Just so you know!
By  David Spears
Village North Collectors Club
Duluth, MN/Superior, WI

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Village D-Tails 4th Edition
 Snapshot From Lorna Freeze

March 17, 2017

March 20, 2017

March 27, 2017

April 3, 2017

April 7, 2017

April 14, 2017

April 24, 2017

April 29, 2017

May 3, 3017

May 13, 2017

May 17, 2017

May 21, 2017

May 23, 2017

May 28, 2017

June 5, 2017

June 25, 2017

July 7, 2017

July 17, 2017

Just so you know! March 13, 2017
Thanks to those who responded to my response request. Did I say that good? You know who you are.

The clock doesn’t say “5 to 6.” Can that be correct? I thought it was a rule all Dept. 56 clocks must be set at five fifty-five. We ordered “Commemorating Our Anniversary.” It’s a couple carrying a silver anniversary clock and an umbrella. It compliments previous NCC/Dept. 56 accessories. This is one of the exclusives for the National Council of Clubs Silver Rush 25th Anniversary Gathering. I mention all this because the photo of the piece shows the time as ‘two minutes to five.’ What am I missing, “2 to 5” - “2 to 5.” 25th anniversary!! Am I slow or what – no response necessary. –http://ncc56.com/NCC25/NCC25ExclusivePieces.shtml Image is on the bottom of the page on this link. Note: The large “NCC 25th Anniversary Clock” on the right is set at “5 to 6.”

‘Our Mini Things’ keeps ‘feeding/filling’ two small vignettes we like to place in our displays. The 2-1/8" high resin elf by Lemax™ “carries his palette and brush everywhere as his services are indispensable throughout the North Pole.” We frequently feature a small group of artists painting. We can always add a new, and different, artist. I also saw a copy of a “Millet painting depicting peasants reaping grain” Wood frame, 2" x 1 ¾. Maybe it could go with our ‘Stillwater Collectibles & Antiques,’ ‘Architectural Antiques,’ or ‘Heritage Museum of Art.’ It might not be ‘art collector’ correct, but it is our display. http://ourminithings.com

 “...like a letter from an old friend...  “That’s how she feels reading ‘Just so you know!’ My sincere thanks to Lorna Freeze, editor of the ‘Front Porch’ - newsletter of the Village Idiots Dept. 56 club of Oregon and SW Washington. I received a very nice mention in the March issue. It includes the link: www.minnesota56clubs.com/notes.htm

I read that, by law, you have to turn on your headlights when it’s raining in Sweden. How the hell am I supposed to know if it’s raining in Sweden?

Correction :As members of the Village North Collectors Club, we just received the new NCC Club Connection (not Collection).If you’re a member of an NCC club, take a look. The rules say I can’t share the link.

Jean Lawnsdale - Linda and I met her in St. Paul, 2001. We were at the 25th Dept. 56 25th Anniversary celebration. She’d planned on selling her miniatures at the event. The company was sponsoring the event - they did not allow non-Dept. 56 selling in the Civic Center. The ‘market place’ sellers moved to a nearby hotel. We were there with Jean, and her husband, when they received a call - the vehicle with her ‘stuff’ was out front. Being a gentleman, I offered to help bring things in. Do you have an idea how many miniatures you can carry on a single two-wheeled cart? All I did was push the elevator button (and open a door). We made several purchases then (and many more since). Lottie Mae Clindedinst, her sister, is the present builder/owner of ‘Our Mini Things.’  http://ourminithings.com   

Just so you know! March 10, 2017
Please let me know if you receive this email. The computer is driving me nuts. I’m even having to confirm email addresses. Thanks!

We haven’t yet begun to disassemble our village – just so you know!

The next Village North Collectors Club meeting is March 15, 5:30 P.M. at Vintage Italian Pizza, Tower Avenue in Superior, WI.

