Shannon Berrey

Gingerbread Houses: Grove Park Inn 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012


The National Gingerbread House Competition is a holiday tradition at The Grove Park Inn and my family looks forward to it each year. We headed out to Asheville the day before Thanksgiving. In its 20th year, more than 180 sculptures were entered and scored by a panel of elite judges whose backgrounds range from world-renowned sugar craft arts and pastry chefs to cookbook authors, a cake baker for the stars and a curator for the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Judges look at consistency of theme, overall appearance, originality, creativity, difficulty and precision when deciding the winning gingerbread houses each year. The designs must also be made of at least 75 percent gingerbread, be completely edible and they can not exceed 2 ft tall by 2 ft wide. There are 3 winners in each category - Child, Youth, Teen, and Adult. The grand prize winner receives more than $7,500 in cash and prizes. For the first time this year, the inn also awarded $1,000 to the entry that traveled the farthest to compete.

 Loved this sweet gingerbread Thanksgiving meal in the child division.

Jerry's up to his old tricks and Tomcat's in for a bad deal, I'm afraid.

 The Muppets Christmas won 1st prize in the Teen category.  

And this was the 2nd place Teen winner--Polar Express. Amazing talented kids.  

I love the displays that you have to walk all the way around to see all of the great details.  



 I hope you can see the paned glass in the doors and windows. Made of sugar?

 Hope you're hungry kids, cause it's your favorite...miniature babies!! (??)

 Another youth entry--A House of Cards. I love all of the rose topiaries.

The 3rd place teen winner--Yellow Submarine. I thought this one was pretty fantastic and her stylized interpretation of John, Paul, George and Ringo is so fun.  


This pretty peacock was one of my favorites in the youth category

The Old Mill by Lydia Gentry of Hendersonville, was the 1st place winner in the childs division. This marked the 5th straight year of winning for Lydia! She came up with idea and pattern in September when she found a picture of an old mill. Her baking started in October. Once the gingerbread for the mill and its waterwheel were baked, Lydia glued the structure in place with a paste made from powdered sugar and egg whites. She painted frosting on small pieces of the chewing gum shingles before placing them on the roof and scoured stores for the chocolate candy rocks she wanted to place around the base of the mill. She covered ice cream cones with green frosting to make her trees and mixed red food coloring with water to create the perfect shade of red frosting for the siding on her mill. Lydia says that this is her last year competing as she will be in high school next year and won't have the 4-5 hours a day to dedicate to house building. {smart girl :) }  


A sweet traditional gingerbread house in the child category.  




I read the name of this one and was like 'umm...misprint?' I had no idea what 'Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores' meant, but my kids explained that they are lyrics from a Dr. Suess Christmas song. Apparently, in the story, they stand around the tree and sing these lyrics. Obviously it's been awhile since I have read any Dr. Suess.






Look at the cute ribbon-tied burlap wrapped bases of the trees at the Recycle Ranch. Complete with the recycle bins and instructions on reusing your Christmas decor.  



Each door of this house hid a present for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  

A peak inside a little brick bistro in Paris.

Can you imagine the number of hours the 12 days of Christmas house took??

And a view of all of the leaping lords.

I always love the nativity scenes and the sweet expressions on the animals faces.


Holiday Hoedown had something to offer at every angle.



I would love to watch them make the ball mason glasses, wouldn't you??

And check out the detail of the little crochet 'linen' on top of the chest.


Amazing detail.

This was my favorite! A partridge in a pear tree that truly looked like it was carved out of wood. Every leaf was so detailed and placed perfectly. And look inside the flowers at the delicate little stamens. The copper bowl looks like, well...copper. Check out the round wood base--it's not wood, just painted to look like wood. I hate that I failed to get the artists name in my picture. I would love to see her portfolio!    

And this was the Grand Prize winner, Ann Bailey of Cary NC, featuring The Three Wisemen. This beauty is behind glass and rotates so that you can appreciate all of its amazingness. There is so much to take in--the draping of the robes, the sheen of the leather pouches, the turquoise accents on the boots and in their headdress, all of the layers of necessities on the camels back..

and then there is the back--the amazing grain and color of the wood door, the textures in the stone wall and the hand forged iron hardware. What amazing talent! I certainly agree that this was the most impressive creation.

If you want to visit the Grove Park to see the houses but don't plan on staying overnight at the Inn, plan on viewing Monday-Thursday {Friday-Sunday are reserved for guests} now until Jan. 2. If you can't make it, then look for the top winners on 'Good Morning America' the week of Christmas.







If you want to look at last years beautiful houses, view my post here.  


The best of my 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Deep breath....

I can't thank everyone enough for your sweet comments and emails. This week has been hard. Many of us have suffered loss. Thank-you for allowing me to share mine with you and thank-you for sharing your hurts with me. 


Everyones doing I am jumping on the recap blogwagon. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we...  

In January, I showed you how I turned a dated apartment complex into an updated townhome with the tiniest of budgets and some house staging:

February, I gave you a tour of a clients mountain home that I was lucky enough to be involved with from the ground up : 

And, if you want to see some more, here is the post of the kitchen:

In March, I gave you a sneak peek into my own guest bathroom that I was finally redecorating. I was inspired by {out-of-my-price-range} Schumacher wallpaper:

In April, I brought you along on a day in my life: {well...sort of...}

In May, We took of a tour of a Paint-by-Numbers room I finished. I must say, I sort of love this room!

