The gram cracker “gingerbread” houses are constructed ahead of time so the icing can dry and the house structure will be firm before the party. Royal icing is used for construction because it holds the parts firmly while constructing and also once dry.
The recipe I used called for two egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1 pound of powdered sugar. Beat the egg whites first until stiff and foamy. Then add the cream of tartar and powdered sugar and beat for a long time until stiff peaks form. Cover the unused icing with plastic wrap so no air will get to it. If it starts to dry it will become crunchy and clog up your decorating tips. Recipes for royal icing can also be found online.
Buying candy for the party is a lot of fun. I always look for small candies that can be used repeatedly on small houses.
Here are some examples of what the kids and adults made at our last party for Kevin and Melanie’s kids.
Decorating the yard is important too.
One of the huts along a dry stream bed.
An ancient daub and wattle bridge over a sheer gorge. Careful, it looks fragile!
One of the structures has a flag or some such ornament on it.
There is an ancient lake that seems close to drying up.
Here is one lake connected to another with a row of primitive shelters.
Along the sheer crevasse there are more mud structures, seemingly organized! I think there must be some rhyme or reason here.
Finally, is that a figure I see? Is that a mud man . . . or a tiny Bigfoot . . . ?
Careful! He looks fierce! Wait . . . what’s that I hear him say in his tiny little squeaky voice?. . . ”
Get off my property, ya big galloots!”
W E L L , E X C U S E U S !
Yesterday evening we worked in the cool of the late part of the day. We had Ryan helping to place the hurricane ties for the rafters.
The last two nights I’ve had dreams where the 6 tons of hay we bought were being rained on! Makes me feel a great sense of urgency to get the haybarn part finished and the hay in it.
We have the floors and corner posts in the for the haybarn structures and the roof will be going on soon.
When Melanie left I felt sad, partly because I would miss her and partly because I wanted us to keep working on the art studio!!! We put one of the 8 paned windows in before she left, and I put the other one in the next day with the help of my sister, niece, and daughter.
Today I decided to make needed repairs on the structure surrounding the area intended for the French doors and also create a space to install the doors. I was so happy that I had the strength and energy to work on this section without Melanie helping me. My son Ryan helped when I needed an extra hand, and so did my niece and her son. It doesn’t look like much yet but I can see the finished product in my mind, and this cottage art studio is going to be beautiful!
Seeing and helping parents work on projects like this is so good for kids, too. One nice thing about homeschooling is the kids are home to see and help with whatever project we are doing. Melanie says watching and helping me work on projects while growing up gave her the confidence to tackle similar projects in her own home. Seeing her work on this cottage with me the other day was sure proof of that, she was the boss lady and I was the helper!
Knowing how easily I tire, my daughters Melanie and Melissa talked to me about going forward with this construction in a “Zen” way. Work when I have the energy, rest when I need to, and enjoy each step of the process. It’s all about the journey.