September 17, 2020


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 Just so you know! . . . . September 17, 2020 

Ideas, hints and opinions 

By David Spears 


. . . We hope and pray all our friends around the country are safe and healthy. 


. . . Another source of backgrounds for our villages; Thomas Kinkade puzzles. Saw a bunch of them at Hobby Lobby. Most are outdoor winter scenes, all include snow. They looked to be from various eras. Of course you have to put the puzzle together. 


. . . ‘My Little Christmas’ returned to Hobby Lobby this season. Their little snowman were the ones who looked like I could find a use for. They also have very small children, candy canes, Christmas presents, trucks, etc. However, we don’t really have a miniature display.


. . . OK, it’s now officially too late in the season to do a ‘summer display.’ It was to be on a shelf in our living room. Of course now I have to ‘officially’ put all the pieces away (back in the basement). Good planning on my part? 

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 . . . Can you spot the placement of the mirror in the picture below? It worked well in ‘real life.’ Confused visitors – they thought we had a hole in our outside wall. 



Hint: Do you see the smoke coming out of the two chimneys? That’s the same building, the mirror is between ‘them.’ It’s less than twenty inches from the display front to the mirror. Another twenty inches visible behind the mirror? 


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. . . Has this happened to you? Saw our letter carrier walk down the driveway (he had just delivered a small package with the mail); I went back in the house and saw a new email on the computer. It announced delivery of the same small package. 


. . . Dates of note: September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween; November 3, Election Day; November 11, Veterans Day; November 26, Thanksgiving Day

. . . They have ‘wavy’ brick fences in England (see below). I wonder if we should/could be using such a thing to our displays. Nothing I’ve read so far says they had them in the Dickens’ era. But maybe I’ve looked in the wrong place. The fences can be only one brick thick because the curves provide the strength. Such a structure is called a "crinkle crankle wall”

 . . . Can’t have too many trees, or too many people, how about dogs? I really loved this area in a display of Lani and Mike Kolanczyk (during an open house several years ago). We have since found more dogs for our own displays. They are fellow Village North members. 



. . . The Village Reporter - The Garden State Village Collectors Club Newsletter August/September, 2020 – It was fun reading the Village Profile - about me/us. They were my words, but Bernice asked the questions. Thanks to her for including Linda and I. 


. . . ‘Christmas on Parade,’ Lemax new for 2020. The ‘marchers’ are just over 3 inches tall. I’m going to have to take a look, but I’m thinking we may finally have enough marching musicians for our parades. But don’t worry, I’ll see it ’in person’ somewhere. And take a close look – just in case. 



. . . It says Greek Food, OPA! Acropolis” - all on the side of the blue food truck. Not the best looking truck I’ve seen, but I like food trucks. Saw it on “Christmas Village by Agnes & Kris 2019” on YouTube. It was on TVC Videos when I viewed it. 



. . . This is in answer to this question I received: “What has been my participation with the NCC?” - I was our Village North Collectors Club’s representative to the National Council of 56 Clubs. Later, the NCC Region VI Representative for four years. I also ran, unsuccess-fully, for NCC president against Bob Obenland (in 2006). In addition, I was assistant editor of the NCC Bulletin, newsletter for the group. Editor Esme Gibson reminded me of that one. 


. . . In Canada, Taco Bell will be offering ‘Jalapeno Noir,’ a custom wine. I looked online; the bottle has a good look for those that like that sort of thing. The wine will only be available for a short period of time as they introduce a new Chalupa. I will have to share this info with our friend Carol. She has several small vignettes, but is proudest of her ‘wine village.’ It is made up of wineries from several manufactures plus interesting ‘real’ wine bottles. Note: The ‘Toasted Cheesy Chalupa’ will be available in the U.S – the wine, no. 


. . . I thought maybe Linda could make us matching masks just like this. The mask appeared on The Village Collector



. . . I do believe, no I know, there will be an addition to my clown collection. ‘Friendly Clown’ (see below) will find soon be on his way to our house. Clowns seem to be one thing I don’t have to see ‘in person’ to purchase. This 2020 Lemax introduction is almost 4 inches tall (including the balloon). 



. . . Linda and I visited Colonial Williamsburg on a trip out east. I’m thinking the Dept. 56 Williamsburg Village ‘Going to the Ball’ might be a good memory piece. The ad says “A couple strolls the street in their very best attire on their way to a royal ball.” I didn’t know they would have a royal ball in Williamsburg during the 18th century. Linda suggested I check on it. Yes, it certainly would have been possible prior to the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775. Note: I found one at Fitzula’s. Now I have to make a decision (buy or not to buy).



. . . I emailed Polly Clark, publisher of Village D-Lights. I asked her the expected mailing date of the Fall Issue of Village D-Lights. I’ll let you know the answer. 


. . . I really enjoyed the vignette (below) by Carol Ankley. It was the winner of the ‘August NCC Back To School Vignette Contest.’ I read her description on the NCC Facebook page, didn’t understand. Linda brought me a Dr. Suess book – I read it. Still not clear. Wrote to Carol, she tried to help, still confused. Linda offered to go get me more Dr. Suess books. Don't know what I'm looking for. Linda thinks this is all very funny. Me being so confused really makes her laugh. Now that I've written this, I'm not sure why, or what I need as an answer. Maybe I'll just to bed early tonight. Oh yes, Linda thinks the ideas, words and display are very creative. Hey, maybe that's all I should say. 



. . . Announced September 15 - The #nccseptembervignette contest is here! Theme: Scarecrow Invasion! Details on the National Council of 56 Clubs Facebook Page. Deadline to enter is September 30. You don’t have to be a NCC member to view the July and August vignettes on Facebook. They were fun to look at (and read about).You do have to be a member of club to submit a contest entry.



. . . Remember, in the beginning, when the big brown USP trucks came down your street? Everyone would watch to see who was getting a package. You had to know - it was a rare thing. Now the loud bang, bang noise from the delivery trucks happens many times a day. If they weren’t so noisy, and we have a smooth street, I wouldn’t even notice them. 


. . . Remember you can read ‘Just so you know!’ past and present, on ‘The Village Collector’ Lots of other stuff as well. Take a look. 



. . . We have several friends who do the maple syrup ‘thing.’ They might be interested in building a vignette displaying their hobby. I don’t know for sure – haven’t asked/told them yet. ‘Maple Syrup Season’ (below) is new from Lemax for 2020. The tree is 4 ¼ inches tall. 