“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.” – Will Rogers

I see the National Council of Clubs has added pictures of past NCC Presidents to their web site. I'd forgotten the first two 'presidents' were really co-president couples. http://ncc56.com/NCCPresidents.shtml

Just so you know! March 8, 2017
‘Volcano,’ ‘Come Monday,’ and ‘Margaritaville’ – an instrumental version of one of these songs is played by each of the three houses in the new Dept. 56 Margaritaville (village). They also offer three accessories (people) to add life to the very colorful pieces. I’m wondering if the ‘Rocking Away in Margaritaville’ guitar player will work in our Southwest vignette (or maybe even our 50’s display).  If you have an opinion to share, I’d be interested. I’ve been to Key West, but I’ve never met Jimmy Buffett – just so you know!

We (Linda) purchased the ‘Roasted Ox.’ It’s a retired house from Dept. 56 Dickens’ Village, Frost Fair collection. It has a unique shape and is very colorful. We feel it will look right at home in our Alpine Village. Frost Fair is a grouping that portrays a winter carnival held at the Thames River. Never even looked at it before. As a retired piece, it was 60% off at Bloomington Drug.

Two year old Sean came to our home to see our village. Liked looking around – really enjoyed our carnival. He was very well behaved and seemed to like us. He even told his father that I looked like a grandpa. We’ve seen him a half dozen times since his visit. He always runs over and wants to play. Ran into him, with his dad, yesterday. I was wearing my post surgery black eye patch. He wanted nothing to do with me. Young friends are hard to keep.

As members of the Village North Collectors Club, we just received the new NCC Club Collection. If you’re a member of an NCC club, take a look. The rules say I can’t share the link.

Reminder, our next Village North meeting is March 15, 5:30 P.M. at VIP in Superior, WI.

Just so you know! March 4, 2017
We proved it - again! Stopped at Bloomington Drug. Our purpose was to visit Gift Manager Lynn Johnson (and purchase the 2017 Dept. 56 Village brochure). We left with six accessories and a house. A couple of the items we hadn't even noticed in past brochures. For us it's a big deal to see things 'in person.' Not having a local dealer saves money for us. Probably not so good for Dept. 56. It's 167 miles from Duluth to Bloomington, MN - just so you know! 60% off retired items was very nice as well. A special thanks to Kathy B.

Linda and I were ‘lucky’ to be part of a credit card problem. We used our card at a national fast food restaurant chain that had been hacked. As a precaution, it was strongly suggested we get new cards – they came today. Can you imagine, we spent three days in the Twin Cities –without our credit cards.

Waiting for dates and locations for Chicago 2018 and Ohio 2019 gatherings. Linda and I look forward to participating at at least one. (at at??)

Linda thinks the gentleman on the ‘an evening stroll’ package looks Oriental. He doesn’t look that way ‘in person.’ Something about the eyes. It’s a Dept. 56 Dickens’ Village accessory.

Just so you know! February 22, 2017
Tom Bates, Ann Dezendorf, Scott Enter, and Paul Lundberg are the Dept. 56 artists expected at the NCC Silver Rush 25th Anniversary Gathering. Melinda Seegers will be there as well.

Yep it's time to make that annual trip to Brighton!!! Larry Treadwell has us arrive this time by ship. http://thecaveonline.com/DickensVillage2016/DickensChristmas2016.html In case you haven’t visited Brighton before, the pictures tell a story and the words are entertaining (and fun).

One of the best little galleries I’ve ever seen – ‘Art of the Planet,’ 1413 Tower Ave., Superior, WI. A very nice collection of over 100 artists work, very nicely shown with friendly owner. It shares space with ‘Wine Beginnings.’ Yes, they offer wine tasting.

Our computer is acting up. My address book is one of the places I can’t get to. That means I have to individually look up each address in my back-up file. It takes a while to do that. If you want to be sure I have your address available, please let me know.

Just so you know! February 20, 2017
2017 Lemax. For some reason, we like people who are sitting. New this year are:
‘Reading Morning Papers’ and ‘Chatting with old Friends’. We have plenty of benches to fill. Also looking at ‘Pawn Shop Treasurers’. It’s a man pulling a red wagon full of ‘special items.’ Looks to me like it would go with the Dept. 56 CIC ‘Architectural Antiques.’ I’ve long enjoyed chalk artists. Now Lemax has the ‘Sidewalk Chalk Artist’. He’s doing a Santa Claus face.

