If I even begin to think, talk or silently debate about doing one of these next year, somebody smack me and duct tape my arms down until I come to my senses.
But, that being said and with the fresh memory of just exactly how long this whole procedure took, the end result couldn’t help but charm the smile right out of me. It’s pretty darn cute.
Today, in the food-centric month of November, it’s National Gingerbread House Day. It’s also National Vanilla Cupcake Day and I had every intention of making a delicious batch of cupcakes to celebrate but then this house took over my life and squeezed all the motivation out of me over, oh….about six and a half hours. I tried to be sour about the effort and time, but then something happened…….
I couldn’t help but smile at the snowball fight antics of the gummy bears, those mischevious little things.
Or appreciate the snow covered Christmas tree in the front yard.
The bears have done such a wonderful job hanging lights and garlands around the house.
And the fence was so pretty and festive…..they were just finishing it up too.
And Santa Gummy Bear was lurking on the chimney!
So I tried to be all Grinchy about the effort, the time and the frustration involved in trying to piece together lopsided pre-formed gingerbread pieces with angles that were all off-center and not straight, but really, like childbirth, the final effort was worth all the agony. It is really, really darn cute.
It wasn’t until I started in on the pieces of the ‘ready to decorate’ kit- a colossal lie if I ever read one- that I recalled reading far too much about them on other blog sites last year (and the year before if I really want to admit it) that said these kits were extremely difficult to work with. The intentions are good, absolutely, but it just doesn’t have the ease that one is lead to believe. In my kit, the two side pieces were warped, and no amount of shaping could save them. This meant that every piece that was supposed to attach to them wouldn’t fit either. Maybe they aren’t all as bad as this one; I could hope anyway. While I have a large perfectionist streak that led me to work probably way too long on this to be successful, I think someone with less patience would have given up at first sight. Once I was done with the forming of the house, the last thing I wanted to do was futz with any decorations, in fact, all I wanted was a stiff drink. The only thought that kept me from chucking the lopsided thing in the trash was the recurring mantra ‘It will definitely look better once I decorate it!!!’ and so I sat down with ‘NCIS’ because Mark Harmon can cure any ill-will with those blue eyes, even at his advanced age, and also with my knitting- the finest brain silencer I have ever known- and well, by the time ‘Numb3rs’ came on, the ‘house from hell’ was nearly forgotten.
So FAIR WARNING– skip the kits and find a decent recipe and guide to make a house from scratch, that is, if you truly want to do this. It also works to use graham crackers. I had my cake decorating skills from culinary school to support me, and the tools to make it all work, like piping bags and decorating tips. Even given all that, this may be the only gingerbread house I ever make. Thank goodness I have no plans to eat it so it can sit around and be admired until after Christmas when I can stand 10 feet from the open trash can and launch it inside, ceremoniously and with glee.
Anybody got a cupcake????