Monday, December 23, 2013

The Magic of Christmas Gingerbread

This was the state of my kitchen for much of the weekend and it was all Tara's fault. 


All the cool people congregated at Tara's on Saturday for our Not The Farmer's Wife Sewing Group. There was lots of yummy food , laughter, story telling and show and tell. Among the things being showcased was this magnificent gingerbread house that Tara made. This is a prize winning gingerbread house (for real). Tara wins prizes for her creative genius all the time.  I've come to accept that I'm mediocre at absolutely everything, except swearing. If there was an Olympic Gold for having a vocabulary like a sailor, I'd take that out for sure. 



I have a piss poor track record with making gingerbread houses. I completely lack the manual dexterity, patience and imagination required to make something fiddly that turns out to be pretty. Plus I'm a Virgo and we like things to turn out exactly like the visions in our head and when it isn't we call it a complete failure and avoid it ever after. 

Case in point- in 2006 I decided I was going to make a gingerbread house. This was the vision in my head. 

image credit 
And instead , somehow I ended up with this. 


It took me 5 years to recover enough from the experience to want to do it again as if somehow in the intervening 5 years my skills would have magically honed themselves into making me a master gingerbread house maker with absolutely no practice.

This was the result 


Im going to confess this effort got pitched out the back door with this parting shot except I did it with an Aussie accent.

I also wrote a blog post vowing never to make another gingerbread house again as long as I lived. 

But when I saw Tara's gorgeous house, I just knew I could make one almost as good. And I verbally lamented the fact that I hadn't gone to Ikea to buy a gingerbread kit and that I didn't have time to do it before Christmas.

And Tara, that little sweetheart, presented me with this, there and then, straight out of her own cupboard. Oh Happy Day ! 


On the way home I stopped in at the shops and bought a few lollies for the decorating process.


When I walked in carrying the gingerbread house kit Mr. P muttered "oh shit" and put his head in his hands. But I smiled and reassured him that I had it under control and this gingerbread house was going to be fabulous. On Saturday night I made a shitload (thats Aussie for a lot) of royal icing and set to work decorating my little heart out. And I left it all overnight to set nice and hard, planning to put it together on Sunday.

When I woke up Sunday morning my gingerbread was soft and pliable and one of the house bits had cracked right across the centre. Then the bottom fell off my chimney. And when I picked up my sides some of the balls fell off. Mr. P helpfully suggested that perhaps the cat had spent half the night licking the gingerbread thereby rendering it soft.



Undeterred I fixed the cracks and stuck the balls back on with more icing and started making a sugar glue to put my gorgeous house together. It takes along time to make sugar glue. Mine burned the bottom of my best saucepan and formed little clumps which looked a lot like crystal meth. On to the back up plan. I tried to stick that thing together with icing. That didn't work either....

But I had a secret weapon to get that house to stick together because by this time I was bloody well determined to have a gingerbread house.  I sent Mr. P out to the store on a mission and he came back with this. 


Stop laughing. I didn't care by that point that we wouldn't be able to eat it. I just wanted a gingerbread house to show off. 

So I started gluing and putting bits together , and gluing more bits and holding them until they bonded , all the while congratulating myself on my brilliance and debating internally about whether I was going to confess it was in fact held together with a toxic substance. 

What they don't tell you on the superglue tube is that while you can use it on porous items- that doesn't include gingerbread. And in fact, superglue is evil shit and while it will stick your gingerbread house together  - after about 5 minutes it starts to eat your gingerbread away.

So I was sticking the roof on when my lovely gingerbread house did this. 


Yep- my gingerbread house imploded. And at that point - so did I. 




Lessons Learned :

Gingerbread Houses are evil
I found something Superglue cant stick
I really mean it when I say I am never making another gingerbread house ever again  

Now if you'll excuse me, some of those bits of gingerbread are superglued to my cake plate and I have to go and chisel them off....



48 comments:

Cathy (aka CrafteeCC) said...

I loved reading this post! LOL - I had to stop myself from actually laughing out load, coz hubby is still in bed asleep :)

Cath said...

I feel so bad to be laughing so hard at your expense! Brilliant post and a point for me to remember......never attempt a gingerbread house!

Marie said...

stick to cocktails.
much much much more satisfying!