‘You Can’t Take It with You’ – a friend offered us the tickets for a performance at The Duluth Playhouse. It was a fun evening - our thanks to another Linda.

John Rapacz has a ‘how to’ article in the Apr/May 2017 issue of O Gauge Railroading. I’ll bet it’s the same gentleman that made our big ski jump, fireplace chimney, and special “Duluth, Home of the World Famous Spears Auto Museum” sign. We use them all the time in our displays.

I noticed that the NCC Silver Rush 25th Anniversary Gathering has added a map to its web site. It shows the states people are coming from (so far) for the event. I like the idea. We had a similar map in the Hospitality Room at a Minnesota gathering. Wish we would have thought to post it, in advance, on a web site.

Just so you know! February 13, 2017
Thinking about building a vignette to place in our gardens this summer. Maybe sealed inside an aquarium - not sure yet. Have no idea what it would be. North Pole, something summer, still thinking. Any ideas?

I can hardly wait - soon it will be time to take down our Christmas village. O'boy?! Like most folks, I enjoy 'putting up' a lot more than 'taking down.'

Received a flying dinosaur from a very young Bentley. His sister gave me a Valentine sucker. Both came with warm hugs. We were at the Miller Hill Mall this morning and so were a whole lot of other kids (moms were exercising).

Dept. 56 Simple Traditions Pine Isles "Sunday Stroll" are my favorite 'people.' Or, it could be Dept. 56 Simple Traditions Pine Isles "One More Portage." Found both sets at Kohl's in 2002. As a matter of fact, I/we liked all of the people from that line. We have most of them.

Mike and Lani's hot tub contained some wonderful New York lights this year. To be correct, it was a large Christmas in the City display. It looked really great. Hope that comes across in the picture.

Our friend John makes some very interesting wooden trees. Several are made from a large Caracagana Hedge right out there in our yard. We have a collection to use in displays - we like to keep things local when we can. Contact woodenboot@msn.com for information.

Just so you know! February 12, 2017
February 15th, 5:30 p.m., Vintage Italian Pizza in Superior. That is the time and place of the next Village North Colletors Club dinner meeting. The address is: 1201 Tower Ave in Superior. (715) 392-5555.

spears.duluth@juno.com - that is how to get a reply/question/comment to me. Folks who read these words on the Minnesota 56 Clubs web site were wondering.

Valentines Day - I'm very lucky to have Linda to share that day with. Happy Valentines Day to all!

"Ugly Sweater Contest." That's what I thought when I saw the Lemax accessory this year. It featured four guys drinking hot chocolate. Only one was wearing an ugly sweater. I didn't realize that 'til I unpackaged them at home. Fortunately Linda repainted the others - problem solved. Oh yes, the piece is called 'Ugly Christmas Sweater.' I added the word contest all by myself.

The NCC Silver Rush - 25th Anniversary Gathering. June 14-18, in Tempe, AZ.

Pizza is my favorite food group. We go out for pizza most every Friday night. Sounds like the new Dept. 56, Christmas In The City, 'Pizza Date' is made for us? Just saying.

Why does the Dept. 56 web site use "Xmas Carol Poulterers Shop Set" instead of "Christmas?"

Just so you know!  February 10, 2017
We seem to be building a 'snowball fight' collection - didn't mean to. A new accessory from Dept. 56 should fit right in - the 'Snowball Fight' Christmas figurine from Elf The Movie. It's a small boy, and Buddy the elf, making and throwing snowballs.  'Snowball Fun,' nuns throwing snowballs is our most noticed snowball fight. It's from Lemax as are most of the rest of our 'fighters.' We also have one set from Mayberry Street (Hobby Lobby).

From the official description, "Inspired by the popular holiday movie "Elf," our friend Buddy is a good shot! Cast in resin and hand painted." If we decide to expand our 'winter games,' this elf version is on our list.

