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Serving Department 56TM Village Enthusiasts

Fabulous Holiday Displays Highlights from the Northeast Harvest Gathering December 2013 Retirements

City Lights

YEAR ROUND CHRISTMAS & COLLECTIBLES EMPORIUM 1212 Knoxville St., San Diego, CA 92110 Phone: 800-262-5335 Email:

When in San Diego why not visit our 40,000 sq. ft. store and view our incredible village displays including most retired pieces.

Can't make it to San Diego? Visit Us Online!

Every Department 56 collectible listed, and most pictured, from Buildings to Accessories to Trees to Walls and Fences.

Taking Orders for ALL 2014 new pieces in ALL Lines!

New Intros, Snowbunnies & Valentines Are All In Stock & Shipping

You can order online or give us a call! BRANDS WE CARRY: Jim Shore, Precious Moments, Disney Classics, Just The Right Shoe, Lenox, Ebony Visions, Charming Tails, Christopher Radko, Possible Dreams, Gold Label, G. DeBrekht, Pipka, Harbour Lights, Annalee, Byers' Choice, Willow Tree, Fontanini, Ne'Qwa, Steinbach, Forchino, Alley Cats, Wee Forest Folk, Boyd's Bears, Speed Freaks, Trail of Painted Ponies, My Little Kitchen Fairies, Karen Didion, Bethany Lowe, Hansa, Foundations, Mark Roberts, Lynn Haney, Munro Dragons, Fairy Glen, Fairy Divas.

Now Shipping 2014 Spring Intros in all lines FREE SHIPPING On Orders Over $48 TAX FREE OUTSIDE CALIFORNIA

17091 Imperial Hwy. Yorba Linda, CA 92886 714-524-7917 (Located in Yorba Linda Car Wash)

Kelly’s Boutique


On Orders Over $100!

50% Off All Retired Items No Sales Tax Outside of CA

You Can Order Online Or Give Us A Call!

Kelly’s Boutique Proudly Showcases one of Southern California’s Largest Showrooms for Department 56! Statement of the ownership, management, and circulation as required by the act of Congress of August 24, 1912. As amended by the acts of March 3, 1934, and July 2, 1946 (Title 39. United States Code. Section 3685), of VILLAGE D-LIGHTS (permit 2162-3147) for October 1, 2013. VILLAGE D-LIGHTS is published bimonthly for $24 at 300 Walnut Street, Suite 6, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa 50309-2239. Publisher, Polly Clark. Editor, Erich Gaukel. Stockholders: Pioneer Communications, Inc., James Slife, 300 Walnut Street, Suite 6, Des Moines, Polk County, IA 50309. There are no known bondholders, mortgagees, or other security holders owning or holding one percent or more of the total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities.

Extent and Nature of Circulation

Average No. Copies per Issue Preceding 12 Mos. a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run) 4,700 b. Paid Circulation (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 2,674 (2) Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 0 (3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS® 174 (4) Paid Distribution by Other Classes of Mail Through the USPS 0 c. Total Paid Distribution 2,848 d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution (1) Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Copies included on PS Form 3541 1039 (2) Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies included on PS Form 3541 0 (3) Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through the USPS 0 (4) Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail 0 e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution 1,039 f. Total Distribution 3,887 g. Copies Not Distributed 813 h. Total 4,700 i. Percent Paid 73.3% James Slife, CEO/Owner — October 1, 2013

Actual No. Copies in Fall 2013 4,094

3,116 0

179 0 3,285

431 0 11 59 501 3,786 298 4,094 87%

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



WINTER 2013-2014

CONTENTS 6 A Little Light on the Subject by Melinda Seegers

Ms. Lit Town walks us through Nativity accessories releases by Department 56 in 2013.

8 Lights Camera Action by J. Michael Sanders


Reminiscing about Christmases not so long ago.

12 A complete list of December 2013 Village Retirements 14 Village Workshop by Stephen Pepin

Add a lighted dome to your North Pole Village.

18 NCC News by Mike Goode

Updates from the National Council of 56 Clubs (NCC).

19 Word Search by Matt Gaffney 20

From Inspiration to Creation by Stephanie Finnegan Meet Department 56 Village designer Barb Lund.

26 Northeast Harvest Gathering by David Spears


A report from the Northeast Harvest Gathering in Connecticut.

34 Collector Spotlight by Stephanie Finnegan

Sandy Grindstaff has turned her home into a Christmas wonderland.

37 Inspirational Displays

Photographs of village displays created by Department 56 retailers.

40 On Display by Leigh Gieringer

Create icy ponds and frozen waterfalls for your winter display.

44 Just So You Know by David Spears Display ideas, hints, and opinions.


Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

ON THE COVER A detail from Sandy Grindstaff’s outdoor village inside her California home. “I’m a Christmas nut,” she says.


Editor Erich Gaukel Advertising Manager Ronda Jans Creative Director Ann Donohoe Associate Graphic Designer Amber Haack

It’s been a busy few months since I began my new role as editor of “Village D-Lights.” I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with the magazine’s contributors, subscribers, Department 56 staff members, and National Council of 56 Clubs (NCC) officers. I’ve learned a lot from them in a short amount of time, and I appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received. I’d like to share one communication I received—one that I think bodes well for the future of Deptartment 56 Village collecting. It comes from Scott and Sherry McKevitt of Oyster Bay, New York. They took their young son to the recent Northeast Harvest Gathering, which attracted Department 56 collectors from 28 states (see coverage of the event starting on page 26). I’ll let Scott and Sherry take it from here:

“We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Editor of Village D-Lights Magazine. We look forward to many great articles and ideas from you and your staff and are sure we will not be disappointed. I am sending a picture of my son Nicholas holding a copy of the latest issue of Village D-Lights in front of the display he created using it as a guide. The actual Styrofoam display was designed and built by Stephen Pepin of Showcase Displays at the Northeast Harvest Gathering. It was then purchased by Debbie Shelgren at the live auction held at the Gathering and given to my son as a gift. Using your magazine as inspiration, he then purchased some additional pieces at our local Department 56 dealer, Dodds & Eder in Oyster Bay, New York, and created his “masterpiece.” It now sits at the end of his bed, where he can enjoy it as he falls asleep at night. It won’t be staying up for too long, though, as he has even bigger plans for Christmas!” I’ve heard that Nicholas and other youngsters at the Gathering made quite an impression on attendees. It sounds like the youth movement is under way! Erich Gaukel Editor

Circulation Director Katrina Brocka

CEO Jim Slife Publisher Polly Clark Production Twilla Glessner Accounting Manager Allison Volker

Volume 9 / Number 5 Phone 877.899.9977 / 515.246.0402 Fax 515.246.0398

VILLAGE D-LIGHTS (ISSN 1555-2918) (USPS 024-048) is published bi-monthly. Periodical Postage Paid at Des Moines, Iowa and at additional mailing offices. $24.00 per year in U.S., $49.00 in Canada, Mexico, and other foreign countries. Payment in U.S. funds must accompany order. Published by Pioneer Communications, Inc., 300 Walnut Street, Suite 6, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. VILLAGE D-LIGHTS is a Pioneer Communications, Inc. publication. COPYRIGHT ©2013 by VILLAGE D-LIGHTS. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. The opinions in articles written by contributing columnists & writers are solely those of the author & not necessarily those of VILLAGE D-LIGHTS. EDITORIAL & SUBSCRIPTION: 300 Walnut St., Suite 6, Des Moines, IA 50309, Phone: 877.899.9977 or 515.246.0402, Fax: 515.246.0398. ADVERTISING: Call Ronda Jans at 319.415.5639 POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to VILLAGE D-LIGHTS, 300 Walnut St., Suite 6, Des Moines, IA 50309.

Pioneer Communications, Inc. HEADQUARTERS: 300 Walnut St., Suite 6, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. Phone: 515.246.0402, Fax: 515.246.0398. PRODUCTION FACILITY: 316 W. Fifth St., Waterloo, Iowa 50701. Phone: 319.234.8969, Fax: 319.234.8518. “Department 56®, Inc.,” “Original Snow Village®,” “Heritage Village Collection®,” “Dickens’ Village Series®,” “New England Village® Series,” “Christmas in the City® Series,” “Seasons Bay®,” “Profiles Department 56®,” “Literary Classics®,” “Alpine Village Series®,” and "American Pride® Collection," are the Registered Trademarks of Department 56®, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN. “North Pole Series™,” "North Pole Woods™ Series," “The Holy Land™ Collection,” "Little Town of Bethlehem™ Series," "Hot Properties!™ Collection," "Disney Parks Village™ Series," Williamsburg Village™, Winter Frost™, Jim Shore Village, and “Snowbabies™” are Trademarks of Department 56®, Inc.

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




It’s Time for

Nativity Sets

Dear Collectors, When the snow starts falling and the Christmas decorations go up, I always look forward to setting up my tree, my Village display, and, of course, the Nativity set. Our Nativity once belonged to my parents. The figures were sent home by my father while serving in Europe during World War II. The crèche, or stable, is very special because it was built by my father, a carpenter by trade. Each Christmas it was a major event to set up the tree and build the scene beneath— a blanket of snow with shepherds and tiny sheep with real curly wool coats were carefully placed around the tree. A campfire with a tripod of vittles where the men gathered to warm themselves stands on a hill. The stable, which had several sections, including a hitching post for the donkey and camels, is placed in front. The figures are often moved, depending on the date, because Dad would not allow the Baby to be placed in the manger until Christmas Eve—that’s when we cut the birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday! The magi are moved slowly from the back of the scene to the stable so that they arrive right on time. I’ve met many collectors who also collect Nativity sets— I‘ve seen everything from a Snoopy-themed set to snowmen taking on the parts of the major players of the Nativity. I love them all! They can be simple or ornate, tiny or life-size. There is a Nativity for every style of home décor:


2 3


In 2013, Department 56 decided that this would be the year every Village would get a new Nativity. Accessory artist Lynn Maderich designed each of these highly detailed accessories. For “Christmas In The City,” we featured the Holy Family with the magi in front of a royal blue triptych, a Renaissancestyle tri-fold screen that could be moved and set up wherever services were to be held.



