Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gingerbread Barn: Part IV

In this session, I'll be putting together the silo and putting shingles on the roof.

In this first photo, I've gathered together all of the materials for the silo. The Black Jack gum will be used to 'texture' the silo once it's been erected.

If you've ever tried to put eight long slabs, glued together lengthwise, like I did here, you'll discover that two hands is just not enough. The directions I followed suggested putting a cardboard tube (such as that used for wrapping paper) in the center and gluing the long strips to it. It would have been a lot easier that way, but I just couldn't bring myself to do so. To me, the essence of a gingerbread house is that everything used to construct it must be edible, and in my book, a cardboard tube inside the silo wouldn't count.

But that's not to say a cardboard tube couldn't be a useful tool--just so long as it's doesn't become part of project once it's completed. So I rigged together a device from a toilet paper roll. I taped parchment paper to the bottom of it (figuring icing wouldn't stick to it very well) and taped a candy cane coming out the other end. I built the silo around it, then once the walls were together, I could pull it out.

I think it's clever, but it wasn't as useful as I would have hoped. In the end, I wound up asking my mom for a couple of extra hands to help. She would run the icing along the side of a gingerbread strip and hand it to me while I held all of the pieces together until all eight pieces were in place and the structure was largely stabilized. It wasn't easy, but I finally got it together!

In the photo above, I used a couple of pieces of the Black Jack gum to run around on the inside of the silo to help it hold its shape correctly, then flipped it over and put it in the correct position on the side of the barn and did it again. The round piece of gingerbread will go on top, capping the silo.

After several hours for the icing on the silo to dry, it was time to texture the silo with the Black Jack gum.

I also had to battle for kitchen space after my mom decided to start her own little project--oatmeal cookies. I didn't complain, though. =)

I ran the gum through an assembly line of sorts. First I 'stripped' the gum of the wrappers and piled them up like 2 x 4s.

It generated a lot of wrappers! Seems kind of a waste, but what else could be done? *shrug*

Then I cut each stick of gum in half. This seems like a slightly seedy thing to do, as if I were cutting drugs rather than gum.

Here the silo texturing is nearly complete. It went relatively quickly and wasn't much trouble. The parts that touched the barn slowed me down a little since I often had to cut the gum into very specific shapes and sizes to get a full coverage, but even that wasn't much trouble.

And presto! The silo is done! (Well, I haven't put on the top of the silo, but for my purposes here, it's done.)

Next up: shingling the roof. I found some hexagonal-shaped crackers. I couldn't find the exact brand the book suggested, so I winged it with another brand. The only real downside to the switch was that the singles were much bigger than I would have preferred. Only six crackers across filled up the first row of shingles I installed. I would have preferred them being half the size I was dealing with. Oh, well. *shrug*

I've added a few more rows of shingles, working from the bottom of both sides of the barn upwards to the ridge line. In the photo above, I had to stop at this point until I made a run to the grocery store to buy more crackers. All of the ones left on the board were broken. Stupid crackers. I was also running low on icing and went ahead and made another batch during the break. (No pictures of that--it looks largely the same as the first batch I made, except I was able to use the electric mixer rather than the hand mixer this time around.)

And presto! The roof now has shingles!


Mama Cache said...

The barn is looking pretty amazing!

BTW, I didn't know they still made Black Jack gum! yummmmm

What to do with the wrappers? ;-)

Fluffy Cow said...

but where are the COWS?!?!?

Oh look, oatmeal cookies!

Ryan said...

I made one of those chains with Starburst wrappers until it was over 50 feet long. I'm over it. =)

-- Ryan

Stacy Christian said...

Looking fab! Silos are quickly disappearing from our landscape, so this is a great tribute.


Terrio on AQ said...

My silo looks just like yours...without a top! Man I wish I could make one for it out of Gingerbread! I bet it wouldn't hold up to the snow though....

Anonymous said...

Ryan - We are here making a Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses in Gingerbread and what we do to help hold the shape of large, hollow structures is make graham cracker stacks (cracker/icing/cracker/icing/cracker...) as thick as we need and then ice them inside the main structure to give it some strength. Works great. And in the case of your silo, and our lighthouse, no one can see inside to know ... and it is edible!

Your barn is looking great! Our house is smelling wonderful and I bet yours is, too!
Scout, Eagle Eye and Magnolia Bud

Anonymous said...

mmmmm, BlackJack Gum . . .

the Barn looks awesome GT!!


Anonymous said...

that silo must smell really good----I LOVE blackjack gum......