Gingerbread House 2005

Well, here it is folks.  Once again we all got together to build our annual gingerbread house.  This year, nine of us spent a total of twelve hours over two days constructing this masterpiece.  Hope you enjoy the pix!!!

This year's participants: Larry, Vicki, Adam, Lauren, Arielle, Carol, Chris, Kaylee and Grandma Sarah
(Grandpa enjoyed watching ... maybe he'll join in next year).  By the way, if you want to compare this to last year just change the 2005 in the web link above to 2004 and it will take you right there. Lots of changes!

© 2005 This site designed and annotated by Carol and Arie and augmented by Larry

Here it is in all of its splendor and glory!  The pictures that follow trace the entire process and also show you what wonders there are on the inside of the house.  The project is truly a group project.  Everyone gets to do whatever tickles their fancy.  Some love to mold candy in to furniture or animals. Others thrive on making things for the outside of the house like sleighs, trains and snowmen.  Still others enjoy the structural aspects.  By the way, Adam designed the entire house, mailed it to Larry, who pre-baked the house pieces.  Then during the construction days other pieces are baked as needed.  The dough is a special gingerbread dough that is stiffer than normal gingerbread so that the pieces retain their shape.  Not the same as eating gingerbread but many of us munched on the broken pieces!  In preparation for the construction we bought lots of different candies to stimulate our imaginations.  The consensus best appear to be tootsie rolls, starbursts, pretzels, candy canes, marshmallows and, for the first time this year, frosted mini-wheats on the roof for that "snowy" look.  By the way, this is probably our 10th house in the last 13 years.  To the best of anyone's memory, the original house was designed by Adam and placed on a pizza pan.  As you can see, we are far past the pizza pan!  This one is on a large piece of plywood, covered in foil.  At the end, the entire scene is covered in coconut to simulate snow.  Although we can't seem to find earlier pictures (except for last year), it took a few years to start getting fancy.  Then each year some new concepts are added while others fall by the wayside only to reappear in later incarnations.  This year saw the addition of a train (Larry's contribution) and the complete redesign of the house from a one room building to a "studio" with a living room and a separate sleeping area.  Who knows what will show up next year? 

Arielle Holding House 2

Arie holding up the walls of the house.  This is a critical phase of the project.  The "royal glue" as it is called in the gingerbread biz, is made of egg whites, powdered sugar and cream of tartar. It has to be very goopy and thick, the thicker the better, and it dries relatively quickly and then is almost unbreakable. But you have to hold the pieces together to wait until the glue sets.

Larry sorting through our gingerbread construction materials.  You can see some of the pre-baked parts on the kitchen counter waiting to be assembled.

Adam and Arie holding up the house as the royal glue dries

Here are some of the baked pieces.  It took Larry about 4 hours to pre-bake all the pieces from Adam's mailed plans.  And even then, baking went on the entire time we were assembling the house.

Chris hard at work on something.  In many cases it is not even clear what it is until it is completed.

Lauren hard at work on something too.  This was the precursor to the doggie laying by the front door of the house.

Larry laying out train tracks which were made from twizzlers (thin licorice) with railroad ties made from pretzels.

Arie and Chris designing their swing set.  This was the most adventurous design. It was started on the first day and not completed and set until the very end as it was very fragile.

Arie, Kaylee and Lauren in the zone.

That's Carol holding Kaylee's snowperson.  Yeah, the resemblance is amazing.

Chris and Arie working on the swing.  That was a tough one!

Here's a close-up of the computer.  What detail! Way to go Adam!

No one's sitting on our comfy sofas (by Carol),
but a nice fire is on (by Lauren).

The multi-colored rug was intricately woven by Kaylee and the
flat screen plasma TV to the right was constructed by Adam.

That's a non-demonic baby doll (by Kaylee) with a teddy bear (by Carol) sitting on a full-size bed (by Arie and Lauren).  And yes, those are mints on the pillows. :-)

If you have to go to the bathroom and wash your hands, don't can roll right out of bed since the toilet and sink are standing in the corner.  Obviously these folks need some privacy next year.

The fish tank was designed by Kaylee ... not Adam ;-)

The lovely four seat dining set was custom-built by Adam and Carol.
That's a steak dinner (with green beans and a carrot) on the table and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a vase sculpted from melted life savers and filled with crushed life savers before adding the flowers made from starbursts.

A Christmas tree (by Adam) complete with sugar garland, ornaments and presents graces the center of the house.  The computer with a monitor, hard drive, keyboard and mouse is also by Adam. 

There are logs in front of the fireplace (pretzels) and a roaring fire inside!

Here is a close-up of Kaylee's fish tank.

Grandma's working on the menorah.

A sneak peek from above.  This is the living room.  More detailed pictures below.

Here's the menorah. A bit hard to see but like most menorahs, the candles are melting each other.

Can you see the flowers in the vase?  How about the dinner plate with steak and vegies?

This is a nice aerial view of the Christmas tree complete with decorations and presents.  Then lines around the tree are made of spun sugar from melted lifesavers.

There is a picture on the wall above the bed that shows fruit with a frame of pretzels.  Again, the detail is amazing!

A wreath was hung on the living room wall

This is an aerial look through the skylights.

All hands on deck ... or actually the roof!  This is the toughest part.  The roof has got to fit right and several people have to hang onto it until the "glue" dries.  In years past we have watched the roof slip right off or crack into pieces.  This year we had a small crack but Adam, ever the fix-it-guy, got it reinforced with some stray gingerbread pieces and then we covered it up with the shredded wheat.

The girlfriends.  This was Carol's second house and Lauren's first.

We took a break to take this family shot before Adam and Lauren depart for her family's Christmas Eve dinner.  Al the stuff was inside and the roof was stable so they felt fine leaving the finishing touches to us.

Arie hard at work on the frosted mini-wheat shingles.

Final brick-laying on the chimney by Kaylee.

A four car train including a coal car of crushed Oreos and a deluxe open air passenger car and a caboose -- Larry's masterpiece!  It took him the entire time to create this and it is amazing that it worked given the number of times he had to say "Oh s---" as parts of it crumbled or fell off.

Santa standing by his sleigh with a big bag of presents (by Arie and Kaylee).  The bag of presents is made of tootsie rolls smooshed flat and put around large marshmallows.  The tie is from another soft candy.

Fido's doghouse (by Kaylee).  This one is made from graham crackers.

A view of the front side of the house with a well lit driveway.  The lamp posts are battery operated with tiny lights inside.  Note the large pile of snow to the right that is hiding the controller.

Fido (a.k.a. Puppy Noses) sleeping on the porch.  This is Lauren's creation with help from others.

The train runs by the back door of the house.  We assume that this lowers the property value considerably.

See Chris' bird's nest with four little eggs on the roof nestled by the chimney?

A swing set (by Arie and Chris) was erected by the porch so that we can watch the train go by on its way to the next stop five miles away (sign by Carol).  This swing set took an incredible amount of time and as it started to topple someone had the brilliant idea to put a bar on top to stabilize it.  Once the rest of the glue set, the top was remove since it started to buckle and threatened to crush the swing.

A mat on the front porch (by Kaylee) welcomes you to our house.

The snowperson all settled in.

That's Carol sitting in the passenger car of the train with her suitcase, garment bag and a couple of presents.

Aerial shot of the house.  Do you see the lights draped around the house?