COPPER BEECH COTTAGE RENOVATION, sessions 1-3

The $2 cottage is my trial renovation project. This is Ludwig’s cabin and is located in Asparagus Cove (“Silvercove” on forum map.)

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Session 1: Painted the outside and inside of the house. Only the textured plastic worked well with the painting technique I used. I need a different way to finish the smooth interior walls on the other houses (apart from wallpapers).

Session 2: Repainted the roof to reduce contrast. Added new porch post.

Session 3: Lined the interior upstairs room with card for built-in features. So. Many. Angles.

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STILL TO DO: finish upstairs renovation, make and paint stonework, decide about painting windows/door, renovate downstairs room (currently have no inspiration for this whatsoever), matte spray all over, decorate inside, diorama (maybe a temporary set up).

This has turned out to be a really fiddly project that I’m not sure will be particularly helpful as a trial for the other buildings as they aren’t planned to be log buildings. As I go along with this, I’m making samples of different finishes in hopes that something I do here will be handy in the other buildings.

BABY ROMPERS

This weekend I designed and crocheted little rompers with cute, puffy legs for my new brown lab triplets. I’m not quite satisfied with the design yet as they’re tight to pull on and I worry about scraping the flocking, but I like how they fit and I was glad to be able to take the tiny puppies out of their bland synthetic/lace onesies.

What do you prefer in the tiniest outfits? Clothing that is a perfect fit? Clothing with a looser fit and easier to pull on and off? Clothing with Velcro, buttons, or strings to tie? The challenge is always how to design a Sylvanian Families garment that takes into account the ears, tails, fuzziness and tininess of the figures and still looks good at all angles. 


Also, this led me to wonder whether collectors change outfits on SF babies much or whether it would be easier to buy another baby for a different outfit. I think I’d buy a duplicate baby to wear a different outfit!

TINY SYLVANIAN CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERIES

Last month a Tokyo art exhibition by XYZ Collective presented miniature versions of large exhibits the artists would like to build. They used Sylvanian Families buildings as the mini galleries to hold their work. You can view the exhibits here: Sylvanian Families Biennale 2017 (before you click: some exhibits have adult themes.)

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The exhibits aren’t toy themed, which might limit our SF-fan interest in the individual mini-gallery contents, however we can definitely understand how Sylvanian Families buildings are so widely available in Japan that an exhibition would select them for a uniform visual impact in a gallery.

As an aside, I’m tempted to set up our basement with white-painted cardboard boxes and my SF buildings as a personal art gallery 😉

 

CAKE SHOP, part 2

The cake shop was built as a gift for a friend who claimed (ha!) that she was short on display space. I used a hinged wooden box to hold the cake shop diorama so that it could be neatly folded away and stored dust free between photo sessions. The pink haired doll, Smidge, also received a pair of pink Sylvanian Families ice skates for Christmas. She slept in them for several nights!

I started with a hinged wooden box.

I cut decorative molding to fit across the “top” of the open sides, then cut shelving from foamcore to fit. I cut the shelves to size before papering so that the paper wouldn’t get scraped. 

The wallpaper is printed cardstock. Once it was securely glued into the box, I glued the shelves in, taking time to be sure everything was straight (using wallpaper with a straight design really helped.) I made a couple of the shelves tall enough for wedding cakes etc. The wainscoting is foamcore that was stripped of paper and pressed with a ruler edge for lines before painting. The display counter was made from foamcore and acetate to store in the remaining space in the deeper side of the box.


The floor is foamcore covered in printed cardstock. It fits into the space between the two opened sides to form the shop floor and is sized to be stowed into the closed box above the counter.

Because this shop was for a particular doll, I scaled everything to her height. You can see from the size of the Sylvanian Families ice skates and cash register that everything would need to be lowered for this to work for Sylvanian figures.

And this is the final shop. I was sick and short of time when building this project so didn’t get photos of the cakes displayed on the shelves, but I am likely to build myself a cake shop sometime this year as it turned out quite nicely. I hope Smidge enjoys her little cake shop.

CAKE SHOP, part 1

Recently I built a folding cake shop diorama for a good friend whose doll is best pals with my doll. The dolls made the cakes and cookies, including Sylvanian cookies. Yum. 

The cookie cutter from the gashapon Sylvanian Families bakery set worked fairly well for making bunny cookies. I waited until after baking to carefully trim excess clay from the bottom edge of each piece.

 

A PAUSE AND A BARGAIN

After a three month break, I feel like getting back to my Wintermitten Island projects. Last week I was thinking about my village project and started looking at eBay for cottages. Then today I came across the very same cottage for $2 at a thrift store. Incredible bargain, I don’t expect it to ever happen again!

Tomorrow I shall scrub it clean of cobwebs and crayons. I really like the little bay window on the side wall.

REPAINTING PLASTIC BUILDINGS

Having finished the iceberg diorama, I took two photos of it and stuck it in the bedroom. I think I had to spend so long trying to work on it that I’m sick of looking at it now. Hopefully it’ll wear off, but it’s worth remembering in the future to keep projects smaller or segmented so that my enthusiasm doesn’t get dented.

The next Wintermitten project for the workshop is the village buildings. I have three houses and five shops, all second hand. Most of the buildings have suffered from yellowing of the aging plastic, so they’re being repainted before the weather gets too cold for spray painting. I’m using a mix of hand painting with acrylics and spray painting with primer suited to plastics. The hand painting seems easier on textured plastic panels. I’m reasonably satisfied with my progress, but do wish the buildings could be taken apart like Playmobil. This weekend my goal is to have all the buildings exteriors and ceilings painted and sealed with a matte finish. After that I can work on finishing one building at a time through the winter.

Calico Critters Townhome roof masked and sprayed with a plastics primer.