. . . Bill Sheldon has a list of Display Tips that includes ideas for your/his favorite things. His choices were: Pizza; movie lovers; Barbie and doll lovers; car enthusiasts; Train collectors; and silversmiths. The details are in: The Village Reporter - The Garden State Village Collectors Club Newsletter August/September, 2020. Note: You do have to be a member to view the newsletters on the NCC web site.


. . . $1,094 – the amount of money raised by our Village North Collectors Club August garage sale. The proceeds are destined for the Ronald McDonald House. Congrats to all club members, a special thanks to our hosts Gail and Jeff Rabold. 


. . . My brother was finally able to remove Edge from this computer. I can now open pdf files. It makes things a whole lot better/easier for me. 


. . . Please let me know when you see village appropriate items in any store. Many times you see things I miss. Or maybe we don’t have the store in Duluth. I need all the help I can get – no comments please :) 







Questions, comments and/or suggestions

are always welcome.


David Spears

105 East Toledo Street

Duluth, MN 55811

(218) 724-6148




 Just so you know! . . . . September 9, 2020

Ideas, hints and opinions

By David Spears


. . . September 6 - I received the following email. It came from Tom Iacoviello, our Region VI NCC Representative: “I just heard that Richard Puckett, co-president of the NCC, has the COVID-19 virus. Could you please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.” 


. . . SuzyQ sent me the image below - a vignette she put together with Dept. 56 ornaments. We donated more than several of them to our Village North Collectors Club. Now I sorta wish we hadn’t. The club held a fundraiser rummage sale. Proceeds will go to St. Mary’s/Essentia NICU in Duluth, MN. This display is a very nice size (small) and cute. 



 . . . The Village Collector, The Village Collector, The Village Collector Club Connector, Club Connector, Club Connector. The first three are TVC (web site). The second three are the NCC (Nat’l Council of 56 Clubs) on-line newsletter. I seem to be getting them mixed up. I hope this helps – me! 


. . . Menard’s has 350 home improvement stores in the Midwest. I say that because not everyone that reads JSYK is in the Midwest. I found out when folks asked what’s a Menard’s? 


. . . Arizona (resort, swimming), California (painting, trail maintenance), Utah (safe road trip) – a month in the life of Robin and Pablo. Really?? 


. . . I went to look for model railroad magazines. Barnes & Noble usually has a good selection, not so this time. They told me the others should be in before the end of September. In the magazines available, I found nothing interesting in the ‘how-to’ area (or ads). I usually find trains surrounded by Christmas villages beginning in October. I’ll let you know if/when.


. . . I was reading The Beacon, the newsletter of the Tampa Bay 56ers. They had a NCC reference and it included a familiar picture. I checked with Linda to confirm – the image is part of Amish display of ours. I read a lot on the NCC web site. But I gotta say its fun to see something we did in a place I don’t expect to find it. 


. . . The Village TribuneBig D-56ers – I found it interesting reading about their members activities the past six months. A wide variety of things: gardening, writing, working, display building – fun to see what folks are doing in Texas. Yes, this was on the NCC web site. 


. . . My diamond willow walking stick gets lots of nice comments. My boss, CMS Jerome A. Blazevic, made it for me almost fifty years ago – just so you know! 


. . . I don’t know Red Misha, but I believe we are going to have ‘words.’ First, let me say I enjoy his ‘rehabs.’ However removing the pizza from the Dept. 56 CIC ‘Pizza Date’ just isn’t right. Doesn’t he know, pizza is my favorite food group? Then he replaced the pizza with a dog. Note: I’ll have to make sure he isn’t allowed in ‘Sal’s Pizza & Pasta.’ 


. . . ‘Home Sleet Home Fish Shack,’ a Dept. 56 Snow Village, 2020 Limited Edition. In less than four months we’ll see many ice fishing houses on area lakes. Most won’t have Christmas lights. I’ll bet none will a clock that reminds us it’s always 5 o’clock (somewhere). Note: The Dept. 56 version does have such a clock. 



. . . The subject is the domes from the top of fast food stores malts, etc. Has anyone used them as igloos in 

the North Pole? The straw holes in the top were pretty big in the ones we got at Arby’s but I bet we can make them work. 


. . . We were watching a recent episode of the Big Bang Theory on TVThere on the shelf, in Sheldon’s mothers kitchen, was a Dept. 56 North Pole, ‘Christmas Bread Bakers.’ I remember when villages/houses (mostly Dept. 56) were seen frequently on TV shows. Note: The image below is not from the TV show. I was testing to see if I could easily copy an image from a different source – it worked! 



. . . Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was just returned by a neighbor. Linda is happy; she wanted to read the book again



. . . Halloween at Michael’s – It is the beginning of September and our local store is already selling items off the Lemax display. Of course they are offering coupons and sales at the same time. I have to tell you about a “Mini Embellishment” from Ashland Halloween Tiny Treasurers. I call it a very attractive candelabra. Many uses for it, not all Halloween. I may just have to go back and purchase another. We also purchased a Tiny Treasurers groom carrying the bride 


(both well-dressed skeletons). We now have saxophone and trumpet players, ‘A Chilling Band of Two’ and ‘Ghost Grasps Victim’ (from behind). Both from Lemax Spooky Town. Note: The candelabra (below) actually looks better ‘in person.’ It’s holding five candles. 



. . . I’ve been looking for a proper size Black Panther for our displays. The sad loss of actor Chadwick Boseman has made the finding of the Marvel Comics ‘super hero’ a challenge. We most always feature our group of heroes somewhere in our displays. 


. . . Bob Evans Gifts, Brooklyn Park, MN, July 13th, 2002. Linda and I taught two ‘village display idea’ classes. A great place to hold full classes of interested people, everything we needed available, and they paid us in Dept. 56 products. Pictured below, l to r – David Spears; Susan Holm, Dept. 56 Sales Rep; Linda Spears; and store owners Bonnie Crow and George Bernot. Note: There was at least one person who attended that still reads JSYK. 



. . . Dept. 56 was opening their first, company owned, retail store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. May 15th 1999. Saw the info on TVC, ‘The Weekly.’ It was mentioned in Village Pride, Toronto, Canada, April 1999. We shopped the store several times. 


. . . August 28th was the earliest date someone received the Summer Issue of Village D-Lights (and told me). We got ours five days later. The publisher informed readers the target date for the Summer Issue as July 30th. This was better than the Spring Issue ‘delay.’ 


. . . Remember the National Council of 56 Clubs tape measures? I just found ours. Pulls out to five feet, white plastic case with a black NCC logo on one side. I use it to measure Styrofoam when planning/building displays. Seems to have been missing from the tool box for a while. Remember? It has the blue ‘retract button’ on the back. 


