Saturday, 31 August 2019

Back To School

Some weeks ago, the Sylvanian Families Forum moderators announced a special "Back To School" themed challenge.  For this challenge, we were tasked with featuring a Treefellow owl in a back-to-school themed story, with a maximum of four photographs.  I can tell you it was VERY hard narrowing it down to just four pictures!  Here is my entry - I hope you enjoy it!


Sarah Patches was going back to school.

She had been looking forward to this day, ever since her family had decided to stop their travelling lifestyle and settle down in Macadamia Grove.  Her younger brother had never been to school before, as they had both been homeschooled on their travels.  Sarah, however, remembered her first year or two of primary school quite fondly, and had been so excited when she received her letter of acceptance to Bottlebrush Academy.  She had read all the booklets the school had sent – twice – and her schoolbag had been packed for weeks.  Now, she was finally – finally! – walking with her mother up the path to Bottlebrush Academy – and suddenly she felt shy and a little panicky.  She hadn’t been to a real school in a long time, and never to high school.  What if she didn’t fit in here?  What if the work was too hard for her?  What if she didn’t make any friends?
Just then, her mother squeezed her paw, and smiled at her. 
“Don’t worry sweetheart, you’ll be just fine.  You know, it’s lots of other kids’ first day here, too – you won’t be the only nervous one.”
Sarah nodded, took a deep breath, and followed the stream of students toward the front doors.

As it was Sarah’s first year, she was expected to come with a parent to meet the Headmistress, Miss Treefellow, in her office.

“Well now, whooo have we here?” said Miss Treefellow, as they entered.  “Ah, Miss Patches.  Dooo sit down.  I am Arabella Treefellow, Mrs Patches, how do you dooo?”
Sarah had been rather dreading this interview, but to her surprise she found that Miss Treefellow was actually very nice.  She commanded respect, certainly, and her manner was very proper, but she spoke kindly to Sarah, and there was a sparkle in her eye that showed when she spoke about her school and its students.  Clearly Miss Treefellow loved her job, and was very good at it.
“I see that you are a very well-travelled young lady, Miss Patches.  I must say your work samples are quite impressive for your age.  Someone has taught you well thus far,” Miss Treefellow said, inclining her head to Sarah’s mother.
“Sarah tries very hard at her school work,” said Mrs Patches. 
“Lovely to hear,” said Miss Treefellow.  “May I ask what subjects you like most?”
“I like languages, Miss Treefellow,” Sarah replied, “but my favourite subject is history.”
Miss Treefellow looked pleased. 
“Well,” she said, “I shall look forward to seeing you later this morning in my French lesson, but for now, we shall join the other first-years for a quick tour before the welcome-to-school concert – unless you had any questions, Mrs Patches?”
Mrs Patches hadn’t, so they all went out into the corridor where the other first-years were waiting with their parents. 

Mrs Treefellow was very proud of her school, and it showed as she led them all on a tour around some of the building and grounds.  They saw the large sports oval, and the tennis court, and a pleasant grassed area where, according to Miss Treefellow, many children chose to eat their lunches, or spend free time.
Next she took them back inside, and they climbed the stairs all the way up to the cafeteria on the top floor.
“There is another outdoor recreation area just up those stairs, on the roof – it is quite safe, all fenced of course – that is another popular place at lunch times,” said Miss Treefellow.  “The cafeteria is where you will come to buy your lunch if you have not brought it from home, and if you peek across the benches, you can also see the kitchen area.  That is where the lunches are prepared, as well as being the classroom for your weekly cooking class – here at Bottlebrush Academy we believe every student should learn independence, and the cooking class is part of this.”  Several of the parents looked quite impressed at this.  Sarah looked at the kitchen with interest, as she knew that this was her Aunty Dorothy’s domain.  It was empty at the moment though – Aunty Dorothy was also the school’s House Mother, and was probably helping the boarding students to settle in for the term.

