Sunday, November 11, 2007

Biscotti Weekend Project

Each year for the last 4 I have spent a weekend in early December in New Jersey visiting my nephew D, and his moms. While I entertain the little guy, and my sister is holed up in meetings at work, his Mom is freed up to make biscotti which is then sent out to a variety of friends and family.

The first year I brought tools and gathered supplies at the local big orange store to build storage shelves in their downstairs bathroom as my Christmas present to the adults in the house. Although D was interested in the work I was doing at 2 his biggest concerns were getting away from the noise of the power tools, and that the bathroom door get fixed. I can still hear him saying "fis it, fis it".

In the intervening years I have taken supplies for a project for D and I to work on, although I cannot remember what we did when he was 3. The year he was 4 we put together a serving tray I had made after he painted the bottom of the tray. Last year we filled the center of picture frames with mosaic tiles to create coasters. D pronounced that "the best project ever". We talked a little that weekend about what project we should do this year.

Biscotti weekend is fast approaching. It's less than 3 weeks away. After checking in with D who suggested that we make houses for decoration, or something less clearly defined with tongue depressors and sandpaper, I put on my thinking cap. Finally Wednesday of last week the perfect solution popped into my head.

When I think of Christmas and houses I think of gingerbread. When my little brother was about 3 my mother made a gingerbread house. It was decorated with candy and confectioners sugar frosting. My brother announced that it was "Santa's house". My mother made a gingerbread house each Christmas until he was 10 or so, because we couldn't have Christmas without Santa's house. So, I decided that D and I would make "gingerbread" houses.

We won't be making them out of gingerbread though. Our gingerbread will be wood. I spent Wednesday night working on the design. The basic design is based on a gingerbread house cutter set I bought a few years ago (or as the box says a "Lebkuchenhaus Backset"). I've never actually used the cutters on gingerbread, but they worked really well as the basis for my design. I've changed the windows and added a ridgebeam, but the basic shape and size are those of the cutters.

Here's the house design:
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The other side:
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The gable end you can't see will have the round window but not the rectangular one. I'll make a plywood base with a cut out to set the house into. My goal is to make the house easily stored. The roof will be glued together, but the other pieces will simply fit together puzzle like.

WoodThursday night at class I milled the wood for these parts, including the miters on the roof pieces and the top of the side walls. I chose walnut since it is close to the color of gingerbread. While I waited for my tires to be replaced on Friday I worked on marking out the joinery.

Yesterday I cut the gable ends, and today I made progress on the roof and sides. Tomorrow I'll work on finishing the sides (door and windows) and the roof (bevel on the cut out). Once that's done it's on to the decorations - candy canes, peppermints, trees, maybe a reindeer... The possibilities are endless limited only by time.

1 comment:

BreadBox said...

Came here via Sister AE's site today: to say happy new year, and congrats on the great looking pizza --- and wandered around and saw the gingerbread house and had to ask: why not make it out of gingerbread with your nephew? LOML and I made our first ever one this year, and it was lots of fun: our children are 5 and 3, so I suspect it is going to be a part of our tradition for years to come, just like it was for you:-)

Nice to read your site, and happy new year,