My friend Jessica invite me to be a “celebrity” participant in her sorority’s 16th annual Cookies and Castles charity event benefiting Cook Children’s Medical Center. Since 2001, the Gingerbread Extravaganza, has become a holiday tradition cherished by many in Fort Worth. Be sure to visit their website for more information or to purchase tickets to the event which kicks off this Thursday, December 1 with events for all ages — children, tweens and a ladies luncheon.
I love a challenge, and of course the first place I went for inspiration was Pinterest. Representing Home with a Twist, I wanted something special that told a story and represented me. As soon as I saw this idea I went to work on my plan!
Sugar and Cloth posted this retro gingerbread camper on Pinterest last Christmas. I grew up going camping in my parent’s motor home and I thought this would be the perfect way to pay tribute to my childhood, but with a modern twist.
I took my calling card shopping with me to find just the right fondant colors to complement my blog’s color scheme. I settled on red, teal and white for the camper and pulled in the Kelly Green for the trees.
This post is less about how to construct it because Sugar and Cloth gives you a template including the recipe for making the gingerbread. But, I will hit the highlights in case you think you want to make this project.
- This took 45 hours to construct.
- I could not have done this without help. While it was fun, it was intense. Mainly because we didn’t know what we were doing and had to wing it.
- Help was Mr. Bee, Miss Bee, my bestie, her husband and teenage son (who is like a son to me; I can boss him and he either tunes me out or doesn’t mind). He was our engineer on the project and helped to reinforce the structure inside the camper so it didn’t collapse. Bestie was the maker and baker of the gingerbread. The husbands chimed in every once in while with tips or suggestions.
- There was a lot of strategy that went into this. We had to think through each step, the “what ifs” and develop a timeline of what needed to bake when, what was next and we had to allow time for the royal icing “glue” to set up. It was like mission control at NASA.
- We started on Friday afternoon and finished about 9 p.m. Saturday night.
- I took about 3 days to shop for candy and think of what I needed to make each of the parts.
- I kept having to say a famous phrase coined by my friend Terry…”we aren’t saving lives here people, we are just crafting.”
- No glue was used. Everything was assembled using royal icing (which is made of powdered sugar, meringue powder and water).
I used belt candy to resemble a Saltillo tile front porch — cutting out each section, arranging a patter, and adhering it to a piece of cardboard with royal icing. I bordered the sides with red and green dot candy.
I put Garrett in charge of creating the campfire. He used scraps from the gingerbread, crushed ribbon candy and red belt candy.
I made the lounge chairs from scraps of gingerbread, belt candy and bestie cut pieces of candy canes for the base and lumbar pillows. I also put bestie in charge of (yes, I did do things, but mostly I was the project manager and bossed people around) making the little packages around trees and by the campfire.
We took pieces of ribbon candy and German candy called “hamburger” I found at World Market and bestie tied red and green twine around them to create the look of wrapped presents. She then glued sugar cookie decoration on top like a gift tag.
Miss Bee made the Rice Krispie treats and shaped them into trees, a wreath and the shrubbery. She also designed the Christmas trees which are sugar cones with tinted royal icing.
I thought she did an amazing job adding the sprinkle accents of white and red to all the trees. She free handed the wreath by the front door and adding sweet little white pearls.
The wheels are discs of gingerbread with a Necco wafer and sugar cookie sprinkle.
The best part is that the windows of the camper are melted butterscotch candies for a stained glass effect. Garrett placed battery operated lights inside so when the windows glow as if someone is inside the camper! It was bestie’s idea to use a battery operated ornament necklace for the lights hanging around the camper. Shredded coconut surrounds the scene. It’s all just so sweet (literally) and life-like.
We all agreed our favorite part of the scene is the snowman that Miss Bee created. She used white chocolate malt balls and stacked them using royal icing. Red gum drops cut in half were fashioned as the ear muffs, and an orange sliver of a gum drop his nose. A black edible pen finished off his buttons, eyes and smile. We wrapped red twine around his neck for the scarf. Raspberry candies circle him as the base for stability with his tiny gingerbread sidekick. Isn’t he adorable?
I’ve already started thinking about next year’s creation — I just hope bestie let’s me come back next Thanksgiving!