turned it on and crossed my fingers. They were okaaaaaay. Very chewy. The teenage boys knew no different and wiped out any smidgen of leftovers.

Third time lucky? This time at another relatives place whilst on holiday. The electric egg beater was slower than I'm used to, and I was distracted while it was cooking and left it too long so it was a bit too brown for my liking. And really 'eggy'. And of course it sunk. But they loved it It was better than a shop bought one.

Back in my mother-in-laws kitchen, made this one with caramelised nectarines. But the fan forced oven (no other option) cooked it too fast. Major sinkage. Too brown. But still good. Sigh.

Back home, in my own kitchen with my own stuff. Surely I've nailed it. I forgot I had thrown away the my electric egg beater before we went on holiday because the beaters went rusty. For some reason I didn't get that mighty Kitchen Aid for Christmas. The only shop open in our little town was The Warehouse so I quickly purchased the only electric egg beater they had. It was SLOW. And the beaters were like little pieces of wire. Didnt fluff up so well. But then I realised, this might be a good thing. I ran out of proper baking paper so had to use other parchment paper....and it stuck to the bottom - almost a sin! But because it wasn't beaten to tremendous puff it didn't much. Major crackage. It was still good, but not what I wanted. 

Last time....same as above, except I had proper baking paper. I thought I had this down pat, and was watching it come to life in the oven. It was looking perfect. I left it in there until completely cool, brought it out and left it on the bench. Oh my precious. You are perfect. I'm just going to go put a load of washing on and I'll be right back....Nek minit Five minutes later....cracked, sunken, like someone had dropped a basketball onto it. Pile it with cream and caramelised nectarines. It's for the camera. They will not know the difference....

So the Pavlova saga continues. I shall share the recipes I use in my next blog, but in the meantime....feel free to help a girl out!!! You would not believe how much weight I have put on over this time, I blame the baby. 

Over and out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Wow. Impressed doesn't even begin to describe how I feel right now! There have been so many amazing entries in our DIY competition over the last week, I've been left feeling a little weak at the knees....out of awe, and because I simply don't think that any of the entries deserve to miss out! Everything was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. I thank you so much for sharing your creative masterpieces with us all, I am in awe of the talent, the labour, the patience, the skill, the love! But a competition it is, and so there had to be some 'stand out' performances....

So with the help of the other Maisy & Grace team members, some 'professionals' whom I sought out via some good social networking, and in some cases (as you will see soon) the assistance of have some WINNERS!!!



1. Wood Category Winner - Vanessa Iti
Simply impressive. Like WOW. I'm sure you will agree that this is an absolute masterpiece, and every little (and big) kids dream come true!  Truly a labour of love, this husband and wife team designed and made this stunning 'mini mansion' for their daughter Bella.  I'd love to live here....I'm sure Bella is quite the hostess as well!  Congratulations Vanessa!

There were SO many entries in this category, so we chose 10 finalists because there was simply too much awesomeness.  Out of those 10 finalists we let Mr choose 4 at random to receive a super cool mystery prize each....
So, the 4 winners of a mystery prize from Maisy and Grace are:

2. Amy Van Den Ouden
Description: "Lest we forget"... I had this unsightly pile of unpaired socks beside the bed & a boss/father who wanted his workshop tidied out! For the Department of Missing Socks I made this from an old fire alarm panel (circa 1950's?) sanded & sealed with some scrap rope from the boot of Dad's car.
What a clever and great looking idea! (I'd like one, in jumbo size please!)

3. Sam Davison
Description: Outdoor pallet coffee table
This is just stunning, fabulous application for an old pallet!

4. Jocelyn Brewer
Description: Entertainment Unit made from pallets
Another fabulous use for pallets!

5. Susie Gregory 
Description: This is my DIY recycled beer crate magazine bin which I have now discovered also doubles as a walker for my 1yr old son!
Simple yet so cool, effective, and functional.  Beer crate on castors. Grandad never would've imagined this!


More incredible entries here!  Most of them so detailed and intricate, and a lot of work gone into each.  This was another hard decision as it was all so amazing.  We chose:

6. Saskia Nickless
Description: Colour study, experiment piece to see how colour and paper layers would look. Materials used- Water colour paper (Paper cut-out hand cut), gouache, scrapbooking paper, foam core. 
We thought the detail and precision in this was something else, gorgeous use of colour with the gouache, and the 3 dimensional quality of this bird brings it to life.  Stunning!



Some clever ideas here! How to choose, how to choose?!! Another hard one, so we had to enlist the help of again!!  We chose 3 finalists (we just couldn't decide on ONE only)....and from these 3 chose:

7. Glass Category winner - Vicki Ryan 
Description: Bottles from my favourite iced tea, used as photo display.
Love this! A little memory in a bottle almost. So sweet, and such a lovely way to showcase some precious pics.

And the other 2 finalists in the Glass category each receive a super cool mystery gift:

8. Cathy Pyle
Description: Chandelier with glass bauble tea-light holders and painted twisted willow branch.
Stunning, don't you think? This would look beautiful lit up!

9. Melissa Fisher
Animal Jars (collection of jars, plastic animals, super glue and spray paint)
Super cute and so much fun! Colour love right here.


Another HUGE category with so many incredible entries....We also decided to make a few sub-categories as we thought it was only fair!