Next, Miss Treefellow showed them a large classroom with desks and a blackboard, as well as an open-plan one that was used for music, dance and drama classes.  It was also the venue for school assemblies, and was currently filling up with older students.  Sarah could hear the sound of musical intruments being tuned.  Finally, it was time to say goodbye to their parents.  Sarah gave her mum a big hug.  Miss Treefellow then invited the parents to sit at the back of the room, where chairs had been set out for them.  She showed the first-years where to sit too, and then took her place at the front of the room.  The students quietened down immediately.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you all – parents, teachers, and students alike – to Bottlebrush Academy.  I wish all our students a happy, productive year of learning.  I hope that you will work hard, but also enjoy your time here at school.  Without further ado, I would like to introduce our talented music students, led ably by Mr McWalkies, to perform the school song.”

Later, as Sarah settled in to her first class, the chihuahua girl she had been placed next to gave her a shy smile, and said “Hello, I’m Lillie.  What’s your name?”
“Sarah,” said Sarah.  “Is it your first day too?  I don’t know many people here yet.”
“Me neither,” said Lillie.  “I live at the Seaside, and the only other kids from there who come to this school are in the senior class.  I don’t know anyone in this class.”
“Well, now you know me,” Sarah said, with a smile.  “Shall we sit together at lunch?”
“That would be awesome!” Lillie replied.

The work wasn’t a problem either – nearly all the first-years were beginners in Miss Treefellow’s French class, and even among the second-years there seemed to be different levels of ability in the subject, so Sarah didn’t feel out of place at all.  She began to relax a little, and then to become excited again about all there was to learn!  It looked as though coming back to school was going to be just as wonderful as she had hoped!


The transformation of Caitlyn's Grand Hotel building into a high school / boarding school has been a project we always intended, but have never quite got around to.  We had beds in the dormitories, and Caitlyn had her School Music set installed in the building, but we had never quite got around to fitting out the classrooms and other rooms.  The "Back To School" challenge was the perfect excuse to get it done!  Caitlyn had already decided which rooms of the building would be which.  I built the blackboard, the cupboard under it, and the blue desks.  I made special school uniforms for the music students (the other students will have different uniforms, but Bottlebrush Academy has a free dress day on the first day of term).  I also made the textbooks & exercise books (which Caitlyn helped with), the paints, paintbrushes, chalk and glue sticks.  Caitlyn also kindly allowed me free rein to include some of her Sylvanians in the scenes - especially Miss Arabella Treefellow!

I had a lot of fun crafting for this challenge, and setting the photos up - it has been a while since I did a biggish story with our Sylvanians!  Being part of the forum is great for getting inspiration, and for connecting with a lot of other people who appreciate these little critters and the fun we have with them!

Monday, 15 July 2019

Family Updates

As you may remember, for my birthday I received two Alpaca families - now I am happy to report that I have FINALLY finished re-dressing them, and am very happy to introduce the Woolly Family!
As you can see, the family consists of father Andre, mother Ariane, and their four children:  daughter Joy, son Angel, and identical twin baby boys Gabriel and Tomas.
The babies have kept the rompers they came in, and I have obviously re-dressed the second girl figure to create Angel.  But what has happened to the other set of parents, you may be wondering?  Meet Diego and Darrell Woolly!
They are Andre's parents, and are very pleased to be sharing a new house in Macadamia Grove with their son and his young family.  Diego is wearing the pants he came in, but I have made him a new shirt, and his glasses came with the Chocolate Rabbit grandfather that I also received for my birthday (more news on Monsieur Chocolat another time, I promise!).  Darrell has a whole new outfit, including a dress and wire-rimmed glasses, all of which I made myself.  This is my first attempt at making Sylvanian glasses, and they are not entirely perfect, but I am quite happy with them.  Mrs Woolly seems pleased, anyway.

I have built the Woolly family's house out of a cardboard box, and I am rather pleased with it, but am still waiting on some little hinges I ordered on ebay, to attach the front door.  Hopefully they will arrive soon, and then the Woollys can give you a tour of their home!

