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The Sugar Shack Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2009

The Sugar Shack Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2009

The end of summer means a lot of things to people, and for this girl, it means gingerbread!

The emails and donation material came out a few weeks ago and I am so excited about this years Festival!

Truthfully though, gingerbread is never far from my mind, I am continually on the hunt for inspiration for the next showpiece!

And good news! After a suggestion by yours truly, this year we are going to be using bigger boards!  24 x 24 wonderful inches!

Only 2 inches bigger but that is a lot of prime gingerbread real estate to work with!

I have a rough idea of what my building will look like and for the first time I have the design and name picked out early.

I have been know to,  at times push it right to the sign up deadline before I nailed down the perfect name and idea.

Feels good to be ahead of the game this year!

I stopped by The Home Depot yesterday to pick up  my board and will start the sketches this evening on my 2010 competition entry.

I draw the complete house on paper then plot it out on the board. Patterns are made, then the fun begins!

This weeks shout out is to……Mr Koscielnuk, my high school drafting teacher!  Little did I  know, back then, that drafting would be so handy in the kitchen?!?!?!  Thanks Mr. K!

Now to get down to the nitty gritty……

Because of the HIGHLY competitive nature of gingerbread competition…….I will not be talking about this years design on the blog until right before I drop it off with the Festival committee on November 16th.

I am looking at the possibility of doing a Gingerbread Cam to follow the progression of the construction so stay tuned for further details.

In the meantime, I would love to share my 2009 entry!

I introduce….

Sugar…..

Sugar from Nutmeg Disrupted

And this is her house.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

The Sugar Shack!

I was looking for a more rustic looking entry, a change from the very colorful houses I usually create.

I love the deck and railing design, it really lends itself to the country feel of the house.

As with any construction, you need a nice strong solid base.  This holds up the whole structure, make sure its strong!

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

I used blue and purple Nerds for the rock stucco detail.

Then I add the main floor using gingerbread pilings for support.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

Now you turn your attention to other things while you let the base dry.

If you rush this step you could cause  damage now that will cause a collaspe later.

I like to add a lot of little details to my houses, whatever fits the setting you are trying to create.

This time I used candles, gifts and the green wreaths you see placed around the house.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

Before I put the front of the house up I need to do a touch of interior decorating, for the kids of course!

They are on eye level with these creations so I design to please not only the Judges but love when the kids hit Gingerbread Lane and also keep them in mind!

To see the delight  in their faces when they first peer into my houses is pure joy for me!

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

And a shot of the livingroom from above.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

Hummmm…..looking at it now I am wondering why I did not paint a pattern on the rug?

Won’t let that kind of detail slip by me again…..

See you can learn something everyday!

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

With the inside complete its time to put the roof on and work out the details of the exterior of the house.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

At this point I decided that although the roof shingles looked good, I found it all to be a touch too dark and decided to modify the roof plans a bit looking to add some brightness to the house.

100’s of cirlces later…..

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

I thought this really brightened it up enough yet it still felt Christmasy…..if thats even a word!

The wonderfully detailed steps, front deck and railings where my favorite part of the construction.

Also the most time consuming as it took a long time to place the Ovation stick railings in place, with tweezers, so as to not melt the chocolate on the sticks and mess up the nice swirled pattern on the surface of the minty Ovations.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

As with any project, if feels good to come to the end! I was very happy with my Sugar Shack!

It took a total of 115 hours to complete.

Here is a short list of some of the ingredients.

85 cups of flour

37 eggs

92 cups of icing sugar

17 cups of regular sugar

17 cups of molasses

20 boxes of Nerds

5 oz of Vodka

and a whole lot of little ingredients.

Here was the final shot before I turned it over to the Festival of Trees.

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

And this is what I found when I returned to the Festival!!

The Sugar Shack Gingerbread House on Nutmeg Disrupted

I could not have been more thrilled!

For my American readers, First place in Canadian competitions are represented by RED ribbons!!!

And I am very proud to say we raied $250.00 with this very large cookie! And up to date I have raised over $1000 with gingerbead!

Sugar would be very pleased!

Be sure to head over to the Food Bloggers of Canada to see a step by step tutorial I wrote on designing and building your own one of a kind gingerbread house!

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Angel Academy Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2012

Angel Academy Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2012

The Angel Academy, where all angels come to get their wings!

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Grande Prairie Festival of Trees, Grande Prairie Alberta

The annual Festival of Trees  in Grande Prairie kicked off last night with the Decorators Take A Bough event out at the Tec Center.

