Some of our annual gingerbread creations have taken well over 100 man hours of work, spread out over approximately a week’s elapsed time. Let’s just say this year’s version was the rush, photo-finish, OMG-it-must-be-done-tomorrow kind of gingerbread creation. :) Thank goodness I have crew at home who have been with us for 17 years, and who have seen me make every single one of my gingerbread houses over that span of time. Nothing like previous experience to speed things along… :)
We had just arrived from our trip to the U.S., jet-lagged and then headed to Cebu for work, then back in Manila on the 10th or 11th, and had to have Christmas all ready in our household by the 13th as dinners, guests, etc. were all scheduled from then on… So late one afternoon, we got lots of styrofoam (the base of the gingerbread, to support the panels against the nearly 90% humidity levels here) and hammered out a basic design for a hilltop lodge… Can you count how many hands were on deck to help? And I stepped back to take the photo!
We did this out in the garden, because at this stage, it can be very messy. After about 1.5 hours, we had our base finished, electricals in place, and we measured out and cut the patterns for the required gingerbread panels. At the same time, we made several recipes of Marketman’s gingerbread (construction version) to rest overnight in the fridge.
The next day, again, late afternoon after taking care of other errands, the panels were baked, cooled and attached with confectioner’s sugar cement (icing). This took say another 2 hours. Fastest gingerbread contractors in Manila, I tell you.
Instead of a flat roof, we decided to go with the more rustic, thatched roof look. It just adds more texture I think. We left that to dry overnight.
The next day I added more icing to cover flaws and make it all look a bit more wintery…
…our “contractors” moved the gingerbread to its final resting place and the mountainside was covered in snow…
…trees, animals and people put in place… and VOILA! Gingerbread 2012, with just hours to spare before welcoming our first holiday guests for the season!
Of course we had to include the little produce shop, and bizarrely, a baker is walking around with his freshly baked muffins or cupcakes…
…and while this may have been a rush job, I couldn’t resist a bit of whimsy, imbedding printed silhouettes in the windows so when the house is lit up, you get to see a bit of the goings on inside. In this one second story suite… :) Remember that silhouette, as I will show you where its inspiration came from, soon. A very, very merry Christmas to all of you, a Happy Boxing Day (the Day after Christmas) too, and if any of you kind souls spot it, please let me know when I can find the 2012 Downton Abbey Christmas Special on line, even if I have to watch it on youtube in 8 parts, as I did last year. Hahaha. Yup, addicted. :)
P.S. And if you think that sounded tiring, we also made a second house, a modern ski chalet, for the Teen to decorate herself. Complete with mini cooper in the garage… But she hasn’t finished it yet! :)