. . . Larry Treadwell has posted more ‘in progress’ images of Hauntsville 2020. They are on TVC ‘The Cave of the Dragons’ looks like a place I don’t want to go. 


. . . Dates of note: September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween; November 3, Election Day; November 11, Election Day; November 26, Thanksgiving Day


. . . Philippine Christmas Village Collectors Club 2020 Quarterly Newsletter - Volume No. 2, Issue No. 2 - 31 June 2020 –They mentioned JSYK May 14, 2020 and the NCC Club Connector. They said “being featured by these notable Articles is something special to our Club.” They concluded, “Thank you, Sir David Spears and NCC56.” Note: I enjoyed the ‘All Year Round versus Seasonal Christmas Village Set-up’ article by Andy G. Matula in this issue. 


. . . "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” - Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four.


. . . Kandi hasn’t been shopping since the first week in March – six months! She looked OK when we saw her last week, maybe just a little nervous.


. . . Two folks asked if it was OK to forward JSYK it to the other members of their clubs – The answer is yes! The more the betterer. Remember you can always find some past ‘columns’ on 


. . . Dept. 56 has ‘The History of Village Animation’ currently posted on their web site. It says “The very first ‘moving’ or animated accessory introduced by Department 56 was the ‘Animated Skating Pond’ back in 1994.” It was updated in 2007 by the ‘New Animated Skating Pond’ - still available today. You can read more at 


. . . Richard Puckett posted the following message August 31 on the NCC Facebook Page

“Happy Monday! May we please see a quick show of hands as to who on the NCC page does not formally belong to a local club? Please tell us where you live so that we can determine if we can connect you to a nearby club or help establish one. THANKS!” Richard is co-president of the National Council of 56 Clubs. Note: A good idea with a nice response. 


. . . The Village Collector webmaster Bill Channell has his new computer. He is very happy. You could ask him about it. You could . . . . 


. . . Thanks to all for reading ‘Just so you know!’ 







 Just so you know! . . . . August 29, 2020 

Ideas, hints and opinions 

By David Spears 


 . . . Retired Dept. 56 artist Lynn Maderich died August 19, 2020. She was a 20 year member of the design team. We met Lynn a couple of times. She was a nice lady, happy to answer questions and listen to ideas. Her first love was doing oil paintings of horses. Lynn exhibited at major equine events, won many awards and was in demand for commissioned portraits. Some of Lynn's favorite paintings were those where she could depict the horse and person together.


. . . Menard’s, Hermantown, MN, has Lemax Spooky Town, sort of, on the shelves. So far it’s kind of a mess. I noticed much new stuff (2020). We made three purchases: ‘Terrified Trick or Treaters,’ cute, costumed, girl and boy; ‘Witches Night Out,’ (below) they both have a very pleasant expression on their face - never thought I’d say that about a witch; ‘Shopping For Halloween,’ witch with a shopping cart filled with a black cat, a tombstone, and a broom. 



 . . . (See below) Mistress Helga certainly has her home in "Good Hands" as it is protected by Dragon Claw Security Systems. This image of Hauntsville Home Security was provided by Larry Treadwell. Hint: the dragon claw is green. 



. . . “I sat quietly with my own thoughts today. Remind me never to do that again.” 


. . . I never know what I’m going to learn when. I posted the image of our John Rapacz modified elf (below right) in my last JSYK. Then I received the image of the skier (below left) from Bill Channell. Both skiers were doing a Royal Christie. I’ve been told the move “can be tricky because you lift the ski that's on the outside of the turn, putting all your weight on the ski on the inside of the turn. (Just the opposite of the normal balance).” Who knew? Great job John! 



. . . Just as I was about to post the most recent JSYK, Linda reminded me of the ‘small,’ ornament size houses we recently found in a bin in our garage. You remember those, the ones that are in small ‘house shaped’ boxes. The piece I took out of the box said “Charles Dickens Heritage: The Grapes Inn 1996 Collectors Edition Ornament, Department 56.” Always thought it would be fun to make a display using the little houses. Now I’ll never do it – they’ve been moved to the location of our Village North/Essentia Health NICU fundraiser rummage sale. 


. . . Visited Fleet Farm, Hermantown, MN. Their Lemax Halloween (Spooky Town) is out. Not many accessories available, more were shown on their nicely done display. I like the name ‘Pumpkin Tilt-‘N’-Hurl,’ an animated accessory. I also looked (again) at the ‘Graveyard Party!’ (see below). I do like the chandelier. Not sure what this all means. I purchased nothing. Will make another visit hoping all will be available. 



. . . Seeing the Lemax ‘Crazy Clown Express’ at Fleet Farm reminded me, I can no longer say we don’t ‘do’ Halloween. Last fall we ‘did’ such a display for the first time. It was in our bay window. 


. . . Dept. 56 Village artist Scott Enter will guest on the September 3rd episode of Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers. Time, 4 p.m. CT. I understand they will talk about Christmas. 


. . . People call on the phone and not say who they are? We ask and they say “look at your caller ID.” We don’t have the service – just so you know! 


. . . I’m going to have to take a look at the ‘Union Station’ Dept. 56 Christmas In The City Collectors' Edition. I see a porter transporting baggage for a lady with a dog. They go in and out of the building. The picture was on the Dept. 56 Retirees web site. Hopefully a local friend has one I can look at in person. Size: 12.5 x 7.25 x 8.75 inches. We no longer have space for the moving train. However we have three plus Bachmann On30 trains. We can make a very busy 

rail yard. 



. . . ‘Santa is coming to Duluth’ – I found the book at the Village North rummage sale fundraiser. In it Santa distributes presents to children in Duluth; uses Santa-nav to find his way around; has a young reindeer who crunches carrots; references many locations in Duluth; he even gets stuck in the big Christmas tree at Bentleyville. Writer is Steve Smallman, illustrated by Robert Dunn. It will certainly be part of our Christmas decorations in coming years. 


. . . Is it time to ask, again – has anyone seen the Summer Issue of Village D-Lights? I did see the upside down Summer Issue cover on the National Council of 56 Clubs Facebook page, August 14th. 


. . . SuzyQ informed me Tesla says ‘Falcon Wing’ doors, not ‘Gullwing’ as I said in my last JSYK. I still don’t understand Falcon Wing doors for backseat passengers. 


. . . Lemax Dickensvale/1994 ‘Porcelain Saucers In The Snow Set of 3.’ Got them for fifty cents at our Village North rummage sale fundraiser. Not fancy, but a good size, colorful and we didn’t have them. A fun buy! Note: Their long ‘name’ was tough to fit in the log of what we have. 



