Sizzix Bigz Village Dwelling Die by Tim Holtz

    I’m a big fan of Tim Holtz and Sizzix’s Big Shot.

    Tim Holtz was the inspiration behind the electric version Vagabond. It looks like a suitcase and you can add travel labels to it. This is an excellent die cutting machine for those who do a lot of die cutting and those with issues with their hands . . . or are just tired of hand cranking the dies through the Big Shot.

    One or the other of these machines is necessary to use the Sizzix Bigz Village Dwelling Die by Tim Holtz.

    This die is essential in making a village . . . Tim has created other dies that are add-ons to this die . . . The Village Manor, Village Winter, Village Bell Tower, Village Bungalow and the Surf Shack. I think I covered all of them . . . There’s also a Brownstone that I believe is a stand-alone die . . . And there are also dies with different roofs, shutters and windows that you can add to make your dwellings a bit different.

    And you can always add embellishments of your own using paper or other materials along with craft store items. It’s amazing how different roof materials and siding can change the whole look of the dwelling. I prefer to make these decisions while the dwelling is still in pieces. That way I don’t need to try to figure out measurements and cutting things at weird angles.

    Some people are amazing with paint and paint these up to make them all different with brickwork or rock work or woodwork . . . I’ve known people who cut up paper and layer it to get the correct texture on their dwelling.

    This is cute and with the other dies for variations, you’ll be creating a whole village in no time at all!

    I found inspiration from the Surf Shack . . . I thought this would be a fun craft for kids who spend a lot of time at the beach . . . surfing and just enjoying the water . . . I’m sure you could make a whole seaside town with restaurants and shops . . . Allow your imagination to flow freely and you’ll be making up whole sections of your village from various places you’ve vacationed or lived . . . or would love to visit.

    I’m wondering about something for Halloween . . . Thanksgiving . . . Christmas . . . Easter . . . I think anything is possible once you get the basic house structure and you can create variations upon variations. I like to see what others create and I try to improve on their idea . . . I believe Tim Holtz designed the dwelling house to have fun and see what would develop . . . Then he came up with more dies to add to it . . . Like the Surf Shack, Village Winter, Bell Tower for a church and school house . . . The Village Manor — which would make an excellent Haunted House . . . and the Village Bungalow . . . That one would be delightful for spring or Easter with flowers and bunnies . . . But, it could also work for other seasons, too . . .

    Just take a moment to look at the different houses all made from The Village Dwelling and you’ll soon find other houses you can make by combining elements from the other dies.

    The important thing is to get the basics down first . . . Then you can design some extra-ordinary dwellings from your own imagination.

    Here are some links you may find helpful:

    With these along with the images in the post, you’ll have everything you need, except paper, to build villages for every season of the year.

    And, if this is your first purchase of a Sizzix Big Shot or Vagabond, it’s a good idea to get the extended cutting plates and a crease pad and other suggestions that go with the machine and with the dies you’re purchasing. You don’t want to wait for your next order to arrive before being able to use your dies.

    Thanks for stopping by!


    Halloween Countdown Sign

    Here’s a great sign you can make and prop up in your yard.

    There are always fun projects to do for Halloween.halloweencountdownsign

    This one isn’t creepy . . . I guess you could make it creepy . . . Add some skeleton bones . . . maybe one of those ugly severed head masks . . . I remember a few years ago I was out taking pictures of Halloween displays . . . I turned around and was face to face with a severed head hanging from a tree. It scared me!!

    To make this sign, you’ll need the chalkboard paint . . . or you could put hooks on it and attach numbers . . . changing them everyday . . . and then taking the sign down on Halloween . . . Now, what could you have to replace it?

    roadsign2I like those directional signs . . . They’re always fun . . . going to Sleepy Hollow . . . Transylvania . . . Amityville . . . Halloweentown . . . Hogwarts . . .

    Or other directional signs . . . Elm Street . . . Clown Alley . . . Devil’s Drive . . . Witch Way . . .

    Signs are always fun . . . and each year you can add another one to it . . .

    I like having something I can make and use year after year . . . I’ve noticed my neighbors use the same Halloween decorations . . . and Christmas ones, too. We don’t have to be original year after year after year . . . Unless we get someone else to do it for us . . .

    I like having simple directions to set out and take time . . . and will store easily in the garage . . .

    Halloween is a fun celebration . . . Use a bit of imagination . . . and you’ll have a clever sign or two decorate your yard or front porch.

    Thanks for stopping by!


    Yummy Witch Puddles Recipe

    That witch in the Wizard of Oz never could get a break . . . now you’ll have a delicious treat in her melted honor.

    Halloween is fun . . . and the food can be, too.meltedwitchpuddles

    Witch Puddles doesn’t sound all that appealing . . . but with Oreo Cookies and Hershey Kisses . . . It’s a chocolate feast in a puddle.

