Dear Pottery Barn photographers,

Please consider hiring a consultant who actually has kids before you shoot your next product magazine. Otherwise, your catalogs will be reclassified and shelved in the comedy section. 

From, Been-there-done-that-and-it-sure-didn’t-look-like-that.


Personally, I love rifling through the Pottery Barn magazines and imagining how perfect and pretty my life would be if only I transferred my flour from its paper bag to a decorative antique tin on the counter. 

Of course, I’m lucky if I can just get the cold items transfered from the grocery bags to the fridge before realizing the sound of running water has been coming from down the hall for far too long for the kids to just be washing their hands back there.

It was my husband, however, who pointed out how ludicrous my latest Pottery Barn catalog was — in particular a picture of two kids making gingerbread houses.

There was no icing in their hair. Nary a gumdrop or peppermint had spilled from the perfectly rounded bowls of candy sitting on the table. And neither child was trying to lick the other’s house.

Even more amazing, their houses were actually standing upright. I’ve only tried to make a gingerbread house once, pre-kids no less, and it was tougher than trying to diaper a baby with one hand. My roof kept sliding off so I finally decided on a gingerbread lean-to in honor of my Appalachian ancestors.

I’ve been itching to give it another whirl though, and now I finally have the inspiration I need.

A gingerbread house competition is coming to Franklin this year, organized by the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. 

There’s an adult and kid category, with entries judged on a scale of 1 to 5 based on overall appearance, originality and difficulty. I think everyone, unless perhaps they enter a lean-to, should automatically get a 5 on difficulty.

As is the whole allure of gingerbread houses, everything on it must be edible. Granted, kids would eat Styrofoam if coated with icing, but we know what they mean.

The entries will be exhibited in Franklin’s Town Hall. While it’s no Grove Park, Town Hall fits the bill, especially for kids who love the idea of their creation being displayed for others to see. A public viewing, including voting for the “people’s choice award,” will be held during the annual Winter Wonderland Celebration in downtown Franklin, Fridays, Dec. 6 and 13. You have to register by Monday, Nov. 25. 

If a gingerbread house is too daunting, try the Christmas card contest in Jackson County instead. The theme this year is “My Favorite Christmas Gift” and is open to third- through eighth-graders in Jackson County. The deadline is Dec. 9. Stop by the Jackson County Recreation Center in Cullowhee for more info or call 828.293.3053.

And, before it’s too late, check out the moon exhibit at the Haywood County Library in Canton this month. The traveling exhibit from NASA’s Lunar Science Institute features 3D images of the moon’s surface. “The Moon: Cosmic Decoder Ring” includes 3D glasses to examine images of craters formed by volcanoes and asteroid impacts.

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