Another requirement was that the house had to be edible. I don't know who in our house came up with the idea of making it for all the birds Mom feeds in the front yard, but that is what we decided to do early on. I didn't feel any pressure to make it pretty because it was for the birds. I am happy with how it came out. It isn't beautiful, but I know the birds will love it! I can't wait to check out all of the other gingerbread houses! I used a stencil I made based on one I found online. I used the recipe from Good Housekeeping. The instructions said to roll the dough out to about 3/8 of an inch thick. It suggested you use wooden dowels to ensure uniform thickness and the right thickness. I was going to go to the store to buy the dowels when my Mom suggested I use hangers. She measured them and sure enough, 3/8". The hangers really helped keep the dough even and the right thickness. I'm sure my house would have never stayed together if we hadn't used a guide. We had left over dough and used it to make gingerbread treats! They were quite tasty!
Final assembly did turn out to be a bit trickier for us because I did not check or trim my pieces when they came out of the oven. Then after melting the sugar, I burned my finger when I dropped the brush with the hot, hot sugar on it. (It even blistered! :( ) Mom helped out by finishing up the assembly - okay, I didn't have any of it together when I managed to burn myself! In the end, it was all worth it.