For “Dickens’ Village” a simple depiction of the Holy Family is set in front of a stained-glass window featuring the angel Gabriel, reminiscent of the beautiful cathedrals of London and throughout England. A quick look at the “Alpine Village” Nativity shows the importance of livestock in the culture. Here we have a kneeling shepherd holding a lamb and another sheep alongside Mary. The piece is framed with a traditional crèche in the background but it is made of fieldstone with a slate roof. This would be typical of dwellings found in the mountains of Bavaria. Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014







The “New England Village” Nativity also includes animals, a rooster, and an ox. The crèche is made of wood, and the figures of the Holy family are “carved” as they often would have been in 19th-century New England churches and homes. A star is the dominant feature and will help the magi find their way to the blessed site. For “The Original Snow Village,” a simple crèche, decorated with green boughs and red bows, features just the Holy Family with a bright star overhead. This one has a lot of detail, handpainted features on each tiny figure, and Joseph leaning on his shepherd’s staff. The Nativity for “The North Pole Village” is very different from the others and is my personal favorite. At first glance, you might think the figures are children playing the parts, but I like to think they are elves who have taken a break from their busy work schedule to recreate the Holy scene. Because they are at the North Pole, where anything can happen, a polar bear is brought as a gift for the new baby and a candy-cane-striped palm tree shades the scene. Details abound on this piece that measures a little less than 2 inches in height. You don’t have to have all of these Villages to collect and enjoy these delightful pieces. I plan to put them together on the fireplace mantel, where they will be sure to be conversation starters for family and friends this holiday season. Next time we’ll be looking at the new 2014 introductions for Villages, Snowbabies and Possible Dreams! From my house to yours—Happy Holidays! And, as always, happy collecting!

Ms. Lit Town Department 56 Consumer Services u

6 Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




The final outdoor village display at our home in Phoenix in 2003.

It’s the Most

Wonderful F

Christmas morning 1955. My father plays with my new electric trains.


Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

Time of the Year!

or me, and I am sure for many of you, Christmas is my favorite time of year because we get to set out our village collections and, in doing so, relive a fond memory, a part of our childhood, or a happy occasion. So please forgive me as I deviate from my normal topic, get nostalgic, and reminisce about Christmases not so long ago. See if any of this sounds like anyone you know! As a child of 4, I can remember walking out into the living room Christmas morning, where the tree was glowing with lights and sparkling with tinsel. And underneath the tree was a Lionel and Marx train set my father had running. I squealed with excitement as my mother caught the moment on 8mm movie film. Sadly, my father passed away the following summer, so from then on, I was on my own when it came to setting up my train and surrounding it with a village made up of all manner of things…toys, blocks, boxes, and cans from the kitchen—just about anything you could imagine.

Each year after that, I would continue the tradition of creating a village under the tree, only now I added some real toy buildings, bridges, cars, and airplanes. Eventually, the villages became more sophisticated as I added “real” buildings and structures made from American Plastic Bricks, Lincoln Logs, and Tinkertoys. Eventually, these villages outgrew space under the tree, so additional real estate was added by taking over the coffee and end tables. Some of the homemade buildings actually had battery-powered lights in them. After I married, in my own home with two small children, the village building continued with little imported papier-mâché houses and primitive (by Department 56 standards) ceramic houses. Then, I discovered Department 56 and the North Pole Santa’s Workshop, Elf Bunkhouse, and Reindeer Barn. I had resisted buying Snow Village houses that I had seen, because they were not in my budget. But I had to have these North

North Pole Village, a permanent display in our living room, has been added to or modified at least eight times.

Pole pieces. They were exactly how I pictured Santa at the North Pole. Then the series of buildings that would spell out “North Pole” came out. I could splurge on those, too, because I figured that when they completed the spelling, that would conclude the set—boy was I wrong about that! Now with North Pole buildings and accessories numbering in the hundreds, my North Pole Village just keeps on growing and occupies a permanent place in our living room, with additional displays in the family room and a large pile of unopened boxes just waiting for space to open up somewhere so I can display them. But this is just the “inside” story. While still in high school, and living in my parents’ home, I borrowed a teacher’s saber saw, and created an outdoor scene with cut-out plywood reindeer, Santa, and a snow family—all mounted on the roof and illuminated with spotlights. In the years that followed, I constructed house fronts for them to live in and a Santa’s workshop. Eventually, an entire village was spread

With no more space for North Pole in the living room, we created this shelf display in our family room, complete with fiber-optic lighting.

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



My homage to Lionel trains. This display features an actual 1950s vintage 027-scale train (like the one in the photo with my father) and a surprise vignette inside the revolving display.



Winter 2013-2014

over the roof and the whole front yard. On some evenings, I even played Santa! For three years running, the display took first place in the City of Phoenix Electric League’s annual Christmas display lighting contest. Then the energy crisis hit. No lighted outdoor Christmas displays! The house was dark! Humbug! Before it was OK to once again put up outdoor Christmas lights, I moved my village indoors to our church’s great meeting hall, where a full-scale musical production was played out in and around the buildings. The original play and the village set were big hits! With Christmas lights back in fashion, the buildings were refurbished, new ones were added, and the outdoor village returned to my own front yard, where our home became known as the “Christmas House.” This 3/4-scale village won awards and recognition from “Good Housekeeping” and “Woman’s Day” magazines, “USA Today,” and the local newspapers and TV news stations as well. In addition to the scale buildings, some of which had furnished interiors, there were animated dolls, teddy bears, G- and 1/10th-scale trains, and more than 30 Christmas trees with thousands of lights and my own version of Real Plastic Snow. Sadly, the outside village has been retired, and it will no longer grace our front yard. My attention has shifted from outside back to inside… not only in our own house, but also in the village displays I have had the pleasure of building for others. I have featured them in past columns, and I will continue to share new projects with you. In reading this column, I hope that your own Christmas village memories have come to mind. And, as always, that you find an idea here that you can use to incorporate into your own village scene—indoors or out! Have a story you want to share, a comment or a question? Please write to me at Until next time, I wish you and yours, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year…

This tree is in our family room. We affectionately call it our “robo-tree” due to all the animated Hallmark ornaments on it. A Snow Village scene featuring the Santa Comes to Town collection spreads from under the tree into what normally is the doorway out to the patio. Five different-scale trains—from tiny Z, N, On30, 027 to the largest G scale—are included.

In 1980, our outdoor village display was moved indoors into our church’s great meeting hall for use as the set for our annual Christmas program. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




4016898 “Christmas Market, The Nutcracker Booth” $45.00 $54.00 4025235 “Reit Train Station” $100.00 $120.00 4025236 “Basel Cheese Shop” $90.00 $108.00 4025238 “Just in Time To Celebrate” $27.50 $33.00 4025240 “My Octoberfest Debut” $22.50 $27.00 4028695 “Christmas Market, Pyramid Booth” $45.00 $54.00 808755 “Snowdrop Cottage” $70.00 $85.00 808756 “Wolfstein Beer Wagon” $40.00 $48.00


4020172 “Engine Company 10” $90.00 $108.00 4020177 “Cherub Choir” $20.00 $24.00 4020178 “Mitten Drive” $27.50 $33.00 4020180 “A Night Out” $25.00 $30.00 4025243 “Wakefield Books” $70.00 $85.00 4025244 “Rachael’s Candy Shop” $70.00 $85.00 4025247 “A Little Irish Jig” $17.50 $21.00 4025249 “Best Book Sale, Ever!” $18.50 $22.50 4025250 “Sweet Friends Forever” $18.50 $22.50 4030346 “7400 Beacon Hill” $100.00 $120.00 4030348 “A Classic Find” $15.00 $18.00 4030354 “First Class Flight” $15.00 $18.00 808805 “64 City West Parkway” $70.00 $85.00


4020182 “Potts Pub” $90.00 $108.00 4023624 “Anglesey Cottage” $65.00 $78.00 4023625 “A Fairytale Romance” $20.00 $24.00 4025254 “Chiswick Brewery” $95.00 $114.00 4025257 “Devon Brook Span Cottage” $75.00 $90.00 4025259 “Devonshire Creamery” $75.00 $90.00 4025262 “Chiswick Brewboy” $15.00 $18.00 4025265 “Just in Time for Lunch” $22.50 $27.00 4025266 “Devon Postmaster” $16.50 $20.00 4025267 “Churning Temptation” $15.00 $18.00 4025268 “Buying One for Posterity” $25.00 $30.00 4028699 “Church of St. Alban” $85.00 $100.00 4028700 “The Baptism of Charles Dickens” $17.50 $21.00 4030373 “Estate Planning” $22.50 $27.00 4035566 “Holiday Special Tegan’s Toy Shoppe” $89.00 $107.00 4035567 “Holiday Special Tegan’s Accessory Set” $49.00 $59.00


Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

4020945 “The Church At Cornhill” $90.00 $108.00 4020946 “Scrooge’s Merry Christmas” $27.50 $33.00


4020949 “Santa Visits New England” $15.00 $18.00 4021997 “Sandy Shoal Lighthouse” $95.00 $114.00 4021998 “Nan’s Cape Cod Creamery” $90.00 $108.00 4025269 “Chesapeake Bay Light” $95.00 $114.00 4025271 “Plainfield Sign Co.” $90.00 $108.00 4025274 “Master Sign Painter” $18.50 $22.50 4025351 “The Gables” $95.00 $114.00 4025354 “Old Man of the Gables” $17.50 $21.00 4025355 “Herdin’ Cats” $18.50 $22.50 4030709 “Another Cat For Mrs. Corwin” $18.50 $22.50 808915 “South Deerfield Livery Stable” $85.00 $100.00


4020205 “Real Artificial Tree Factory” $85.00 $100.00 4020208 “North Pole Cookie Exchange” $45.00 $54.00 4020210 “Tinting The Trees” $25.00 $30.00 4020211 “Welcome To The Club” $20.00 $24.00 4020213 “We Like ‘em All” $17.50 $21.00 4020952 “Merry Christmas!” $22.50 $27.00 4025277 “Cars Holiday Detail Shop” $100.00 $120.00 4025279 “North Pole Snuffles Luv-A-Hug Center” $80.00 $96.00 4025285 “Lightning’s Ready for Christmas” $30.00 $36.00 4025286 “Christmas Trim for Mater” $32.50 $39.00 4025289 “Gotta Getta Gund” $20.00 $24.00 4025291 “North Pole Commuter” $15.00 $18.00 4025292 “Finishing Touches” $15.00 $18.00 4025293 “The Santa Palooza Masterpiece!” $20.00 $24.00 4025294 “A Bloomin’ Merry Christmas!” $17.50 $21.00 4035571 “Holiday Special The Jolly Fellow Toy Co.” $89.00 $107.00 4035572 “Holiday Special Jolly Fellow’s Accessory Set” $49.00 $59.00 56.57232 “Flight Training” $55.00 $66.00 805541 “The North Pole Palace” $150.00 $180.00 805545 “Cocoa Chocolate Works” $85.00 $110.00 808921 “Instant Snowman Kit Factory” $65.00 $78.00


4020214 “Firehouse No. 5” $90.00 $108.00 4020217 “Round Lake Rink” $55.00 $66.00 4020222 “Future Firefighter” $27.50 $33.00 4020224 “A New ’56 Harley-Davidson® KH” $35.00 $42.00 4020225 “Skating Fun” $27.50 $33.00

