Victoria Sampler Candy Cane Cottage (Gingerbread Village series) 6: finished!

I’m now at the exciting part with the Gingerbread Candy Cane Cottage project that I’m making, which was designed by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler. I have now laced each panel onto mount board padded with a thin layer of wadding, mitring the corners to make each panel lie as flat as possible. The instructions then say to lace the panels for the walls together, to make one long piece. This is where it shows that neat back stitching around each panel earlier on pays off, as the lacing is very easy to do if your back stitching is definitely over four fabric threads each time – then you only need to match up the back stitches, and pass the needle once through each pair of stitches to hold everything securely.

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The slightly more tricky part was attaching the base, as that bit was an addition of my own, so it wasn’t in the instructions. I folded the four-sided piece of stitching around the base, and started lacing from one corner, and laced up the final wall side last. That seemed the simplest way to do it, anyway! Lastly, I laced the two roof sections together loosely (to allow the whole roof piece to bend in the centre), and then laced it onto the wall sections. This last part was a bit dodgy, and one of my walls apparently had ended up being longer than the opposite one (due to not lacing it tightly enough over the mount board), but I persevered and squished it into position!

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This, then, is my finished Candy Cane Cottage, and I love it!

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It’s quite a small cottage – it measures 3 x 4 x 4 inches high.

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This shows the base adaptation that I did.

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Here’s the finished cottage under my Christmas tree, alongside the Gingerbread Stitching House etui that I completed last year. I’m planning to make another building from this series, but I haven’t decided which one just yet – I’ve got several more of the chart booklets in my stash!

Here is my verdict on the Gingerbread Candy Cane Cottage project as a whole:

The chart pack booklet, as with all projects from this series, is very well produced on quality shiny thick paper. The charts themselves are clear and large, using black and white symbols. The instructions are detailed, and written so that you do everything in a sensible order. The finishing instructions are very detailed, with lots of process photos to show you exactly what to do. Unfortunately, sloppy editing means that there are several spelling mistakes in the text, but that’s a minor niggle really – just a shame that it lets the whole booklet down a bit, when it could have easily been rectified at the proofreading stage.

The chart booklet also contains instructions to make a little pinkeep, which is a sweet little design, but I didn’t make it this time. Maybe later though, as I like pinkeeps.

As I’ve mentioned before, these chart booklets are available from the Victoria Sampler  website, based in Canada, but if you’re in the UK, then buy them from the UK company Sew and So, and save hugely on shipping/Customs charges.

The cottage itself is great fun to stitch. It doesn’t take too long, but is not a ‘quick and easy’ kind of design. There are parts of the project that are meant to challenge you just a bit – such as the hardanger windows, and some of the counted thread stitches. These add interest, both in the stitching, and in the finished look of the project, so don’t shy away from this project just because it isn’t just cross stitch on its own.

The chart booklet costs CAN$16 (£11) in 2015. There are accessory packs available, with all the necessary threads, beads, feature buttons/sequins, etc. This is priced quite high, I feel, at CAN$ 36 for the coloured threads and beads (£24), plus another CAN$ 15 for the 2 white thread packs (£10). The coloured thread/bead pack doesn’t contain full skeins, either – just cut one metre lengths of the shades that you’ll need. If you have a reasonable size stash (and who hasn’t?), you can probably find enough in that to make this. The speciality buttons, etc, can easily be substituted – try looking on Ebay for cheap alternatives. Having said that, you could decide to treat yourself and go for the accessory pack along with the chart booklet, as it is very nicely put together, if you don’t mind the cost.

I stitched my cottage on 28 count Cashel evenweave linen, in ‘Cognac’ shade, with ‘Blue Spruce’ for the roof. I cannot find the shade recommended in the booklet (Antique Almond Cashel linen) in the UK, and suspect it may have been discontinued. Cognac is a slightly darker orange shade than the one featured on the cover of the chart booklet, but I really like the colour.

I love this series of Gingerbread buildings, and I’ll definitely be making more of them!