. . . August 28 - National Bow Tie Day and National Red Wine Day; August 29 - National Hoyle Day.


. . . #NCCAugustVignette - “Back to School” is the theme for the August contest. Must be posted no later than midnight (PDT) August 31, 2020. Take a look on the Nat’l Council of 56 Clubs web page, Club Connection, for the rules. You must be a member of an NCC club to participate. Entries are already on – looking forward to seeing more before the deadline. 


. . . Dates of note: September 7, Labor Day; September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween; November 3, Election Day; November 11, Election Day; November 26, Thanksgiving Day


. . . Setzer Pharmacy and Gifts, Roseville, MN can use friends. The owner Jim Stage also owned Lloyds Pharmacy in St. Paul. It was burned down during the riots May 28. Setzer’s has a Dept. 56 section Linda and I have shopped. Everyone there was pleasant, helpful and insured we would return – which we have. If you are in the area, stop by and say ’Hi!’ They would appreciate your friendship and support. 


. . . Web master Bill Channell, of The Village Collector, will have a new computer very soon. He is truly excited – not sure what that means for us readers 😃 Keep your eyes open to see what he has in mind. 







Just so you know! . . . . August 20, 2020

Ideas, hints and opinions

By David Spears


. . . "Many of us wish we should do something to get Dept. 56 to introduce more sitting people. Clark suggested we have a "sit-in." I love it! - Village D-Lights, February 2006, JSYK. Note: I believe Dept. 56 brought us many more sitting people in recent years. 

. . . “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge 


. . . ‘Crazy Headstones’ – Lemax Spookytown 2020. I bought one at Michael’s (Linda says it was at least 30% off). The brightly colored clown ‘face’ on one of the headstones drew me in. Even if we never ‘do’ a Halloween display I wanted it. It belongs in my clown drawer. 



 . . . “California Job Case, en quad, em quad, movable type used in letterpress printing” – 

All words I don’t believe I’ve said since my eighth grade printing class. I wonder if those words were used inside ‘Tutbury Printer,’ Dickens’ Village, Dept. 56. If so, I may have to take a look around, maybe I can find one. It’s fun to have buildings that you have a history with - so I can talk about it. 



 . . . Dept. 56 Village artist Scott Enter will guest on the September 3rd episode of Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers. Time, 4 p.m. CT. I understand they will talk about Christmas. 


. . . No progress yet on our planned summer vignette. NCC Region VI Rep Tom I. visited our home. He will confirm the presence of the pieces necessary to construct a small display. It was all sitting right there on the living shelf below our Harry Potter display. 


. . . October 30, 1994 – Below, Linda and I were welcoming our guests. We held our wedding reception on the big dance floor at Grandma’s Sports Garden, Duluth, MN. Yes, Linda is wearing boots and me a cowboy hat. We taught country dancing at Grandma’s for over five years. 



. . . #NCCAugustVignette - “Back to School” is the theme for the August contest. Must be posted no later than midnight (PDT) August 31, 2020. Take a look on the Nat’l Council of 56 Clubs web page, Club Connection, for the rules. You must be a member of an NCC club to participate. The July contest was successful and the entries were fun to see. 


. . . Stopped at Hobby Lobby looking for Christmas stuff. They have their usual ten or twelve aisles of holiday decorations. Every year I can’t believe how many Christmas tree ornaments they offer for sale. So far no usable people for our villages. They did have a whole group of Nutcrackers – all sizes. And a few of those little people, ‘My Little Christmas.’ They are nice detail pieces for some displays. Also, again they have many unusually colored sisal trees (never found a use for them). Found some pretty angels that look like they belong (not sure where). I wonder its ‘legal,’ display-wise, to remove their wings. 



. . .“I need a new friend, the last one escaped.” 


. . . Is it time to ask, again – has anyone seen the Summer Issue of Village D-Lights


. . . Linda came home with a couple sheets of ‘Marble–Turquoise’ paper. To us it looks like rough seas in a vignette. Hobby Lobby sells it. #1443134, The Paper Studio. Note: We regularly use ‘Water,’ #565633, same company, along the shores in our displays. 


. . . I should say something about the pictures of Northern Lights members posing with masks. They were in the Club Connection, the National Council of 56 Clubs on-line newsletter – current issue. I didn’t recognize most of them. 


. . . Thanks Myrna, for the email. She wrote: “I remember meeting you and Linda at the Minneapolis Gathering years ago, and enjoying Linda's chocolate chip cookies.” OK, she also asked to be added to the address list for JSYK saying “I’ve been a fan for years.” Thanks again! We both appreciated your note. 


. . . Go to and then ‘Larry Treadwell’ to see the beginning of Hauntsville 2020. Remember, you can visit past years ‘stories’ when you are there. 


. . . August 11 – Linda and I both wore our “I voted” stickers – just so you know! 


. . . There will be no Dept. 56 Village mid-year brochures this year. Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers, explained “. . . there simply wasn’t enough time to get a brochure laid out, to the printer and to our retailers this summer . . .” No Snowbabies brochure either. Remember all 2020 intros can be seen on the Dept. 56 web site. 


. . . Seasons of Michigan Gathering, September 16-19, 2010 – Below is our display that shared the People’s Choice Award at the event. Note: Can you see the people waiting in line at the three outhouses? 



. . . CountryNMoreGifts has Dept. 56 package deals on their website. They offer all 2020 Dickens’ Village Houses & Accessories, Set of 10, $831.00; or all 2020 Christmas In The City, Set of 12, $755.00; or all 2020 New England, Set of 10, $483.00. Search: Value Sets, name of the village. I mention this because I don’t remember ever seeing a ‘package deal’ like this before. Where is Tea, SD? 


. . . Mary Z. read my words and shared the image below – very nice! Looks like a garden of friendly Gnomes to me. I’ve shared it with Linda. Remember, she thinks Gnomes are mean. - Thanks to Mary for the picture. 



. . . Nine animated dancers, thirty-seven people in the audience. It was the audience size that drew my attention. We always prefer a group watching performances in our displays, this piece provides it. The Carole Towne Lemax Christmas Village Animated ‘Nutcracker Suite Opera’ may not be great in detail, but looks fun and busy - I like that. Where did I see it? On-line on The Village Collector, Village Videos, Projectbuddy 12-2019, Christmas Village and Carnival Display 4:44 on the timer. Yes, that’s a long way to the location (and might make Bill happy). Otherwise this should work, It’s large, approx 15” x 12.2” x 13.4.” It plays eight songs of the season and has LED lighting.


