Two years ago, I first attended a gingerbread-house-making night hosted by our church. I enjoyed the creativity of decorating the house, but I felt constricted by the lollies available and thought I could create something really special with a bit of fore-thought.

It’s that time of year again, and tonight I took Serena who is planning to host her own gingerbread-house-making activity as a social event at her children’s school. We were going along to learn the secrets of making the perfect icing, where to buy cake boards in bulk, and also to have a bit of fun.

Serena + Lauren, November 2008
Serena came along to learn how others organise their own gingerbread-house-making activity. We were supplied with six pieces of gingerbread to make the house, but large flat pieces were available as bases. I took the pieces I was given and used them, along with a base, to cut the gingerbread in a more complex fashion for my house.

Lauren, November 2008
We piped icing to hold the gingerbread pieces together, and then I started decorating the house with biscuits and lollies.

Before I went, I spent a little bit of time looking at designs online and thought I would try to make my house a bit classier, like this. I did not really come close, but I had enough information to work from so I could change the actual structure of the house.

Gingerbread houses, November 2008
I think the house looked more sophisticated before I started adding the lollies.

I brought along my own lollies and biscuits with which to decorate my house, and that was fantastic, but I still don’t think I got the colour combination right. My main problem was that I finished my house, then I looked around and saw everyone else’s house were covered with lollies — so I started adding more and more to my own house… and it ended up more garish than I first intended.

Gingerbread houses, November 2008
With 160 houses decorated tonight, there was a fantastic array of styles and designs.

Gingerbread houses, November 2008
I was amazed at the depth of genuine creativity from all the participants. Everyone had the same materials and yet used them so differently.

Gingerbread houses, November 2008

Gingerbread houses, November 2008
The final product — not quite what I had in mind, but I love the t-shaped structure.

Gingerbread houses, November 2008
The colours just don't work together… sigh.

Maybe next year I’ll do better…