The assembly of the house started today. The first step being, making the royal icing so I'd have my "glue" to hold it all together. This was the easiest thing I did today in connection with the gingerbread house! Measure out a pound of sifted powdered sugar, and I did weigh it, but generally it's around 4 cups, 3 egg whites at room temperature and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Mix this at a slow to medium speed for about 10 minutes. This is one of those times, a stand mixer is the best!
Make sure to keep the royal icing covered well with plastic wrap at all times because it will harden fairly quickly.
My original thought was to put the house together and then start decorating, but then I thought, it would be easier to do a little of the decorating while the pieces were still flat. So, I decided to outline the windows and the doors.
It was at that point I decided that I wanted the open windows to look like they had little lace curtains in them. My first attempt was to ice the pattern onto parchment paper and let it dry....my thought was I could then just attached the curtains where they needed to be....unfortunately, that didn't work for me because they broke as soon as I lifted them from the paper. Plan 2 was to do string-work to the gingerbread pieces. Now, I've done some cake decorating, a lot of cookie decorating, but I have NEVER done string-work. I've read the procedure on how to do it, have looked at hundreds of photos of it and only dreamed that someday I could do some decent string-work. Today I thought was as good a time as any to start practicing. So the idea is to do the work on the back of the cookie so when you look at it from the front, it appears to have little lace curtains. Now, given this was my first attempt, and the first set broke off when I accidently hit the piece and it wasn't quite dry, I think I did pretty good. My idol Toba Garret would probably give me a "F:" on the assignment, but seeing how it's actually hanging on, I'm doing a little happy dance.
At this point, I knew I would be decorating with different little candies, so I unwrapped them all so that when I actually start, I won't have to stop to open bags and stuff. I got most of my candy after Halloween and 75% off, so it was all in little individual packages. I also realized about this time that I had taken over all my counter space in the kitchen and it would be easier from here on out to be able to leave everything out and work on it a little at a time. Now given my children are grown and the dining room doesn't get much use, it has now become Gingerbread Central.
Then, I took a break and went outside and enjoyed some beautiful weather and gave the pieces time to dry.
When I returned, it was time to put the house together and it went together better than I thought it would. I had worried that that would be the hardest part.
So, that's it for today's work, which when I look at it, I'm wondering how I spent about 5 hours on this thing today! LOL