    Here’s the recipe:

    Ingredients make about 3 dozen Puddle Witches

    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 4 drops yellow food coloring
    • 1 and 1/2 cups of flaked coconut
    • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    • 6 tablespoons shortening, divided
    • 36 Oreo cookies
    • 36 Hershey Kisses
    • 4 cups vanilla or white chocolate chips
    • 36 pretzel sticks


    1. Place water and food coloring in a large resealable plastic bag.
    2. Add coconut to the bag.
    3. Seal and shake to tint the coconut.
    4. In the microwave, melt chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons shortening. Stir until smooth.
    5. Let’s make the witches’ hats! Place 1/3 cup of the chocolate mixture in a resealable plastic bag. Cut a small hole in a corner of the bag.
    6. Pipe a small amount of chocolate on a cookie.
    7. Dip the Kiss in the chocolate on the Oreo.
    8. Set on waxed paper to dry. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
    9. For the puddles, melt the vanilla or white chocolate chips with the remaining shortening. Stir until smooth.
    10. Place the mixture in a large resealable plastic bag, cut a small hole in a corner of the bag.
    11. Pipe the mixture into the shape of a puddle onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet.
    12. Place a witch’s hat on the puddle.
    13. Place a pretzel stick alongside the hat; sprinkle with tinted coconut at the end of the pretzel stick to look like a broom.
    14. Repeat with remaining puddles, hats and brooms.
    15. Chill for 15 minutes or until set.
    16. Store in an airtight container.

    If you’d like, you may want to tint the white chocolate with green food coloring . . . but I think the white works fine . . .

    This is a fun project your friends and family will enjoy.

    Thanks for stopping by!


    What’s All The Buzz About Tablets?

    It’s just been a handful of years ago that I went from desk top to tap top . . . Now, tablets!!!

    I do have a Kindle!!!laptop

    When it comes to all the greatest and latest . . . I’m way behind. Yet, I do have an open mind about all this . . . and tablets do have their place in the household of gizmos. I finally decided a cell phone was a necessity . . . but you can’t go by my lack of enthusiasm about electronic stuff. But, I am delighted with WiFi in my home . . . it makes it so convenient for using my laptop and getting the printer to print things out without manually going to it . . . except for keeping the ink levels up and having paper . . . I’m wondering how they’ll make that happen . . . robots?

    I was talking with my cousin a few weeks ago about tablets . . . but my eyes glazed over . . . So, today I’ve decided to look into the matter and see what all the fuss is about.

    Since I have a laptop, do I need a tablet?

    tabletIt depends upon how mobile I want to be.

    It’s easier to carry a tablet than a laptop. And, what will I want to do with it while I’m out and about running errands or waiting for an appointment?

    I can readily see a tablet is worthwhile. Yet, my laptop will do so much more . . . but will I be researching for my blog or writing my blog while I’m out and about? Most likely not, but I would like to be able to check things out online and maybe even watching a movie while I’m waiting for an appointment.

    So, a tablet would come in handy. Also, for playing games . . . that would amuse me.

    Yet, do I really need a tablet if I had a smart phone?

    I’m going to keep my laptop . . . that’s a necessity with my blog websites.

    And, since I decided a cell phone is a necessity . . . I can get a smart phone and do the odd things on it that a tablet would provide . . . and the smart phone can make calls and receive them . . . which a tablet can’t do.

    Are tablets on their way out?

    It appears so . . . the smart phones are offering so much more. And are much more convenient to carry around.

    I’m leaning toward investing in a smart phone over a tablet. And it would benefit other members of the family as well.smartphones

    If, I was going to make an investment on an electronic device this year . . . I’d go with a smart phone over a tablet. I could play the odd game and do some research or shopping . . . take pictures and also video something . . . A smart phone has a tablet beat.

    I see kids with their smart phones . . . many do YouTube videos with them. They’ve made a business reviewing products and doing their vlogs . . . A smart phone seems to be the answer for what to get the family and each family member this Christmas . . .

    Yes, it does come down to what is most practical. I’m finding my laptop to be a necessity . . . and now a smart phone. The tablet thing is just a thing or a step towards a smart phone . . . and I want to avoid that tablet step . . .

    All right, smart phones . . . Oh good grief where to begin!!!

    It all comes down to price and what one wants it to do. Here are some links to get you moving in the right direction . . . or to make you more confused.

    Thanks for stopping by and going through this process with me. You may have been wondering about tablets . . . I hope I’ve helped you.


    Vintage Car Post Card Ephemera

    These old post cards would be great in a mini-album or scrapbook!!!

    Tim Holtz introduced me to the term “ephemera” which is basically items that last for a short period of time.vintagecarpostcards5

    That could be said for post cards and flowers . . . maybe even photographs and paper products — candy wrappers, ticket stubs . . .

    Then, we use the fancy name “ephemera” and add “vintage” to it to make people believe we have something valuable here. Which is basically all in the eye of the beholder. And, since it’s my eye that’s beholding . . . and yours, too . . . we’ll be the judge as to whether these Vintage Car Post Cards are worthwhile or not.

    I like them! I thought they’d be interesting to put in mini-albums. We can always use more ephemera to put in those handy pockets we make.

    Click the image to the right and I have a PDF you can download and print out.

    I think I have 8 of them . . . you can print out the ones you like and leave the others.

    I’m a bit disappointed with the picture quality, but it does make it look old . . . and these post cards are definitely old. I magine someone saved this “ephemera” not knowing that 80 years later it would still be “here”, but saved in a digital format to be shared and used . . .

    Just another example of that “trash to treasure” expression . . .

    I hope you found this post amusing and may print out some of these post cards to share in your paper craft projects.

    Thanks for stopping by!