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Victoria Sampler Candy Cane Cottage (Gingerbread Village series) 5: completing the windows

I’ve completed all of the cross stitch and beading on the Gingerbread Candy Cane Cottage from Victoria Sampler now, so I just need to complete the windows, then I can assemble it. This cottage, unlike the Gingerbread Stitching House etui that I made last year, is made as a closed model, and is not made to be ‘opened’, so the construction is much simpler.

Here are all the panels, ready to be assembled:

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Before I can put the house together, I need to fill in the windows. This is done by cutting out small pieces of yellow cotton fabric, and fixing them behind each of the windows with pieces of iron-on interfacing, cut about 1/4 of an inch larger all round than the yellow fabric.

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When that was done, I pressed the seam allowances down close to the edges of the backstitched outlines of each piece, and also at 45 degrees across all the corners. Then I trimmed the seam allowances to half an inch all round. Pressing before trimming makes the job far easier to do!

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Now I just need to assemble each panel, and my cottage will be finished!

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New additions to the Victoria Sampler Gingerbread Village series to tempt you…

The last time I looked on the Victoria Sampler website, the number of chart booklets in Thea Dueck’s Gingerbread Village series was four, plus some ‘smalls’ as extra projects in the booklets for the four buildings:

GingerbreadVillage2012 on Strawberry Sampler site

These are all available as chart pack booklets. I’ve made the Gingerbread Stitching House etui (on the far left of the picture), and now I’m making the Candy Cane Cottage (in the centre). I’ve got the chart booklets for the tree and the church in my stash. But now what has Thea done?! While I wasn’t looking, she has added several more items to the village, and I’m just going to have to get them! Well, most of them. See below……..

The first one which grabbed my attention was the Gingerbread Needlework Shop. This is made up as a box, with a lid that comes off so that you can store stitchy things inside.

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Then there’s the Gingerbread Bakery. This is an interesting shape, and I’m not sure if I want to make this one next after the Candy Cane Cottage, or the Needlework Shop. Both look really nice.

Then there’s THIS. A ‘Retreat Cottage’. At the moment, it’s only available if you go on a stitching retreat with Thea, but it should be released as a chart booklet next year (2016), apparently. I love the look of this one.

Retreat Cottage

There is also this Gingerbread Quilt Shop. I’m undecided about this one at the moment. It’s the latest one to come out (autumn 2015). I love the patterns on the building, but I think that the building itself is rather ugly. Maybe I could adapt the design to make the roof more ‘normal looking’, somehow? I’ll have to think about it.

But then there’s also THIS. Not sure about this one at all. OK- it’s a building, but it’s a Halloween building, and I don’t feel that it sits well with the rest of the Gingerbread Village buildings in the slightest. As a project in its own right it would be great. I know that Halloween-themed things are very popular in the US, but  I’m English and they leave me cold, so I won’t be buying this one.

So, finally, here is a view of all of the Gingerbread Village buildings in Thea’s range so far – this image is the  header for the Victoria Sampler Facebook page. Don’t these all look wonderful as a group together?

Village as at September 2015

Except maybe not the ‘cuckoo’ of the Halloween house…….. What do you think?

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Victoria Sampler Candy Cane Cottage (Gingerbread Village series) 4: 2 long sides and base

This little Gingerbread Candy Cane Cottage from Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler is proving to be a great little project to do – interesting stitches and beading, and really pretty, too!

I’m now up to the part where I am stitching the two long sides of the cottage. The snow is stitched first, and then the windows. This is the back of the cottage, as I’m just starting on one of the hardanger windows:

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I then got a bit carried away, and didn’t take any more photos until I’d completed the second long side, and stitched on  all the embellishments! You’ll just have to imagine all the stages!!

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The stitched model in the chart booklet for this cottage is not lined – it doesn’t have a base to it at all. I prefer to make mine with a base on it, so I counted out the number of threads along the short and long sides of the panels I’ve already completed, and stitched a rectangle to those dimensions, so that I can make a base that will fit.

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This image above shows the base piece, once I had ironed the seam allowances down, and also ironed it at 45 degree angles across the corners. This will make it easier to mount on the cardboard stiffener that is needed when assembling it into a 3D house.

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