It’s 2014!

I can’t believe I went a year without blogging here.

The kids are going to turn 6 and 3 this year. Work-wise, I’m still doing the same thing, just in a different place, and my new colleagues are warm and friendly and easy to work with so far, much to my gratitude and relief. 2013 was a pretty hairy year, especially on the work front (which explains the move), and looking back on it I marvel that I was able to endure the way things were as long as I did. I guess you do what you need to do to survive.

Between keeping 2 energetic preschoolers out of trouble and clearing work that didn’t seem to end, I found neither time nor inspiration to write more stories about my SF characters. I barely played with them. One day I squeezed everything I owned into the Larchwood Lodge box and sat the house itself on top of the kids’ wardrobe to gather dust. I even gave away some items – the Christmas set, the Slydales, the Farthings, the Willow Hall conservatory extension and bits of furniture – to a colleague who has a little girl who loves them. I think I’ll end up giving away everything else to her.

Or maybe not. The Larchwood Lodge is too precious to give away. It’s not even available anymore except on eBay. And of course I’m going to keep my vintage pink-nosed black McBurrows moles. I house them in ‘apartments’, like this:

mole family in apartment

This way, I only need to furnish two rooms and the glass ‘window’ keeps the dust away.

Here are top views of the rooms:

kitchen

living room

Aren’t they just adorable?

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More Village People

So I bought the Treefellows. And the Marmalade grandparents. And the VanDykes. And not one, but 2 different babies! (Peaches Bramble and Monty McBurrows)

new villagers

It’s become a bad habit, visiting the Sylvanian Families section whenever I happen to be in a toy store that has one. Bad for my wallet, that is. I wasn’t optimistic about finding a family that I hadn’t seen before or that I coveted. The usual suspects were there, both the Epoch and the Flair versions, and then to my great surprise I saw the owls! Like the DeBurg penguins, they wear simple felt clothing, have very short legs that don’t bend and have wings so they can’t carry or hold anything, yet I think they have more charm than the DeBurgs. They’re very petite; the parents, Aristotle and Arabella, are shorter than the average Sylvanian child figure. What this means is that they stand rather than sit on chairs, but they don’t look stupid doing it like the penguins would. I also love that there are 3 children – Winky, Grumpy and Blinky – and they’re all boys for once. I’m going to assume that the Treefellows can fly. Why not? Apart from their clothing they don’t look humanoid at all, so they might as well retain more bird qualities. Being able to see the world from a unique vantage point surely contributes to their love of learning and their desire to impart knowledge to others, and would explain in part why Aristotle is the schoolmaster and Arabella a teacher.

The Marmalade grandparents make a handsome pair. I refuse to make them wear glasses. I wish I have the rest of the family. For my son, they represent his paternal grandparents. 🙂

The VanDykes are actually very cute, and I like that their clothes are different in style from the forest folk. It would be great if they don’t have their noses so high up in air – it makes them look uppity – but I’ve decided I will have them around as occasional guests to my corner of Sylvania.

Peaches and Monty were just too darling too resist. It’s a pity I can’t find an ebay seller who will ship the McBurrows family to Singapore.

I have decided to call the area where my Brambles, Mulberrys, Slydales and now Treefellows live Evergreen Edge. It’s a rather enchanted part of the Sylvanian forest that enjoys sunlight and warm weather a little longer than the rest of the parts. (This gives me an excuse not to create snowy winter scenes if I don’t feel like it.)

 

December

So I am officially on vacation till the 28th. This means that if I want to, I can spend the next 3 weeks writing about my Sylvanians and building up my little village.

But I won’t. Or rather, I think I won’t.

My SF mania seems to come in spurts, and always from mid-November to late December, as evident in the frequency of posts on this site. (No activity this time last year because of the baby.) I had so much fun doing A Special Sunday Brunch, but it was a lot of work and I’m feeling quite depleted idea-wise now. (lol) I’m considering taking the Brambles when I go on my beach holiday with the family, but I don’t really want to spend my time there thinking of photo ops for the critters.

There’s one thing that bugs me: I want to get more families but I can’t find any others that I like. I don’t fancy the rabbits, though I will say the Cottontails are the most adorable (Bugs Bunny colors, that’s how I remember them). I love cats in real life, but for SF cats I seem to only like the kind in the Chantilly cat mold; I would get the Simpkins cat family if only the parents are available. The bears are so ugly; I saw the Marmalade Bear Grandparents on sale recently and I thought, ‘Hey, finally bears that look bear-y and dignified, not like the overcutified Porridge Bears or drab all-one-color Timbertops. But of course, the rest of the Marmalades are not available anymore. Right now, the only family that appeals to me the most is the McBurrows moles, but perhaps that’s because they’re not sold where I am since I never found the brown moles attractive. First World Problem. :-\

I’m off to lunch now with my first-born. Don’t want to waste the first day of my vacation staying indoors. 🙂

A Special Sunday Brunch Part 3 (Conclusion)

brunch2

Maurice kept the kebabs flowing. Velvette had not only made pizza for the rather finicky children, but a pot of hearty fish and tomato stew that everyone had with chunks of sliced warm baguettes baked by Mae, who also made risotto with prawns and asparagus. Mildred contributed a bit of spaghetti bolognaise that she had made for dinner the night before, which Esme dug into with relish.

brunch3

The Brambles took charge of dessert, which everyone made sure they had room in their bellies for.

