Craft Fail: I Suck at Gingerbread Houses

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This one breaks my crafty heart. I’m finally stepping up tot he plate to admit that I SUCK at making gingerbread houses. You see, every year a local organization, The Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix, holds an event called Home Sweet Home. They invite people from the community to decorate a gingerbread house, and this is my third year giving it a try. All the handmade gingerbread houses are put on display in a fancy gallery and people bid on them as part of a charity auction. Aside from mine, the entries are amazing!

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See what I mean? and this is just a few of them. OK, so last year I attempted to make one at the same time that I had pulled my back. I was on muscle relaxers, I could barely function… and my gingerbread house came out like a unicorn-gingerbread man threw up after a bad acid trip.

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I had no theme, I spent more than $100 rebuying supplies, but I could not find my groove so to say. Luckily they (the housing folks) allowed me to gracefully back out. I was sooo relieved. I couldn’t imagine putting my hunk of frosted fail next to all those fancy houses. I vowed to the gingerbread house gods that 2013 would be my year to produce a phenomenal house of innovation and style!

I decided to start with a kit, that way I wouldn’t have to mess with baking and I could focus on the outside. Easy, right?

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I selected a theme – all peppermint! It would be a red and white creation of wonder!

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Thinking strategically – instead of building the house, decorating it and having things slide off, I would first decorate the sides individually, let them set, then connect them. See? I was off to a great start!

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And then things started to get out of control. I should have sketched the house first is all I gotta say. At this point, my internal grading system on this project dropped from an A+ to a C-. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it became. The roof began to slide, the sides caved in, I used a knife to pry them out, then the candies started popping off. This is my THIRD year trying this, people! Even so, I didn’t give up hope. I wasn’t going to give up. So…this is how it came out. Sigh.

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Maya went to drop it off, and she called me and said, “Wow, Mom, there are some amazing gingerbread houses here, they are huge!” I made her stop. If I heard any more of that, I would chicken out and withdraw my entry, lol. Not really,I’m being dramatic!

NEXT YEAR I will try again, but this time I’m going to enlist help from friends or family to redeem myself. What matters though, is that  hopefully someone will bid on it and raise money for the cause!

Here are tips if you plan to decorate gingerbread house (learn from my mistakes):

1. Choose a theme, make a plan, and even a sketch. This will save you time and money. If you don’t have a plan in mind, you’ll buy all kinds of things you don’t need.

2. Start simple. If its your first time, use a kit to get the hang of it – then move on to baking your own version.

3. Don’t use cake frosting. You have to use royal icing because it hardens and becomes the “grout” to hold all the sides together. Regular cake frosting will never harden, everything will slide off!

4. Enlist  help. It’s much more fun if you work with a friend or family member, and that extra set of peepers comes in handy.

Here are more tips from Home Sweet Home.

Love & light,


4 Responses

  1. Okay, Kathy, I love your house!!!!! It is more from your heart!!!!! I tried doing one years ago, and man oh man!!!!!
    Your’s is a little jewel, truly sweet!!
    Blessings,
    Gretchen

  2. As far as I am concerned your gingerbread house was exactly what a gingerbread house is supposed to be, a sweet candy-topped confection to celebrate the season that will decorate until you finally give in and gain 20lbs eating all that yummy goodness! If this is for charity you shouldn’t worry so much about having the most amazing creation and just be glad that you are in a position to at least try and help out. I actually think you did a pretty good job, it is not an easy thing to do with all that slippery frosting. I am impressed that bakers are able to make re-creations of movie sets out of gingerbread, but it is not in keeping with the tradition.

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