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1  Gingerbread Fortress of the Angelic Orders (soooo many pics) in CHALLENGE 58 ENTRIES by winddragyn on: January 03, 2011 10:19:06 AM
I hope this post isn't too long, I have a lot of pictures to show. My first entry into a, because this is the first time I have had something worth entering. This is a gingerbread house that I made this December, for a party my dorm holds every semester.  Did I say house? I meant fortress.  A Gingerbread Fortress of the Angelic Orders

For scale, here is me sitting next to it as I put the finishing touches onto the yard. This castle (including the courtyard) took up an entire 6 foot long table.

It was so large, in fact, that all of the walls (even the towers) had to be cut in half and cooked on two sheets, then glued back together afterwords. Here is a shot of the panels during construction.  (taken at 4 in the morning. One of three all nighters I pulled in order to build this house in time for the party)

A tour of the house: On top is a marzipan dragon, who guards the castle. But in the front yard, marzipan goblins are rushing forward to attack, in hopes of stealing the dragon's gold. Napoleon Goblin stands on the drawbridge between two gummy-shark filled moats: The Moat of Boiling Chocolate Fondue, and The Moat of Vanilla-Cream Cheese Dipping Death.

From here, he directs his troupes. Some scale the wall, some stand with shields to deflect attacks. Some fire the cannon. One meditates in the Japanese rock garden (note the bush, a Japanese mochi candy)

Some have already scaled the wall, and are trying to sneak up on the dragon's hoard of gems and gold. They should watch out: dragons have great hearing, and this one breathes blue fire.

You can see Napoleon Goblin better in the next shot. In the attacking army, one goblin rides a snake, one a bird, and one even rides an elephant.

It is hard to see in this next picture, but the carrot cupcake catapult was very popular.

The little kids who came to the party LOVED it. They also loved eating it.

This is a cookbook author and food reviewer, who asked us for some photos of the house. She is pointing out a spoooooky ghost, my favorite member of the goblin army.

But gingerbread houses are made to be eaten. If I didn't want my house to be eaten, I wouldn't have taken the time to bake it all from scratch, I could have used glue and cardboard much more easily. But no one wants to be the first to break a beautiful house. So, in this photo, I have just finished punching one of the towers down, so that everyone could partake.

And in a suprise move (with my permission), our RC chucked a friend, bodily, into the rest of the house to finish the demolition job.

It tasted excellent. As I said, if I was going to go through all this trouble to make something edible, it had better be good enough for people to want to eat. The gingerbread was great (got the recipe from food network, after comparing a couple of others.) The gray icing on the outside was chai tea flavored buttercream, the stone outlines were vanilla, and the vines that I drew climbing the castle were almond flavored. Here I am piping on the stones:

The roof was covered in dark chocolate, and the towers were covered in homemade peppermint bark (with some valhorona chocolate, no less!)  As you can tell from the description, I was not footing the bill. Fortunately the college reimbursed me for ingredients, including four bags of coconut, 4 cans of marzipan, $30 in candy, four boxes of oreos, 9 huge bars of chocolate, unknowable amounts of sugar, and (in the dough for the castle), a whopping 26 cups of flour and 13 sticks of butter (!!!). I know this last picture is blurry, but check out the moats, and also the table of deserts on the next table. What a night of great eating this was!
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2  Travel Shrine (my first craft post!) in Completed Projects by winddragyn on: December 27, 2010 05:19:56 PM
This summer, I hosted a couchsurfer who had a hobby of dumpster diving. On the last day of his visit, he found a torn up, fake-snakeskin covered travel case for makeup. As he had no use for it, he gave it to me. I wanted to turn it into a shrine from the moment I saw it. The mirror, the glass cases for idols or images, the tryptic design, and the portability all made it perfect for a shrine. I wanted to use only materials that I obtained through had love, time, and/or focus. Unfortunately, I don't have any deities or ancestors who I felt were shrine-able. I would love to think of (and to hear your recommendations on) who or what should go in my shrine. I would like to use it, instead of just looking at it.  At the very least, though, if I ever I leave my normal life to become a wandering gypsy, it will give me some new age cred when it is set up at my traveling palm or tarot card booth.

This picture has the most true-to-life colors, even if it is upside-down. This is how it folds up.

I covered the outside with beautiful hand-embroidered fabric from Atlixco, Mexico. My BF's mom gave the cloth to me as a gift, she has had it for 40 years. Ignore the box of Miller Highlife in the background.

Here is the inside of the shrine. Sorry about the glare and the bad colors. This is a camera phone I am using.

Some detail of the shrine's inside. The little prince was the only thing I could think of at the time that was super shrine-able, representing love, adventure, and unwillingness to grow up. But it is  really just a filler picture. A friend and I made the weaving for that shell. The vial could theoretically hold a single flower, but in this picture, it is holding a stick of incense.  All of the beads are made of real stone, and all are stones of some supposed magical or historical significance.

This is one of the side panels. I think it would be perfect for a statuette or a candle, but right now the only things indside of it are a heart which I blacksmithed, and a wire/bead thingy that a friend gave me. I wore that dragon as a necklace pendant for years.

Well, there you have it. I think that the box nature of the shrine would make it very convenient for packing a couple tea candles, a box of incense, a bell, or some coins, or other similarly shrine-y items. I hope you like it.  I just wish I wasn't so naturally skeptical of religion so that I could use it as it was intended.
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