. . . “I confirm receipt of your transmission” Below is a ‘QSL card’ telling folks you spoke, over the air, with WBØZAH - that would be me. I took the photo on the bayside of the Aerial Bridge entry to the Duluth, Minnesota harbor. Note: Still have my Amateur Radio Operator License, but have moved onto different hobbies. 



. . . I, well my computer (Juno), lost all emails and addresses, sent/received May 8 thru August 14, 2020. If I haven’t responded to an email you’d better try again. If you received this JSYK from me, you are safely on my address list. Trying to remedy the problem - obviously no good fix yet. 


. . . I opened a USPS package from John Rapacz - there I was (see below). The sign I’m holding says “David & Linda Spears Annual Open House.” It has to be me, no hair and wearing glasses. I also have two friends in the package – elves on skies. They are/were Dept. 56 ‘Elves On Ice.’ Both skaters heavily modified by John to be skiers. One even has one ski on the ground and the other in the air. Note: I was originally a Lemax photographer. 



. . . Thanks to all who comment and ask me questions. You are sometimes the reason why I write a paragraph or two ‘out of the blue.’ Someone asks me and I didn’t refer to the question in my answer. Usually means I forgot. ????? 


. . . “No matter the question, the answer is ALWAYS pizza ” 


. . . Saw on The Village Collector web site:” My name is Lucy and I write the Paper Glitter Glue blog for making paper crafts and occasionally other stuff. My favorite thing to make is little cardboard houses, also called glitter houses or Putz Houses.” Her site is: She plans to begin sharing information on TVC in September. I sent her a quick welcome and quickly received a nice reply – just so you know! 


. . . “My circle is so small, I started talking to myself.” 


. . . Gullwing doors for the rear seat passengers. I’d never seen that before. The owners were loading groceries at our neighborhood shopping center. I discovered it was a new Tesla 4- door. It was unique - not sure I understand why they did it. 


. . . Thanks to those who wished Linda a Happy Birthday. It was my honor to pass along your greetings. Note: I did hint three times.  :)


. . . Remember, our Village North Collectors Club is conducting a rummage sale in the garage of club members Gail and Jeff. The dates are: August 28, Friday; August 29, Saturday. Essentia Health-St. Mary’s NICU will receive the proceeds from of the fundraiser. Further information needed - let me know. 


. . . Dates of note: September 7, Labor Day; September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween 


. . . “Jagerndorfer - Fisser Vlieger 4 Pers” - I attempted to look up/translate those words after seeing them on the Luville web site. For some reason my ‘system’ didn’t work.


. . . Lemon cake cookies are covered with powdered sugar. Gerry ‘showed’ us. Linda made the cookies.


. . . I can now scan items from the printer to the computer - thanks to my brother Charlie. I even make a checklist so I can do it again, and again . . . . 


. . . August 20 – National Radio Day and National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day . . . August 21 – National Spumoni Day and National Senior Citizens Day.


. . . Village artist Paul Lundberg has designed 286 pieces for Dept. 56. I heard it August 20th on Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town. Paul was Melinda Seegers’ guest. 







Just so you know! . . . . August 7, 2020 

Ideas, hints and opinions 

By David Spears 



. . . Ooops, I misnamed an accessory mentioned in the last JSYK. The sign featured on the accessory says 'Jack's Pumpkin Patch' that's what I wrote. Dept. 56 calls it the 'Snow Village Harvest Animated Pumpkin Patch' thanks to Cindee for noticing. There’s another 2020 accessory to add to my confusion. It’s called 'Patty's Pumpkin Patch.'


. . . If you need more ‘snowball kids,’ how about the Coca Cola Town Square ‘Boys Are Boys.’ I found the image (below) while wandering about the Internet trying to ID a couple of Coke items we possess. Now I’m thinking we might have the ‘boys’ – somewhere? 



 . . . Has anyone found Halloween village items at stores other than Michael’s, i.e., Fleet Farm, Savers, Walmart, Dept. 56 dealers or ????? Please let me know so I can take a look (and pass the word). 


. . .Before you blame a clown for acting like a clown, ask yourself why you keep going to the circus.” Saw online 


. . . I’d say the recent Vignette Contest, sponsored by The National Council of 56 Clubs, was a success. The ‘Favorite Pastime’ theme drew a nice selection of entrants. Some names I didn’t recognize – that’s a good thing. Linda Roberts, of the Queen City Villagers Club, was the winner with her vignette, ‘The Antiques Roadshow comes to the Heritage Museum of Art.’ Go on Facebook, Search Facebook, type in #nccjulyvignette. You will be able to see the entrants. Dept. 56, Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers, will provide a prize to the winner. Note: The NCC will have another vignette contest very soon. 


. . . Should I be trying to do this column on a regular basis, maybe once/twice per month, or simply when it happens, or? Any suggestions on subject matter would also be appreciated. 


. . . Linda and I conducted seminars at the Minnesota Gatherings in 2002 and 2008, Green Bay 2006, Chicago 2012, Connecticut 2013 and California in 2015. There was always a good audience and we learned a lot


. . . Email I received from Larry Treadwell, July 27, 2020: “Now, just so you know :-) My order of styrofoam should arrive via fed ex today and therefore, when my paints arrive from Michaels I will begin building Hauntsville for 2020.” Find Larry Treadwell at: to visit Hauntsville from past years. He is an excellent photographer and a fun story teller. Linda and I look forward to another visit. Last year he ended the story: “Tonight I have been granted a special honor by the citizens of Hauntsville. For telling their story for so many years I am going to be allowed to ride the great Green Dragon Smokefang and become a dragonrider. Old Smoky looks like he is ready, so I don't want to keep him waiting.” See below 



. . . The Lemax Collectors Club web site mentions a video showing a new feature - smoke. Smoke is coming from the chimneys of the ‘Chestnut Cabin’ and ‘Thicket Falls Cabin.’ Both are new for 2020 (see below). I took a look at the smoke, not very impressive. Looks more like steam, under pressure, coming out of a hole. None of the ‘puff’ I would expect from smoke. Don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself. I do like the color and detail of both cabins. Note: No smoke is coming the chimneys below – just so you know! 




. . . No progress yet on our planned summer vignette. Yes I know, this is August. Things don’t always work out as we would like. 


. . . Is it time for me to ask – has anyone seen the Summer Issue of Village D-Lights


. . . Linda made ‘Hagrid's Hut,’ and the trees, pictured in our display below. Young visitors to our home informed me Rubeus Hagrid is from Harry Potter. Apparently that’s Hagrid in the picture. 





