Today in the Cottage-Along I am playing architect and looking at house plans. The type of structure that you decide to build is really only limited by your imagination ... and perhaps a little experience.
If you want some inspiration take a look at Flickr, where you will find the most amazing, beautiful and dazzling array of photographs of gingerbread structures. See if you can locate the Seattle Space Needle inspired creation - its not necessarily festive, but really quite amazing!
In order to build a cottage you will need a template for the walls and roof. If you are making your first ever cottage, here are some options:
- purchase a gingerbread house kit with pre-made pieces (low stress and almost guaranteed success!)
- buy a gingerbread house cutter
- use a pre-designed or self-drafted template
When I first started making cottages, I copied a pattern from the Australian Women's Weekly on to cardboard and used this as my template. A manila folder or some firm cardstock works very well. Its not particularly durable though - the grease in the dough tends to leech into the cardboard. I ended up re-making the pattern each year.
Later I wised up and re-cut my template in plastic. I used an old-fashioned overhead transparency, but a piece of template plastic, available from sewing, quilting or craft stores would be ideal. This can simply be wiped down and re-used.
Last year I decided to simplify the process and bought a gingerbread house cutter (pictured above). There loads of these on the market. You could try a cake decorating store or look on the Internet. The one I purchased is a very simple cookie cutter style.
The cheapest option, however, is to draft your own pattern (try and test it in cardboard first) or look for a pattern on the Internet. This gives you the flexibility of creating a different cottage (or other creation) next year. If you consult Mr Google you will find dozens, if not a hundred, patterns that you can download for free.Cottage Living. Its a free PDF pattern, with a little chimney and a really sweet, slightly-scalloped roof. For something with a bit of pizazz, you could try Gingerbread House Heaven. There are two good basic patterns available. Both include instructions. If you feel more adventurous, they also have some PDF patterns - including a castle and a clock tower - for sale.
Are you cottaging-along? What kind of design are you going to make?
Next: humidity-proofing a gingerbread house (Monday 15 Dec.)
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