In the meantime, I have more critters to introduce:  the new and improved Thistlethorn family!  The Thistlethorns have been on my Meet The Families page for some time now, but I have always harboured a not-so-secret wish for some grandparents for the Thistlethorns.  I can't imagine why Tomy never did this, I just think they would be adorable!

Anyway, a little while ago I went to a garage sale to pick up a couple of Sylvanian buildings, and who did I find, but a lovely little Thistlethorn family in beautiful condition, and being sold at a steal!  They insisted on coming home with me.  Now of course, I had the wherewithal to realise my dream of Thistlethorn grandparents - but what was I going to do with all those children?!  Caitlyn and I discussed this a bit, and came to the conclusion that after all, what could be more natural than an enormous family of mice?  So now my Thistlethorn family looks like this:
I have changed Ash's age a little, to accommodate the extra siblings.  Interestingly, the "new" Thistlethorns are different than my older ones - they have furry tails, bigger eyes, and are generally slightly larger.  This is good, as the children now have slight variations in their faces, fur, etc.  I have decided that the furry tail gene is a recessive one, smooth tail being dominant.  This explains everyone's tails satisfactorily, as I can pretend that the grandfather had a smooth tail (the one flaw with the more recent acquisitions is that the father figure is missing its tail).

Thistlethorn grandparents will be coming soon!   :o)

If you would like to read more about the Woolly and Thistlethorn families, please do check out my Meet The Families page!

Thanks for reading - and stay tuned for more updates coming soon to Macadamia Grove!

Friday, 7 June 2019

A Day at the Seaside

Goodness, it's been a while since my last post!  Not to fret, I haven't lost interest in my Sylvanian Families - quite the opposite in fact, as lots of things have been happening in Macadamia Grove!  We have recently been given a large table for the purposes of expanding the village - this has pretty much doubled the size of our display!  The downside being we had to try to get it into the (already quite overcrowded) room...  Much reorganising ensued.  Finally I feel that we have the room under control again (with new table installed!), so we are now in the middle of designing the layout for this new area.  Lots of fun (but time consuming!)

Anyway, in the midst of all this, there have still been Creative Challenges going on over at the forum, a few of which I have missed out on participating in, but one of the themes dealt with something we've been meaning to finish for a while now:  Ocean and Seaside!  So even though I'm very late to the party for this one, I thought I would go ahead and post my entry for it.

As I said, Caitlyn and I have been wanting for a while now to get the Seaside area in her bedroom finished.  The Lighthouse with its rocky hill and the edge of the ocean itself was done quite a while ago now (for more details on that, go to Caitlyn's blog here).  But some time ago, her Yapley chihuahua family moved to the seaside to open a Holiday Park, and her cat family also moved there to open an Icecream Shop, and we hadn't enough beachfront to accommodate them all. 

As you can see, there is now an extra stretch of beach, and also a sand dune leading down from the Lighthouse, so it looks like a proper little scene now!  The Holiday Park is off to the left of the Icecream Shop (it includes the Yapleys' caravan, a Hot Dog Van, and plenty of grassed space for visitors to set up tents etc).  We do want to add some more plants to soften the line where the sandy beach hits the grassed area (ie the green table), but if I wait around for that, these photos might never get taken! 

Anyway, to celebrate this area now being (almost!) finished, and as their way of saying goodbye to the lovely warm weather (Winter is starting to properly kick in where we live), my Patches dalmation family decided to take the train to the Seaside for the day.  They didn't swim - it was just a bit chilly - but they had a lovely day on the beach!

Sarah Patches busied herself making a most impressive sandcastle.  She imagined it filled with beautiful princesses, and dashing knights!

The boys went to investigate the sand dune - Zac enthusiastically started to climb it, while his dad opted just to watch.

After a while sunning herself on the picnic blanket they had brought along, Pippa began to feel a bit peckish.  "Ben," she called.  "Do you fancy an ice-cream?"

The men in her life did not need to be asked twice.  "Come on then, love - let's see what flavours they have this time!"