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People who live in gingerbread houses, shouldn’t throw stones

By Paul Viau | Feb 03, 2016
Photo by: Paul Viau SHOWING OFF 'BIRDIE VILLAGE' — Maggie Valley residents, Carolyn and Jack Lima, are displaying their 2015 entry to the National Gingerbread House Competition at their favorite birding store, downtown Waynesville's, Pleasant Places.

My wife and I have spent the past, few, long winter nights watching the new Nextflix sensation, “Making a Murderer.” It’s heavy-duty drama, so from time to time, we lighten it up and leave scenic Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, to view HGTV.

This channel serves up a never-ending series of remodeling and home-makeover  programs like, “Flip or Flop,” “Love it, or List it” and “Property Brothers.”

These programs really showcase the incredible amount of time, labor, patience — and ‘moolah’ — that goes in into remodeling.

Despite all the potential budget-busting problems and pratfalls, we are seriously considering a couple small remodeling projects. But we are constantly reminded how demanding even the smallest of building projects can be.

Today I’d like to illustrate this point by featuring the ‘small project’ undertaken by Maggie Valley residents Carolyn and Jack Lima.

The Limas, like so many people residing near the Great Smoky Mountains, are transplants from Florida, where Carolyn worked as a case manager for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

For her own mental health, Carolyn designed and baked wedding cakes on the side.

“Cakes are my passion,” states Lima, who has made baking her avocation for the past 20 years.

In the years when the Limas visited Maggie Valley seasonally, they made a point of viewing the entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition before heading back to Florida.

If you haven’t seen the incredible entries at this competition, you have literally “missed quite a treat.” The competition is held every holiday season at Asheville’s iconic Omni Grove Park Inn.

The array of gingerbread huts, houses, cottages, and other Christmas scenes are breathtakingly beautiful and ornate. And after the competition is judged, the entries are elegantly displayed throughout the Omni Grove Park Inn for all to see.

It’s delicious sightseeing for the whole family.

In 2014, after moving to Maggie Valley permanently and settling in, the Limas decided to enter their first National Gingerbread House Competition.

That year they learned first hand that behind each and every one of those works of Gingerbread art are countless hours of creating, planning, building, decorating — and even a little renovation.

Their entry that first year — “Photos with Santa” — featured Santa seated with two screaming children and elves taking photos. It didn’t place, but the Limas learned so much.

“Seeing the incredible entries, meeting all the other contestants, sharing ideas and learning new techniques was a wonderful experience,” said Carolyn Lima, “I knew I would do it again.”

Shortly after that competition, Carolyn Lima became a licensed home baker in North Carolina, working under the business name of Creekside Creations. Her cakes and cookies have graced several area celebrations.

Gluttons for punishment, Carolyn and Jack Lima teamed up in 2015 to enter the National Gingerbread House Competition for a second time. Their entry, inspired by Jack’s love of bird watching, was titled “Birdie Village,” and included several intricate birdhouse structures with a tall, ‘bird loft’ in the middle.

One glance at the photos on this page illustrates that the Limas make a great team. Jack sculpted and hand-painted all of the three-dimensional birds, and Carolyn did all the baking, icing, piping and other intricate details — from perches, doorknobs and keyholes to (well) ‘gingerbread.’

Sadly, one of their dormers failed just before judging, so 2015’s incredible “Birdie Village” was not judged. But that building was ‘renovated’ after the competition and the spectacular, remodeled “Birdie Village” is currently on display at downtown Waynesville’s birder paradise, Pleasant Places, 36 N. Main St.

Stop by (no touching, eating or throwing stones) and see what 20 years of baking experience and 380 hours of patient, painstaking detail-work can accomplish. And if you are looking for someone to ‘make a scene’ for your wedding, celebration or special occasion and ‘bring it to life’ in cakes, cookies or gingerbread, call Carolyn Lima at 828-926-3541.