LLAGE RETIREMENTS 4020955 “Skate Date” $35.00 $42.00 4022804 “Brite Lites Christmas Parade, Santa’s Float” $50.00 $60.00 4022806 “Brite Lites Christmas Parade, Marching Bulbs” $30.00 $36.00 4022807 “Brite Lites Christmas Parade, Banner” $25.00 $30.00 4022864 “Harley-Davidson® Billboard” $32.50 $39.00 4025315 “The Season’s Greetings House” $110.00 $132.00 4025317 “Jackie’s Cards & Gifts” $85.00 $100.00 4025319 “Melinda’s Poinsettias & Mistletoe” $55.00 $66.00 4025320 “Evergreen Wreaths & Garland” $55.00 $66.00 4025321 “Holiday Crafts” $55.00 $66.00 4025322 “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” $90.00 $108.00 4025323 “Christmas Lane Greetings” $27.50 $33.00 4025326 “The Tradition Continues” $23.50 $28.50 4025328 “I Hope It Snows This Much…” $23.50 $28.50 4025329 “A Mistletoe Surprise!” $23.50 $28.50 4025330 “Haul Out the Holly” $23.50 $28.50 4028707 “Harley® Roadside Motel” $125.00 $150.00 4028709 “Harley® Road Trip!” $35.00 $42.00 4030735 “Harley® Roadside Cabins, Set of 2” $140.00 $168.00 4030753 “Santa Comes To Town 2013” $45.00 $54.00 4035577 “Holiday Special Toy Town Toys” $89.00 $107.00 4035578 “Holiday Special Toy Town Accessory Set” $49.00 $59.00 4036083 “Travels with Ed, Arizona” $30.00 $36.00

THE ORIGINAL SNOW VILLAGE HALLOWEEN SERIES 4020231 “Retching Pumpkin Diner” $95.00 $114.00 4020236 “Gross... Pumpkin Guts” $28.50 $34.50 4022811 “Axel’s Costume Shop” $85.00 $100.00 4025339 “The Cave Club” $100.00 $120.00 4025340 “The Spider House” $110.00 $132.00 4025345 “Steady, Killer, Steady” $22.50 $27.00 4025347 “Out for A Bloody Good Time” $25.00 $30.00 4025348 “Are You Afraid of Big Bad Wolf?” $22.50 $27.00 4028712 “Sleepless Walking” $17.50 $21.00 4030761 “Blood Creek Jailhouse” $85.00 $100.00


4021208 “Snow Covered Pines, Set of 5” $9.00 $11.00 4021793 “Snow Covered Pines, Set of 8” $9.00 $11.00 4025360 “Jolly Sisals, Set of 2” $15.00 $18.00 4025361 “Wonderland Shrubs, Medium, Set of 4” $15.00 $18.00 4025362 “Wonderland Shrubs, Small, Set of 4” $10.00 $12.00

4025365 “Heartland Spruce Trees, Set 6” $20.00 $24.00 4025430 “Candy Cane Hitching Post” $7.50 $9.00 4025431 “String of 12 Red & White Light” $15.00 $18.00 4025436 “Peppermint Fountain” $20.00 $24.00 4025441 “Uptown Wall, St/4” $20.00 $24.00 4025444 “Uptown Topiaries, St/4” $12.50 $15.00 4025445 “Uptown Post Box” $8.50 $10.50 4025446 “Uptown Park Bench, St/4” $17.50 $21.00 4025450 “Uptown Park Statue” $15.00 $18.00 4025451 “Uptown Footbridge” $27.50 $33.00 4025457 “Woodland Road, Straight, St/2” $15.00 $18.00 4025458 “Woodland Road, Curved, St/2” $15.00 $18.00 4025464 “Picket Lane Bench” $7.50 $9.00 4025466 “Picket Lane Wishing Well” $15.00 $18.00 4025467 “Picket Lane Sundial” $5.00 $6.00 4025468 “Picket Lane Archway” $10.00 $12.00 4025471 “Picket Lane Table & Chairs, Set of 3” $15.00 $18.00 4025474 “Picket Lane Lamppost, Set of 2” $20.00 $24.00 4030380 “Snow Base, Large” $45.00 $54.00 4030381 “Grassy Base, Medium” $27.50 $33.00 4030382 “Grassy Base, Small” $20.00 $24.00 4030891 “Welcome Sign” $20.00 $24.00 4030892 “Hang Tag, Clock” $7.50 $9.00 4035919 “Holiday Special Landscape Set” $14.00 $17.00 809347 “Lit Crystal Tree” $25.00 $30.00

GENERAL HALLOWEEN VILLAGE ACCESSORIES 4024037 “Dying To Get In Outhouse” $25.00 $30.00 4024038 “Gargoyle Lamp Posts” $20.00 $24.00 4024043 “Scary Stumps” $22.50 $27.00 4024047 “Orange Bare Branch Trees” $17.50 $21.00 4025396 “The Ghost Dance, Animated” $50.00 $60.00 4025398 “Wicked Web Fence, Set of 7” $25.00 $30.00 4025399 “Haunted Delivery” $15.00 $18.00 4025400 “Haunted Signs, Set of 3” $22.50 $27.00 4025402 “Killer’s Castle” $32.50 $39.00 4025405 “Creepy Pumpkin Street Lights, Set of 2” $22.50 $27.00 4025406 “Halloween Lit Yard Décor, Set of 3” $25.00 $30.00 4025407 “Happy Halloween Lit Sign” $20.00 $24.00 4025410 “Haunted Sounds Lit Trees, Set of 3” $65.00 $78.00 4025412 “Who Let the Dogs Out, Set of 3” $20.00 $24.00 4025413 “Halloween Backdrop, Set of 2” $20.00 $24.00 4030783 “Rest In Peace 2013” $50.00 $60.00 800034 “Spooky Spider Trees” $17.50 $21.00 809362 “Animated Haunted Wall” $55.00 $66.00 u

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




North Pole Lighted Dome A Step-By-Step Guide to Building It


ne of the main attractions in miniature villages is the glow of all the lights. While the buildings are generally the primary source of light, additional lighted features can help create a nice vignette or provide a great focal point for a special piece to be displayed. In this installment of The Village Workshop, we will build a North Pole vignette featuring a lighted dome.

Materials and Tools



Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

We begin by selecting the key items we wish to display, especially the electrical items so that we can plan for them. Photo 1 shows the set of items that we plan to use, which includes a set of Department 56 lighted peppermint trees, two sets of chasing holiday lights, and a set of peppermint stairs. We will make the base of our vignette display from pieces of 2-inchthick foam insulation sheets. The dome could also be constructed using layers of foam as well, but a simpler approach is to use a Smoothfoam hollow sphere, a product from the Plasteel Corporation. The spheres come in two halves and are available in several sizes. A 16-inch sphere will be adequate for this project. The tools that we will use are the Hot Wire Foam Factory sculpting tool and 4-inch hot knife, as well as the Tippi Foam Cutter and a hot glue gun (low temperature).

2 Construction and Carving We begin by constructing our dome piece. Using one of the sphere’s halves, trace a line 10 inches from one of the edges (photo 2), and cut using the hot knife. This gives us the flat edge we need to set the dome down (photo 3). Next, we build our base layers by cutting the foam sheets to the desired size (photo 4). For this project, we are creating a single-building scene, but the display could be made larger to accommodate more buildings outside the dome.

3 4

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights


VILLAGE WORKSHOP We then plan for the electrical. Access for the building light cord could be made at the back of the dome, but since we are planning to light the dome, we make two holes on the base layers instead: one for the building’s light cord and the other for a light to be placed behind the building to light up the dome (photo 5). Using the Tippi Foam Cutter, we carve out a piece on the upper layer to build in the peppermint stairs (photo 6). Then, using a combination of the sculpting tool and the Tippi Foam Cutter, we carve all the edges of base layers and a staircase on the bottom level (photo 7). As a fun accent, lines on the outer side of the dome are also carved to give the look of an igloo.

7 16

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Painting and Detailing Painting is largely a personal preference, but for this project it seems appropriate to airbrush some blue around the carved edges to give it an icy-cold look. The holiday chase light sets are then glued around the front edge of the dome, and the plug-in wires are run along the rear base of the dome and sent to the back (photo 8). As an extra accent, we added the word “SANTA” using foam letters as well as a large snowflake at the top of the dome, which are also Smoothfoam products from the Plasteel Corporation. They come in white, so we airbrushed the front in red to go along with the theme. Finally, we used white latex paint mixed with Woodland Scenics Snow and silver glitter to paint the flat surfaces and dome to give it a snowy look. Photo 9 shows the final result for the vignette display, and photo 10 shows the display all set up with the dome lighting effect. I wish all of you wonderful holidays and a new year full of joy and village fun! u If you have comments or questions regarding this topic, please contact me at If you are in the Phoenix area, please visit Millie’s Hallmark to view some of my display creations and a great selection of Department 56 products.

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




News from the

National Council of 56 Clubs A Year of Connecting


s 2013 comes to a close, I must say that it has been a very busy year for the National Council of 56 Clubs (NCC). Much of the year was involved in elections. Region Five will be represented by Susan Olson of River Grove, Ill. She is presently the Club Representative for the Windy City 56ers. She replaces Thelma McKenzie of the Prairie Villagers. Thelma completed the maximum term of four years and served the NCC well. Bruce Fischer, of the Village Traders of Puget Sound, will serve Region Nine as its representative. Bruce lives in Milton, Wash., and is the editor of his club’s newsletter. He replaces Mardelle Brutzman. Mardelle has also completed the maximum term allowed by the NCC By-Laws. The NCC is fortunate to have had these two individuals serving in this capacity. Richard Puckett, NCC membership coordinator, was elected NCC vice president, replacing Kirk Wyllie. All of us wish Kirk much success in his endeavors and thank him for his many creative contributions to the work of the NCC. This year brought forth the NCC Club Binder. Each local club was given a number of components to be placed in the NCC Club Binder. The binder serves as a hands-on quick reference to NCC information. It contains contact information for all NCC clubs and the NCC board of directors. Also in the binder is a copy of the NCC By-Laws and information about NCC Associate Members. Space is also provided for the NCC Club Connection, future gatherings, and club program ideas. This year saw tremendous growth in the number of NCC Associate Members. The NCC increased from 16 18

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Associate Members to 27. We are very fortunate to have this support from retailers, and we encourage all of our membership to frequent these stores. A complete list of our Associate Members can be found on our website, Rounding out the year was—and will be—our continued work in growing the NCC. Your NCC officers and board of directors are committed to the growth of our membership and creating new clubs throughout the United States and Canada. This is easily seen with the recent addition of our newest club, 56 Builders of Illinois, and the addition of new members in many established clubs. The growth of our organization and its impact on collecting was certainly noted at the Northeast Harvest Gathering this past October in Windsor Locks, Conn. More than three hundred attendees visited the NCC booth in the Market Place. Many stopped by to share their display photos as well as their display ideas and techniques. A large number of the visitors to the booth commented on the NCC Club Connection and its influence on their collecting and displaying. The NCC sponsored four seminars during the gathering. They covered member recruitment and tips on putting some “wow” into your club meetings. One of the most exciting events at the gathering was the NCC-sponsored Bingo Night. Over 300 collectors filled two rooms to play. Thanks to the generosity of these players, the NCC raised more than $550, all of it donated to the gathering’s charities. As we move into the holiday season, I hope all of us will continue with

that same mode of generosity. Not only is this the season of reflection, but it is also the season of caring and providing hope for so many individuals and families. Please know that your National Council of 56 Clubs will return in 2014 with much excitement and many surprises that will support its membership and future clubs. On behalf of the National Council of 56 Clubs’ officers and board of directors, I wish each of you a season of joy, happiness, and giving. u

NCC President Mike Goode (left) and Vice President Richard Puckett at the Northeast Harvest Gathering in Connecticut.