10. Textile category winner - Jenny Webb
Description: An autumnal quilt for those cold days in Naseby, Central Otago
I don't know how long this took to make, but the detail and intricacy of the design is amazing, and labour intensive!  A simply stunning piece, and quite clearly a labour of love.  Congratulations Jenny!

11. Textile category - "Child" - winner of a lovely mystery gift from Maisy & Grace is:
Amie Amosa
Description: I made this fabric birdie mobile for my baby boy, made from different odd pieces of fabric I had & sticks from the local park (that my 3 year old loved collecting). I have had many lovely compliments on this craft project so much so I have now made 2 other bird mobiles for my lovely friend's babies!
Love these! Just beautiful, and so clever and effective how they sit perched on these branches, which are suspended in mid air.  Lovely Amie!

12. Textile category - "Furnishings" - winner of a very cool mystery gift from Maisy & Grace is:
Erina Ellis
Description: My Grandpop was a chair maker - and I wanted to do something special with one of his chairs that needed a bit of repair! So I enrolled in an upholstery class and brought it back it back to life with some cute fabric and restoring the wood!
Beautiful job Erina! Your Grandpop would be so proud. Lovely restoration, and superb upholstering. Love.

And one more category we created....WALL ART.  There was so much of it, and it was all amazing.  We felt it needed a category of its own.  The winner of this category receives a set of 4 vintage bird prints on canvas!

13. WALL ART Category winner: 
Leana Buton
Description: Painting on Custom wood frame
Adore this....just stunning.  Would be perfect in my entrance, thank you!

THEN....there were just some entries that I couldn't let go of, 15 of them in fact.  They were pulling at my heart strings. So I put them all into, and came out with FOUR winners of a $20 Maisy & Grace voucher each.

Here they are! I'll call them SPOT PRIZES :-)

14. Danilyn
Description: Mini House Renovation!

15. Mel McKenzie
Description: MDF box. Painted with black undercoat and some shade of left-over Resene testpot. Photocopied images 'transferred' onto painted surface with nail polish remover and LOTS of dabbing.

16. Stella
Description: Child's play kitchen, made from an old desk.

17. Annett Burgess
Category: Textile
Soft toy bunny from old and new fabrics

PHEW! This has been amazing. Seriously, I would've given 50 prizes had the budget allowed it.  But I hope you all agree with us in that these were the stand out entries, and I know there were many, many more that could've been added here.  Congratulations to all of the winners, and thank you all SO much for entering and sharing your talents and creations with everybody. I know I'm not the only one who has been inspired.  

Much love and happy creative vibes!

Christall x

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mother's Day. I really wanted to make something that paid tribute to not only the Mother's celebrating today, but also all those who no longer have their Mum's around, or who never got to meet their Mother, or who have lost or never got to meet their child. I know it's just a cookie, but (if you like), something simple can have so much significance. I call it my "Always in my heart, LOVE COOKIE SANDWICH", and it goes something like this.....

Make sugar cookie dough. Knead with love. Shape, cut and bake. Add chocolate. Insert sweet treats *here*. Decorate. Remember. Give. Enjoy. xx


1. Make a sugar cookie dough, here's the recipe I use:

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (225 grams) butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

2. Roll out dough and using 3 DIFFERENT SIZED heart shaped cookie cutters, cut out the following:
- 16 large hearts
- 8 medium hearts, with a smaller heart cut out of the centre (as shown)

3. Place onto two oven trays lined with non-stick baking paper, and bake for 6-8 minutes at 170 degrees celcius, or until just browned around the edges.

4. While you are waiting for them to cool, melt a handful of white chocolate melts - this is your glue, and works better than frosting.

5. Apply melted chocolate to the underside of the medium hearts and 'glue' each to the top of a large heart. It doesn't matter if you can see the chocolate, or if your cookies look a bit rugged like mine did!

6. Once the chocolate glue has dried (will take just a few minutes) fill the heart shaped cavity with sweets (or a little note!)

7. Carefully apply chocolate 'glue' to the top of the medium heart, taking care not to let chocolate drip into the centre.  It is better to apply the 'glue' more to the outside edge, as it doesn't matter if it drips down the outside (it will be covered up!).  Then put a large heart on top to make your 'sandwich'.

8. Decorate the tops of your cookies (I used Royal Icing, see recipe below), and using a piping back with a star nozzle, pipe buttercream in between the two cookie layers, concealing the inner cavity.

9. Present! Your recipient will have no idea of the delight hiding inside this cookie sandwich.  What a lovely surprise, and a beautiful way of saying 'always in my heart'.  

I made these for my Mum, Nana and Sister.  And myself and my biggest boy polished off the rest.  I think they are delightful, and of course can be made in any shape (as long as you have 3 different sized cookie cutters or other devices to achieve the same thing), and for any ocassion.

Christall xx

PS - Royal Icing recipe - 1 egg white, juice of 1 lemon, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar. Beat egg white and lemon until smooth, add icing sugar and beat until smooth and of 'flooding' consistency.  Add water or more icing sugar where necessary to achieve this. Pipe the edge of the heart, and 'flood' the heart with icing using a spoon.  This will take overnight, or at least 8 hours to harden, so that you can pipe the design over the top. For the coloured designs add another half or so cups of icing sugar until it is 'piping' consistency.  Add colour of your choice, and pipe using a fine nozzle.

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