Just Nan Gingerbread Mice – 1 – three cute cross stitch mice to make!

I came across the materials & chart packs for these cute little gingerbread mice figures from Just Nan recently – Santa mouse, Jingle mouse and Angel mouse. They are so sweet, and very unusual!

I thought they’d look good with the Victoria Sampler buildings that I have previously stitched, and which I display under my tree at Christmas.

I bought the charts from Create Nostalgia, an online shop in Flintshire, for £12.95 for each chart, which included the accessories needed, but no fabric or threads. I chose some fabric from Peakside Needleworks.co.uk of Glossop – a small piece of 32 count Weeks Dye Works “Straw” colour fabric 1/16 size of a metre,  9 inch x 13.5 inch, which cost £5, and was enough to make all three mice (they are very small!). The threads I picked from my stash – only small amounts were needed of each colour, so it was easy.

Just Nan Christmas Mice kits

Here’s the Jingle Mouse chart pack, and the little bag of accessories (the curly thing is to make the tail, and the button is to weight the base).

Just Nan Christmas Mice kits

The fabric is a lovely deep gingerbread colour – ever so slightly mottled.

Just Nan Christmas Mice kits

The actual shape of the mouse is weird – but it gets made up into a sort of cone shape, so the pattern will make sense later, hopefully!

Just Nan Christmas Mice kits

Here’s all three mice stitched and ready to assemble.

Just Nan Christmas Mice kits

Let’s hope they are easy to put together!

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A quick cross stitch project: 1. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

Now that I’ve completed the Strawberry Fayre etui (which has taken me almost all of this year to complete – I started it at the end of January 2018!!), I am feeling the need to do some ‘easy ‘stitching’ for a while. So, a quick cross stitch project like this  ‘Spirit of Holiday Baking’ fits the bill perfectly, as it’s festive, and doesn’t take long to make, so it should be finished in time for Christmas.

This is a cross stitch 3D ‘angel’ type design, by Brooke Nolan of Brooke’s Books. Brooke sells an amazing range of charts for all kinds of things – many 3D, which I love to stitch. I got a set of 14 chart packs of her gorgeous figures for Christmas last year (the Christmas pixie sent good ‘prompting’ emails to my husband, in plenty of time  🙂  )

This is the haul that I got:

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

I’ve decided to make the one in the centre first. It has the ‘gingerbread’ theme that I like to do at Christmas. For the past few years I have been making Thea Dueck’s little buildings from her Gingerbread Village range, but this year I fancied a change.

The design is to be stitched on 14 count perforated paper – this is more like thin cardboard, and is actually quite robust. It comes in lots of colours, although for this design I only need the brown one, which is a warm gingerbready colour, fortunately!

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The chart pack lists DMC thread suggestions, but I converted these to Anchor colours, as I already have a full set of Anchor threads in my stash which I use in the dollhouse needlepoint kits that I produce. I used a size 24 tapestry needle for the stitching.

Here’s my materials, ready to start (the chart itself  I have coloured in with coloured pencils, as my brain can read that better than when it’s just in black and white symbols).

I taped masking tape around the edge of the perforated paper to stop the thread from catching on the rough edges. I don’t need any kind of frame for this, so I’ll just hold it in my hand to stitch.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The instructions said to use three strands of stranded cotton when stitching. I tried a tiny sample area, and immediately decided that two strands would be OK- I really don’t like stitching with an odd number of strands for embroidery, as it means I can’t double the thread through the needle and knot it, which I prefer.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The completed figure will be about 7.5 inches high, so it’s important to start at one end of the chart, not the centre, so that the design will fit on the paper properly – this is stitched on a half sheet of the perforated paper, which is only just a bit over 8.5 inches top to bottom. When allowing a bit for the masking tape border, that doesn’t leave much leeway!

Brookes Books 7

When it’s completed, I’ll have the scary task of cutting it out right up to the stitching (cutting along the next row of holes from the stitches), but for now, it’s just easy cross stitch, which makes a drastic change from the previous  project!

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Gingerbread Stitching House 3: making the chimney pincushion

The Gingerbread Stitching House by Victoria Sampler that I am making has an ingenious pincushion incorporated into the chimney of the etui. It is an open, four-sided box-like structure, shaped along the bottom edges so that it sits on the roof, so that it can be lifted off when needed. The ‘smoke’ coming out of the chimney is the actual pincushion part. Clever, eh?

House12

It was quite fiddly to make, but good when it was done. The stitching itself was quick, and simple to do. Buttons and a few beads were attached next. After trimming the fabric, it was strengthened with pieces of Vilene interlining, and then the fabric was stretched over pieces of card and glued in place.

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Lining ‘squares’ mounted on card were then stuck inside the backstitched outlines for each side of the chimney.

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The ‘smoke’ for the pincushion itself was made from a circle of white cotton, 3 inches in diameter, gathered with a running stitch around the edge, and stuffed with a little wadding.

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The chimney was slipstitched into a tube, and the ‘smoke’ stuck down in place.

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Isn’t it cute?

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Gingerbread Stitching House 2: a hardanger window, and the roof

The back panel of the Gingerbread Stitching House by Victoria Sampler that I am stitching has a hardanger window, which is then backed with contrasting fabric to give the impression of light showing from inside the building. I hadn’t ever done hardanger before, as it doesn’t really appeal to me as a technique. For a while, I considered altering the design and just working it all in cross stitch but then I thought I’d have a go anyway, and was surprisingly pleased with the result.

House07

House08

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The roof is stitched all in white, using cross stitch and various counted thread stitches. This was pretty when it was finished, but BORING BORING BORING to stitch. I remembered, part way through, that I don’t like stitching with white. Pretty stupid to decide to stitch a design that features lots of decorative ‘snow’, then, really, wasn’t it?!

House13

I also realised that, as I’d substituted an Anchor stranded cotton for the Kreinik Mori thread that was suggested in the chart pack, the whites I was using weren’t all the same shade of white, and in some types of lighting, that notices. DMC Perle 12 and 8 White are not the same as Anchor stranded cotton number 01 White. Oh well. All of that is disguised somewhat by the beads and buttons that are stitched on last, as they grab the attention much more, fortunately.

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