Sunday, January 2, 2011

4th Quarterly Challenge

For our last quarterly challenge, we really did challenge ourselves. It seems that it was so hard and w were so busy that we were quite lacking in the photo department. We'll tell you about it anyway. We decided to keep with the season and make gingerbread houses. We each made one but instead of also doing a collaborative effort, we opened the competition up to friends that were coming to the Christmas party. We had 2 takers: our friend Jerome built a house from scratch and Larry built a train from a kit. Both entries were very much appreciated but only one’s architect was cursing us, and the gingerbread format during construction.
We too were hating all things gingerbread in designing and building too. We researched and found a lot of great ideas and suggestions but as we were trying to implement some original ideas, we emerged with a very trying gingerbread experience.
Sara learned about rolling the dough evenly. Her walls came out a bit thick and uneven. This made the gift of rolling pin bands for Christmas all the more appreciated, if not ironic. The implementation of stained glass windows in her church also didn’t go according to plan. 

She used the same process as the sugar cookies that we made but these candies did not stay solid. We don’t know if it was because she used butterscotch candies or if the gingerbread somehow absorbed and transferred moisture to the candy, but it turned sticky and did not work. We considered putting a sign in front of the church soliciting donations for renovation.
I learned about flying buttresses and support walls and beams. I tried to make a train station, but found that the length of the structure could not be supported by only four walls. This was discovered the morning of the party when my gingerbread train station looked more like the Viking’s Metrodome.

Dad tried to fix it as we went about our other preparations but the walls broke too and he was looking at what he thought was a catastrophe. In the waning hours before the party, I cut off the broken pieces, shortened the structure and made a small house out of what was left. It was simple, not what I had planned, but it was done.
Jerome also had trouble with his house. The slope of the roof was pretty intense and one side slid off even though he applied a lot of frosting to glue it into place. He painted his house with chocolate and had snow and a lot of cute touches.
So, the winner of our last quarterly challenge is neither Erin nor Sara, but Jerome. Congrats and thanks for participating. We all agree that it will take a lot of convincing to get any of us to try making a gingerbread house again.

Lessons learned: Simpler is better when it comes to making a gingerbread house. Worry about the decorations and details after you have a standing structure.

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