Sunday, October 30, 2011

Victorian Splendor - Part 5

So, it was a very busy weekend. The first order of business was to trim up the roof line.  Let me just state....Rich  now understands how there are many men doing gingerbread's because they get to use power tools!  Here he is with the dremel:

 The remaining roof pieces were then put on.  All the pieces first has to be primed with thinned royal icing because they were all sagging and a bit too pliable.  The icing seemed to have helped.  The chimney was painted and put in place and the shingles started going on up the roof.  The two largest roof panels are covered in "shingles" was more time consuming than we thought, trying to get them all lined up and such, and while we are happy with them, we both can see how we should have done and learn. LOL  Here is the house with the roof panels and as the shingles starting going on:

As I mentioned on part 4 of the blog, I did the banister piece for the top of the round it is :

I also did the archway for the it is when it was dry and then after I added some greenery to it:

It seems like not a lot was done on the house but there are things that are time consuming that can't be photographed, as in, the hours spent on making trees, covering marshmallows to resemble bushes, making a topiary, finishing painting all the fence pieces, and making 2 more batches of royal icing.  It is amazing how many hours just fly by!! LOL

Here are the bushes and trees :

so basically, here is where we are at....with a week left to complete everything :

I think at this point, the next blog will be the final one......and while this has been fun and I have learned a great deal, I'm ready for it to be finished......although, knowing myself as I do, even when done, I'll think of all the things I should have included but didn't. LOL

Enjoy, until next time!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Victorian Splendor - Part 4

Hi to all once again.  The walls started going up this week and while it seems like it's taking forever for it all to come together, after looking through the 54 photos I took this week as it progressed, it IS taking shape.  All the walls have gone up and the 2 of the 6 roof panels.  Now the roof panels have proved to be a challenge.  I'm not sure if the pieces are just so big or if it's because, living in Central Florida has a lot of humidity or a combination of both, but the roof panels sag a bit.  So that has been the biggest challenge of the week.  Let's start with the walls going up though.....

This is before the first wall went up:

Then a couple hours later......yes, it's more time consuming than one would think:

I used canned good to keep walls propped up while the icing dried.   A few more hours later, it's starting to resemble a house.

and here is a shot from the back.....

The floors were made made making black marks with a edible marker and then painted over it with brown icing......sort of looks like wood floors.....then we started adding the furniture and such.  The items did not end up in the rooms that they were originally intended for.  When making them I though everything looked so small but when they started going in the actual rooms, they were too big and so some rearranging took place.

Here's what it's looking like from the front:

This will be the inside wall that the round room looks into, and because of the previous trouble with the round room, it doesnt' have the depth that was originally intended and so it's really hard to see the details of the fireplace, so I took a picture, so I can remember it later. LOL

I tried to take a picture from the outside looking in through the windows.....this is really the only one that came out pretty well.

the one light that was installed didn't really turn out to be enough light, so some tiny little LED Christmas lights were put in to help illuminate the rooms a bit more.
The "mirror" was placed on the wall behind the Christmas tree as we realized you couldn't see the angel at all since she, and the wall, were both yellow.  I also added a Live, Laugh, Love plaque on the wall, since that's sort of my trademark....I have it in every room of my own home. LOL

I thought, to give you all an idea of the size of this house, I stacked my canned goods, that were helping to support the walls as they dried, up and the house is 4 canned goods high, 7 canned good long and 5 canned good wide.

I also worked on getting the fence posts and such painted......I'm thinking now, maybe I should have just left them the original gingerbread color.  LOL
Last night I worked on the banister for the roof of the round room and also the archway into the yard.  This weeks plan is to get the rest of the roof pieces on, and the yard decorated.  I have 10 days left to finish this the frustration with it, as well as the fun I've had is quickly coming to an end.

