Gingerbread Village 2013

Mom and I spent a couple of days this week working on this year’s gingerbread village. As usual, there was a lot of laughter – especially when mom was working on what she hoped would be a cute little person but who turned into a creepy stalker guy and finally morphed into some strange version of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. Seriously. This is the table near the end. Yes, wine is an essential component of gingerbread. If you look behind the water glass in the middle of the table, you will see Mr. Bill. What was she thinking?




I hadn’t realized until I looked at the photos, but all the little houses I did ended up together (I didn’t do the snowman – that’s mom’s). The A-frame is my Broncos house for the year. Go Broncos!



Mom did the big house and the this smaller one next to it – she did amazing wreaths on that little house! I did the tree next to the big house and I am super pleased with that.



Here is a side view of the train – mom did the back car and I did the engine. We put the Mr. Bill stalker in the train car – he’s being hauled off to the loony bin.

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The little guy I did is the train engineer!



And there’s this years whole village, lit from beneath. Looks good!



(all photos are courtesy of my mother. Thanks mom!)

You cannot overdecorate the gingerbread

A few years back my mom bought a gingerbread house kit on a lark and we collaborated in decorating it. This started a tradition not unlike the pumpkin carving that is a bit out of hand. This year she got a kit that had four little houses. I got one that I thought had three little houses but it turns out it was one big house (the box was deceiving, trust me). Then my husband, being helpful, got a Home Depot gingerbread kit.


Gamely, mom and I decided we were going all the way from the commercial district to the expensive house-on-the-hill.  The first step is putting together the parts. Turns out the Home Depot one was the most difficult to do. The one I got came pre-assembled.

I win.


Putting together the houses. Mom cursed her son-in-law for buying the Home Depot kit.


The house I bought came pre-assembled. Winning!


Because my husband bought it, I was tasked with the Home Depot decorations. Let me tell you, that is a lot of orange frosting. And I was very skeptical that this would look like anything useful once done. Especially seeing it midway:


Fortunately, throughout the year we end up buying extra candies and such to add to our gingerbread houses. This saved me in the completion of the Home Depot. In fact, the tiny little necco wafers (at least, that’s what they looked like to me and mom) turned out to be pretty great as lights on the building. Or perhaps I was just pleased because dad brought us each margaritas.


In fact, I finished the Home Depot (or I was done with it, which has a slightly different connotation) while mom continued her work on the tasteful “house on the hill”. So I grabbed a small house and went to town with the tiny necco wafers. Fast and adorable.


Mom finally finished her big house. This had to be tasteful, because people in this size of house would pay a decorator. I rolled out yellow gumdrops for her to use as the windows. If you decide to do this, use sugar on the rolling pin and board to prevent sticking (or lessen it, anyway).


Mom is ridiculously good at the icicles. You’ll note the items I did do not have icicles.

We were tired of the process by this point so left the remaining three houses for a couple of days later. I had bought some cookie frosting so picked the house with a flat-ish roof so I could use it (very liquid, but then hardens). The tilt to the structure is on mom because she put it together. The fact that it looks like it’s staring at you is all my fault. We named it the “stalker house”.


Meanwhile mom did this adorable little house. She would prefer it if you just admire the roof and skip looking at anything else.


We had one left and collaborated. I picked a Denver Broncos color scheme and we went with it in a big way. It’s our favorite.

You have your reasons, we have ours.


Finally we had to put it all together into a scene. We have mirrors to be ponds and step-stones, little strands of lights, some old bits of garland made into trees…. and marauding polar bears.


My husband is no longer allowed to purchase a gingerbread kit unless he puts it together and decorates it himself. (this will not happen).

Merry Christmas! Stay out of the path of marauding polar bears!

Decorations Nobody Else Has

Admittedly, I have not checked every other house on the planet. I’m pretty comfortable making this assumption though. We built a planter box in our entryway. We have a bunch of small palms planted in it and it provides a nice bit of green and breaks up the open space well. In years past I have not done any holiday decorating on or in the planter, but this year I had the brilliant idea to add my large solar Christmas bulbs to the planter box. It is stupendous, if I do say so myself. And I did.


In the back you can see General Principle peeking over the top. He was also dressed for the season. He took it stoically, as he does everything.


Thanksgiving decorations

I finally got around to taking down Halloween and transitioning to Thanksgiving. I’ve been a tad busy with work and other things lately. At least I had managed to make sure the jack-o-lantern items were no longer lit up after October.

The transition is actually pretty quick. Since pumpkins are still a relevant decoration, all I have to do is remove the pumpkins with a face and any other Halloween specific items. As I type this, I’ve just realized that poor General Principle is still wearing his feathered headdress with a spider on it – I’ll have to remember to take that off of him later today… I can leave up all the non-face-sporting pumpkins, and then I add in a more Thanksgiving specific item:

This was actually filled with flowers when I got it as a gift, and I kept the wicker base just for this reason. The pine cones and things smell nice, too.

The only bad thing is that I can no longer claim the cobwebs in the house are decorative.

October happened!

It’s October (okay, it has been for a few days, yes, I know) and the temperatures are dipping low at night so it officially feels like autumn. This is the signal to get out the bins full of orange things!

Most of the orange things…

We have 8 jack o’lanterns for the windows across the front of the house, pumpkin candle holders, interesting frog witches… And so I made my moments.


And then, finally, I added the last decoration to General Principle. He took it stoically, as he does everything.