Just over three years ago, in November of 2018, I began working on my Rosehill Cottage Gingerbread House. It was not my first gingerbread house ever, but it was definitely the first of its scale and scope. It took me about a month and a half to complete, and almost immediately after I finished it I began dreaming up plans for my next house.
The ‘Home Alone’ house was really the first thing that came to my mind. Like millions of others, I grew up watching the movie every year as a Christmas ritual. And even though I’ve seen it a thousand times, I still get tense at the prospect of the robbers catching Kevin and biting off all of his little fingers. I also cannot physically watch Marv step on the nail with his bare foot. No. I can’t even think about it.
Anyway… I began planning this one in 2019 and started with what proved to be the most technically challenging part of this house: the lights. To me, the McCallister house is Christmas and part of what makes it so magical are the lights in all of the perfectly symmetrical windows. Basically the whole of 2019 I worked on the lights. I knew I could use those tiny wire lights but the problem is that there are usually several inches between those lights and my windows are only several inches in scale. That meant that there was too much space between each light in the window to give the effect of string lights. The solution was coiling the wire tightly around a small wooden dowel to form a spring-like strand of lights and fitting them into a custom frame that my dad made to hold them in place. Super simple!
By then it was December of 2019 and I was gearing up to build it. But then a week into December my dog died and, unsurprisingly, I didn’t really feel like building a gingerbread house. Looking back, if I had made this house in 2019 it would not have been the house I made today. Although I stepped back from frequent blogging to focus on other things, I haven’t given up baking or making these projects. I’ve spent a lot of the last two years practicing skills and techniques that I needed to make this house the way I wanted to.
So then, I thought, December 2020 will be the year!!! It could not possibly get any worse. My dog is already dead! As it turned out, things did get a little worse. I decided a gingerbread showpiece would be a bit extravagant for a Christmas day spent only in the company of a pan of macaroni and bottomless gin and tonics.
Now here we are in 2021 and things are still far from perfect, but I was done putting off this project. There were many times making this house over the past few weeks when I felt a little ridiculous. I’d be stressing over re-baking pieces or making sure the tiny lamp posts were *just* right and then I’d suddenly remember the fear and angst and very real problems that are happening in the world right now. It felt frivolous to put so much effort into something that is just made to look at in awe. But then I realized how good it felt to make something so unnecessary. To focus on something other than what I cannot fix or mend with icing. Something beautiful for hard times.
Happy Holidays XO,