The NCC has developed a new binder for clubs. It provides reference information, contact information for other clubs, and more.

Village Word Search

By Matt Gaffney Find and circle the Word List names of these selected December 2013 Department 56 Village Retirements. Note: Some Word List names may be printed backward or diagonally in the puzzle. Good luck! WORD LIST A LITTLE IRISH JIG A MISTLETOE SURPRISE BASEL CHEESE SHOP CHERUB CHOIR CHESAPEAKE BAY LIGHT DEVONSHIRE CREAMERY GOTTA GETTA GUND MERRY CHRISTMAS SLEEPLESS WALKING SNOWDROP COTTAGE THE SPIDER HOUSE

/ & 3 ) = / + ( 7 * 2 7 7 $ * ( 7 7 $ * 8 1 ' 5 2

3 2 + 6 ( 6 ( ( + & / ( 6 $ % & 8 0 ( < ; 7 , 3 /

, . / 6 3 $ ; & ( . 1 & % ( 1 $ , % : 7 9 2 7 ;

) & & $ ) 0 7 4 $ 6 / 6 7 ' 9 3 * 6 + 3 + & 1 . (

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6 6 1 & + 2 % 3 < ' 3 % 5 9 & 9 4 : 3 = $ : 5 ' = 4

= ; + < 2 ( 7 & & ' & + + 2 ; 3 $ . 8 8 6 2 0 : 2

The prize for the winner of this issue's Word Search contest is a copy of the third edition of the "Village D-Tails" book, an essential resource for Department 56 enthusiasts. Suggested retail value: $29.95. Deadline: Entries must be received by "Village D-Lights" no later than February 1, 2014. One winner will be randomly selected from the valid entries. To Enter: Complete the puzzle and send it (or a photocopy, a scan, or a photograph of it) to: Village D-Lights Word Search, 300 Walnut St., Suite 6, Des Moines, IA 50309; fax 515.246.0398; email

7 % 8 5 ' 6 1 < 0 ( 2 < 2 1 & < 7 / ' 0 * 6 7 0 + *

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Submitted by: Name Address City State


Phone Email

WINNER FROM THE FALL ISSUE Margo Torroll, Georgetown, Texas Congratulations, Margo!

No Purchase Necessary. One entry per person or household. Puzzle must be completed correctly to be a valid entry. "Village D-Lights" and Department 56 are not responsible for lost, incomplete, illegible, misdirected, misdelivered or delayed entries. This offer void where prohibited or restricted by law, and is subject to all applicable federal, state and local rules. Odds of winning depend on number of valid entries received. Winner responsible for all taxes resulting from receipt of prize.

Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



Artist Barb Lund has a special, familial connection to Department 56.


“Dad was a painter, and there are many of his paintings in our home,” Lund says. “I still use many tools from his studio. Watching him draw was a joy. His hand never wavered.”



As a second-generation designer for Department 56, Barb Lund honors her parents’ legacy


or Department 56 aficionados, their collections hold special significance and heartfelt connections. Often boxed away during the non-holiday months, the buildings re-emerge at Thanksgiving or at Christmastime, bringing with them happy memories of the past and holding sweet hopes for the future. In the case of Barb Lund, an independent designer with Department 56, these collectibles are more than just heirlooms to be handed down to 20

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Winter 2013-2014

future family members, and they are more than conversation-starters that delight visiting guests at her home. The world of Department 56 is part of Lund’s personal history. Her parents, Neilan and Ruth, were the visionaries who imagined—and then created—the Villages that have come to mean so much to fans around the globe. “As you can imagine, I have heard some pretty heartwarming stories over the years,” Lund says. “Many people who have a history with the collections

do understand the family connection. While my father, Neilan, will always be remembered as ‘the Master,’ I do my best to continue the tradition he and my mother began.” Born in Minneapolis, Lund grew up as the middle sibling between two other sisters. Her dad was a professional artist, and the girls were often encouraged to look at the world and then interpret it with an artistic keen eye. “I had no unusual gift, but I had a

A trip to England influenced Lund’s design. While there, she noticed a building that had numerous decorative indents on the walls. “I thought the rhythm of the pattern was interesting and so used it on Fred’s,” she says.

Nephew Fred’s House will be a new addition to Dickens’ Village, introduced in the January 2014 line of new Village items. Select stores will have it in April 2014, all locations in June 2014.

great desire to please my father,” Lund says. “When we were very young, I remember a number of summer evenings when he would grab a stack of sketchpads and sit us down in the backyard. He would go on to try to explain how to look at things in hopes we could transfer that imagery to paper. Off hand, I would say none of our sketches of poplar trees or swing sets would have market value,” she laughs. “However, we also grew up in a home that had many professional

art supplies, and we were encouraged to use them. I’m sure there were hundreds of rainy days spent in the basement, painting or making small sculptures out of various things. At one point, I copied most of the presidents from more famous portraits.” Culture and literature played an important role in the Lund homestead. With their father setting the standard for the visual arts, their mom, Ruth, provided the daughters with a list of great authors to read and appreciate. A

literature teacher, Ruth was especially smitten by Charles Dickens: “She thought of his prose as terrific writing but also as something that could continue to teach all of us lessons about caring for each other.” When the family’s patriarch retired from General Mills, where he had been the director of art services, Neilan had decided to pursue a “retirement business,” something that would keep him occupied and provide personal joy and satisfaction. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



Did you know Santa’s toys are quality controlled? “That’s the idea behind Santa’s Home Office, new for North Pole 2014,” Barb says. “You’ll see toys awaiting inspection. Note the Richter compass, which I use when I draw.”

“He and my mother thought creating things for Christmas would be a happy business and one with a guaranteed audience,” Lund says. “So around 1980, my mother began doing research, and my father turned those ideas into art.” Harking back to Ruth’s affection for Charles Dickens and her fond recollection of a novelty from her Depression-era childhood—a popup cardboard tree-surround that was a Victorian street—the Lunds had an idea that would make the magic of Christmas and Dickens tangible. They realized they needed a giftware company to make these dreams come true, and a chance encounter with Ed Bazinet, the founder of Department 56, was the jolt that their new enterprise needed. “Within a year, Ed used his porcelain connections in Asia to produce 2,000 sets of the original Dickens’ Village, and the whole shipment was sent, on spec, to a New York department store,” Lund says. “It sold out in four days, and the Dickens’ Village was born.” 22

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The Dickens’ Village Series attracted enthusiasts immediately, and the success of that Victorian England set spawned the Alpine and New England Villages, too. Ruth tirelessly did all the research into the history and the provenance of the locations; Neilan was free to work and sketch and conjure at the drawing board. Then, in 1988, a horrible accident occurred. “We suffered the tragedy of my mother being killed by a car as she was crossing the street. For all the obvious reasons, this was a terrible time, but the Villages had become very popular and big business for Department 56. My father felt great responsibility to fulfill the agreements they had made. He also felt that, in no small way, the Villages were my mother’s legacy. We continued, but without the energy and vision of my mother. These were long and tough months,” Lund says. “Finally, it was decided that Neilan would teach me the ropes, and I would help him produce the pieces.” The initial efforts were slow and intense. Barb drew upon her inner resources to mimic her father’s style and

Barb enjoys the fantasy aspect of the North Pole: “We may continue a small grouping of pieces that appear on skids or wheels, like the Buggy House. There should be a couple on the market soon.”

to try to harness his thought process: “It took years of learning, and I am still in the process each day, even 25 years later. Watching him draw was a joy. His hand never wavered. I will never be that sure; but when I sit down at paper, I still try to think of what he would do.” During her tenure at Department 56, she’s had the great fortune to have worked on all four Villages that her father had originated: Dickens, Alpine, New England, and North Pole. “They are all surprisingly different, as you have to turn your mind a bit each time to consider them,” she says. “I suppose I would have to admit that Dickens is a sentimental favorite. Certainly, it has the greatest ties to my mother and the beginning of the business, but I do really enjoy working on New England and North Pole, too. Research for New England is great fun, and North Pole has almost no rules. I say ‘almost,’ because there are always rules when something needs to meet the criteria of production.” Eloquent and detail-oriented, Lund is able to draw a precise glimpse into her workdays and her D56 team’s multi-

“I have to admit I love working on factorytype buildings, as they often offer interesting rooflines,” Lund says. “Of course, lighthouses have great appeal as well.”

“Recently I finished the Straw Duck Pub, which features a straw ornament on the roof,” Barb says. “Master thatchers sometimes decorated their work to show their level of skill. These pieces of whimsy are delightful.”

tiered efforts: “Our process begins with sketching. Once we are happy with the design, we do two-dimensional ink drawings from four sides and the top. The work is then hand-colored, which is where my task ends,” she says. “Once D56 has the dimensions and color, a three-dimensional model is made, and wax is carved by very skilled sculptors. When all the components are finished, everything is shipped to Asia, and molds are made from the waxes. Porcelain is poured, fired, and painted. Then, voila, you have a Village!” The artists, the artisans, and all the folks involved in the process take their commitments seriously each step of the way: “I actually feel tremendous responsibility to reliably create pieces that will become good and loved additions to peoples’ collections,” Lund says. “Of course, I remember the things I loved as a child. While the Villages did not exist then, we had huge attachments to those cherished items that we did have. If I can help create a precious memory for a family, well, that is a pretty good way to spend my day.” Barb feels that obligation deeply, and she says

her colleagues do, too. Married and cementing her own family legacies, Barb alternates with hosting a home-based event or heading to the airport for the holidays: “Sometimes we have a traditional Christmas and try to invite folks who may not have a place to go, but sometimes we travel. A couple years ago, we flew to Bangor, Maine, and drove to New Brunswick, Canada. My heavens, we managed to find a place even colder than Minneapolis!” Traveling is one of her greatest passions, and the sights Barb has experienced and the architecture she’s encountered have impacted her personally and professionally. “Travel is the best way to understand the world, and our world is becoming a very small place,” she says. “Only about 35 percent of Americans have passports, which is a low percentage worldwide. I realize travel is a great privilege. I have traveled to England often, both to London and outlying areas. When I take these trips, I do take many photos of buildings, yet very few of people. My ‘albums’ are never very interesting to others, though

they are very helpful to me.” Even though her work has primarily focused on buildings and on other manufactured items/accessories, Lund knows that there is something abstract and abiding within the Department 56 Villages. She realizes that their allure goes way beyond their rooflines and window casements: “Many pieces of our greatest classical literature could be described as ‘teaching moments.’ In ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Charles Dickens teaches us that there is both great tragedy and great joy in the world simultaneously. We can lessen the former by contributing to the latter. He teaches us that in the dark underbelly of society lay ‘ignorance and want,’ but we can improve that. He teaches us to look to our better angels as he takes this wretched, miserable man and teaches Scrooge the meaning of Christmas and thereby improves the lives of all the characters.” Lund hesitates for a moment, and then she succinctly affirms, “This is one of the greatest epiphanies in literature, and it is at the heart of the Dickens’ Village.” u Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights


2014 NEW


Hundreds of new pieces to

enjoy and share Department 56 introduces hundreds of new pieces that bring holidays to life and make gift giving more fun. We help you bring the traditions of yesterday home and join them with the aesthetics of today.

