Yesterday I put together our Ninjabread House. Yes…Ninja…Bread. As those who know me know, I’m a bit quirky and I love a spin on just about anything if it makes me giggle. A few years ago I purchased Ninja cookie cutters from Think Geek to make this lovely type of creation each year. I imagined it being more fun to decorate and plan a house around a ninja family. And low and behold, it was!
I’ve been more sore these last few weeks and I’ve been waking up with some numbness in my hands. I am certain I can attribute it to all of the extra activities we’ve been doing this month (moving, making treats, decorating, wrapping presents, etc.) but I was worried about my ability to decorate our Ninjabread House and still make it look nice. I mention all of this to encourage you to not stop doing the things you love to do around the holiday season. It is important for people with a chronic illness to prioritize their activities and make sure that you don’t overdo anything. Also, there are usually ways to tweak your favorite activities so they’ll be more comfortable and enjoyable for you. I’ll give you a few examples as we build this house.
The first thing you will need to build a Ninjabread House is a house and some ninjas. I found a kit at a local craft store after Christmas last year with a pre-assembled house. It came without the door and window frosted (I forgot to take a picture before I drew those on) and on it’s own little cardboard platform. Buying the house pre-built took away several steps of frosting and holding until the structure was secure and thus, saved some wear on my hands for this project.
Chris suggested I place the platform & house on top of our white cutting mat so I could build a larger yard. These are the times I know he’s a keeper. 😉
Also, The previous Saturday I baked holiday treats to make trays for family and friends. One of the things I made were these ninjabread men. I saved 4-5 for myself since I knew I was going to be building this masterpiece.
The larger bag in this picture with the white icing was included in the kit. The other icing bag is mine and filled with black icing and a small tip for decorating. While decorating I found the white icing to be very tough for my weakened hands to push out of the bag and frost with any kind of control. Again, in his brilliance, Chris recommended I microwave the bag to soften the icing. It worked like a charm! Just remember to microwave the icing for 10 seconds or less at a time. It heats up very quickly. You’ll see in later pictures where the icing was a bit too soft to achieve very straight lines.
I knew I would also need black icing for the ninja’s and some additional candies as well. The gumdrops, round red & white striped balls, little tiny green & red balls as well as the green & red peppermints came with the kit. I had the ribbon candy, red hots and sprinkles in my pantry already. I knew I wanted to incorporate black licorice somehow and I also thought that Junior Mints could function well for something on a ninjabread house.
I wondered what kind of shenanigans ninja kids might get into at home that would be different than non-ninja children. I finally decided that they probably go through a lot of windows while the entire family practices their kicking skills. So, I made sure that their front and back windows looked broken. I don’t claim to be an artist of any kind so you might have to stretch your imagination with me but that is what the dark black jaded portions of window are supposed to be.
I decided to outline major junctions of the house with the black licorice. I love how the roof line turned out with my icing squiggly under it.
I thought about making an elaborate yard complete with a ribbon candy fence (also Chris’ idea) but to be honest I was selfish. I want all of the ribbon candy to myself. I think it’s my favorite holiday candy. So, instead I put a squiggly frame around the cardboard base of the house and made pretend (as I often do in my own mind) that the cutting board was just a lawn covered in snow.
Since I had the Junior Mints I decided to use them to make a cobblestone walkway to the front door. I figured a ninja family would like something nice leading them home after a hard day’s work of kicking butt and taking names.
To add more detail I added a peppermint candy to the front and back roofline peak and red hot candies around the base of the house. I didn’t intend to make the house white, black and red primarily but this is where the color design started to take shape.
This is the picture I mentioned a few paragraphs above. My icing was too soft for me to draw straight lines on the roofline. I didn’t want to re-do it so I just left it as “personal flair”. Haha. I love gingerbread houses that have a cushion effect on the roof and that was what I tried to recreate here.
After the lines were drawn on I used my black icing to place a small dot in each diamond-shaped void and placed red small candy on each one. I really like the roof and I think it adds something special to the entire house. Ninjas like to decorate for Christmas too!
I started thinking that I needed a tree or lawn decoration for the front yard so I decided to make some lawn art with the candy cane balls that came with the kit. I like the way they turned out. Next year, however, I think I’ll try to come up with a better idea for a tree or something similar for the front yard.
I decided to pose my ninja family as if they were taking a Christmas card picture in front of their house. (I also obviously understand that they’re not exactly to scale.) To help prop the ninja kids up in the front yard I used a chunk of my beloved ribbon candy as a stand behind their bodies. I sunk both the ribbon candy and ninja kid into a glob of white icing to help hold them both in place. This might be my most genius moment of this entire project….pat … pat… Excuse me while I pat myself on the back a bit more.
I ended up painting more clothes on Mrs. Ninjabread in an attempt to make her look more like a lady. Although, to help continue concealing her identity I had to leave her mask on. I used the house as a base to prop Mr. & Mrs. Ninja upright.
I hope you enjoyed my 2014 version of a Ninjabread House. I had a lot of fun with this project. I truly believe a few simple “cheats” make a project like this so much more enjoyable when you’re hands or body is hurting. The only part I had trouble with was placing the little red balls on the roof. Those little suckers are tiny and hard to hold on to. Microwaving the icing and using larger candies helped relieve my hands of additional stress.
Let me know if you try one of your own! I’d love to see your creative versions!
- I’m going to finish this post and head to the gym. I love getting back into a routine with working out. It helps my mind and body feel so much better each day.
- My office in the new house truly has the best view. I keep waking up excited to work, blog and read in there because I’m loving the space so much!
- I changed my nail polish last night to OPI’s Crimson Carol. This is my absolute favorite color for the Christmas season!
- I’m going to submit this post to the online Pretty Preppy Party Blog share. It’s worth checking out! There are some amazingly gorgeous designs from fabulous women.
- Be sure to check out some of the contributors for this month’s Pretty Preppy Party collaboration.