It took Sheila Diebel, left, and Claudette Schulte 65 hours to create this years gingerbread cottage. (Special to The News)

It took Sheila Diebel, left, and Claudette Schulte 65 hours to create this years gingerbread cottage. (Special to The News)

VIDEO: Gingerbread cottage brings smiles and joy to Maple Ridge retirement community

In 2012 Sheila Diebel and Claudette Schulte made their first gingerbread house together

A welcome mat sits invitingly in front of a small brown door with a red knob, decorated with a green wreath. White icicles hang from the roof. Two snowmen, hats and scarves on, smile from the front lawn and a path winds its way from the front landing to a bridge over a teal blue pond.

This is the gingerbread creation of Sheila Diebel and Claudette Schulte that is sitting in the front foyer of Sunwood Retirement Residence for the pleasure of all those who live there.

It is the second year in a row the two long-time friends have united their baking skills to create an edible masterpiece.

Last year they built a 70-centimetre tall church – all edible from the chimney to the trees, stained-glass windows, to the choir boys singing outside the front door.

Diebel, who works at the retirement residence in maintenance, and Schulte, have been friends for more than 20 years.

In 2012 they entered Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency Gingerbread Lane competition and created a train station to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But it took them until last year to work on another project together.

This year the pair made a cottage that took them 65 hours to create. Mini Wheats were used to make the shingles on the roof, peanuts and sunflower seeds were used to make the chimney stones.

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And the entire inside of the cottage is decorated with furniture, and even a Christmas tree, said Samantha Nelson, with Revera Sunwood Retirement Community.

They even add extra spices when they baked the gingerbread.

“To make it truly smell like Christmas,” said Nelson.

And, again, 100 per cent of the cottage is edible.

Nelson added the pair love making the edible houses because of all the joy it brings to residents and staff of the retirement home when they see and smell the gingerbread.

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