What’s New The new Ornament House in Christmas Lane reminds us of the over decorated home on the block that hangs huge ornaments from bare branch tree limbs. The newest addition in years, and worth the wait, Dickens’ Village, A Christmas Carol, Nephew Fred’s Home.


Every piece

has a

SHOP 24/7 A member of the Enesco Family of Brands

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A tapestry of Connecticut fall colors greeted us.

“Just So You Know” from the

Northeast Harvest Gathering October 25-27, 2013, Windsor Locks, Connecticut


ou’re asked to register for events early and make your hotel reservations even earlier. For the Northeast Harvest Gathering, this was especially true. Attendees could walk from the airport to the hotel without going outside. You just had to walk to the end of the terminal, turn right, and you were in the lobby of the host hotel, the Sheraton Hartford Hotel at Bradley Airport. Its rooms filled up fast. The backup hotel was close, even had a shuttle, but the convenience wasn’t the same. 26

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…Many people arrived several days early to participate in the Gathering tours or to visit the three open houses with village displays. Others visited local sites and became familiar with what is where. Eating places, shopping opportunities, Deptartment 56 dealers, tourist things were discussed. Bought this, found this, and ate here, plan to eat there. …You had to take notice as you passed the first open door in the hotel— the room inside was absolutely filled with Gathering prizes. This Prize Room became a very popular place. Each hour,

numbers from attendees’ badges were drawn for prizes. All weekend, it was necessary to stop by to see what you won. …Thursday afternoon, folks were wandering the lobby area looking for old friends and meeting new. Many of these little sessions were held all over the hotel. You would find them morning, noon, or night all the way to Sunday. Family, travel, health— sometimes they even talked about their Dept. 56 villages. …The three open houses included “Spooky Hollow,” the Halloween

Darlene Fournier and Robert Niederwerfer and their Spooky Hollow Village open house in Windsor, Conn. The (candy) vegetable gardens at Spooky Hallow—a favorite of one of the owners, Robert Niederwerfer (at their Sunday open house).

display of Robert Niederwerfer and Darlene Fournier. They had 250 of their 400 Halloween houses on display in a storefront in Windsor, Conn. This was their first public display in 11 years. The Debby Cherenzia and John Bertholf displays featured every piece from Dept. 56 Snow Village Halloween and Little Town of Bethlehem. They live in Stratford, Conn. The rural New Hartford, Conn., home of Randy and Penny Miller featured two displays by their grandchildren, Dylan and Olivia. They also had a very large Dept. 56 North Pole display and Christmas trees with Dept. 56 ornaments and Snowbaby ornaments. …After 3 p.m. on Thursday, you were able to pick up your event packets and goodie bags. They used an insulated bag with a zippered top. Inside was local information, Dept. 56 and NCC prizes, plus other goodies. The halls were crowded, the lines long, but no one seemed to mind. The official event name badges, meal tickets, and program booklets were also handed out. The Gathering committee had dedicated their event to the memory of Ruth C. Buerkle. As the event booklet said, “In life there are certain individuals who, by their intelligence, generosity, grace, and personality make you want to be in their company whenever you can.” Ruth was such a person. She and her sister, Grace Williamson, attended many gatherings

beginning with the original Bachman event in 1990. Everyone knew them— they will both be missed. …Friday morning, the Marketplace doors opened, showing a large room filled with “old” Dept. 56 items, miniatures, accessories and tools—all for sale! A crowd rushed in. Shopping is the reason some people attend gatherings. They seek a missing item for their collection, or maybe something new or different. Also inside were information tables for the National Council of Department 56 Clubs (NCC), “Village D-Lights” magazine and the “Village D-Tails” book, Department 56, and the Gathering table selling event pins, shirts, and the Dept. 56 event piece. …Twelve different seminars were offered on Friday. Those went along with three “make ’n’ takes.” They ran simultaneously, so a choice sometimes had to be made between learning in a seminar and actually making something. Some were repeated on Saturday, so checking the schedule was important. The red-shirted committee members and other volunteers were everywhere to offer assistance. …Many folks traveled away from the hotel for Friday evening dinner. Being in the Northeast, finding good seafood was discussed. Many people took advantage of the shuttles available. Others used rentals or their own vehicles. …Bingo, sponsored by the NCC, was available in two locations later

Dylan Widmer, grandson of Gathering chairman Randy Miller and Penny Miller, showing off his display at the Miller’s open house at their rural home in Stratford, Conn.

Olivia Widmer, who, like Dylan (above), is Randy and Penny Miller’s grandchild, is proud of her display featuring Department 56 Snowbabies. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights





3 Friday evening. Both were well attended. The top prize in each room was admission to the Region 8 “Reporting on the World of Villages” Gathering. It will be held next September 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas. Find details at …Saturday was another nice weather day for those who took the time to go out and see fall colors. The attendees were now really beginning to notice and photograph the many very nice seasonal displays placed around the hotel by the sponsoring clubs. The hotel offered a breakfast buffet that event attendees took advantage of. 28

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

…The many seminars and make ’n’ takes were again well attended. People visited the appropriate rooms to bid on silent auction items or vote for display contest entries. The hospitality room was visited even more than the day before. The Marketplace stayed open until 3 p.m. The dealers then had to quickly clear the room to allow the hotel to set up for the evening banquet. …The hotel lobby area was again very crowded as people gathered awaiting the opening of the doors for the banquet. There was pre-assigned seating for the 300-plus attending—no reason to rush. Each chair in the room

4 held a Dept. 56 prize. There was some trading of prizes even before everyone was seated. …After a welcome to attendees, thanks to committee volunteers, and the blessing of the food, committee chairman Randy Miller announced that the food would be served. The choices were fish, beef, chicken, or vegetarian. The room got quiet and the plates were cleaned, so the food must have been good. …The evening program included short talks by representatives of the Gathering’s charities: Vicar Kevin Mongoau from Hands of Grace,


7 1) “How to Landscape Like a Pro” workshop by Gene Bergeron, G&L Country Barn and Christmas Shop. 2) Melinda Seegers, Deptartment 56 Consumer Services, and Scott Enter, Deptartment 56 artist, answer collectors’ questions. 3) Shopping at the Mini Things booth at the Marketplace on Saturday morning. 4) Debbie Shelgren speaking during her “Changing Bottle-Brush Trees” seminar on Saturday morning. 5) The display from Bill Sheldon’s seminar, “Presentation is Everything!” 6) A good water rescue scene at G&L Country Barn and Christmas Shop in Windham, Conn. 7) Visitors viewing the large North Pole display of Randy and Penny Miller at their open house on Sunday afternoon.

6 Christine Hayward from Neighbor to Neighbor, and Enix Zavala from the Ronald McDonald House. …William Dillard quietly invited folks to attend the Region 8 Gathering in Texas. New NCC Vice President Richard Puckett gave a heartfelt talk on the family feeling among Dept. 56 collectors. …Jeanne and Peter George were introduced as new honorary members by NCC president Mike Goode. They join Judith Price, Jack Skeels, and Paul Bachman. The Georges published “The Village Chronicle” magazine for nearly 14 years. They also did the “Greenbook”

8 guide. When they decided to leave the business, they talked to Pioneer Communications about fulfilling their subscriber list. A new publication, “Village D-Lights,” was created to fill the need for a Dept. 56 collector magazine. That was 2005. …Before, during, and after the meal, volunteers circled the banquet room selling raffle tickets. Tickets were sold by the arm length of the seller. Proceeds went to the events charities. …The evening highlight for many was the auction. Auctioneer Peter George kept things moving smoothly as money was raised for the charities.

8) Bill Sheldon at his seminar, “Presentation is Everything!” on Saturday morning.

Longtime Gathering attendees were happy to have his humorous banter and big smile back again. Although there were many Dept. 56 items offered for auction, the big money-raising items were several homemade quilts. …It was almost 11:30 p.m. by the time the traditional Gathering roomhops officially began. You had to look for white towels on the floor outside of participating rooms. You never knew what you were going to find for sale. It’s mostly Dept. 56 village-related, but that isn’t always so. …United Parcel Service brought service to the hotel on Sunday morning. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



That was a final stop for many of the out-of-the-area visitors. It is less expensive to use UPS than to take prizes and purchases on flights home. …Goodbyes and a lot of good food brought attendees to the end of the event. More than 360 people attended. They came from 28 states and three Canadian provinces. At the final breakfast, the Gathering committee proudly presented a $10,000 check to each of their three charities. …Most people left Sunday afternoon, but not all. For some, there were still a couple of open houses to attend and more shopping to do. Others extended their visit just to enjoy local history and the fall colors of the Northeast. …A special thanks to my lovely wife, Linda, for her contribution of ideas and photos. u Gathering host clubs: • Delaware Valley 56ers • Departmental 56ers • Department 56 Villagers of Central Pennsylvania • Garden State Village Collectors • Heritage Treasures Collectors Club of Long Island • North Shore Village Association • Pioneer Valley 56ers • San Diego 56ers Gathering sponsors: • Christmas Tree Hill • City Lights • Department 56 Retirees • Feeney’s • G&L Country Barn and Christmas Shop • Gift Barn • The Gift Gallery • Graziano Gardens • Joy’s Hallmark 30

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

Dickens’ Village displays at G&L Country Barn and Christmas Shop (a Gathering sponsor) in Windham, Conn., on Monday.

One of the display rooms at the The Village Christmas Shop of the Old Mill Pond Village (a Gathering sponsor) in Granby, Conn., on Sunday afternoon.