When the dishes and cutlery were cleared, and the birthday cake brought out, there was a collective gasp of pleasure.

birthday cake 1

‘Strawberry chantilly cream cake!’ squealed Matthew. ‘My favorite!’ It was Mortimer’s specialty.

‘Gather around, everyone!’ said Eleanor.

birthday cakeThe birthday song was sung. Matthew made a wish and blew out the candles on the cake, and Eleanor made sure that everybody had a thick slice.

‘Sooooo yummy,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Dad!’

cake

‘So do we!’ chimed George and Mildred.

goodbye

It was a little after three in the afternoon when the neighbors said their goodbyes and ambled home, already dreaming about siesta in their warm cosy beds. They had helped with the washing up and all there was to do was to take down the party decorations.

Eleanor helped carry the presents up to Matthew’s bedroom.

presents2

‘Have fun opening them!’ she said.

Matthew started with the Slydales’ gift. It was a book bag.

bookbag‘Perfect!’ said Eleanor. ‘You needed a new one.’

From Elma, Mae, Ike and Candy, Matthew got a pair of white sneakers.

shoes

‘Nice,’ said Matthew. He turned to the pink package and gently unwrapped it. The Mulberry grandparents were famous for their unconventional gifts. Matthew tried not to expect too much. He imagined lime green pyjamas with watermelon prints.

pink present

‘It’s a … keyboard!’ Matthew exclaimed. ‘It’s so cool!’

keyboard

‘That must’ve come from Uncle Edward’s shop,’ said Eleanor. Edward Mulberry, George and Mildred’s son, was a brilliant toymaker. ‘This must be one of his latest products. You’re a very lucky boy, Mattie.’

Matthew saved Esme’s present for last. She had told him that it was something he would really, really like, and over brunch he had spent every fifth or sixth mouthful of food guessing what it was, and being told he was wrong. Now he would finally know.

Esme's gift

‘Hmm, looks like a book,’ he said as he opened the top of the gift box.

book

‘Oh, a book about camping! And Esme wrote it!’

Esme loved camping and was the best person to ask about the best equipment and  camping spots around the country. She got Matthew interested after she showed him pictures of her many camping trips. Matthew’s birthday present was a handmade guide to camping, a thick notebook filled with handwritten notes, pictures and maps pasted on the pages.

‘I’m going to read it rightaway!’ declared Matthew, climbing onto his bunk bed.

MB in bed

‘Not so fast, young man,’ said Eleanor. ‘Straighten up your room first. I don’t want all this wrapping paper lying around. Birthday boys still need to pick up after themselves, you know.’

after party

‘Okay,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Mom!’

‘I love you too,’ said Eleanor, ‘but you still have to clean up. I’m going to sit with your dad and watch a bit of TV.’

-The End-

A Special Sunday Brunch Part 2

The children amused themselves with helium-filled balloons that the Chantillys had picked up in town, while the adults worked quickly to get the brunch ready.

Kids with balloons

Maurice got the fire started and was soon arranging his famous seafood and vegetable kebabs on the grill. (He was asked once what he used to marinate his juicy and flavorful kebabs, and his reply was, “Oh, a little salt and some spices,” and a wink.)

Myriam and Eleanor set the tables.

Mortimer, having done his part the night before – putting up the party decorations after Matthew had gone to bed, and making and frosting the birthday cake – got to kick back and just welcome the guests.

Slydales arrive

The Slydales arrived soon after, and quickly pitched in. Velvette Slydale brought a tomato and cheese pizza for the children.

table setting

‘Very thoughtful of you, Velvette,’ said Eleanor.

‘Oh, it was nothing,’ said Velvette. ‘Good idea to bring these plastic plates for the children, Myriam. I keep telling Slick to get plastic bowls and cups for our little Skitter, but he says he doesn’t care for plastic. I said to him, ‘Well, you’ll start caring once we run out of china!”

‘Indeed!’ said Myriam, and the ladies giggled.

The Mulberrys – Elma and Mae and their children Ike and Candy – finally appeared, with the unexpected additions of the children’s grandparents, George and Mildred.

‘How lovely to see you, George and Millie!’ cried Eleanor, giving the feisty old lady a warm hug.

The Mulberrys

‘Sorry we’re later than usual, Ellie and Mort,’ said Mae. ‘Ma and Pa called from the village to say that they were coming by, so we waited for them and they got lost.’

‘Oh, a little off-the-beaten-track adventure never hurt anyone,’ said George.

‘And we come bearing gifts for your boy,’ said Mildred as she handed Eleanor two big wrapped packages.

presents

‘The one in the er, appropriate wrapping paper is from Mae and family,’ said Mildred. ‘The one in pink is from George and me, I’m afraid. I know your Mattie is a boy, but it’s such a pretty pink paper that I couldn’t resist. Anyway, it’s what’s inside that matters, I think.’

‘You’re absolutely right, Millie!’ said Eleanor. She found Mildred’s eccentricities refreshing and endearing.

Maurice

‘Ladies and gentlemen!’ Maurice announced. ‘The kebabs are ready, and everyone’s here, so shall we have brunch now?’

And they did.

brunch

-End of Part 2-