Dianne Neale said...

That made me almost pee my pants, remind me sometime to show you my Christmas dalek.

Cardygirl said...

Funny...for us but not for you! If it is any consolation, I can't do it either...I look like I am making a ghetto house! You can't be spectacular at everything and swearing is useful all year long!

P. said...

So sorry your gingerbread house imploded. No doubt it was uninsured, but at least nobody died (well, you probably did, a little).

Do I even want to know why toilet paper tubes were involved?

Jennifer said...

Well, we can't all be talented at everything, you know.....your talent is obviously not gingerbread houses, or am I overstating the obvious? But as a cocktail maker you rock! Pity you can't salvage the house into a cocktail.

Lorraine said...

Bahahahaha good work!! I can laugh because I have never (and will never) attempt to make a gingerbread house - loved that you resorted to super glue to try to get that sucker to stick ..... I agree with Cardy....stick to swearing it is totally usefull all year round! (I think I would be the runner up to you with the swearing title btw) ...and just a tip for new players....don't ever atttempt to try and emulate anything Tara does.....

Lorraine said...

...oh...forgot to say...stick to cocktails!

Elizabeth said...

Boy, Bruce Willis looks so young.

Of all of the people who I admire as having her act together, you are in the top 3. I'm sorry you were defeated by the gingerbread house. But thank you for keeping it real.

Maybe next year, you can pay Tara to make one for you?

xo -E

Marg said...

How do you know what crystal meth looks like???????????????

Katy Cameron said...

I know where you went wrong, I saw it on instagram earlier - you needed a hot glue gun!

Also, nothing worse than cracking up so badly your balls fall off...

Dee said...

Silastic....

Being a Virgo I have never and will never make a gingerbread house.

At least you can sew and decorate well

Kate said...

I'm so sorry that your most recent crafty endeavor did not work out as planned. However, I do so much appreciate you ability to share such disasters in such a way that it's hard not to laugh out loud. If you makes you feel any better, My Guy thought I was an absolute loon because of how hard I was laughing. He assumed I'd been overcome by spending too much time with wrapping paper and package trimmings.

Rachaeldaisy said...

Shay, You're a crack up!! Shame your house decided to crack up too. I bet one day you forget all this and you'll try to make a gingerbread house again...

Amanda said...

Gotta laugh I was equally unimpressed with our effort last year probably because the kids got involved and the control freak in me that takes over atchristmas time just couldn't compete with their slap dash approach to decorating. I didn't venture to ikea this year but did make Xmas cake and minced pies instead which I was totally in control of

Sharyn T said...

What a crack up you are Shay. Still giggling writing this. I have never tried making one and defiantly won't now. lol. Sharyn:)

Fairy Floss Stitches said...

OMG!!.. That is sooo funny!!
I've just spent the day making gingerbread...intending to put a house together tomorrow.......should I just throw it out now??

the running hare said...

Oh dear! You did make me howl with laughter. I've been there and know what it's like. I gave the gingerbread house a miss this year!

Michelle Ridgway said...

Oh my!!!! I am so sorry you had to have those experiences to make me laugh to hard and so loud..still laughing...can't stop!
Kudos to Tara for her gorgeous house. At least you have made attempts... I just draw and stitch mine!

Mistea said...

Can I just ask - What is wrong with the ones they sell at the bakery?

Tara's does look amazing, sorry yours decided not to play nice.

Cindy said...

OMG!! You cracked me up more than your gingerbread house! LOL!!! I am so sorry that it put you through hell...but it really did make for a great LOL story, so all was not lost!!

Diane-crewe said...

I am sooo glad you posted this !! I have laughed so much my face hurts xxx
I agree gingerbread .. in any form .. is MEGA EVIL xx
Have a wonderful Christmas xx

AnnieO said...

Wow. Umm, you sure know how to carry a project far into lands it never expected to go to, lol! Superglue on food was an unexpected twist! LMAO

Canadian Abroad said...

And living on painkillers and antibiotics and that is the best laugh I have had in ages. Thanks so much, Shay, I absolutely needed that!!! Have a very merry Christmas you. Sod the gingerbread house.

JILL KENNEDY said...