• Old Mill Pond Village • Revay’s Gardens & Gift Shop • Yankee Candle NCC honorary members: • Judith Price, retired director of Dept. 56 Consumer Services (Ms. Lit Town) • Jack Skeels (deceased), founder of the National Council of 56 Clubs

• Paul Bachman, Bachman’s • Jeanne and Peter George Texas ticket winners, NCC Bingo: • Ruth Walsh, League City, Texas • Mary Lou Evans, Hershey, Pennsylvania



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........ Lost Cedar ........ County profil County; most es 94 name d locations simple post which won’t be within Cedar found offices such Cedar Valley as Rosette on maps at this time. From Onion Grove or Lime City; with or Cedar; to missin missp g towns ; or name this book changes such ellings such as Union such as traces the Grove for path of settlem as Denson’s Ferry many towns form and forValle ent in Cedar and then r Massiyllon, Coun Ceda death of someyet not develop? What ty. Why did s of the name chang so places caused Town shed? You will be the rapid es in Cedar Vani growth surprised County. at some of Order all the the books in this histor N ··· ic series at M CC AN G E Riowan T S I Nwww. .com. DA B E ··· L I N


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Shop securely from our online catalog Shop securely from our online catalog: Facebook---Click on catalog theShop icon from webpage Likesecurely us onShop securely from our online catalog Shop securely from ourour online catalog Shop from our online securely from our online catalog Like us onuson Facebook---Click on theour icon from webpage ForusSpecial orders call Lottie (717) 334-2072 Like onthe Facebook---Click on the icon from ourour webpage Like us onthe Facebook---Click on theour iconwebpage from webpage Like on Facebook---Click on icon from our Like us on Facebook---Click iconwebpage from 1907 Old Harrisburg Road - Lottie Gettysburg, PA 17325 For special orders call Lottie334-2072 (717) 334-2072 Special orders call Lottie (717) For Special orders call (717) 334-2072 ForMailing Specialaddress: orders call Lottie (717) 334-2072 For Special orders call For Lottie (717) 334-2072 Mailing address: 1907 Harrisburg - Gettysburg, PA 17325 Mailing address: 1907 Old Harrisburg - Gettysburg, 17325 Mailing address: 1907 Harrisburg Road - Road Gettysburg, PA 17325 PA Mailing address: Old Harrisburg Road -Old Gettysburg, PA 17325 Mailing1907 address: 1907 Old Harrisburg Road - Old Gettysburg, PARoad 17325

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Christmas Nostalgia p.36

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Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



Suzie’S Hallmark SHop

2822 West Erwin Street Tyler, Texas 75702 • 903-526-5556 A few of the brands we carry: Department 56 Villages & Accessories, Grinch, Peanuts, and Disney Villages. Bethany Lowe, Patience Brewster, Steinbach Nutcrackers, Fontanini, Mark Roberts, Pre-lit Christmas Trees in all colors and sizes, Custom wreaths and Garlands. A huge selection of themed trees.

Crystal Aerie

37597 Niles Blvd. Fremont, CA 94536 Ph: 510-791-0298 • Fax: 510-791-2358 • We carry the following brands: Harmony Kingdom, Byers’ Choice Carolers, Munro Faerie Glen and Dragonsite, Lenox Classics, Walt Disney Classics, Disney, all Department 56 Villages, Ne'Qwa Ornaments and much more! Check our website for harder to find, older village pieces!

Find us on Facebook.



1052 Washington Way • Longview, WA 98632 (360) 423-0450 • Fax: (360) 425-7461 Southwest Washington’s Premiere Department 56 Dealer. Also showcasing Snowbabies, Patience Brewster, Possible Dreams, Jim Shore and Willow Tree. From our local area Glass Eye, Moon Struck, Chocolates and Margaret Furlong.

Good Things For All Seasons

334 S. Main St. Grapevine, TX 76051 817-251-3673 Club 56 and Gold Key Dealer for Department 56 We carry the following brands: Department 56 All Villages, Accessories, Possible Dreams, Snowbabies, Mark Robert's Fairies, Elves & Santas, Byers' Choice Carolers, Old World Christmas, December Diamonds, Mary Lake Thompson, Glitterville, Karen Didion Originals, Lilly Pulitzer Paper Products, Christopher Radko. We Ship Worldwide! Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 11-5

The Gift Korner 2583 Pacific Coast Hwy. Torrance, CA 90505 Ph: (310) 539-5011 • Fax: (310) 539-8622 E-mail: Department 56 Retired Villages & accessories at 60% off!


18065 Harwood Ave. Homewood, IL 60430 Ph: 708-799-2810 Fax: 708-799-1475 Gold Key Dealer for Department 56. We carry: Hallmark, Department 56, All Villages and Accessories, Snowbabies, and much more. All purchases receive points on your Gold Crown Card.

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

Hunt’s at Silver Lake Drug & Gift

1510 North Broadway • Silver Lake Shopping Center Rochester, MN 55906 • Ph: 507-289-3901 (800) 552-7197 • Fax: 507-289-2934 E-mail: • We carry the following brands: Hallmark, Enesco, Department 56, Willow Tree, Precious Moments, Demdaco, Baggallini. At this time of year we would like to thank all of our customers for your patronage! LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!


Pier 39, Level 2 #N213 San Francisco, CA 94133 • 415-398-2944 • Some of the brands we carry: Department 56 All Villages, Snowbabies, Possible Dreams, Jim Shore, Byers' Choice, Old World Christmas, Thomas Kinkade Paintings, Fontanini, Nutcrackers, Disney, and much more.


Denny’s Gift Den

3257 100th Street Urbandale, IA 50322 515-276-3599 • Toll Free: 877-633-6647 Email: Some of the brands we carry: Boyd’s Bears, Byers’ Choice Carolers, Cherished Teddies, Department 56 Villages, Harmony Kingdom, Peggy Karr Glass, Precious Moments, Rinconada, Webkinz, Yankee Candles, Willow Tree. We Buy Collectibles!

4506 Culver Road • Rochester, NY 14622 585-266-4506 Authorized dealer for Department 56 Villages and Village Accessories, Snowbabies, Snowpinions, Snowbunnies, Grinch, Department 56 Christmas ornaments. Our website is open 24/7: Free Shipping for Department 56 (In lower 48 states only). Coupon code: DEPT 56

ColleCtibly yours www.collectiblyyoursgif Retired, secondary market collectibles Dept. 56 Villages and accessoRies snowbabies • snowbunnies Merry Makers • all Through The house WinTer silhoueTTes • upsTairs Bears

Lladro, Armani, Swarovski, Kinkade, Dolls, Wee Forest Folk, Lilliput Lane, David Winter, Lowell Davis, Seraphim, Plates, Disney Classics, JRS, Ebony Visions, All God’s Children, Harmony Kingdom, Charming Tails, PM, AND MORE! phone (845) 352-8968

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FOR SALE Central Florida’s Full Line Dept. 56 Dealer We Carry all Department 56 Villages See all new mid-year releases!

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houses and accessories between 1987 & 1995- Dickens, North Pole, Christmas in the City and New England series. Lowest market value according to the 2013 D-Tails Village book totals $3,850. Will sell all-or-none (entire lot) for $2,500. All are perfect (except one building), in their original sleeve and box.

Email for the list of items

1171 Main St, Spanish Springs, The Villages, FL • Tollfree 866.509.FINE Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




Thinking creatively, Grindstaff placed a board atop her sideboard to give herself more space. “This way, I did a larger village, which incorporated middle-class shops, pubs, newspapers, etc.”

Boomtown With more than 250 buildings—and more to come— collector Sandy Grindstaff has turned her house into a Christmas wonderland


y profession, Sandy Grindstaff is a legal assistant/paralegal. In her off hours, though, she is a real-estate dynamo, a force of nature who combines urban-planning skills and a keen eye for décor. Presiding over a sprawling terrain of more than 250 buildings, she is a bona fide Department 56 diva—dedicated, intense, versatile, and artistic. Grindstaff, who has a delicious sense of humor about her “obsession,” credits her late mother with sharing and emphasizing the love of the holiday season within her: “My mother, who was also a big collector of everything, was a big Christmas enthusiast, and 34

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

I know she would love all of the trees and villages I do. She got her love of ornaments from me, but I definitely inherited her love for the season. This has been a great way to feel connected to her, even though she passed away 12 years ago.” In her home, which Grindstaff deems “a rather small one,” she has had to become creative in her displaying and designing. She has figured out a way to make each nook and cranny glow with seasonal merriment and joy. According to the San Fernando Valley collector, “The last few years I’ve displayed my villages in the dining room. I have a fireplace in the room with a wide

mantel, so I have a village there, and I have a sideboard where I also build a village. Last year, we made a top that fits over the top of the sideboard and extends the space by about one and a half feet. I use ‘we’ very broadly! I have great ideas, but I rely on other people’s carpentry skills. I, however, can cut a mean piece of Styrofoam. I have several modern cardboard putz villages, which I display in the kitchen—on top of the fridge and on top of the cabinets—and under my tree.” As she festoons her home with light-up buildings and multiple trees and ornaments galore, the aficionado is serious about keeping everything

“This is a detail from the outdoor village,” the enthusiast says. “I love the oldfashioned fun of this village.” The collector rejoices in swapping themes and mixing up the ambience of her holiday décor.

thematic and complementary. Recalling one of her recent endeavors, Grindstaff shares how she “started to collect just a few of the outdoor-themed Snow Village buildings, with a plan to make a small vignette for my significant other. He’s an avid hunter and fisherman. That grew and grew until it has outgrown its space. In 2011, I turned my dining room into a ‘man room,’ with the outdoor village and a hunting/fishing-themed Christmas tree.” In 2012, the dining room morphed into a “Merry Olde England” venue, with her Dickens’ Village and English-centric Christmas tree holding court. The ability to constantly switch things up and to surprise her friends and family is a trait that Grindstaff holds close to her heart. “In addition to participating on a home tour with my Christmas club (one or two bus loads of people the weekend before Thanksgiving) and the open house for my Deptartment 56 club, I hold open houses for the people I work with, people from my former workplace, as well as several groups of friends. In 2012, I think I had about 200 people through. My Christmas-collecting friends think I’m perfectly normal,

On this corner of the mantelpiece, the collector re-created a prosperous residential area in Victorian London. “I love, love, love England, and I’m a Christmas nut,” Grindstaff declares.

while my other friends think I need an intervention or a keeper—or both! I love the holidays and enjoy opening my house to my friends,” the Department 56 devotee says. A proud member of the Village Addicts, her collecting club of choice, Grindstaff revels in the opportunity to be with so many like-minded folks. A collector for nearly 30 years—her first purchase was of discounted Dickens buildings back in 1984—she appreciates the chance to interact with other enthusiasts. “Some of my friends and family think I’m a little bit crazy, but they do like the end result,” she laughingly observes. “Fortunately, with the club membership, I’m around lots of people who don’t think I’m nuts because I have six Christmas trees and a village inside my small house!” Because she does have limited floor space—even with her clever use of mantelpieces and the tops of appliances— the hobbyist has had to sell some of her items over the years. When it comes to her purchases, she is not a meticulous, nit-picking record keeper, but she does have an instinct for

when the treasure trove is starting to overflow. “I have sold a few of the early Dickens pieces, because I personally don’t think they blend well with the newer pieces, which I love. I sold them to new collectors,” she explains. “When all is said and done, I think I was born a collector. I tell my friends that if I’ve liked something longer than 10 minutes, I have a hundred of them!” Throughout her life, Sandy has collected teapots, vintage jewelry, china, miniature English cottages, and Christmas ornaments. She began to acquire the Yuletide decorations at age 17 and has never stopped: “When I moved out of the country for a while, I got rid of or seriously pruned most of my collections. Plus, I had a lot of things break in the 1994 earthquake, but my Christmas collection has always been a constant.” Grindstaff acknowledges that her current inventory of 250 buildings could escalate to 275 or even 300—“I already have more than I can display, so I’m only trying to buy the pieces I really, really love or the ones that fill a need, like the 2013 milliner in the Dickens’ Village, or Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights



“Radko’s peppermint village is on top of the fridge,” the collector explains. “I removed the caps from ornaments, inserted a stick for the trunks, and used them as lollipops to match the candy theme.”

