Sunday, 6 March 2022

The Buttercups

 Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the beginning of Spring or Autumn! The weather has cooled down a little here but is still very pleasant!

I took some photos this evening because I wanted to show some figures that I haven't yet introduced, starting with the Buttercups!

I was actually given the Buttercup family for a Christmas present, so I have had them for a little while but I just had to do a post to show them! I have wanted them for many years, ever since I got baby Cheddar years ago (another Christmas present) but I had resigned myself to the fact that they were discontinued and I wouldn't be able to get them anywhere. So it's so lovely they're being made again, and for Cheddar to have a family at long last! 

Hornbull and Daisy are so sweet. I can imagine them as teenage sweethearts that are still walking through life together, hand in hand. They seem to match and balance one another out very well. 
Despite the reputation of bulls being hot-headed and aggressive, I think Hornbull seems quite gentle at heart. Perhaps he is just misunderstood by many.

"Mmm, the grass in good in this pasture, Hornbull!"

Cheddar is delighted to have his brother and sister, Paddock and Annabel, as playmates. He has lots of friends at nursery, but it's not quite the same as your own siblings. 

Speaking of friends, Cheddar brought some of them with him out into the garden, and it gives me the chance to show one of my other recent-ish buys (well, from the end of last year). I was doing some online shopping and couldn't resist little Alfie Maple! 

Isn't he adorable with his darling little hat and bag? I currently don't have any other Maple cats apart from one of the blind bag babies, his sister, but one day they may get their own family too! 

Alfie and Poppy Fenton had to stop and investigate an anthill in the cobbles. 

'Smile for the camera!' My cat Poppy snuck into the background of this one because she decided she wanted to investigate whatever interesting thing I was doing on the lawn with small furry creatures! Luckily she then became more interested in a piece of grass than the Sylvanians.

I'm really happy to have the Buttercups at last! They've already become one of my favourite families. Do you have any new arrivals or items on your wish list? I'd love to hear in the comments! 

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, 30 January 2022

The River Ripple

The River Ripple has long since been a part of life in Bluebell Oaks. From the very first travellers who settled by the waters and built their settlement around it, to the wheel on the Water Mill Bakery that the river powers, it has always been appreciated and made use of. It's summer here at the moment, and in the afternoons the banks of the River Ripple are dotted with villagers, swimming, paddling, or dipping tails and paws in the cool water, all trying to seek refuge from the heat.

The Robinson family decided to spend their afternoon enjoying a picnic by the river's edge. 

Florence packed a variety of food and summer fruit.

After the picnic, Wilbur and Florence can relax a little while they watch the children playing. Wilbur loves the summertime, but Florence can't stand the heat. Her favourite season is winter, when she can snuggle up beside the fire with a good book. 

The heat has brought alot more villagers out of their houses or workplaces and down to the river. Ripple and Pebble Clearwater, who live in a little house tucked away amongst the willow trees down in Reed's Bend, seldom venture into the village, but even they have been seen more often recently. 

Ripple is a needlewoman, doing embroidery. Both she and her daughter Pebble are very skilled with their hands, and Pebble too is learning the art of needlework. They both love taking a break, however, and spend time by the river; whether swimming or just sitting on the banks, they have both always adored being by the water.

Wade Waters is another who has spent his life on the banks of a river. He prefers to keep away from the main areas near the village that are filled with hustle and bustle, but down where the river widens and the waters float by amiably in a deep blue, Wade has his fishing spot.

Although Wade doesn't really keep alot of fish for himself, he still enjoys the thrill of waiting for a bite on the line and then seeing what he's caught. Most of his catches, he throws back and only keeps the odd one.

Lately, Wade has been trying to share his hobby with his son, and teach him his first fishing skills, just as Wade's father taught him when he was that age. 

I think Bucky's interest in fishing will need a little more cultivating yet, though. He is more interested in floating his toy boat. 

Wade's fishing rod proved to be useful though when Bucky's boat floated too far out in the stream out of reach.

As soon as Wade put his fishing rod down to get ready to pack up, he spotted some fish out in the river, swimming just below the surface. Sighing, he wondered how the fish always manage to just evade him. 

Bucky and Wade were just about to make their way through the forest to home when a little rowboat appeared around the bend. 

It's a common sight on the River Ripple to see Yvette Blackberry and her little boat floating by. Yvette learnt to row when she was a young child, and has always been intrigued by its flowing waters and different species of plants and creatures. The lapping of the river against the sides of her boat is very calming. 
Yvette saw Wade and Bucky standing on the bank and gave them a friendly wave. They waved back and watched her float past.

A little way up the river Yvette paused her rowing and manouvered her boat beside an overhanging branch. Something had caught her eye-a stunning blue butterfly perched on its leaves!

