Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Annual Decorating of the Gingerbread House

Sunday was full of merriment, family, and candy. Piles and piles of candy.

Since 2011 Matthew and I have been gratefully piggy-backing on the K family's Crackertown tradition. The cousins assemble houses, buildings, and other landmarks (pond, or spaceship, for instance) out of graham crackers glued with royal icing and festooned with candy.

We bring along a gingerbread house that we have made the day before, and cover every surface with m&ms. This year we got fancy, added some licorice all-sorts.

Here's how it went down.

The Assembly

Matthew carefully measured the shapes. Well, pretty carefully.

While the icing set, we tired it round the middle with twine.
Full disclosure: the assembly of the gingerbread house after hours on Saturday was not the most harmonious moment in our marriage. However we were super extra peaceful and team-spirited in the decoration the next day, so all is forgiven.

Decorators At Work

Gramma and Aunty Lorraine kept a watchful eye.

The Works-In-Progress

This is the space station! Jessie's work. Natch.

The Finished Product:

What happened next
We ate it!! Well, a bit of the roof. It is HUGE so we will have to nibble a bit every day.
Massive thanks to cousins and bf's of cousins, for decorating and photographing! It was an awesome afternoon of Christmas crafting.

Photo courtesy of Bryerton.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Season. It Is Upon Us.

Welcome back, friends. It is the Saturday before Christmas, and Matthew and I have just come back from a wet and wild walk to Main Street. We had a lovely catch-up with Martina and Stu before Christmas at 49th Parallel, and ate a festively-themed "Snowball" doughnut and "Stollen" doughnut. There is some gingerbread cookie dough resting in the fridge, and a glass of red and some Stilton to my right. We are gearing up for a big evening of baking and assembly of the annual Gingerbread House (and car, because that's how Matthew rolls).

We are here for our fourth Christmas in Vancouver. We are lucky that Jessie is with us here this year (she was also with us the first year!). We are noticing patterns emerge in our activities leading up to Christmas, these patterns are our Christmas traditions. They still feel new, but we are getting better at them.

1. Decorating the tree. Matthew does this, bless his heart. He has the strength to move the furniture, and the patience and attention to detail to hang the ornaments at regular but artless intervals all over the tree. Also he is tall enough and his arms are long enough to wrap the lights around the tree.

2. Christmas craft markets. We actually went to two of these, one in East Van at the PNE Forum, and one on Main Street, in the Town Hall. They were a bit samesy, but nevertheless we found some beautiful gifts locally made. I even found some panforte, and got a cheerful earful from the stall-keeper about technique and ingredients.

3. Baking. Matthew and I have our gingerbread men down to a fine art now. I bake, he decorates. He stays clear while a bake, and I stay clear while he decorates. They turned out deliciously. We actually had a Christmas Party the day after we baked them (our first ever party!). There was so much delicious food, and we demolished 7 bottles of champagne. We fit more than 15 people into our 500-square-foot apartment! Roaring success, and so good to see friends before Christmas! And, because Vancouver is a small world, we discovered quite a few connections between friends!

***okay I took a 24 hour break from writing, because it got to 11:30 and we were still putting the gingerbread house together!***

4. Thirfting. I love to go to op shops around Christmas time. I think Matthew does too? He is a champion op-shopper, anyway. I love finding vintage gifts because they are unique and they have a history. And if I happen to find a handsome sweater or dress for myself at the same time, it's never too much of an indulgence. I do try mightily to avoid shopping at other times of the year.

Okay. There is lots to catch up on, and I am looking forward to returning to blogging on a more regular basis. It's one of my New Year's Resolutions!!