Victoria Sampler Candy Cane Cottage (Gingerbread Village series) 1: getting started

I have set myself the rather long-term project of making the Gingerbread Village series of cross stitch buildings, designed by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler in Canada! These are lovely little 3D projects to make – some are ‘usable’ items, such as the Gingerbread Stitching House workbox, which I made last year, and some are ‘just’ little models (but still really sweet anyway!). If you are tempted to stitch along with me, and live in the UK, then buy the charts (and project packs, if you like to) from Sew and So, rather than direct from Victoria Sampler, as the shipping is prohibitive from Canada to the UK.

I am making the Candy Cane Cottage at the moment – here is the first ‘end’ of the house. Most of the design is cross stitch, with some hardanger for the windows, and lots of little seed beads as embellishment.

Candy 1

It can seem quite scary when you come to cut the threads to start doing the hardanger, but the instructions in the chart booklet are very clear – you just need to go slowly, and use very sharp scissors.

Candy 2

The outer satin stitches are done first (as in the large left-hand window), to define the area, then the unwanted threads are cut away as in the right-hand window (that’s the scary bit!), then the remaining threads are wrapped the make the ‘bars’ of the windows, as in the top window.

Candy 3

This should be quite a quick project – I want this finished in time to be displayed under my Christmas tree!


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 30: making the tassel, and then the tape measure cover is finished!

The tape measure cover from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home; an embroidered workbox’ is almost finished – I only needed to make the tassel for the actual tape measure now. I got together all the beads that I’d need, to match the scissor keeper that I’d previously made. They included two ‘mirror finish’ green beads, an 8mm cloisonne bead, a 9mm bicone gold bead, three little gold spacer beads and an olive green seed bead for the very end, all from my stash.

Tape 25

In her book, Carolyn suggests making the tassel using beading wire, but that assumes that you have a tape measure where you can get the plastic bit off the end first. With mine, I couldn’t do that. So I had to incorporate the white plastic bit, which wasn’t ideal, but I came up with a cunning plan.

I threaded the beads onto a length of Anchor stranded cotton first (2 strands), going through all beads once, then going back up the line through all except the seed bead at the end. Then, taking the two ends of Anchor thread, I threaded them in opposite directions though the loop at the end of the tape measure, tied them in a knot at the back, and glued the ends down on the reverse side of the plastic tab. Then I stuck a sequin on each side of the plastic tab, to disguise what I’d done. As I say, it wasn’t ideal, but I’m fairly pleased with how it looks. Here’s the back, before sticking the sequin on:

Tape 26

This is the front, before sticking the sequin on to hide the green Anchor thread.

Tape 27

So, now the tape measure cover is complete, and, despite the hiccups, I’m pleased with how it has turned out.

Tape 32

It’s a good addition to the collection of smalls.

Tape 28

This is the reverse, showing the little strawberry flower.

Tape 30

And here’s the sequin, disguising the thread that ties on the tassel.

Tape 31

Pretty, isn’t it?


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Here are more new doll’s house pole screens and firescreens!

After launching the first batch of four little pole screen and four firescreen miniature needlepoint kits for doll’s houses a couple of weeks ago, here’s the next collection, just added to my website. With this new collection, all the designs are to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze. The pole screens in the previous collection (the Four Seasons ones) were all on 40 count silk gauze. I’m aware that not everyone who does mini-stitching likes to stitch on such fine fabric as 40 count, so this collection, on 32 count, is much easier to stitch, even if you’ve never done mini-stitching before.


They are great fun to make, giving you hours of stitching pleasure during the winter evenings. They make great presents, too, either stitched up and given finished, or given as a kit to someone who loves to stitch.

All of these kits are suitable for twelfth scale doll’s houses (one inch to one foot scale). To give you an idea of the scale, if you’re new to miniatures, the pole screen, when finished, is five inches high, and the firescreen is 2 3/4 inches high.

