At The Beginning

First aluminum can house

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

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I love everything miniature, but especially miniature houses and trees. I also like to recycle. An idea is born…

I started my village with the Original Tim Holtz Village dies when they were first released in 2015. Now maybe you are already thinking, “How does this relate to me, I am just here for the SVG patterns and don’t have a manual die cutting machine,” and are about to click away from this post. Not yet, unless you want a village where both giants and Lilliputians live! You will want your handmade cottages to look like they belong together in a unified village. On this website I am going to resize all SVG patterns to fit with the Original Tim Holtz cottages. Thus you will have a consistent starting size, and then you can make your buildings larger or smaller to fit your needs. I like this size not only because it is where I started, but also because the traditional S gauge train layout works well around my new village, as do little 28mm wargame models.

The Original Tim Holtz Village dies give you a good start to your village. The first three dies of the Original Tim Holtz Village that were released were the Village Dwelling, the Village Bell Tower, and Village Winter. All of these dies in the original size have long been discontinued, but you may be able to find them on Ebay. You can find a Sizzix video on constructing and using each of the dies here. With these dies you can make a basic house and a church, with or without snow. Here are my first two cottages, the house made with Coke Zero and Budweiser cans, and the church made with gold and silver Diet Coke cans.

Bungalow and church aluminum can buildings
My very first two aluminum can buildings

So why aluminum cans, you ask? Several reasons, really. I wasn’t into scrap-booking and had almost no cardstock. I wanted to use something that would make them durable. And while I knew the traditional Putz houses of the 1920s and later were made out of cardboard and glitter, I have always thought they were too glittery for me. I hadn’t yet found Lucy Foxworth’s site Paper Glitter Glue, where Lucy paints her houses. Even if I had, I am awful at painting. Here is my very first can house, where I turned the can inside out and painted it. I immediately wasn’t happy with it. It was flat, with no pizzazz. Luckily I have a smart daughter who took one look at it and told me to use the printed side of the can instead.

My one and only painted can house
My one and only painted can house

My next problem was finding cans. I don’t drink soda, and my husband makes and bottles his own beer. I live in a small town and went all over asking local restaurants if they could save cans for me. A big fat NO! Kitchen workers supplement their earnings recycling cans. I felt bad; I didn’t know.

Did I mention I live in a small town? One where a lot of people know me? Well, I got pretty familiar with their trash cans.

Nobody actually chased me away as I dug through their recycling and garbage cans (and I am pretty disappointed in those of you who throw your recycling in your garbage can instead – you know who you are!) But I got a lot of really strange looks. People only put their cans out on the curb once a week. So I also dug through the recycling and garbage cans at our city park, and at the school field after the sports teams played during the weekend.

I quickly learned at whose house I could find several 6 packs of Budweiser cans every week (I’m not judging!) Which mom who never let her children drink soda sure had quite an addiction to it herself. The neighbor who drank wine out of cans and was so embarrassed about it she came out and apologized for it several times. (That one floored me. My husband makes his own wine, usually excellent, but sometimes not so great. Who was I to say that this canned wine might not be better?)

I’m still wondering who was drinking all of those Monster energy drinks at the elementary school sports field. Parents, get a grip! It is only flag football.

To be continued…

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