June brought us the completion of a fresh renovated kitchen in a clients mid-century modern home:

In July, I thought I might need to hospitalized due to this:

But, I got it together in time to take you into the clubhouse I completed at Bear Lake Reserve: 

In August, I shared pictures of the Medwest Gala, "Here's to Hollywood" at Harrah's Casino. Every year our fundraiser has a new theme:

I also invited you in to my completed Sharpie-drawn-wallpaper bathroom that was finally finished!

August was busy...I can't leave out my visit to the Cashiers Showhouse:

I was lucky enough to find myself vacationing in California in September. We hit up a lot of the beautiful coast and stayed in various places. Here you can see our visit to the chic Hotel Monaco.

In October, I got busy decorating for fall with some funkins:

As well as party rocking some Halloween costumes:















November brought me to one of my favorite events--The Gingerbread Houses at the Grove Park Inn!

And a reveal of a clients newly renovated Guest room:

In December, I shared a way to jazz up your art work with ribbons:


Dang, that took a long time to put together--but, you're worth it *silly rainbow smiles*.

Woa!!! What a year! It's kind of fun to look back and remind myself of 2011's accomplishments. I look forward to all that 2012 has in store for all of us and I also look forward to having you here with me. Your encouragement means the world to me. You're the best.

Gingerbread Houses at the Grove Park Inn

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Every year, one of our family holiday traditions is to head to Asheville's historic Grove Park Inn to see the Gingerbread Houses. We are sort of crazy fans of this competition. I look forward to it for months and when I see it advertised in the news, I get busy planning our visit. When arriving at this National Event, one can not show up in just any old plain vehicle, so we got busy on doing a little decorating of our own. My tip is to start from the wheel up. 


It takes time, but it's totally worth it.

We parked that baby and headed inside.

{Graham, Jack's friend went with us. They got a little hungry on the trip and took a small bite out of the side mirror.} 


The Grove Park Inn opened in 1913 and has a wonderful thick rich history behind it. If ever given the opportunity, you should plan a visit. It has had some pretty impressive guests.



{Don't let these cute smiles fool you, Jack took the opportunity to touch his sister which is infuriating her and she is vowing, under her breath, to pop him as soon as I click the button. Even as teenagers folks. geez.}

This is the 19th year of the contest and it has gotten bigger, attracting entries from all over the US, each year. It has been featured on HGTV, Good Morning America {this year on Dec. 23rd}, the Travel Channel, and The Food Network. It's big, peeps.

But don't let the name of the competition confuse you. Yes, there are lots of gingerbread houses, but, there are lots of other gingerbread creations as well. But, every single bit of it must be edible and no entry can exceed 2' in any direction.

There are several categories: child, youth, teen, and adult

Cinderellas Carriage

The Smurfs Toyroom was really sweet. All of the little blue guys working around their mushroom table.

All of these entries had to arrive a week ago. So, some have held up great, but some suffered problems in transit or in just the sheer amount of time they have to sit and support their own weight.   


Musical Melodies, in the childs group, showcased a smarties covered piano {with a little crash of the base of the piano} sitting on a lovely patterned gumdrop rug. I see 'textile designer' in this girls future. 

Apparently this wiseguy opened his wise mouth and had his  head knocked off  bell rung.


At first look I was all 'oh, this is different'..the graffiti, the old truck...But then when I was going through my pictures, I was like 'what happened behind the truck?'. I zoomed in.

What the???! The truck has apparently run over this poor girl and she has somehow already gotten the right arm cast as well as the left hand. So, did the truck take her down in some sort of sick 'hit and run' as she reached for that little flower or did a tree fall on her?? Was she born with that chest or is it a horrible result of the accident?? { If you are the creator of this one, I need  more info}

moving on.

Let's take a look at some really pretty houses. 


 Look at the cutie pants making snow angels!




And then some of the 'not so typical' entries:

Christmas Quilts


I loved all the detail on this Teepee. Jack informed me that the top was made out of Slim Jims. cool. And check out those horses!!

Sponge Bob. {some random information: I really dislike this cartoon and my kids were never allowed to watch it} 

There were all kinds of pretty birds

As well as some Angry Birds.

I could totally see the Gingerbread family and their gingerbread dachshund cruising down I-40, singing along to 'Come on Get Happy' on the 8 track, in this happ'nen cruiser.

Clean dogs.

Snoopy's Christmas

This was one of our very favorite. An enormous carousel horse. We were sad that it didn't have a ribbon attached to it.

Another fave - an opened Bible with tiny people and pieces of the story of Christ's birth.   


Santa riding the camels through the sand pyramids. This one may have been created after a couple glasses of strong stuff.

I loved the idea of this--sweet cuddling of a mom, dad, newborn and toddler on the sofa.


If only everyone was fortunate enough to be 'Home for Christmas.' 

And the Grand Prize winner of all winners:

The old woman who lives in a shoe!!

But collectively, we had a little bit of a different vote on the entry that we felt conveyed the true meaning of Christmas.  

A Wal-Mart Christmas.

Which {obviously} includes a rooftop security camera, ginormous money-asking-Santa-Greeter and tiny amputee children playing in a parking lot of miniature cars. Heck to the yeah.

Go see it.

Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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