Yvette's mind raced and she scrambled for her camera, thankfully still strung around her neck from earlier when she photographed a patch of irises growing on the riverbank. Quickly, she snapped some pictures before the butterfly could flit away and made a mental note to mark it in her butterfly and moth spotting journal later. 

Someone is also a regular visitor to the River. Deep in the woods, Briar Wildwood has her caravan home tucked away. Her creativity has an outlet here, and it allows her to always take inspiration for her art from the nature around her. Just a short distance from her caravan, through a patch of birch trees and down a grassy slope is the river. 
In the heat of the day she prefers to stay beneath the shady canopy of trees in the woods, but in the evenings she has started venturing out to paint by the river. She loves setting up her easel just on the water's edge.

 Evening is the perfect time to capture the golden dappled light that falls on the water in her painting. Her work is still relatively unknown in Sylvania, although it is gaining popularity. There is an art competition coming up, and this new work is what she is hoping to enter. 

Sometimes when her work is done for the day she dabbles her feet in the cool water and watches it as it floats by peacefully. The River Ripple never stops, it never slows; the waters gently pass by in a continuous flow.

Thanks for reading! 
Hope you are all managing to stay cool, or warm! 

Friday, 31 December 2021

Happy New Year!

 Hello friends!

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and relaxing lead up to New Year. Here in Bluebell Oaks it has been very hot! The villagers are all trying to keep cool by seeking shade and spending time down by the River Ripple (stay tuned for an upcoming story), paddling and swimming. 

My favourite place to take photos of Sylvanians has always been outside! I love nature and I feel I am better able to capture their connection to nature too when outdoors. There is never any stress over backgrounds or lighting, just capturing the scene as it really is, and for me, that freedom is the most enjoyable part, as well as showing the Sylvanians in their 'natural habitat'. This evening I decided to take advantage of the summer sunsets we've been having as some of them enjoyed New Year's Eve. 

* * *

None of the Sylvanians in Bluebell Oaks go in for parties or wild celebrations on New Year's Eve. Instead, traditionally it has always been a quiet time to spend with loved ones, counting your blessings and enjoying the beauty of nature, which isn't hard to do as New Year is always in Midsummer here!

Heath Buckley relaxed with his baby son Oscar as the sun slipped over the fields. The year had been a typical busy one for the Buckleys, but enjoyed and appreciated nonetheless. With six children in the house, there is never a day that goes by without laughter and joy. 

Briar Wildwood took a quiet moment to reflect on the passing year. Her art business has grown more over the last 12 months and there was even rumours that one of her paintings might be selected to be displayed in the National Gallery. 

Though it is just the turning over of another day, one of the things Briar likes most about New Year's is that it is a chance to stop and reflect on what you have achieved and everything you are grateful for. There is much to be thankful for, she thought as she admired the golden sunset.

And I am grateful to you, too, each of you for reading my blog or leaving comments, despite my terrible lack of posting! I hope to change that this upcoming year. 

Barley and the rest of the villagers of Bluebell Oaks plan to be back in 2022 with more adventures and stories!

A very happy New Year to you all, and best wishes for the future, from me and everyone in Bluebell Oaks!

"Every second brings a fresh beginning;
Every hour holds a new promise;
Every night our dreams can bring hope,
every day is what you choose to make it."

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Autumn with the Honeyfurs

I hope you have all been having a pleasant autumn or spring! 

Some of you may remember the Honeyfur family, who I wrote about a couple of years ago here. I thought it was time to catch up with them again, especially because I wanted to do an autumn themed post.

It has been nearly three years since the Honeyfur family traded their settled lives in the village for a life of travel and adventure in their gypsy caravan. Their days spent journeying and exploring the woods are always full of anticipation, but for the winter they usually find a safe place to settle down for the chilly days ahead. 

Velvette likes to keep plenty of food in their store in preparation for the wintry months. Even though they are able to get out and travel to the village if they need to, it is in her instincts to stock up. Not to mention the fact that her family are voracious eaters. 

Most of the food in her supply came from the Village Store, owned and run by Cedric Walnut. It has been a part of village life for so long that Velvette doesn't know any different to having the convenience of the supermarket; however, she can remember her grandmother telling different stories. 
Granny Vixen, as she was known, used to reminisce about a time when the only supplier in the village was the Thistlethorn family, who still to this day, ran the Mill, producing all kinds of flour. Apart from them there was the daily milk provisions, delivered daily to each garden gate by the trusty old milkman. Everything else, according to Granny Vixen, was either grown in your own garden or reaped off the woodland. Every spare ounce of food or vegetable was either pickled or squirreled away for the winter. In her words 'Nature always does.'

Nowdays, Velvette doesn't have to rely quite as much on the woods to provide food for her family, which she supposes is a relief. However, they still like to enjoy the bounty of the land.
Juniper, Barley and Pumpkin had just arrived back from a successful morning's foraging. 
"Look Mama! We got a whole basketful!"

