I was going to save this extra special ornament for later on in the CAL… but I just can’t!
My family started the tradition of yearly gingerbread house builds when I was in primary school. My father was in the Army and was often gone for holidays. One Christmas, however, as luck would have it he was home. We wanted to celebrate with a special family activity. My little sister and I had always wanted to build a gingerbread house and as my mathematical, calculated father was home to help, we convinced him to give it a go.
Allow me to tell you a little about my father. He doesn’t do anything on a small scale. Ever. He is always pushing the limit, inspired by new challenges, and king of the mountain. Always.
So when we begged to build a gingerbread house, he got out pencil and paper (we did this every year) and sketched an architectural design, complete with measurements and ruler-drawn lines. To take it a step farther, he decided to incorporate gingerbread house windows. Stained glass windows. Jolly Rancher stained glass windows. “Wait, let’s make a gingerbread church. Yeah, yeah with a long, A-frame roof. And we’ll pipe some fancy royal icing on the roof. Then the tall stained glass windows will peep out from the sides. And a church needs a steeple. And a fancy icing-piped door. And let’s smash up the jolly ranchers into little pieces then melt them into the window cutouts in the dough (yes we made gingerbread dough from scratch) so that they blend together to look like real stained glass with lots of colors.”
And this went on.
The next year we build a gingerbread train with a smokestack, a train car full of reindeer, and a sleigh caboose full of presents. The year after was a massive gingerbread castle with turrets and a moat.
All of that is to say, gingerbread houses and my dad’s persona are two peas in a pod. Christmas isn’t Christmas without gingerbread. Thanks, Dad, for creating a special Christmas memory just by bringing your you-ness.
THE TRADITION: Build a gingerbread house! This is one of my most cherished holiday traditions, and HAD to be on the list for this CAL. Plus doesn’t it make a stinking cute ornament?
You can get as elaborate with this as you want (and channel my Dad’s gingerbread enthusiasm) or keep it simple and make a tiny gingerbread house out of canned frosting and graham crackers. Or get a gingerbread house kit from the craft store, only assembly and decorating required. I know I’ll be spending a whole day on this tradition, because for us it is one of the most special events of the season!
–Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton yarn in cafe au lait, white, small amounts of grass, red, sky, pink and yellow
-Size E 3.5mm crochet hook
* make 2
With cafe au lait, Ch 19, Sc in 2nd Ch from hook and across, Ch 1, turn (18)
Rows 2-15: Sc in each st across, Ch 1, turn (18)
Row 16: Sc decrease, Sc in next 14 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (16)
Row 17: Sc decrease, Sc in next 12 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (14)
Row 18: Sc decrease, Sc in next 10 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (12)
Row 19: Sc decrease, Sc in next 8 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (10)
Row 20: Sc decrease, Sc in next 6 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (8)
Row 21: Sc decrease, Sc in next 4 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (6)
Row 22: Sc decrease, Sc in next 2 sts, Sc decrease, Ch 1, turn (4)
Row 23: Sc decrease twice, Ch 1, turn
Row 24: Sc decrease
*finish off, weave ends on one house piece. Leave the other attached to the skein until you finish the embellishments below
*on both house pieces
-surface slip stitch in a chevron design along rows 14 -16
Begin with a slip knot in white
Insert your hook on the first st of Row 14
Pull through the slip knot
Insert your hook into the next stitch on Row 15
Pull up a loop
Make your next slip stitch on the next st in Row 16
Work 2 sl sts moving upward, then two downward, moving over 1 stitch in the row each time (you should never had vertical or horizontal stitches here, always diagonally over a stitch)
Complete stitching on both pieces, finish off, weave ends
With white, Ch 30, 4 Sc in 3rd Ch from hook, skip 2, sl st into next 2 sts, skip 2, 4 Sc in next, skip 2, sl st in next 5 sts, skip 2, 4 Sc in next, skip 2, sl st in next 2, skip 2, 4 Sc in next, skip 2, sl st in last, finish off leaving a long tail for sewing
Sew along “roof line”
With white, make a magic ring, Ch 2, 8 Dc inside ring, sl st to join, finish off leaving a long tail for sewing (8)
-cut a piece of red yarn and sew on swirls. Come up through the center of the magic ring and stitch down into both loops of each Dc stitch