Until next time.....thanks for following my Victorian Gingerbread Project.  :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Victorian Splendor - Part 3

So, as the project continues, I have to tell myself, this doesn't need to be perfect....even real house have imperfections and it will be great once it's finished.  So, with the trauma of the round room over, and coincidentally, it's still standing, YAY, it was time to start decorating the walls, both outside and inside.  The outside walls will have 2 textures, the stone/brick walls and then the stone walls.  The stone/brick walls was accomplished by outlining the bricks first with an off white color of royal icing and then filled in with 3 different colors of stone/brick.  Our first thought was brick walls, but after the texture was done, we decided maybe they look more like stone.  You all can be the judge of that.  so here are the photos for those walls, the picture will show just two of the walls through the process.

The door and windows were all framed out with black fondant, but I failed to get pictures of that process but you will see some of them on the stone walls.  The stone walls were accomplished by painting the walls with brown royal icing and then sticking Cocoa Pebbles cereal to the walls while the were still some of the cereal fell off once they were dry, but most of it stuck and it looks pretty cool......putting the walls up without messing up the stone, should be fun. LOL

As you can see, both these rooms have windows and gelatin sheets were used for the windows.  I tried the crushed jolly rangers last year and eventually the windows started leaking so after some research, I found that gelatin sheets are perfect for windows.

I also painted the inside of one room thought was to make it look like wall paper as I was going to put a little design on it......I never could get the color even and after discussions with Rich, we decided, a tiny design would be hard to see through the windows anyway, but the yellow color should make for a nice glow in the room.  This is what they look like at this point.

So, that being done and the walls needing to dry and get really hard, I worked on fondant things for the inside.....I made a couch and side tables along with a rug for the floor and for a different room, a small side table with a book and candle with chair to sit beside it.  I also made a Christmas tree out of a sugar cone, coated with green royal icing and added mini M&M's as decorations.  I made a small fondant angel to go on top.  Then I made a small dog to go by the dog house that will sit in the yard.

I don't really have a dog named Spike, I have a cat.....his name is Spike, so I thought to include him in this whole process.  Yeah, he's a cat, he doesn't really care, but I couldn't come up with another dog name I liked. LOL

The final thing I did last weekend was work on the lace "gingerbead" work for the gables of the house.....Rich designed them and printed them out for me.  I taped them to boards, covered it in parchment paper and then traced the design.  I've never really done this before, but I've read about it in books, so in theory, I think I know what I'm doing.  I did 3, one being my test one.  I let it dry 2 days and then lifted it off the paper and it didn't break, so hopefully once it goes on the house, it'll be fine.  It will be one of the last details put on the house itself.

So, that's what was accomplished last weekend.  This week nothing really got done on the house since we had even more exciting things happening.  Vanessa had her baby, Xavier Armand Velasquez made his arrival on Monday evening, 10/17/11 at 8:53 pm.  He's so beautiful and perfect.  Congratulations again Vanessa and Wil!!

Until next time!! :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Victorian Splendor - Part 2

Let me begin by saying, it's a miracle that I am still even working on this project!  My mind didnt' really have time to rest to really think this thing through before I was "thrown in the fire" so to speak, my "adopted daughter" is due to give birth at any moment, and I've taken on the Grandparent role for her other 2 children since her Mom doesn't live here and well, my thyroid meds are off again and I'm just tired.  Add to those things I seem to be at that menopausal witch time of my life and all things added together are not a great beginning to my 2nd only gingerbread house.  LOL  I'm trying to go with the flow though.  All those years of praying for patience with my youngest son have suddenly come in handy.  LOL

