Well holy crap, that was a doozy! My purpose in choosing this project was to end up with a gingerbread ‘looking’ house that I was going to be able to enjoy for many years to come and fondly remember the year I created this amazing beauty.
We are going to re-title this project: ‘Looks are Deceiving’.
My original plan, which I somewhat followed, was to create a masterpiece from homemade dough art. I wasn’t going to wing it on the pieces, so I started by measuring and cutting all my tracing pieces and stencils out of cardboard. Although this took an evening of my time, it did save me heartache on the shape and size of things as I went along.
Following a dough art recipe I found online (4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1.5 cups water) I modified it to create a more ‘gingerbread’ look by adding a half cup cocoa and another half cup water. I was pretty impressed by myself at this point, things were looking good! And after listening to how proud Deb was of her creation, I knew I had to crush her – in a loving sisterly sort of way of course! lol
I spent two days doughing, cutting, baking and re-baking pieces that needed twice the average cook time. Even after that, the pieces are still half soft and not lying flat. I remember making dough art ornaments as kids, and those things could have held up a house or at least chipped a tooth if you bit into one! Maybe the cocoa and extra water were the factors here, but there was no stopping me now!!
I decided to go with classic sugar glass for the windows (another medium I hadn’t tried on my own before). To contain the glass in my window cut outs, I used a heavy duty masking tape on the backside. This would contain the contents and I could just peal it off later. After a failed first attempt at sugar glass (since I hadn’t read the instructions properly the first time) and a very sticky cleanup, I waited a few hours, did my research and tried again. It says 1 hour stir time on the cooktop. Truth was, an hour and a half of standing and stirring later...I had beautiful stained glass to pour into my little windows, but that’s an hour and a half of my life I’ll never get back. Time for sleep.
Upon return the next morning, the glass was looking good. Hard on the front, but a bit unset on the back after removing the tape. I stood up the pieces on the counter to let them air out – both glass and structure pieces. A few hours later, I was ready to start the next phase but was disheartened when I discovered that the sugar was now slowly running out of the windows!! Action must be taken. I tried sealing them with spray paint, coated the fronts with an acrylic resin and also used clear packing tape on the backsides to stop spreading all the sticky around. What a mess. Oh well, moving on...
After much inner debate on what was going to be the best icing trim to use over the house details, I decided to try royal icing. At this point I already knew that this wasn’t going to be the everlasting house I wanted at the start, so I mind as well make the icing authentic right!?! Great thought...and then there goes my hand mixer, nearly set on fire at the final round of mixing.
Who’s idea was this to make this project???....oh right, MINE! Arggg.
<Personal inner dialog: So let’s pipe on this fricking icing. Guess I’ll go buy a new mixer after Christmas when all the sales are on. Frigg, why won’t the icing come out of the piping bag?! Maybe I should just invest in a KitchenAid Stand mixer so I don’t set my house on fire next time I mix something. Come on icing. Maybe I’ll try using another tip. How much is a stand mixer anyway? I’ll check a flyer next week, there are going to be a million of them in my mailbox. Ok there it comes, but why is it not staying on the surface!? FRICK.>
Ultimately, I put the royal icing in the fridge and walked away. Moved on to white school glue mixed with white paint and then onto white 3D fabric paint after a trip to the store. Tada, just like that it was done (hahaha, so, so many hours later). One thing I did do which turned out to be very helpful, was to outline where I wanted my ‘icing’ to go with a white pencil crayon first.
The rest is glue and tape! HAHAHA- snort. Finished off with the royal icing and the largest piping tip I own to cover up all the hot glue it took to hold my pieces in place!
I did a bit of fun color to the backside and placed some mini lights inside so I can enjoy the window while they last (that’s right, they are still slowly melting down the sides as I type).
Ok, from a distance now it looks pretty great.
And maybe with a bit of time I’ll forget about the frustration. But talk about a time investment in something that I will most likely toss and try again with different materials. For now, I’ll enjoy the view and wait for the appliance flyers!!