Friday, December 17, 2010

All The Right Ingredients

Whew!  This post was waiting for the completion of my gingerbread house.  A couple of notes. 
  • Frosting takes time to dry.  If you don't let it dry long enough, your gingerbread house will collapse. 
  • It is difficult to frost with one hand and take a picture with the other.
  • It is important to keep your gingerbread house away from cats who like beer and frosting.
  • It takes a lot longer than you think to create a gingerbread house!
That said, it is also important to have all the right ingredients.  My kit only came with 3 types of candy, the house pieces and the frosting.  Though I technically could have made a fine gingerbread house with just those ingredients, it would not have been enough.  At least not for me.  So, I supplemented.

Then, armed with frosting, candies, and waffle pretzels for the windows, the assembly began.  And not without hiccups.

There are lots of things they never tell you when you buy these kits.  And, of course, who really reads directions on how to assemble a gingerbread house.  It seems self-explanatory doesn't it?  Translation: Read the directions to save yourself time and heartache!

So, after a false start and a collapsed house, I learned the importance of having something hold it up while the frosting was drying.  Translation: When we are weak, we need something or someone to lean on.

If you don't give the frosting enough time to dry, eventually the whole thing will fall down.  Translation: If you don't give yourself enough time for yourself to heal and regroup, you'll fall to pieces.

I rebuilt the house and used both cans and cardboard "scaffolding" to hold it all in place and then I just left it alone for a while.  Translation:  Creativity and patience can help in the healing process.

I then began the decorating process.  The icing was more difficult to handle than expected.  According to the pictures on the kit the windows were supposed to be icing as well as the entire roof.  And it was supposed to have icing accents and even icing icicles.  Not having the time, the patience, or the manual dexterity to accomplish those things, I instead used different ingredients. 

This is where having all the right igredients comes into play.  Translation: You don't have to "look" like everyone tells you that you need to "look" like.  You can add your own twists and ideas.  Shortcuts are OK and so is improvising!

So, I iced, frosted, decorated, took a break, iced, frosted, and decorated some more and finally the house was done.  Translation: Building takes time, patience, and lots of built in rests.

So the house is done as well as the walkway, but it still feels incomplete to me.  I did an internet search on "gingerbread house landscaping" (yes, I really did!) and got the idea of a frosted Christmas Tree for the yard using an upside down icecream cone.  And on my own, I created a rather lopsided looking marshmallow snowman with pretzel arms and a hershey kiss hat.  Translation: You can always find more ideas.  You can keep going and going.  But sometimes it's important to know when to stop.

The house will be completed at some point today after I add the Christmas Tree and repair the roof.  Wait.  Repair the roof?  Yeah.  I found out my cat likes frosting and she liked off a patch on one side of the roof.  Translation:  Even after all your hard work and it looking great, if you don't protect it and keep it safe, it can get ruined.

How does this apply to photography? 

Well, a good photograph is often built.  You need to have the right subject, the right location, the right time of day to get the best lighting.  You also need time and patience to put it all together getting the angle, composition, and focus just right.  Another photograph may be your inspiration or starting point, but you need to add a piece of yourself, your own ingredients, to make it truly your own.  And, even with all those ingredients, you can spoil the shot if you didn't clean the lens or you accidentally delete it later on.  Once the shot is taken, you can "add on" to it in Photoshop or other editing software, but you need to know when to stop.

Have a sweet Holiday!!


  1. This just goes to show that there are life lessons in every activity. I love your step by step description of what you learned about building the gingerbread house and what you learned about life (and of course photography).

    I admire your persistance. I would have given it up to the cat early on!

    Hope you will post one more picture after the landscaping is finished!

  2. I love your blog... sorry it took so long to find my way here.

  3. Galen, it was definitely an exercise in patience and persistance! I would have let the cat win, but the kids tomorrow are counting on me! My annual Gingerbread House Party. Of course, they wouldn't know if I gave up because it's the first year I'm making my own. I will post a picture of Chaser's roof remodeling and the finished product tomorrow (I hope!). Annie, glad you found your way here and that you enjoyed it!!

  4. Came out beautiful in the end!

  5. Thanks, Carmen! And Chaser enjoyed licking the "snow" off the roof. She's such a strange cat!!