The dining room was transformed into an elegant yet masculine setting in honor of Grindstaff’s significant other: “I themed the room using the Snow Village outdoor-themed buildings and did a hunting-and-fishing tree.”

An “Anglophile,” Grindstaff delighted in bringing a British mood to her 2012 dining room: “Here’s a view of my mantel, with the posh residential district and the well-to-do shopping district next to the English-themed tree.” 36

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

the new bait shop in the outdoor Snow Village series. I really like the New England Village and the Alpine series, but I keep telling myself, ‘You have no more storage or display space. Don’t buy it.’ However, my resolve never lasts long, so I’ll probably end up with both!” she reasons with a giggle. Trying to curtail her miniature house purchasing is one thing, but her accumulation of accessories is another matter altogether: “The accessories seem to multiply on their own, in the dark, so there are a lot of them!” Interestingly, when Grindstaff first joined the Village Addicts, her mission was to sell many of her pieces to fellow members. Her initial game plan didn’t succeed. “As the poet Robert Burns said, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’ I did end up selling a couple pieces, but I bought more from the other sales tables than I sold. I reawakened the sleeping beast!” Her immersion in the world of Department 56 has brought happiness and great satisfaction into Grindstaff ’s life, and she is not shy about sharing it. “I encourage anyone who is thinking of collecting to go for it. Collect what you love and have a good time building the collection. Find a club—that really is helpful. You’ll meet lots of nice people and you’ll learn from the veterans. And, finally, don’t be intimidated. Not everybody has the room or the money to build a giant village.” From the friends she’s made via the club circuit to the cyber pals she’s been introduced to through the Department 56 collecting site on Facebook, the 58-year-old has acquired more than just items. Sandy Grindstaff has collected personal anecdotes, friends from all corners of the world, and memories to last a lifetime. u


Displayed Inspirations





Village D-Lights



Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014



Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




Icy Features How to Create Your Own Icy Pond and Frozen Waterfall

A display with a frozen waterfall, icy pond, and even some penguins.



veryone likes to add a water scene to his or her displays. Ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams provide realism and interest to the overall village display. Many collectors have some Department 56 general accessory stream pieces, or they paint certain areas blue to represent water. However, outside, when the temperatures drop for an extended period of time, a pond will freeze solid, forming ice that is not summer blue! Instead, it will take on the color of the pond bottom’s brown tones. Icy ponds can be placed in any winter village: Dickens’ Village, Christmas in the City, and the North Pole scene (it’s cold there year round!) Flowing lakes and rivers near Santa’s Village don’t exist except in our imagination. There are several ways to create an icy pond. Some are very easy to do. Others take a bit of work, extra time and the expense of products used. Here are some suggestions. Step 1. After a winter snowstorm, a frozen lake will be covered with a layer of fresh snow. It is relatively flat unless a strong wind creates drifts. A piece of white Styrofoam dusted with snow will suffice to form a lake or pond, with perhaps some higher areas depicting drifting snow. The shore is noticeably higher as well, perhaps dotted with piers, forgotten boats or rafts frozen in the ice, and fishing holes. Or, an area can be mottled in hues of very light grays if the snow has already been removed for a skating pond. Sponge-paint the surface with two or three similar tints of cool gray color. The 40

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

deeper tones would be in areas shaded by tree-lined shores, and under piers or near other encased objects in the frozen water. The surface can be finely scratched with a stickpin to indicate paths of the skaters’ blades. Step 2. Styrofoam is the base material that most village builders use to create their displays. Look for foam that has a silver backing when purchasing it from your home improvement center. Not all foam has this backing, so look carefully prior to purchase. You will only need one sheet with the silver backing. A little goes a long way! Before you build your display or vignette, remove that backing. Usually this material is thrown away before the pieces are stacked to create the elevations. Instead of having it go into a landfill, turn the material over and repurpose it as a pond surface. Some of the white foam will cling to the underside of the backing. The shine is muted—even dull—with little white beads still visible. Lay it down on the display where you want the icy pond to be placed. Surround the pond with the shoreline—higher pieces of stacked foam. Add any desired accessories, then sprinkle some fine Real Plastic Snow lightly over the ice surface so the gray material can still be seen. Cover the bases of the white accessory pieces, as well. Place a heavier amount near the edges to hide the junctions between the two elements.   

Step 3. In a more permanent village display or village vignette, the designer may want a more realistic appearance. Plan your layout. Determine where the pond is to be placed, and build the elevations around it. Numerous techniques have been provided in past “Village D-Lights” columns and the “Village Display Tips” books. Once the layout has been determined, paint the surrounding areas—rocks or cliffs, etc. Many North Pole displays, or those depicting very high elevations, tend to allow the white of the Styrofoam to dominate. However, to be authentic, remember that steep, vertical faces typically have some natural rock showing through in tones of gray or brown, depending on the mineral content. (Or, for village collectors, the buildings being featured will determine the rock coloration.) Snow usually can’t cling to perpendicular abutments, which are great design elements in a village display because they conserve space, create elevations, and allow for more buildings and accessories in a smaller footprint. Snow, however, can build up along sloping peaks, forming glaciers, especially on north faces. They will retain the white color of the foam and hold the Real Plastic Snow. Add a bit of white glitter to make them sparkle under the glistening daylight sun!  Step 4. Back to the pond. Scoop out the pond and/or stream area(s) with a hot wire or knife. Coat the carved area with a primer, such as gesso (a product used to prepare a canvas before painting a picture with oil paints). Allow to dry. This process will prevent a water simulation product from seeping into the foam.   After the gesso—or an alternative product—paint the bottom of the water feature in darker colors such as a deep blue-black or brownish black. Allow the paint to dry. There are also several water simulation products on the market. This featured vignette uses Realistic Water by Woodland Scenics. It is a one-step process. Just pour a thin coat over the painted area and allow to cure. Make certain the layer is no more than 1/8-inch deep. It will set in 24 hours. Repeat the process if you want deeper water, but it is not necessary when trying to create an icy appearance. When the Realistic Water has set firmly, pour some extra into a throwaway cup. Add some white paint into that cup and stir. If you want the ice to be quite translucent, do not add too much white paint. But, in some areas, you might want to represent denser, thicker ice. Increase the amount of white paint mixed into the cup and pour onto the pond or stream. You will still want some translucence. Use only the amount needed to cover (less than 1/8-inch). Continue to mix it around the pond surface after it is poured, giving the ice an uneven color. Some areas will be whiter; some more translucent. You want it mottled as it would be in nature, allowing some of the darker undercoating to show through!  Let it cure for another 24 hours. 

Real ice surfaces on lakes and ponds rarely are blue.

A detail view shows a rocky, snow-covered shoreline area. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights





Place your building on bare foam to check the scale.

aving grown up in a relatively flat area, I was familiar with waterfalls with shallow drops. In the coldest days of winter, the water mostly froze solid. On warmer days, there might sometimes be a trickle of water passing through the rocky streams. I never thought much about it until I traveled out West and was introduced to real frozen waterfalls: ones so thick and solid that ice climbers used picks to ascend them. How, I wondered, could those be put into a winter wonderland village display? That concept became my latest challenge! Many projects are trial and error, so let’s begin to construct a frozen waterfall and see how it comes out!   Step 1: Select a suitable building and develop a plan. For a one-building vignette, the piece would have to be suitable to a rural setting. The perfect choice would have been the North Pole’s Polar Plunge Warming House. However, the Dickens’ Village Holly-Tree Inn was more convenient. It’s the perfect place for a getaway! The footprint of the former is 6.25 x 5 inches, a bit smaller than the latter at 7.5 x 5.5 inches. The Warming House is taller, but either will fit in the same space. Thus, the display can be designed for one and the buildings swapped out for a different look at a later date. That is the beauty of developing a setting: It can be reusable! Step 2: Gather materials and begin construction based on the vignette plan.  

Shape the foam with a hot-wire tool.

Use Water Effects-brand material to create ice for the waterfall. 42

Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

Step 3: Lay down the base piece of Styrofoam on your work area. Two-inch thick foam is easily available. However, I found some packing material that measured 20 x12 x 12 inches. Two of those blocks were used along with other pieces.   Place the building where desired, build up the elevations under the building to your satisfaction, and then outline the building’s footprint. Stack and secure remnant pieces of foam to form the rock formations from which the waterfall will flow. In this example, one of the blocks was used for the waterfall. Shape the rocks with a knife or hot-wire tool. This foam was much softer than standard construction foam (it made quite a mess as it was cut). Remove the building, then paint the foam as desired or leave it white. Allow the painted rocks to dry. The waterfall will empty into a pond, so carve it, paint it, and fill it as described earlier in the discussion of pond construction. Whether the rocks are painted or left white, darken the areas behind the waterfall with the blueblack or brownish-black colors used as the base of the pond. Step 4: Measure the width and vertical drop of the waterfall. Then apply numerous beads of Water Effects onto a sheet of waxed paper in close proximity. The number of bead trails will be determined by the waterfall width. Extend them somewhat longer than the actual drop, as well. It will be white as it comes out of the bottle, but will dry clear. With a toothpick, straightened paperclip, or similar object, join

the beads together. Try to make them resemble the flow of water as it is falling over the cliff. Use as-is or add more to make a thicker ice column (each layer should set before the next is applied). Adhere the “ice” to the rocks with more product. Shape to make it look realistic. Add small amounts of white paint to the product, or brush white paint sparingly onto the waterfall after it is attached to give it an opaque, icy appearance. In this display, clear caulking replaced the Water Effects product, but was applied the same way. Two other products were also used here. The first was Liquitex Matte Super Heavy Gel (a paste used in acrylic painting to thicken the texture on the canvas). It was used to make snowdrifts and to cover the peaks. Woodland Scenics also has a fine “Snow.” Sprinkle it over the paste while it is still wet for a realistic snow cover. Both can also be used to cover the trees with a winter dusting, as was done to the green sisal trees next to the Holly-Tree Inn.       Step 5: Place the building and add accessories. Sprinkle more fine snow if desired. Enjoy the process—and the results! This process can also be used within a larger display, too! u

-Village Display Tips!