. . . ‘Epping Coach?’ I’m pretty sure Dept. 56 introduced it as the Dickens’ Village ‘Holiday Coach.’ But I saw the Epping Coach on The Village Collector as a heading to ‘The Weekly.’ The Weekly tells us what’s happening in the village world. Bill, the webmaster, updates it every Monday. Traveling through our village, below, is our Holiday Coach. I believe it’s in the ‘high rent’ district. 



. . . ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ the Disney Tim Burton’s movie – This Halloween Tabletop Tree Collection is not my thing, but I have seen several folks make good use of them. The handcrafted 3-foot, pre-lit tree has character ornaments, lighted sculptures, figurines, topper and free tree skirt. It’s from Hawthorne Village. Remember, it’s called ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ Image on the web site. 


. . . I might look like I’m doing nothing, but in my head I’m quite busy. 


. . . Black is the color for Halloween! Or at least Dept. 56 thinks so. This year they added the ‘Kettle Black Sisals’ (2 pieces) and the tall ‘Haunted Pines.’ ‘Kettle Black Sisals’ (3 pieces) were introduced last year. Kettle Black Sisal Hedge’ is also available. Do we now require a selection of black trees at our house? By the way, I think Kettle Black is a good name for the color. 



. . . Good, fresh wax beans and cucumbers with supper this evening (August 3rd). They came from Linda’s ‘garden.’ She grows veggies in large black pots in front of our garage. 


. . . ‘Santa’s Ski Accident,’ looks like a broken right ankle. Never thought I’d see it. Would it be OK to say it would make a nice addition to our ‘ever larger’ ski hill display? The rescue team and stretcher do look foreign, but I’ll bet no one notices. Luville Maybe a ‘different’ addition to a Santa Claus collection. 



. . . I’ve confirmed Dept. 56 Retirees website/business is being run by the McGowan's daughter, Pam McGowan Ladetto, 8915 Grove Park Drive, Oak Ridge, NC. 27310 - (248) 882-1208 or Pam says they are currently having a 20% off Halloween sale – take a look. 


. . . Holidays: August 17, Linda’s Birthday; September 7, Labor Day; September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween.


. . . I like the interaction between the kids (below). The ad says “This man and woman bounce their children on their knees . . . “. They’re all dressed for it, but I’m still not sure sitting on a park bench in winter is fun. The ‘A Day At the Park’ accessory is from Lemax



. . . ‘The Ringmaster’ (below) is very nice looking. He “looks dapper in his red tuxedo, white pants, and black boots and top hat.” It sure seems he knows what he’s doing. I’m going to have to take a close look at our current version and see if he could/should be replaced. W x H x D - 2.17 x 3.07 x 1.18 inches. From Lemax. Found him on 



. . . Our Village North Collectors Club is conducting a rummage sale in the garage of club members Gail and Jeff. The dates are: August 28, Friday; August 29, Saturday. Essentia Health-St. Mary’s NICU will receive the proceeds of the fundraiser. Further information needed - let me know. 


. . . Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town, August 6, 2020 – Melinda Seegers choose ‘easy’ vignette ideas as her subject. She used a box, wreath, lantern, cake stand, slab of wood, smaller lantern and a tray as the base(s). There were two houses, a variety of accessories, and a number of trees available for her to use. It was very helpful as she gave the size of the different bases as she used them. Also building the vignettes on a turntable worked well. It made it easy for her to put things together while facing her. Then she turned it around so we could see it ‘on camera.’ Oh yes, she also prefers to use cotton as her ‘base snow.’ No date/subject given for her next Facebook Live. - Don’t’ forget the Dept. 56 Halloween Vignette contest – deadline Sept 15. 


. . . We all know the TCA Jacksonville Gathering was cancelled – Covid 19. The North Florida Village Collectors Club had collected many houses and accessories to use as prizes and auction items. They have decided to sell these items on eBay - all funds going to the Nemours Children's Hospital. The link below gives you a start on what will be available. - You can donate directly to the charity (on behalf of the North Florida Village Collectors Club): Nemours Children's Hospital, Attn: Brittany Fowler, Development Assistant, 807 Children's Way, Jacksonville, FL 32207 


. . .‘The Lindy Hop’ and ‘The Savoy Ballroom’ (image below) – I was taking a look back at the 2020 Dept. 56 intros and the dancers attracted my attention (again). Then I noticed the ballroom. I liked the large, red marquee. The words included: “The World’s Finest Ballroom” and “Lindy Hop Contest Every Saturday Night.” The large marquee over the sidewalk would be a nice addition to our Christmas In The City displays. Remember, I always look at dance couples. Note: I wasn’t sure; I had to confirm the name marquee. It is defined as: A permanent canopy over the entrance of the theater where the name of the show (and sometimes the stars) is displayed. 



. . . August 7 is ‘International Beer Day’ and ‘National Lighthouse Day.’ August 8 is Peace Festival in Augsburg’ and ‘International Cat Day’ (in case I get this out tomorrow).


. . . Just as I was about to post this JSYK, Linda reminded me of the ‘small,’ ornament size houses, we recently found in a bin in our garage. You know, the ones that are in small ‘house shaped’ boxes. I was going to say something about them, how I can’t even find what they are called. It’ll have to be next time. 


. . . Still missing the use of the Dept. 56 Village Sounds Cassette Tape - "A collection of nostalgic sounds from the past to make your village come to life." We have to find a way to utilize the tape even if the sounds don’t match all the displays in the room. 








 Just so you know! . . . . July 26, 2020 

Ideas, hints and opinions 

By David Spears 




 . . . It must be been my card, my name is on it. A Department 56 Heritage Village Collection  VISA Platinum Card - expired 09/02. The front of the card is a picture of a village display. I wonder if I ever used the card. 




 . . . Repeat question: Dept 56 Retirees – what can anyone tell me about them. Their ad exists on the National Council of 56 Clubs web site. Their own web site is still online. Am I missing something, I haven’t heard from Harry & June McGowan for a long time. Note: No reply to my recent email questions to them. 





. . . I was asked, so here's the answer: My column, 'Just so you know!' appeared in each issue of Village D-Lights from 2004 to Fall 2016. My words were on the 'MN 56 Clubs' web site even before than that. 'The Village Collector' has been kind enough provide a spot for what I say, most of the time, since 2017. My thanks to Editor Linda Kruger, and webmasters Dave Erickson and Bill Channell. - More than you wanted to know? 




