Before August 2014, I was just a woman with friends who obsessed and squeed over Doctor Who. I didn’t understand what it meant when someone said that David Tennant was their favorite Doctor. I had no idea that I could possibly be even more spooked by statues. And I only had a vague idea as to what a TARDIS was.
Once I finished watching the entire Star Trek: TNG series, I decided that all my geeky friends must be on to something and decided to try it. I was instantly hooked. I loved the wit with which each episode was written. I loved that Rose wasn’t just an along for the ride, do what you’re told, sort of girl. I loved the jovial snark that hid the deep anguish of Christopher Eccleston’s Time Lord. It’s probably a good thing that Mike wanted to watch with me, otherwise I would have binge-watched the whole series. (As opposed to finishing it in 2 months.)
Last year, I made gingerbread houses from scratch for the first time. I wanted to do that again this year, but change it to something more interesting, more challenging. A gingerbread Hobbit hole! Sensing inevitable scream-crying of epic proportions because of such a difficult undertaking, Mike suggested something “easier”: a gingerbread TARDIS. OF COURSE! How could I have not thought of a gingerbread TARDIS? And, as I’m wont to do, I spoke the words that always lead to my doom: How hard can it be?
When I began this blog, I promised I would share triumphs and failures alike. I’ll call this one a hybrid of the two. A failumph. The pieces baked, (my rectangles were 5×9″) well, though not as straight as I would have liked. The real challenge was getting the royal icing the exact shade of blue befitting a TARDIS. I had leftover royal blue gel food coloring from Zoe’s 1st birthday cookie monster cupcakes, so I just used that.
More accurately, I should say that I just used half a pot of the food coloring, plus some black. Safe for consumption, but not guaranteed to not turn your liver blue.
Some things I learned
I try really hard, and I know a few things about decorating, but I am by no means proficient at it. Each horrible-looking project is another chance for me to learn something new to forget about the next time I decorate. The first thing that I should have done differently is the size tip I used to outline each rectangle. It was way too big. Rectangles, that pretty much fit together before they were iced, didn’t fit together properly because the large lines of icing bumped against one another. It’s part of the reason why I was only able to put together two pieces of the TARDIS.
The second thing I learned is that, while royal icing is shelf-stable for several days, colors will change. In this case, the blue became much darker. It did, however, allow me to learn royal icing surgery. It finally occurred to my foggy-headed fibro brain, to simply add the white icing to the deeper blue icing in order to achieve the original TARDIS blue I had created. I would need to remove the dark blue cross pieces from the front panel. There may be a much better way to do this but, what worked for me was to simply use a food-grade brush to wet the portions of icing that I wanted to remove, and then use a serrated knife to chisel away the unwanted blue. Once the areas were level with the rest of the panel, I could go over the same areas with the correct color blue. Water was also an effective tool for spreading icing. It allowed me to move the icing, which was beginning to harden, to the places I wanted. I basically painted the crosspieces on with thick icing.
Remedy less murdery than the Sisters of Plenitude.
The third thing I learned may seem completely stupid, but I found a way to intersect lines without making them cross. Crossing any lines always leads to an unwanted bump-ups where they cross. Rather than crossing them, I soon learned that I should be making L shapes.
I learned that painting with icing and making hundreds of dots can be really therapeutic. I decided to make the inside of the TARDIS. It’s much more difficult on the inside. Using what I had on hand, I did my best to make the goldish-brown interior walls of 9 and 10’s TARDIS. (Mostly because that was going to be infinitely easier than attempting 11’s.) It was a little too yellow, so I painted over it with really watery brown icing. It gave the brown color the walls needed, without obscuring the gold underneath. Later I sprayed the insides with edible glitter. I feel a little bad that I didn’t outline the circles with hexagons, but I felt that would have been obsessive.
Edible markers are your best friends! Especially with a project that required fitting so many squares and rectangles on the pieces, it was a relief to have edible markers to mark where the ruler said lines should go. The outside panels weren’t perfect, but they’re a lot better than what they would have been, had I just been eyeballing it.
For funsies, I wanted to see if I could make the TARDIS controls with what I had on hand. It was supposed to be my gingerbread house, so why not use candy? The base was 4 gingersnap cookies iced together, with the two on top and bottom cut out into oval shapes. The center tower is made of mini gumdrops, a peppermint round, and M&Ms. It’s absolutely horrible….and I love it.
Sometimes you gotta laugh
It’s safe to say that my TARDIS did not turn out the way I had envisioned. I put a lot of work, care, and attention into this thing, and it came out mediocre, at best. (And no, I’m not fishing; I know what the final product looks like.) So, when pieces began falling off and breaking and the panels wouldn’t fit together, I couldn’t help but just throw my head back and giggle hysterically. I joked that it could just be the TARDIS that Vincent Van Gogh painted. Ultimately, I had a much better idea*.
*I’m aware it’s the wrong TARDIS for blowing up. Just…just…okay?