Shay you are amazing - you brighten up my day with your hilarious adventures. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and look forward to more entertaining stories next year. Jill x

Primroses Attic said...

So glad I am not the only one who has great ideas in their
head but in the real world it does not happen. I think I would of given up before you. Love that you tried to superglue it. Fantastic and funny at the same time.
I have never tried to make a Gingerbread house I know my limits.
Ha! Ha!
Have a great Christmas.
Rosezeeta.

Brenda said...

Bahahaha! I must confess, a hot glue gun can do wonders, BUT I never use actual gingerbread, I cheat and use graham crackers - they don't work that great either. Hilarious post, I don't have any imagination either...

Sue SA said...

My past attempts at gingerbread houses have all demonstrated that structural engineering is not strong point, so I was just grateful they stayed up long enough to put the lollies on!

Me and My Stitches said...

I'm sorry, but I'm laughing hysterically. Sorry about your gingerbread house, but thanks for the entertainment!

Kirsten's Cooking said...

Poor you! Did you just make up that part about Michael with his head in his hands? So funny.

The really sad thing is that the superglue made it Inedible.
Oh, and by the way, shitload means the same thing in the U.S. :)

Have a nice Christmas!!

Sarah said...

Bahahaha I hope you had a lovely Christmas anyway Shay. I've never tried a house, for fear of what happened to you, but I did get ginger bread biscuits made. They're all gone now!

ThreeOldKeys said...

Your tale will still be LOL funny when I read it again.

The video illustrations are helpful, and the narration is priceless.

Thanks for the show & tell. I predict it will be a Christmas Classic, read yearly 'round the eggnog.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 !!!
laurie

Helen and Ro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helsie said...

Well I'm afraid that this all sounds par for the course in your house. You are a very talented person... just not in gingerbread houses. They're not very Aussie anyway. I bet you could make a great gingerbread surfboard - now that would be great for an Aussie Christmas !!

Jindi's Cottage said...

It certainly is Tara's fault...she is setting a standard that is ridiculously high for a normal person...noted, superglue (which I agree is evil) does not work on gingerbread - who would've thunk?...I have one word for you when you think gingerbread house - Bakery...

Susan Entwistle said...

So sorry it didn't work out for you. I won't post a photo of mine ;-), but I would suggest that next year you try to find a Wilton house kit at a craft store. It comes with premade Royal icing that will hold your house together (as long as you keep it away from the cat). Happy New Year!

Pokey said...

Oh, my. Some things just suck you in to try all over. You have my laughter, grins, commiseration, and love, Miz Shay... hope you have risen above the fallen timbers of a gingerbread house, and enjoyed your holidays!
Hugs, pokey

Tazzie said...

Ohhh dear, I'm worried that I've broken you!!!!
Don't stress hon, next year I'm making your house for you - I'll just need to be plied with cocktails.
*hugs*
Tara
:-)

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Happy New Year, Shea!

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Yikes. I meant Shay:-) Residual wine talking

Noela said...

Funny post Shay. For your safety, please don't touch gingerbread or superglue again, promise (LOL). Hugs....

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

thanks for the good laugh this morning, I came on over from Tara's blog to see you

Sue said...

What a good laugh and I actually did, then read - dont laugh! You do have a skill that you should hone, and thats writing! A really funny story, and I could imagine it all as you wrote it. Isn't Tara a pet to give you her kit. I came over from her blog to read this, and will have to keep an eye on you from now on. Lol! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi - I'm not a blogger, and simply fell upon your Blog. I needed to say I admire your perseverance, and love the humour you have written your blog with ... I've had tears rolling down my cheeks trying to tell my husband of your experience, to which he has promptly said to use Acetone to remove the glue from your plate, AND extracted a promise from me to NEVER attempt a Gingerbread house! Nik

Chookyblue...... said...

LOL...........woops.......

Vesuviusmama said...

I just woke my husband whist trying to be quiet reading this post. I kept snorting and doing that silent laugh that shakes your whole body and therefore the bed. So, he hates you right now, but I love you! Posts like this are what got me hooked on your blog all those years ago.

Lou - Max and Louise Pattern Co said...

So you may not be able to create a gingerbread house but you entertained us. Thanks for the laugh. Maybe Tara could decorate one for you next year!!!!