So, we've had a couple close calls on Vanessa giving birth so I've neglected to get started on anything that might take time, because I don't like leaving a huge mess in the's the anyway....I decided, given that I had 2 vacation days left at work I needed to use before next month anyway, and the fact that I've been on edge, maybe it was wise to go ahead and take those 2 here I am.  This week, I found the gingerbread pieces that I made last Sunday, apparently didn't bake long enough and they were being very pliable and Tuesday evening was spent re-baking all the pieces.  Last night was spent getting together a pattern for the dog house, the teeter totter ( these will be out in the "yard") and fence pieces and last but not least, re-sizing the round room pattern.  Today I got up early and started rolling out more gingerbread at this point, I have rolled out 2 rooms from Sunday, of which the 2nd completely flattened out and didn't make it.  So, I started early this morning, 7:30am....thinking I'd get a early start so maybe I could actually take a break and read this afternoon.  I love to read.  Anyway....let's just say.....I almost threw EVERYTHING in the trash and sent out a email that said, I'M DONE!!! NO MORE......oh wait I did send that particular note out to my friend Rich, the designer.....yeah, I wasn't in a good place this morning......I sent that note to him after round room #7 crashed and ended up a pile of dough on the bottom of my oven......I can't even begin to explain how that happened....but it did!  So after sending the email.....that was short and sweet, it literally said I'M DONE!, LOL, I sat down and contemplated giving mother always would tell my sibling and myself, you have 5 minutes to cry, but then get over it.  I didn't cry, I was too mad.......but I gave myself 5 minutes and re-thought the whole round room process and then it occurred to me I was going about it all wrong!

I had been trying to bake the round room on a can to get that curved effect.......but what occurred to me as I sat there ticked off is that, when the piece is coming out of the oven, it's still very pliable.....what if I baked it flat and while it was still warm, draped it over the can as it cooled to get the rounded effect?????  So, I got back up and started rolling out more dough.......guess what, it worked!  WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!  Now, it did have some, what I refer to as "stress fractures", but the fact that I plan on treating that wall with a stone look anyway, I felt it was okay.  Here are the finished pictures:

So once that was done and the fence pieces, the teeter totter and dog house pieces were done, I cleaned up the mess.....and then made royal icing, as I'm going to need it to "glue" my house together and I'll also be using it to decorate with.  I went ahead and colored some of it brown, since that wall is going to have
"brown stone" on it anyway.  I thought if I painted the wall it would help re-enforce the piece and make it stronger.  When royal icing is dry it's very hard, so I am hoping my theory this point, all I can do is wait and see.  Here is a couple pictures of the piece now "painted".

That's it for now......I'm feeling better than I was at 10:30 this morning.  I no longer have the urge to dump everything in the trash and forget this even happened.  LOL  I have decided I am crazy for attempting this.....I have no formal culinary training, just a passion of all things baked and decorated......I'm hoping that passion is strong enough to get me through the next 20 days without killing a certain designer I know. LOL

Until next time....the saga continues..........

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Gingerbread Project - Victorian Splendor

So, it's that time of year when we start thinking of the holidays.  This year the holiday baking has begun even earlier for me as I was talked into donating a Gingerbread House to the Orlando Museum for their Festival of Trees event.  The event is held each year and Gingerbread houses are donated and then bid on with the proceeds going to fund different events throughout the year.  I attended the Festival of Trees last year and thought the Gingerbread houses were great and voiced a thought out loud that I thought I could probably do that some day.....well that day is here.  I have exactly 1 month from today to finish this project so the pressure is on.  My best friend Rich Scott is a designer and he wanted us to do this project he doesn't bake or decorate so his contribution is the design of the house.  I expressed my thoughts to him and he came up with the pattern.  The process began with thoughts and drawings and then the mock up started Friday is what we hope the framed up house will look like.

Now of course, the idea is that is will be sitting on a base and hopefully will be lighted....yeah, that's the designer's job, not mine....I bake and decorate, he's in charge of all the "technical" stuff. LOL   So, of course the next thing I'm going to need is of course, gingerbread.  I made 2 batches, thinking it would be plenty.  I can tell you now that all the pieces have been cut out, that it was JUST enough, so after cutting out all the pieces and baking them, I made another batch....just in case something breaks or something else is needed.
Here's one batch:

So I started the cutting and baking of the pieces, choosing what I felt would be the most difficult piece to make....the "round room".  The first try, I had it draped across a big can ( it actually was a metal bucket with a handle that I'd gotten with goodies some time ago) covered in foil and lined with a piece of parchment was almost ready to go in the over and it slipped off and tore.....had to start again.  The second time, I taped the parchment paper down, and tried to use silverware to keep the can from rolling.