"Wonderful, my darlings!" Velvette peered into the laden basket. "We can have mushroom and pumpkin pie for dinner tonight and you can help me make apple crumble for dessert!" 
Pumpkin licked his licks. His mama's apple crumble is one of his favourites.

Pumpkin's favourite season is autumn. He loves all the pretty colours, and the leaves are very fun to play in!

Living in the forest means that everything is already wild, so there is never any need to rake leaves up! Pumpkin thinks he likes it much better that way!

Autumn, growing cooler in the lead up to winter, is the time of year when Pumpkin begins to keep his special blue blankie closer to him than usual. Velvette knitted it for him last year and it fast became his most treasured possession. 
Unlike most children his age, Pumpkin doesn't have alot of toys, but that fact seldom seems to bother him. As far as he is concerned, he has just as much fun exploring the woodland with his brother and sister, or sitting up beside his daddy at the reins as they travel, watching the world passing by. 

Evenings are the children's favourite time, when, if it isn't too chilly, they sit outside snuggled in their sleeping bags, listening to their father's latest stories as the autumn sun sinks below the trees. Glen has written a novel, along with other non-fiction books about plants, and he is always brimming with new ideas. Some evenings, he reads to the children his day's work from his latest manuscript. Other times, he dreams up a story for them on the spot. The characters from his book become almost like friends to Juniper, Barley and Pumpkin.
"Tell us a story, Papa."
"Hmm... let's see. Once upon a time there were three young cubs..."
The children think that surely there is no better thing in the world than having their own papa tell them his very own stories, listening to his voice and the sound of nature telling its own story as it beds down for the night, with the rustling of the trees and singing of the thrush in the oak tree above.

I hope you enjoyed this little story. I'm afraid I have been a bit quiet on this blog the past year or so. I have simply been lacking in inspiration as well as motivation to take pictures and write stories. I guess it isn't unusual to take breaks from hobbies or lose enthusiasm from time to time. Hopefully writing this post might help to get me more inspired... What do you do when you go through a time of demotivation with Sylvanians?
Have a great week! 

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Hello friends,

Valentine's has long been an excuse in Blubell Oaks, not for Cedric Walnut in the Village Store to sell bulk chocolates and wine (although that does occur), not for the Cottontail's flower stall to sell about half their year's worth of stock and make a huge profit (although again, it is a very good time for the Cottontails), but for celebrating and showing appreciation for loved ones. Family members, children, friends, and of course spouses and sweethearts are gifted with presents, cards, or just simple acts of love.

Christopher and Jane Appleblossom don't really get alot of time to themselves. They own the Watermill Bakery, and from the time Christopher's alarm goes off before dawn to the moment they shut the bakery door in the afternoon, they are busy in a flurry of activity. Shaping dough, baking, serving customers...the days are always busy. However, when the last customer leaves the bakery Christopher and Jane can close the shop for the evening and stroll back through the woods to their home. The routine is the same every day; regardless of Valentine's or not, it is their special time together.

"I'm sorry I couldn't take you out for a fancy dinner tonight, my love." Christopher said.

"Never mind Chris, I've got you-and Jasmine-and that's enough for me." Jane smiled, thinking about their daughter who would be on her way home too now, from school.

While some couples celebrate many years of love and devotion...

...for others it is just the beginning of a new journey. For Eddy and Cassie Splashy, today is their first Valentine's Day as a married couple. They are actually quite new to the village, having moved here a couple of months ago after their wedding this summer. Eddy once visited Bluebell Oaks on holiday as a child, and when he got engaged to Cassie (short for Cascade) he brought her here for a visit too, hoping that his fiancee would be smitten with the village too. Needless to say, they both agreed that it was the perfect place for them to settle down and begin their life together.

Eddy has taken a job as village plumber, and at the moment Cassie has been enjoying setting up their home and being a housewife. They have settled into the village as if they have lived here all their lives. 

Valentine's Day is especially special for Holly and Fred Golightly, because it is also their wedding anniversary. Tonight their three children are at a friend's house so Fred and Holly can enjoy some time alone together. After a lovely dinner out, they are taking a stroll through the village gardens. The evenings are long and warm at the moment, so twilight is just beginning to fall. Fred bought Holly a bunch of roses from the Cottontail's Flower Stall as they passed. 

"Do you remember when we met, Fred?" Holly asked as the strolled through an archway. 

He smiled. Fred and Holly met at a ballroom dancing class-in fact, it was one where young Fred was the teacher. Holly, attending the new class for the first time, was without a partner and so the kind teacher offered to dance with her. Holly would remember that dance all her life. Fred just about swept her off her feet-literally. Turned out, Holly would never need another dancing partner again. They were inseparable and Fred proposed six months later. 

That was many years ago now. Today is their fourteenth wedding anniversary.

"To many more years, Holly!" Fred said.

Happy Valentine's to you all! Have a great week!