Here is the ‘Four Seasons’ series of pole screens (Spring Flowers, Summer Roses, Autumn Harvest and Winter Wreath), stitched on 40 count silk gauze:


The firescreen kit contains a white metal kit in three pieces to make the frame, and the pole screen kit contains finely-turned mahogany pieces to make the pole screen. Also, each type of kit contains a colour block chart to count the design from (the design isn’t printed on the fabric), a suitable fine needle, generous amounts of Anchor stranded cotton (floss), a piece of silk gauze and detailed instructions.



The firescreen frames are simply glued together with a contact adhesive such as Araldite, and then finished with enamel hobby paint, such as Humbrol (not included in the kit, but the colour I used is suggested on the instruction sheet). The pole screens are glued together with wood glue, and then finished with mahogany wax polish – you can purchase a Wood Finishing Kit from my website for this, or you can simply leave the wood in its natural state.

Both types of kit are very easy to make. There are tutorials on my website about how to put each one together, if you’d like to see that first!

Here are the new pole screens and firescreens, displayed in miniature room settings, to give you an idea of how they could look in your own doll’s house:





The firescreen kits are £20.95 each, and the pole screen kits are £19.95 each. These would make great Christmas presents, either for yourself or a friend!


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 29: assembling the tape measure cover

Now I’m up to the not-very-favourite bit of this project by Carolyn Pearce…..assembly <groan>!! It helps, though, if I cut everything out ready, before I start. So here are all the bits that I’ll need: stitched pieces, acetate for stiffeners, thin wadding, matching fabric for the long joining strip, and the tape measure itself.

Tape 17

Thin wadding is placed on the reverse side of the stitched piece, and also on one piece of the acetate (I held it down on the acetate with double sided tape, to stop it slipping). I unpicked the blue guide placement stitches first, then worked running stitch with strong quilting thread, a quarter of an inch in from the edge of the fabric, and gathered it up to attach the fabric over the padded acetate.

Tape 18

Here are both sides completed up to this stage.

Tape 19

Then the long strip that will go around the tape measure is attached in the same way to the long strip of padded acetate.

Tape 20

Here is where I hit problems big time. Entirely my own fault! When I re-read Carolyn’s instructions in her book ‘Home Sweet Home; an embroidered workbox’ they were very clear. I just didn’t bother to read them properly  😛 .

What happened was that, somewhere along the line, I took the long piece of acetate that I had cut out to the measurements that Carolyn gives in her book, and temporarily fitted it around the edge of the actual tape measure, to check the fit. When I found that it overlapped by about an inch, I assumed that the measurements in the book were wrong, so I cut the inch off. SPOT THE DELIBERATE MISTAKE!! I hadn’t allowed for the fact that the long strip has to fit THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE TWO STITCHED CIRCLES, and not the actual tape measure, which is bound to be smaller!!! How stupid was THAT?!

So, I had patiently started to slip stitch the long strip onto the first circle. When I got most of the way round, I realised that the strip was far too short. So I swore, unpicked it, made another strip to the correct length, and started to stitch it on. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the SECOND long strip that I stitched on….it was the first one again! And I only realised that…you’ve guessed it… as I got most of the way round and it STILL didn’t fit. You can see, in the photo below, that I must be stitching on the strip that was too short, because there are little tufty pieces of thread sticking out of the top edge of the strip, left over from when I’d unpicked it before. Doh! How stupid can you get.

Tape 21

Anyway, eventually, I got the correct strip stitched on neatly, and it looked like this, with a quarter inch gap to allow the tab of the tape measure to stick out:

Tape 22

Then I slip stitched the second circle onto the long strip – this time, with no mishaps at all. Half way round, I even remembered to insert the tape measure, too  🙂

Tape 23

Finally, I stitched a row of Knotted Pearl Stitch over the slip stitches on each side.

Tape 24

Now there’s just the tassel on the tape itself to do, and it will be finished.


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