. . . I have gnomes in our gardens now (outside/summer). She is very particular when I place my gnomes – says they are mean. Linda doesn't want them near her garden fairies. Maybe I can get gnomes for our winter (inside) displays. No garden fairies inside. Lemax has assisted me with ‘Christmas Garden Gnomes.’ The three piece set, was introduced for 2020. 1.25 inches tall. Note: In case you are familiar with them, these do not look like the Lemax Spooky Town ‘Zombie Garden Gnomes’ – these look friendly, not scary. 





. . . Lemax 2020 Spooky Town is at Michael's – it’s still July right? Our local store has the larger items out on their display. The scary people, and smaller accessories, were there but in packages hanging on the display. The Lemax Michael's Exclusives (houses) are: ‘Hideous Harry’s Toy Factory,’ ‘Black Raven Manor,’ ‘Zombie Jazz Café,’ and ‘Jack’s Pumpkin Farm.’ Remember, we have no Halloween displays at our house. For some reason I like the colors of the café. For all from Michael’s: Note: The usual Michael’s web sites made it tough for me to copy images of the above, so I didn’t do any - maybe later. 



 . . . Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town, Thursday, July 23. The subject of most of Melinda Seegers conversation was Dept. 56 village animation. I discovered we have a first Dept. 56 animated piece, the ‘Animated Skating Pond.’ It was introduced in 1994. Included were four/five skaters plus a snowman and a dog. The last two are on the snowbank. It’s pretty large, but it still works fine. 


. . . Holidays: Aug 17, Linda’s Birthday; Sept 7, Labor Day; Sept 22, Autumn begins; Oct 31, Halloween; Nov 11, Veterans Day; and Nov 26, Thanksgiving



. . . Looking for Retired Dept. 56 Products? Try: It says “new” on the site and it shows a goodly amount of stuff – take a look. Shown are: ‘Original Snow Village,’ ‘Dickens’ Village,’ ‘North Pole Village’ and ‘Snowbabies’ - Note: It’s on the Dept. 56 web site. 




. . . Dept. 56 Gift Cards have been added to their web site. Right now they are offering 10% off when you buy the card. This is all on-line, you will not receive, or send, a ‘real’ card. Look on the Dept. 56 web site for details. 


. . . Take a look at the video of ‘Jack’s Pumpkin Patch.’ The animation has interesting movement. The little boy is pushing his choice of pumpkins, his sister is still thinking about hers. The gray flat surface, and ‘fall colored’ base, gives the piece a nice look. It’s a Department 56 Halloween Village 2020 introduction. 


. . . I have three notes that all say something like: “London Skating Club; belt with magnets; very popular.” Now that I think about it, Melinda Seegers said those words on Dept. 56 Facebook Live. I should be looking at ordering one of those ‘belts with magnets’ for our London Skating Club.


. . . July 26th is ‘National All or Nothing Day.’ It allows you to throw caution to the wind and go for broke. 


. . . Linda walked by my monitor and said “I like that!” (see below) This was a combo ‘Christmas In The City’ display: Dept. 56 buildings and accessories; Holiday Time people and one of Linda’s calendar ‘finds’ as the background. It looked good in person too. 



. . . ‘Hideous Harry’s Toy Factory’ - The colors clash wonderfully and it just isn’t good looking. I’m thinking this Lemax Spooky Town 2020 introduction would work in a carnival. I didn’t note the price, but I do know the ‘houses’ are getting more expensive each year – even with coupons and a ‘percent off.’ All of our Michael’s Lemax purchases the past few years have been ‘end of season,’ or even the display pieces. 



. . . Thanks to all who comment, question or reply on/to JSYK – I appreciate every word. 



. . . I saw on TV that some of the Beefeaters are going to be laid off. Those are the folks who guard the Tower of London. I’ve discovered our Dept. 56 Dickens’ ‘Yeoman of the Guard’ aren’t the same ‘people.’ However, we are going to make sure our version will all ‘work’ in our display this year anyway. Gotta help out when we can. Their actual title is: ‘Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary.’ There are 37 Yeomen Warders and one Chief Warder. All must have honorably retired from the British military with at least 22 years of service. 


. . . Have I mentioned Linda has shared a new talent with me – she is now cutting my hair. It doesn’t take long. 



. . . Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers – next date, Thursday, August 6th, 4 p.m. No subject given. 


. . . No ‘work’ on our planned summer village display. Pieces are still sitting on the shelf over there – he says pointing toward the kitchen door. 


. . . Department 56 had a recent ad on Facebook. “College Park Airport in Maryland is the oldest US airport that is still in operation today. It was established in 1909 as a training field for the Wright brothers.” I know its Snow Village, maybe the ‘Blue Skies Airport’ will work in a vignette. I’ve always liked airplanes and we have several (village size). It could use a place to park them. The ad continues “Recognizing the history of smaller regional airports, Blue Skies pays tribute to small plane pilots and hobbyists.” My connection to planes: My uncle and aunt ran a small regional airport; I retired from MN Air National Guard after 34 years (not as a pilot); Cirrus Aircraft has a manufacturing facility in Duluth. 


. . . I did a quick search of our "Under the NCC Umbrella" selection: We have the March 2000, yellow color, California Gold Gathering, Irvine, CA; June 2000, green color, TGIF, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Red color, Int’l Collectible Exposition, Rosemont, IL; March 2001 blue color, MAVG, Williamsburg, VA; August 2001, silver color, Dept. 56 Silver Anniversary Celebration, St. Paul, MN. Linda and I were only able to attend the ‘local’ event. Friends, and the NCC, helped us with the rest of them. Note: Now I have to find our ‘blue’ version. 


. . . I’ve seen mention of ‘TVC Christmas Village Collectors ‘Village Fest 2022’ A Gathering. Bill has a ‘tease,’ with a fancy logo, on his web site. Now you know as much as I do (or more) 








Just so you know! . . . . July 14, 2020

Ideas, hints and opinions

by David Spears


 . . . Dept. 56 2020 Midyear Village releases: Comments, some images, somewhere below. Thanks to SuzyQ for pointing me in the right direction. 


. . . Have you ever ridden/driven a Segway? I always liked the concept of the two-wheeled personal transporter. I did get to use one several times – it was a lot of fun. The company has quit producing them – just so you know! Note: I never bought one (or even thought seriously about it :). 


. . . Well, it was Ms. Lit Town, Melinda Seegers, who hosted the June 25th Dept. 56 Facebook Live. After ten weeks I was wondering who it would be. She spoke mostly about the 2020 Midyear intros. My note says they are scheduled to arrive in late summer. 