It is a chance for those who designed and donated for the event to gather for a few hours, have a coffee and explore the venue.  It is an evening of fun without the crowds and is a fantastic way to get into the Christmas Spirit!

My theme for this years gingerbread house was designing an Angel Academy. I wanted it to have a fun whimsical feel,  straying off from a heavy Christmas theme. I used bright pastels and made flowers in place of the more traditional Christmas decore.

Grande Prairie Festival Of Trees Gingerbread House

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Grande Prairie Festival of Trees, Grande Prairie Alberta

I tend to lean towards sided buildings. I love the color that fondant can bring to the build. The strong colors are always sharp against the black rooves with the bright white snow.

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Grande Prairie Festival of Trees, Grande Prairie Alberta        Nutmeg Disrupted at the Grande Prairie Festival of Trees, Grande Prairie Alberta

My projects usually have a path somewhere as well. The Angel Academy is no exception with the path being a strong element in this years project. I really had no plan when I started but am extremely pleased with how it evolved.

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta..      Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta..

 

 

 

 

 

I also took a different direction with my trees, which are usually sharp and green. Keeping with the white “heaven” look the trees were made of rice krispies and then dipped in royal icing. They turned out quite nice and took only a short time to complete compared to trees of previous builds I have done.

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta..        Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta..

 

 

 

 

 

The flowers were made of fondant and dyed green spagetti. Which is kind of obvious. I just really wanted to say dyed green spagetti.

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta.

And a quick look through the front window will reveal a painting of a scene from a sunny memory down by a remote lake.

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival Of Trees in Grande Prairie Alberta

And of course, we have the bears. I always have to add that little something for the kids. Once it was Santa, stuck upside down in the chimney. Then there was Sugar from The Sugar Shack! Even a group of troublesome penguins made an appearance a few years. Of course these house are made to raise money for the QE II Foundation but I build these houses with the kids in mind and always gear them towards the little ones. Nothing better then to be able to light up their faces when the discover all the cool things to be found in Gingerbread Lane!

Nutmeg Disrupted at the Festival Of Trees in Grnade Prairie Alberta

Just a bit of an update. I was asked about the competiton end of the gingerbread tonight so am updating what I know.

As most everyone knows I am a fierce competitor, it is what drives me! That is just how I am hard wired and I work hard to do well when I put myself into these competitions. In the next year I plan on taking that to a whole new level.   I will have an annoucement reguarding a new project I will be involved in the days to follow.

But first a little about this years gingerbread house build.

Some ribbons were awarded at the Decorators event Wednesday night. I was there for a short time but I left the event early. This year it is not about winning, it is just for the kids. There is a sad story that motivated this build. A few weeks ago a few boys down the street came home from school and found their mom in the house, dead. The oldest one is 10 and I just can not get them out of my mind. The police were there for many many hours that night. I knew something bad had happened. That truly has to be every childs nightmare, to find a parent like that. So I don’t care if I do place this year, I just hope those little boys can find some peace this Christmas. My worry for them pushed me through this build. At one point I wanted to toss it all and just quit. It just breaks my heart. But not being one to quit,  I sucked it up and finished the house with no expectations except to hopefully give the kids who go to gingerbread lane a smile. I can not imagine this familys grief. The burden this little boy will carry in his heart will be there for a long long time. I know my thoughts will be with them all throughout the Christmas season.

 

 

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The Off Season Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2008

The Off Season Festival of Trees Grande Prairie 2008

Looking to really do something different I thought big for this seasons gingerbread house.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

And not just any house.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

Much bigger then that.

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

I was thinking light house!

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

Now just the light house alone took just over 10 hours to build. I never did a count of the bricks, no time for that. And I have to say, I was extremely pleased with house the brick work turned out.

I tried a few new techniques this year. One was pouring sugar for the ice surface. Again, I was very pleased with the look of the ice.

The Off season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

The Off Season GBH Festival Of Trees Grande Prairie

I also used gelatin sheets colored with edible marker for stained glass windows.

The Off Season GBH Festival of Trees Grande Prairie

Being it was The Off Season Santa and his lovely bride were on the coast taking a relaxing break after the Christmas rush.

The Off Season Gingerbread House Festival of Trees

It started out alright.

Santa

Things were quite nice,

 

and relaxing……

at first……………..

Then things slowly started getting out of control.

And it went from bad…….

to worse.

And ended up as a case of too much of a good thing.

Really looking back at it it could have done with some serious editing.

Still, I was pleased with how the build went! It is a good day when you can raise money for charity with sugar and flour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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