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1  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 30, 2010 06:28:59 PM
A backbone of rice krispy treats?  Ingenious!  Bet that one was fun to transport   Cheesy

Having built only one gingerbread house before the Empire State Building, I already realized how important considering the transportation of the house would be, especially when it's going to be carried around the room during the auction.

I actually spent extra time on the base for the Empire State Building.  I used 2 sheets of 24" x 24" particle board sandwiched together with 1"x2" planks running inside.  The planks were spaced so the two outer most planks could have 1/2" copper pipe slid all the way through.  The copper pipe was cut about 3' long so 6" or so extended out each side and there was 2 copper pipes one for the left and one for the right... this provided 4 sturdy handles and a very solid base so moving the "monstrosity", as my wife likes to refer to it as, was very easy with 2 people.

We called a friend who had a mini-van to help transport it to the auction.  I was lucky to find that there was a whole 1/2" of clearance between the top of the tower and the door jam (after the building was dismantled into 3 sections)!

My recommendation to anyone who is faced with the possible transportation of their gingerbread house, is to use a solid non-flexible base 3/8" think or more of particle board or even 1/2" to 3/4" foam-core if you do not have the tools to cut particle board.  I buy my particle board at Home Depot and ask them to cut it for me before I purchase it.

I used 1/4" particle board this year on the UP House and ended up doing quite a bit of damage to the fence.  If you are faced with moving a house with a base that wants to bend on you, get a piece of plywood to slip under it like a big spatula.

Here is an example of a Gingerbread Space Shuttle built on 1/2" foam core.
2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 18, 2010 09:51:37 AM
At one point, I worked on interactive multimedia for retail stores, theme parks and restaurants... that kind of morphed into doing advertising on electronic billboards, the type you see in Times Square and Las Vegas... as well as event production... which many people would find exciting, however it was not very fulfilling to me.

Now, I support my wife's Real Estate business here in Lawrence, KS now by working on her website and helping her with advertising.  I also take residential photography for other real estate agents from time to time.  It's a lot less stressful and allows me to have good quality time with my family.  Time where I can consider doing projects like Gingerbread Houses, which would have been impossible with my previous schedule.

I'm flattered that so many people think that I do this (or something like this professionally) but this was only my 4th Gingerbread House.  Perhaps I should consider it as my next career, at worst it could help pay for all the cool tools I have on my wish list like a dough sheeter and professional oven... (yeah right!)

Also because we made the decision to do this every year, we have been perfecting our methods and purchasing tools each year... the second year we bought a stand mixer and some large baking sheets, next year we bough some tools to work with fondant, etc...

We are always picking up candy throughout the year as well...

I think the most important part is to have a good pattern.  Tanya does not like to make her patterns, she picks one out of a book... I enjoy creating my own patterns and usually start with a small paper model, then move on to a full size foam-core version as described in previous posts.  Finally, each year we try something new and there are three us so we all learn from each others mistakes and help each other when needed.

OH Yeah!  Use LOTS of PARCHMENT PAPER too.
3  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 17, 2010 03:13:48 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words!  I'm surprised at all the interest in our gingerbread houses, so many people have looked at them since I entered this one into the Craftster Challenge.

I'm trying to dig up some more photos and post them to our website of the Gingerbread UP House as well as my Gingerbread Empire State Building from 2007 and a few other Gingerbread Houses my family has worked on in past years.

We had no idea how much time goes into making one of these until my wife, Tanya donated one for the auction in 2005.  Since that year, each member of my family looks forward to making a Gingerbread House to donate and sometimes Tanya finds the time to make two.  Her houses generally sell for quite a bit more than the ones I build.  One year her two house raised over $4,000 and with the two houses our daughter and I donated, we helped raise $6,000 for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Douglas County. At auction our houses have helped earn decent money for the charity, which is the goal, none of them have ever won first place.  So I appreciate everyone who voted for my UP House online!


Here I am working late into the night placing Red Hots, one by one, onto the base of the Empire State Building.
BTW - It's a requirement that everything besides the base be edible, I had a lot of questions about how I was able to get it to stand up... I built a tower of rice crispy treats as an internal support.... read more about the construction by clicking the photo...



Here are the four gingerbread houses built by my family for the 2007 auction.
4  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Re: New Crafstster logo for bakers, gingerbread makers and kitchen craft fans. on: January 14, 2010 04:49:22 PM
I thought about a lot of different tools I used to make Gingerbread... and the pins worked the best... they were instantly recognizable... and you have to use them when making Gingerbread.... 
5  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Re: New Crafstster logo for bakers, gingerbread makers and kitchen craft fans. on: January 14, 2010 03:27:13 PM
I like "This is how I roll" that's pretty good.
6  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / New Crafstster logo for bakers, gingerbread makers and kitchen craft fans. on: January 14, 2010 10:51:46 AM
Hey all...

I have a suggestion for a new product logo for all of us, kitchen craft fans...


... here is a rough mock-up of what it might look like:


What do you think?

7  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 07, 2010 12:50:19 PM
Thanks for all the love people... I had a great time with this one, it's my 4th gingerbread house and I learned a lot and used some new techniques and tools.  My wife made her first gingerbread house 5 years ago to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters for their charity auction and since that year, we have all started making a house for their auction.

In the past my gingerbread houses have always been 'monochromatic' so this was the first one to have so much color and decoration.  My wife helped me make all the different colors of royal icing and gum-paste I used on "Carl's House" otherwise I would have never been able to finish in the time I had.  Thanks dear!

I'm so glad so many people like it.

8  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 06, 2010 07:40:30 AM
Well... their were many casualties on this project when it comes to details and features... because there is a deadline for the auction, I always have to cut things short... in fact this year, Big Brothers, Big Sisters allowed me to keep it overnight and deliver it the morning after the deadline so I could work all night on it to get a few more details in.

One flaw that bothered me was with Carl... His cane was suppose to have the 4 legs with the green tennis balls... and I forgot about that detail when I was making him...

...luckily my daughter supervised me on what I was doing wrong and where I had forgotten important details, or I would have missed many other details you would have disliked, one detail she wanted me to get around too but I was unable to was the gun at the end of the hose... I just didn't have time...

Luckily for my family there IS a deadline on this project each year, because I would keep working on it forever and they would never get the kitchen and living-room back in order...
9  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: Weybridge House in gingerbread form! on: January 05, 2010 04:53:38 PM
There are so many awesome and new things about your gingerbread house I love.  I like the look of the rolled oats for the roof... I will be stealing that idea in the future... also your trees with the fallen leaves!  I have never seen that before.

Your garden is wonderful and all the different rows of vegis in there look almost real in the photos.

Thank you for sharing this with us!
10  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / Re: UP Inspired Gingerbread House for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Auction on: January 05, 2010 02:36:59 PM
... I saw on another blog somewhere, someone had crafted an UP house and they used a foam ball and covered it with jelly beans for the bunch of balloons. ...

I did a little searching and found the link to this... they also did a SUPER job on their Gingerbread Up House.  I also like their balloons, I feel they did a great job on everything.  I like how their whole family was included in the project.

Here is the link to their blog: http://thegregbeefamily.blogspot.com/2009/11/up-its-finally-finished.html
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