We're making of list of village things we forgot to remember this year. Things like fix broken items before we put them away; decide on animated pieces first (they take more space and must be wired); are we looking for any specific new accessory or person; did anyone have suggestions we should be looking at, well you get the idea.

Have I mentioned Linda and I met dancing? That could be the reason I'm attracted to 'The Twins Happy Dance.' I can no longer dance like them - just so you know! Oh yes, Linda is a twin and I married the right one. She is much better looking than her twin brother.

From Dept. 56, "Inspired by the popular holiday movie "Elf", the twin elves are really excited and they even dance in unison! Made of resin and stand 2.25" tall."

The NCC Silver Rush - 25th Anniversary Gathering is 125 days away. It says so on the NCC web site. June 14-18, in Tempe, AZ.

We had Christmas Bazaar in our display this season. It includes food stand/carts, craft sales and people. The featured accessory is a Christmas tree being decorated. Maybe next year we add another another. 'Buddy Decoration Tree with Jovie' is different and nicely done. It would work well.

From Dept. 56, "Buddy is really good at his job decorating this Christmas tree with toys and decorations. Jovie stands on the ladder to help. The accessory is made of resin and is handpainted with lots of details.

Re-reading the above I realize that I'd better watch the movie Elf. That way I'll know who I'm talking about.

Just so you know! February 1, 2017
I decided to subscribe to Village D-Lights. Went on-line to be a new subscriber and was told that wouldn't work. Seems my name was already in the system. I signed in and then it let me pay as a 'new subscriber.' I understand my favorite column is no longer included - just so you know!    

Linda and I won't be going to the 'NCC Silver Rush 2017' event in Tempe, AZ. However they might be using some of the pictures we've taken at past gatherings. That is if I learn how to scan images into our computer.

Thinking about making an outdoor village vignette for our gardens. Linda has a pretty big 'Fairy Garden' - last year I was allowed to add a few Gnomes. I was informed that Fairies and Gnomes do not get along, so they had to be on the other side of our house. Any ideas for making an outdoor display weather safe are welcome. Suggestions of what to display would be good as well. Thanks!

The Christmas Story has a couple of new items (coming in July). One is 'Ralphie's Gang,' the other is 'The Christmas Story Popcorn Wagon.' The 'gang' is eating popcorn from the 'wagon.' I/we really like these Dept. 56 people so we'll have to see what they look like (in person). I can see both with a skating rink, or maybe a Christmas festival.

Just so you know! January 24, 2017
We had village display visitors last evening - originally from Korea. They brought along a friend with his young son. Their English is limited, and we don't speak Korean, so their visits are always fun. The boy was interested in all areas of our displays, but our carnival was his favorite. He really wanted to be on the individual rides. Even at age two, he was still too large for our Dept. 56 Ferris Wheel (or any of the other rides). All enjoyed what they saw so much that they sent live video to family back home (in Korea). We were able to say 'Hi!' We've had visitors from distant places before, but this was ridiculous.

'The Arthur Huertly House' is an addition to the Dept. 56 Art & Architecture Series. The original home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the very early 1900's. I've always enjoyed looking at images of his designs so I may need this building. Also, we have the 'one of kind' Frank Lloyd Wright gas station nearby in Cloquet, MN. Maybe Dept. 56 will 'do' a gas station for this series. In my opinion the building concept is better looking than most pictures I've seen.

Just so you know! January 16, 2017
Village North Collectors Club tour of homes was again successful. Lot's of goodies at Sturms' and Spears' and 'real food' with the potluck at Mike and Lani's. Tom I. honored us with his presence. Nice weather and we enjoyed each others company. Note: liked the village displays as well.

Fifty plus folks visited our Christmas village open house on Sunday. Lindas' baked goodies were the usual hit. Thanks to all that visited.

40% off 'Tiny Treasures Miniatures' at Michael's. Remember the items are made for fairey gardens, but there are some are very usable in our displays.

Just so you know! January 13, 2017
Reminder! Village North Collectors Club tour of homes begins at noon tomorrow, Jan 14, at Kandi and Rod's then the Spears' residence and finally Mike and Lani's for a potluck. Questions? Let me know.