. . . The theme/title for the Dept. 56 2020 Village Midyears Gift Sets is ‘Building Christmas Cheer.’ I understand it means building a snowman. Each of the three sets has a snowman featured accessory. The Snow Village version has a black silk hat, and a young boy sharing his green scarf; Dickens’ Village snowman is not made of big snowballs. Also has a woolen cap and a straw broom; Building the North Pole snowman was a test. Take a look; I don’t think the elf who built it is getting a passing grade. Sets, including building, accessory, sisal tree and bag of snow, are $99. 


. . . Dept. 56 Mid-Year 2020 Village Introductions: Snow Village, ‘Building Christmas Cheer’ Dickens’ Village, ‘Building Christmas Cheer’ North Pole Village, ‘Building Christmas Cheer’ Snow Village Halloween ‘Red’s Roach Coach,’ ‘You Are What You Eat,’ ‘Rat-Catcher,’ ‘Rest In Peace, 2020’ Alpine Village, ‘Christmas Market, Wine Booth.'


. . . "Santa's elves at the North Pole have just opened a new academy just for the Snowman building! Filled with all the different types of supplies, here, the elves can share new innovations, all while practicing their latest design techniques." That's the Dept. 56 description of the North Pole Village 2020 Mid-Year release 'Building Christmas Cheer.'




. . . I was reminded of the dates for mailing for future Village D-Lights. The Summer issue is scheduled for July 30. Others are October 15 for Fall, December 31 for Winter and May 15 for Spring. Have no idea if that is still the case or not. 


. . . Essentia Health plans to open a Ronald McDonald House in Duluth. It is expected to be available late fall. The location will be on the 4th floor, the Fifth Avenue Building (of the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center). It will have five bedrooms, a full kitchen, family room, laundry and pantry. Our Village North Collectors Club has been supporting Ronald McDonald for many years. Our current fundraisers are an annual garage sale and collection of pop tabs.


. . . ‘The Village Collector’ web site: Since start-up on May 20, 2017, visitors from 122 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and 10 Canadian provinces. 


. . . My doctor asked if anyone in my family was suffering from mental illness. I said; “no, we all seem to enjoy it.” Saw on Facebook 


. . . Not sure what warm spice mulled wine tastes like, but I understand it’s called Glühwein. Linda enjoys an occasional glass of wine and I like our Alpine Christmas Market so we’ll have to see (what happens). We have a friend with a wine vignette display. We have shared a picture of this 2020 Dept. 56 Mid-Year intro for Alpine Village, ‘Christmas Market, Wine Booth’ with her. A mug of wine is being served by the waitress accessory. Note: The Christmas Market Booths were introduced in 2008. We have three of them.



. . . A Department 56 Vignette Display Contest was introduced June 25 on Facebook Live with Ms. Lit Town. We are asked to submit images of a small Halloween display (we make). Entries must be submitted by September 15. The vignettes will be judged by in-house village artists Paul Lundberg, Scott Enter, Tom Bates and Creative Director Rick Jackson. Winners will be announced on Facebook Live in October. The grand prize winners will receive a signed Halloween piece. Details are available at: 


. . . Several folks have contacted me saying the new Village D-Tails supplement has arrived. Most seem to be OK with the content. All mentioned the holes for placement in the books are not exactly in the same place (as past versions). Note: They did say the pages fit in the books. I have not yet received mine. I emailed the publisher to make sure all was well with my order. No so far. 



. . . ‘The Tin Can,’ is a Lemax 2020 introduction (see below). We have a fairly large Dept. 56 and Lemax carnival display - lots of animated rides and a fun midway. We enjoy the carnival (and so do many of our visitors). Maybe we can use one more ‘place to play.’ 




. . . July 9, 4:00 p.m. CST next Facebook Live – Watched the episode, Ms. Lit Town said planned ‘animation’ will be next time


. . . I was reminded what took place the first time Linda helped with a village display. She had to convince me the streets didn’t have to be straight. Nor did every house need a driveway. I believed her, but I was a slow learner. Note: I had only fourteen buildings at the time: Eleven Coca Cola and three Dept. 56. This had to be over 25 years ago. 


. . . Happened to wear a Dept. 56 T-shirt to work in the yard/gardens. Not sure if we got it during our first visit to Dept. 56 at 1 Village Place, or at a gathering. The shirts must have been co-sponsored by VISA. 


. . . Sure looks like no 2020 Lemax American this summer. Nothing on the Michael’s web site (or any of the Lemax sites). As I’ve said, we need a couple more ‘things’ for our summer vignette. Hopefully next year. 


. . . What so you think, would it be OK to use the ‘Victorian Show Jumping’ with ‘The Steeplechase?’ I know they are participating in different equestrian events, but they are all on horseback (and jumping over hedges). OK, after saying it out loud it didn’t sound, well let’s say, very sensible. Maybe I’ll use them in different locations in a vignette. I could also add the ‘Polo Players’ to make an entire ‘horse’ scene. All are Dept. 56 Dickens’ Village. 





. . . The Village Phone Book, second edition, was released in 1995. For some reason I’d never heard of it (‘til Bill Channell mentioned it). 324 pages, info on 4000 dealers and hundreds of collector clubs. Published by New Jersey's Gina Stevenson. Back in The Golden age of Villaging, Bill and Kathy (his lovely wife) took the book with them on every road trip. They even planned a few weekends around how many dealer display they could check off. It quickly became their most used Dept. 56 resource. Bill was kind enough to provide the image of their Village Phone Book (below). 








. . . Bill got me thinking about the ‘Golden Age of Villaging.’ Not sure when I acquired my first village piece, a Cavanagh Coca-Cola building. But I know the beginning of our Village North club was 1996; we attended the Bachmann Gathering (1999); the Dept. 56 25th Anniversary event (2001); and visiting Dept. 56 HQ in Eden Prairie (2009). Note that all were in Minnesota and only 150 miles from home. Let’s see what else, Lake Minnetonka luncheon cruise with the other Minnesota 56 clubs; 2002 Minnesota Gathering; I guess that’s enough thinking of the past . . . . for now. 






. . . No open garden party in our yard this year – very disappointing (for us). 


. . . In an earlier JSYK, I mentioned I liked the two children who move around the yard. They are part of the, new for 2020, ‘Building a Snowman.’ Ms. Lit Town said today the kids have been ordered by Dept. 56 to be available as replacement parts. I don’t think I need to have them move, but they are cute kids collecting ‘stuff’ to build a snowman. That makes them a possible purchase. 


. . . Holidays: August 17, Linda’s Birthday; September 7, Labor Day; September 22, Autumn begins; and October 31, Halloween