I was pretty psyched that it went in the oven and didn't fall.  When the buzzer rang in 13 minutes I was so excited.....I pulled it out and it looked perfect.....and I was about to do a little dance, when my assistant......(the kill joy....just kidding, he did try to soften the blow)...pointed out that the back side had had a little it is:

So, at this point, I stood there and thought, well.....huh, what to do......I decided I would think about it later.  I thought about it as I was cutting out all the other pieces....and there were a lot and they were know how designers are, it has to be big and spectacular! LOL  Anyway, the thought came to me to make the room smaller by cutting off that edge with the dremmel tool.....didn't use power tool with last's years project, but this year it looks like it's going to be necessary.  The outside walls are not ALL going to be the same.  Some will have a brick look and the others a stone look.  To start the look on the brick walls, the gingerbread was scored a bit so when I "draw" the lines on it with the icing, it would be easier to line up.

After all the pieces were baked, I needed to make sure that the right piece ends up being put together in the right place so I used an edible food marker to make the back of all the pieces so hopefully it will eliminate confusion later when the house actually starts going together.

And here are all the pieces all baked and cooling and getting really hard so that they can be put together to make a beautiful Victorian Gingerbread house.

 I will make the royal icing later or tomorrow evening and the real fun will begin.  I hope you'll stay with me through this journey.  I've never made anything that would be up for "bidding" and I have to say, it's adds a huge YIKES factor to the whole project for me.  I'm excited and scared to death all at the same time.  I'm not sure if we are just really so arrogant, that we think we can pull this off, or we are just really stupid and crazy!!!  LOL  Time will tell.  I do know it will be fun and it will be edible, should someone want to eventually eat it.

So, following along with me over the next month while it all comes together.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baby Shower Edibles

So, all the decorations came together and presented the "look" I was going for.  I have to confess now though that, I'm kind of over lime green and caribbean blue now.......for a while anyway.  I started the treats by making the cookies several weeks ahead of time, decorated them, pout them in their individual little bags and then placed them in freezer bags and froze them.  I took them out the day before the shower and they tasted like I'd just made them.  Here are some of the photos of those:

I made cake pops in three flavors, chocolate cake, white cake and butter cake.....made them into balls and froze them until I was ready to dip them and decorate.  Now, when the time came to take them out, I guess I didn't let them get to the right temp before coating them in chocolate because they cracked, a lot!  So I let them un-thaw more, which I guess I ended up letting them get too warm, because then the were falling off the stick.  I got very frustrated and decided to put them in the fridge and try the next evening.  Thank goodness I had started a few days ahead of schedule because that evenings efforts were wasted.  The next evening the dipping and decorating went much smoother and everything worked.  After I had finished the cake pops I just stored them in the fridge until party time.  Here are some of those photos:

These are before dipping:

and after:

I also made chocolate dipped pretzel rods and also chocolate dipped marshmellows.  I have to say, the marshmellows were REALLY sweet, would have been better dipped in a milk or bittersweet chocolate, but that didn't match my color scheme. LOL  Here they are:

ANd last but not least, I made cupcakes.  I made 9 dozen cupcakes the day before the shower and while the chocolate didn't really coordinate with the whole color scheme, they are a favorite and so of course, I had to bring those along too.

I also made some chocolate dipped oreos but they melted so badly before the shower even began that they got put in an ice chest to chill and were forgotten until clean up time.  The Mom-to-be was more than thrilled to have them all to herself for a treat later.

So, all in all, lots of work, but it all turned out really well.  I was pleased with the final results.

Let me know what ya'll think!  Have a great day!