This is because I've been pulling twelve hour days at school (plus the whole hour and a half commute there and back) for the past month. On a Saturday, once, even.
That was because I signed up to be on the school's gingerbread competition team. Every year, the Hyatt Regency downtown has a Gingerbread Lane event, a competition with three categories (professional, amateur, and secondary school), a ton of awesomely decorated houses (and not-quite-so-housey houses), and a donation drive fund thing for Make A Wish. VCC has been sending in entries for a few years, now, and had actually won first place in the professional category three years running. There was a biiiiit of pressure on our shoulders.
So, a team of 24 baking students, one instructor, and one fuzzy deer statue (oh deer) worked in two four-hour shifts outside of class hours daily for three weeks. What did we come up with?
Welcome to the Gingerbell Bakery!
The piece is 3' by 4', and juuuust under the height maximum allowed at 47" tall. Everything in there is edible (except for the string lights on the tree) and was made in-house. My particular projects were the floor tiling, the gingerbread tables and the arrangement of goodies on them, the wee little gingerbread cutters on one of the tables, and the spice cabinet/bookshelf and the jars accompanying it. I also wrote a whimsical little story about the entry that's posted up on display beside it - some of which is paraphrased on the photos linked up above.
The cabinet assembly alone took me almost a week and a half, and it had to undergo emergency repairs on the last session before transporting it to the hotel because it both started leaning forwards precariously and got a huge crack across the bottom board from stress fractures. I'll be having nightmares about that damn thing for months.
...But, all things said and done, it was kind of worth it. Even the waking up at 5:30am part and the Christmas carols every morning in November part.
We did, after all, win first again. :3