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Leigh Gieringer was the feature article writer focusing on the Alpine Village for the “Village Chronicle” magazine. She has written the six “Village Display Tips” books and produced the “Village Scaping Series” of five DVDs that demonstrate techniques and ideas to enhance village displays. Two books, “Realistic Village Vignettes” and “Stylistic Village Vignettes,” have recently been released. Go to or contact Gieringer for more information. Leigh Gieringer Village Display Tips Lakeside Suites at Ocotillo 3115 South Price Road Chandler, AZ 85248 480.600.6099

Tips • Village Display Tips: Volume II • More Village Display Tips • Display Building on a Budget DVDs: • Halloween: 101 • Halloween: 102 • Creating Large Displays • Village Vignettes • A Christmas Story *plus shipping, tax for AZ res.

Ideas can be applied to any village!

The scene comes together with trees and village pieces. Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights




Just So You Know... . . . We amazed some longtime friends visiting our yard this past summer— they had no idea our gardens even existed. Many times they’d been to our home to see village displays, but, as they reminded me, no gardens were visible under all the snow!

. . . For folks who like to have New York City in their displays, how about the Pennsylvania (railroad) Station? I bet it’ll fit in with a Dept. 56 “Christmas in the City” display. From TW Trainworx. Size is 13 x 43 x 17 inches. The cost is $3,333 (shipping included).

. . . Kathleen Balfanz, Department 56 regional rep, told me we will still have a dealer in our area, Gordy’s of Hermantown, Minn.. They will be a seasonal seller. Not the best thing that could happen, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.

. . . Simple Traditions Pine Isles was the name of the Deptartment 56 village available at Kohl’s. We purchased all the people while the line was sold from 2002 to 2004. Then they were gone! This is the answer to a recent question. The other half of the answer is “I don’t know.” The question was, “Why isn’t Pine Isles included in the “Village D-Tails?” guide. Menards, a home center and lumberyard, was also selling Department 56 Holiday Charms during that time. We have some of those folks as well.

. . . The Village North Collectors Club rummage sale raised $793.40 for Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit in Duluth, Minn. A special thanks to Gail and Jeff Rabold for hosting the event.

. . . I didn’t realize that Department 56 has a Ghost Town Series (Snow Village Halloween). Linda and I have almost no Halloween or Snow Village, but I do have an attraction to cowboy stuff. Wanted Dead or Alive (cowboy on a horse) was introduced this year. I’m guessing it will coordinate well with the Big Horn Saloon from 2012. Is there more?

. . . Linda Kruger, editor of “Village D-Lights” since it began in 2005, has retired. She was easy to work with—I’m going to miss her.

. . . Let’s Have a Little Fun—at almost 4 inches tall, it might be bit large for me. And, he is a little scary. But he might find his way to our house anyway. Did I mention that I’m talking about a new Department 56 Snow Village Halloween clown? Cost: $20. . . . How about an unusual location for a model railroad. It features an operational trolley on an office windowsill. It includes some buildings, people and accessories. July 2013 issue of “Classic Toy Trains” magazine.


Village D-Lights

Winter 2013-2014

A scene created with pieces from Simple Traditions Pine Isles, a Dept. 56 village originally available at Kohl’s stores.

. . . There was a Colonial Williamsburg tour in September sponsored by Department 56. It featured Williamsburg village artist Jeff Junkins. I was there many years ago, I really enjoyed my time. They do their best to make it a capsule in time. Hope everyone had a great time.

will work—either too large or too small. That would be 9-1/2 inches ($19.99 to $23.99) or 4-1/2 inches long ($5.99). The planes I saw that I liked were Ishani, Bulldog, Leadbottom, and Skipper. I think you’d have to be pretty clever to fit them in. I’m a bit disappointed.

. . . The nicest detail work I’ve ever seen on a model train layout. Scenery, structures, backgrounds, trees, weathering, bridges—I loved it all! See “Building The Ideal Logging Layout” in the July 2013 issue of “Classic Toy Trains.”

. . . “The one who snores will always fall asleep first.” —fortune cookie

. . . I received more comments about looking for a car transport than I expected. I found a couple trucks that should hold some of my 1:43 scale cars. But so far I’ve only found them in pictures. One is a Die Cast Freightliner Auto Transport, 1:43 Scale, 16-3/4” long. It says it has a “built in ramp system, nice detail and great display for Dinky, Brooklin, etc.” The other is from New Ray. The detail looks much better on this one. Now I have to see them in person to see if the cars fit. I’m making progress. Oh, yes, I did find a Hot Wheels version that was too small, and a 1:24 scale version—too large. . . . A suggestion—hold your Christmas village open house in January. Family, friends, and neighbors are less stressed, and Linda and I always seem to have more time after the holidays. I was recently reviewing my notes from our last open house. I wrote that we received these items as gifts: homepreserved tomatoes, applesauce, a candle, banana bread, pop tabs for Ronald McDonald, brownie bites, Trader Joe’s Cocoa Truffles, a large bag of M&M’s, homemade peach jam, a flower Scrubbie, and Gumby. Do we have good and unusual friends or what?

. . . You should use ultra-white, purewhite, or super-white latex indoor house paint to color and seal your Styrofoam display bases. That really applies in North Pole displays where you use a lot of snow. Normal white house paint is cream in comparison. . . . First Lemax purchase for 2013: the Spookytown Carnival Gate. It includes a clown so I almost had to buy it. Found it at Michaels in Duluth. . . . Linda spotted a couple of panoramic puzzles at Target. They are skyline views of New York City. Size: 38-1/2 by 11-1/2 inches. Buildings are really tiny, so I guess they could only be used as a faraway background. . . . “Tracks Ahead” on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). This is a reminder to watch the show once in a while. They are still doing stuff with

model trains and, on occasion, use Department 56 pieces. . . . A Wild Birds Unlimited sticker came with an advertising flyer. I plan to use it with some of our little birds in a display this season. Sort of makes it personal—we feed a whole lot of “real birds” in our yard. Note to me: use our birdfeeder earrings in this display. . . . A visit to Hobby Lobby showed me a couple of items of interest for a summer or fall vignette—corn stalks and sunflowers. Two inches tall, they are very nice looking. You get 16 sunflowers for $8.99 or 32 corn stalks for $9.99. I waited for coupons and then made a purchase. . . . Linda was recently on a Twin Cities shopping trip. She noticed that there is still the Model Cars Mall of America store. She says it has lots of cars in various sizes. Find it on the first floor, west end. We regularly use 1:43 scale cars in our displays. . . . Landmarks make our villages personal. We use handmade models of the local Aerial Lift Bridge and Enger Tower (both in Duluth) in our displays. They add interest for others, and it’s fun for us. Sometimes we also use tourist postcards of local sites. They make nice signs.

Add local flavor to your village by making handmade models of landmarks in your area, such as the Enger Tower in David Spears’ hometown of Duluth, Minn.

. . . I went looking at our Target store for the Disney planes. I thought they would be nice accessories for the new Dept. 56 Snow Village airport. If the two sizes they offer at Target are the only choices, not so sure they Winter 2013-2014

Village D-Lights


DISPLAY IDEAS, HINTS, AND OPINIONS . . . Michaels in Duluth had TOOB people I don’t remember seeing before—a very nice assortment of members of the United States Continental Army. By very nice, I mean very nicely done—much better than most TOOB figurines. The price is $7.99, and I’m not sure of how many soldiers that includes (I’d guess six or seven).

. . . Found some new, at least to me, mirror ball ornaments, $4.99 for a dozen. Maybe an inch in diameter, red/ white/silver and glitter. The word I used to describe them to Linda was classy. They would make a nice addition to the right Department 56 Snow Village or Christmas in the City vignette. Probably would be used with ballroom dancers or wedding party. Saw them at Michaels.

Trees can be made using common plants and weeds (yarrow, in this case). Just spray- paint and place them in your village.

. . . In the Barbie department at Target, I noticed (new to me) items that might work in the right village display. They were The Ice Cream Truck, Pet Shop, School Barbie, and Beach Barbie. Note: It’s been suggested that these items might best be saved for a granddaughter display. . . . Found some antique brass earrings in the September “Birds and Blooms” magazine. They’re small watering cans and would look good in a village garden display. They’re $12 a pair from Village D-Lights

. . . Hobby Lobby advertises lots of Christmas items with many on sale. Not sure what is usable, village-wise, but to me it’s always worth a look. . . . We purchased our first 2013 Department 56 pieces: North Pole Village Christmas Toys on Schedule, and Alpine Village Kids with Kids. They are both very cute. Now that we’ve added Alpine, I see that we will have more additions to make to our collection.

. . . One of Linda’s projects for this past fall was showing yarrow converted to trees for our village displays. It’s easy to remember this because I continually had to stop the car and let her off near ditches to collect the plants (weeds). She spray paints them with (mostly) fluorescent seasonal colors.


the idea in the Fall issue of “Village D-Lights.” With my love of parades, I wonder why I hadn’t thought of that myself. Thanks to Anne Korchevsky for telling us about it and using it in her New York City village. Note: Come to think about it, where else would you find balloons but overhead?

Winter 2013-2014

. . . How about a John Wayne play set? Yes, I said play set! Linda thought that it might good for the right “guy.” The packaging did say for “Ages 3+.” It has one western building, two building facades, a stagecoach and four cowboys on horseback. Oh, and a bunch of old western town accessories. They are village size and cost $31.99 at L&M Supply in Cloquet, Minn., . . . Frances wrote asking about a piece called San Francisco Bait and Tackle. Thanks to Kevin Reddy’s response to my question on the Department 56 Yahoo group. On page 401 of “Village D-Tails,” 2nd edition, I found Pier 87 Bait & Tackle. It mentions that the San Francisco version was made for the Department 56 store in that city. . . . Christmas tree ornaments as overhead balloons in parades. Saw

. . . We purchased another animated Lemax Angel’s Wings. I say “another” because Linda said we needed a backup (we now have three). Our first, in 2004, was $16, this one was $29.99 (good thing we had a 40% off coupon). Angel’s Wings is a little girl making a snow angel. Each year it attracts more attention than any other animation in our display.  . . . Even after Christmas you should take a look at the Lemax Sears exclusives. People and accessories can sometimes fill a need in your Department 56 display. This year we looked at the Moto Mechanic (man and dog working on a motorcycle). We don’t even have a Harley-Davidson display—yet. . . . Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our village to yours! u   Your comments and ideas are welcome. Contact David at 105 E. Toledo St., Duluth, MN 55811; 218/724-6148;

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