The Victorian Village Cross-stitch Series

This project was inspired by a project I saw back in 1993 in The Cross Stitcher Magazine. I had just gotten into cross stitching and was ordering different magazines when I came across this project and dreamed of making it. I knew it would take a long time, but it was always on my mind to complete, but I didn’t want to do it as an afghan because I didn’t want people to see the way the back of my work looks. I have no idea how people keep the back looking so pretty. I have never mastered that.

Anyway, I kept my magazines that I collected over the years hoping that one day I would get around to making these beautiful replications of Victorian days gone by. I really should have been born back then. I did eventually start this project and it would take me over 10 years to complete. In all that time, I kept all of my magazines and never lost any of my completed shops. This project is what opened the way for me to buy all my DMC floss as back when this pattern was released there were only 180 DMC colors and this project would use everyone of them. Below is a picture of the page from the magazine. I will admit back in 2014 when we were going to live full-time in an RV I let go of all my patterns. Something I really regret right now. Regardless I was able to find these treasures on eBay so that I could have a hard copy to keep in my collection.

The different shops would appear two at a time over the next six months until the entire series was completed. I honestly don’t remember which order I worked on these as I originally started this project around 1999/2000 and it would not be until August 2008 when I would finish it and frame them. The first time I framed them I split them into groups of 4 and framed in three different frames, 16×20 in size. I had a mat cut that went around each shop which are 5 inches square.

The first magazine they appeared in was the December 1993 issue which featured the Flower Shop and Ice Cream Parlor. In February 1994 the Cross Stitch Shop and Barber Shop were featured. The Mercantile and Antiques were in the April 1994 issue and the Quilt Shop and Apothecary were in the June 1994. The excitement of each issue grew each month I got my magazine. The August 1994 issue featured the Dress Shop and Book Shop and finally in the October 1994 issue I would get the Sweet Shop and Millinery.

Each shop was stitched on 14 count aida cloth with 2 strands of DMC and the backstitching was done with 1 strand. Each shop would take hours to complete, but in the end it was worth all the time it took.

When I moved in the first RV I carried these things around in the storage and/or basement area determined that one day I would display them again. That day finally came when I decided how I wanted to change things up. I had several pieces of 1″ x 8″ boards that had been cut for another project I planned on doing but never got around to that I decided to recut to 6 1/2 inches square. Once they were all cut and sanded, I painted them black as that would serve as my background and then I would use Mod Podge to attach each piece to the board. To add a little boarder around each shop I decided to frill out the aida cloth, but one of the shops didn’t have much left over so its a little wonky, but the others turned out pretty good.

To add the mod podge I applied to the backside (no pic) then centered on the black board. I then applied mod podge around the edges so the board would have that shiny look. I did not put mod podge on top of the cross stitch piece only on the back. The below gallery shows the before, during and after pics of the process attaching them to the board.

This is a proud moment seeing these on the wall after all these years. I wish I had framed them like this when I first made them as it would have been easier to display them even living in small quarters.

Because it has been so long since I originally framed this project and even longer ago that I started it, I’m not sure what date I actually started or completed the project; however, at the bottom of each original frame and mat board was a section for the following, but each frame had a different month and year. I want to believe that it was to represent the approximate time that I had finished another 4 shops. The last date I had was August 2008.

I am certain I will never tackle another project of this magnitude as my hands cannot hold out to stitch like I used to. Some days I find sewing hard, so being able to stitch something like this would be impossible, which is why this holds so much meaning for me.


Happy Stitching!

My Craft Room is my Favorite Room in the House

When we started looking for a house my top request was that I would have my own office/craft room. There was no getting around this request as it was the main reason we were moving out of the RV. Although this room will probably always be a work in progress I am very pleased with how it looks at this moment and wanted to share.

This a view from the entryway and to the right is where I have my sewing machines and Cricut Maker set up. The tabletops are from IKEA. I bought the cabinets under the tables from Wayfair I believe and had been using them in the RV. I brought them with me as they are perfect for storing sewing supplies and Cricut vinyl. I had wanted to get white tabletops, but the first day I went to IKEA (which is 2 hours away) they didn’t have all three tables I needed in white. As a matter of fact I had a black corner unit and two white tables on each side. Two weeks later I went back for more stuff and they had the black tabletops in stock so I got those, but still used the white legs to tie everything together. I ended up using one of the tables in my laundry room. (Yes my laundry room is big enough for a folding table).

The peg boards are from IKEA along with most of the accessories. I’m not completely happy with my thread organizers and will probably swap them out for something to hang on the wall.

Over in the corner opposite the door is my desk for work as I have been working from home since March 2020 due to the pandemic. I needed space to spread out and this room has definitely given me that ability. I have my work laptop and extra monitor along with my personal laptop and accessories and still have room to do my work. The desk was purchased in 2018 from Ashley Furniture when we lived in a house in Clarksville and then put in our RV when we moved into it for over a year. I love the size of this desk.

You can also see my craft table in this pic where I can do my painting and crafty stuff. The bookshelves came from IKEA. The tabletop is a piece of 4×8 melamine board that I bought at Home Depot and had them cut to the measurement that I needed for my tabletop. The board itself is a lot heavier than you think so it is very sturdy. I added L brackets underneath to hold it to the shelving units. I also added wheels to the shelving units so I can move the whole thing around if I need to get under it. The edge of the melamine board has to be finished with an edging that you literally iron on. It’s hard to see in this pic, but I added a measurement strip to the top that is 60″ (the length of the tabletop) long. It helps to be able to measure my fabric. I have stools on each side so I can sit if I want to. I also made the curtains.

As you go on around the room there is my file cabinet, which matches the desk and serves as a place for my printer. The black laundry hamper (bought at Amazon) houses my AO patterns that I had printed. My mannequin came from Wawak, which is a great place for all things sewing related and more. You should really check them out. The price of their thread is amazing.

I love the Kallax Units from IKEA, which is what you see here below the television. There are a ton of options for the shelves including adding drawers, doors, baskets and so much more. I added 8 drawers to the bottom of one side and 4 doors to the other side. I love the ability to keep some of my stuff tucked away and out of sight.

Another view of my awesome table, which is the best part of this whole room.  I’m pretty much already maxed out on the fabric storage so I’m not sure what I will do when I keep buying more fabric because we all know I will keep buying it even though I can’t possibly sew it all in the next month of two. I also have a Billie bookshelf, from IKEA, in the closet that is holding all my interfacings that I buy on bolts.