Last weekend, my fiancé and I had a mini Engagement shoot at our house! Now, we don't actually live in the house; we purchased it 2.5 years ago as a joint investment, and spent 3 full months renovating the main floor and the upstairs (this house was seriously outdated). Most of the renovations were cosmetic updates, but it was still SO MUCH WORK. We now rent the house out (everything except for the separate basement suite), and our tenant just so happens to be a professional photographer and uses the main living space in the house as a home-based studio! This house has been such a major project for the both of us, it just made total sense to have our engagement shoot in the place we've put so much love (sweat, tears, and blood) into. And ever since our tenants moved in, we've been gutting and completely refiguring the basement, so we still spend almost every weekend at the house working! We even had a super fun little shoot in the in-progress basement!
For Christmas 2018, a family friend participated in the Homes for the Holidays event with Kids' Help Phone, and commissioned me to create a gingerbread replica of her house! Several houses participated in the event, and each was elaborately decorated throughout. Tours of each home were held with ticket sales going to Kids' Help Phone, with one house ultimately being picked as the "winner" and subsequently featured in the Christmas 2019 issue of Western Living Magazine! Well, the house I replicated in gingerbread was declared the winner, so my creation was also featured in the magazine! Check out the photos from the article below!
This gingerbread house took SO LONG to create. Most of the time that went into it was creating a blueprint and accurate paper template, and once I was satisfied with my paper version, I cut out each piece in gingerbread! After I had all the pieces baked, it was only a matter of decorating each piece, and then slowly but surely "glueing" the whole thing together with royal icing! I left an opening were the actual basement entrance would be, to allow for mini lights to go inside the house and illuminate the jolly rancher stained glass!
Where and when was it filmed?
Filming was all completed at the end of February 2019 in Southern California, so I had to hold this secret in for over 8 months before we were allowed to tell people about it!! It was such a hard secret to keep from family and friends!
Did you know who you were competing against beforehand?
Nope! But it was an awesome surprise when I found out I was competing against Pete from @petey_cake -- we already knew each other over Instagram! Stephen, Lourdes, and Sarahkay were also all such lovely and talented people, and our group has kept in touch ever since.
Do they give you details on the challenges beforehand? Are you allowed to bring your recipes with you or do you have to memorize them all? Do you get to familiarize yourself with the Workshop before the challenges so you know where everything is?
These are by the far the most common questions that get asked. Bottom line: this is a TV show, and the producers of the show do not want the bakers to be caught totally unprepared on camera. If you’re hesitant to apply just because you don’t know what information you get in advance if any, don’t be! Just apply! It’s meant to be a fun experience - and it REALLY IS!!
How stressful was it? Was it harder than you expected? Do you really have the time limits they give per challenge?
It was CRAZY stressful. If you think it's rigged or scripted for TV, you are sorely mistaken. The challenges and the time limits were extremely REAL. The time limit is barely enough time as it is, let alone being surrounded by crew and cameras. Nobody can produce their best work during this time, and given the stressful circumstances, you’re even more prone to making mistakes you wouldn’t normally make!
Was Eddie as friendly as he seems?
Yes! He was so friendly and smiley for the whole time we were in his presence!
Did you get to take pictures on set or with the judges? How much interaction did you have with the judges?
Nope! What you see on TV is about it!
Did you like how they edited the show? How much wasn’t aired?
I really enjoyed the episode! There was so much stuff I wish could have been included, but in the end, it’s only a 45 minute show! Both challenges were 2 hours long, and we all had individual interviews on camera, so there must have been dozens of hours of cut footage.
Would you do it again?
At the time, I would have said noooo way - it was stressful and I was exhausted by the end of it; but now, looking back, I would TOTALLY do it again! It was 100% the most fun and exciting experience of my life.