Our Christmas village open house will be this Sunday, January 15, 10 - 4 P.M. 105 East Toledo Street in Duluth. Lindas' baked goodies are prepared and the displays are done. Hope to see you here. RSVP's not necessary - questions via email or (218) 724-6148.

Nothing new on the 'delivery date' for the new Village D-Tails.

My thanks to the folks that have commented on the absence of my column in Village D-Lights. I appreciate your support over the years.

Just so you know! January 5, 2017
'Fortunes' was a gift from our friend Carol. She is a very nice fortune teller (the lady in the booth, not Carol). It came from the 'Tiny Treasurers Minatures' collection at Michael's. They show seventy items on the web site. http://www.michaels.com/tiny-treasures-minatures/tiny-treasures  Seems there was more items than that on the shelves at Michael's. I think they have three 'lines:' Woodland Fairy Tale, Shoreline, and a third one I don't have the name for. They are intended for fairy gardens, but there is probably a couple dozen that would be fun and easy to use in our displays. 'Kissing Couple,'  'Lemonade Stand,' 'Hot Dog Stand,' and some cute knomes. Note: Fortunes actually looks better in person than in the picture (specially with the light on).

www.enescobusiness.com has a whole lot (maybe all) of the 2107 Dept. 56 village introductions. A few comments/opinions as I look through (no prices included). The 'Amazing Magic Lantern Show' (LED lit Dickens' accessory); 'Coca Cola Bottle Caps' (North Pole house). I did, in the past, collect Coke 'stuff,' do I always have to take a look; 'Ladies Auxiliary Brass Band' (Dickens' accessory, three ladies); I like 'Little Free Libraries' and now Dept. 56 has two; 'Coca Cola Botle Cap Ride' (like this little accessory, might have to ad it to our North Pole; 'Sal's Pizza & Pasta' (another CIC pizza) Pizza is my favorite food group, so I'll have to take a look; 'FLW Heutley House' (Frank Lloyd Wright CIC house); I think the Margaritaville village is really nice and fun looking; and the 'Christmas Story Popcorn Wagon.' I like food carts so will be taking a look at this one. I might/should have more comments later.

Our Christmas village open house will be on Sunday, January 15, 10 - 4 P.M. 105 East Toledo Street in Duluth. Lindas' baked goodies are being prepared and the displays are just about done. Hope to see you here. RSVP's not necessary - questions via email or (218) 724-6148.

I have heard nothing new about the 'delivery date' for the new Village D-Tails -  except that it's coming soon.

Question: Has anyone seen/received the Winter 2016/2017 issue of  Village D-Lights? Answer: I see on the NCC Facebook page the issue is out. I'll have to check on my subscription (or buy one).

Just so you know! January 2, 2017
Dept. 56 'Picket Lane Fences' and 'Java Brew For Two' at Gordy's (Hermantowwn, MN). We also purchased a string of LED lights - just in case? Yes they were discounted.

Back to working on our displays. Christmas sort of slowed us down. We have most all of the major work completed. Can always use more details. Linda just spent an hour trying to get village lights to go on and off with the proper switches. I'm pretty sure she done good.

Our Christmas village open house Sunday, January 15, 10 - 4 P.M. Details to follow.

Northern Lights House Hop on January 7. Details available from Tom I. tiacoviello@yahoo.com

Village North Tour of Homes on January 14. Please let me know if you have questions.

Dept. 56 'Fresh Fallen Snow' is available in the 7 oz bags. Thanks to Kathy Balfanz, Dept. 56 and Enesco Sales, for the clairfication/confirmation.

I have heard nothing new about the 'delivery date' for the new Village D-Tails. I say that 'cause several folks have asked. Still looking for a response.

Has anyone seen/received the Winter 2016/2017 issue of  Village D-Lights?

Thanks for the answer(s) to the following question: "We have not displayed Tallyho before. Having not participated in a 'fox hunt,' I have a question. Should the order should be fox, dogs, hunters on horseback, horn blower - is that the way to display them?" All three of you said about the same thing - The hornblower before the riders Thanks again!