Month: February 2016

Improving Utopia – Part Two

This was how Cedar Terrace house looked (not up there, down here) in my last scintillating Sylvanian post (here)

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Since then I’ve been staring goggle-eyed at various Sylvanian Family personal blogs; blogs which all seem to have been abandoned by their owners a couple of years ago.  I wonder what cataclysmic event occurred within Sylvanian Arcadia to cause such a blog-based exodus?   Those unattended blogs are still floating about in the internet ether so  I’ve been reading Sylvanian stories (these things exist) where the blog owner takes millions of photos of their little critters and weaves a fascinating tale around their family’s general doings – not too fascinating you understand, the focus generally being on going round your furry neighbour’s house for tea  and a gossip, or taking a walk to the local store.   For the adult Sylvanianites it seems to be about escapism from the daily grind; although not sure about this as, in one convoluted tale, the poor, plastic, mother rabbit appeared to have lost her baby (as in it died.)  For the kids and teenagers it’s more about showing off their collections and cataloguing how many families they now own.  Anyway it’s all lovely (except for the dead rabbit) and very nice to look at.

On with my Sylvanian renovations.

I found a company in Bromley, Kent who supply everything miniature and ordered wallpaper/carpet/lino online.  It arrived a fast couple of days later all rolled up in a tube. Its arrival caused a level of excitement entirely inappropriate to the very mundane postal situation, being that I don’t order much stuff online.  Grabbing the cardboard tube I started pulling off one plastic stopper end, which refused to budge.  The other end wouldn’t budge either (this was one of those examples where secure packaging does no-one any favours.)  I ended up cutting into the cardboard tube (hoping I wouldn’t also cut holes in my mini-wallpaper) and slowly unravelled the cardboard until the contents appeared.  Checking through everything I discovered that one wallpaper was missing.  I emailed the company (wondering if they’d think I was trying to get more wallpaper for free by pretending it was missing, since there was no way of verifying the situation at my end) I told them how pleased I was with the speed of delivery etc but they’d cocked up on the supply front, and they immediately despatched the missing piece.

The missing piece was called ‘yellow poppies’ and was lovely enough to bung on the walls of my own home, let alone my bears’ house, if I hadn’t decided, last year, to slowly get rid of the wallpaper covering our walls and replace it with re-plastered walls and coats of Dulux Light and Space paint, which claims to make your rooms look twice as big and positively glow with light reflected brilliance.  This is a dubious claim but might just be true, judging by my neighbour’s reaction on seeing my newly painted bedroom – ‘It looks so big, bright and airy now’ – were her exact words.

I decided to use a Pritt power glue stick to put the wallpaper on my plastic walls.  That company in Kent even supply little pots of ready mixed wallpaper paste for your tiny projects (I couldn’t believe this when looking over their website, thinking the paste pot was another miniature, in case your toys want to put up their own wallpaper, but it’s a pot of actual wallpaper paste with a very small brush.)   Using the baking paper templates from my last post I set about cutting the yellow poppy paper, which was going in the kitchen.

I placed the paper on top of an NHS leaflet (to protect the table) which arrived that day, enclosed with a letter asking me to make an appointment for a free NHS health check, something I’d not heard of before. This was apparently rolled out a few years ago at great expense.  Everyone over the age of 40 can turn up at their doc’s to be weighed, measured, BP taken and a ‘simple’ blood test taken, then go home with a record of their current state of health.  Not liking the sound of the ‘simple’ blood test at all, I rapidly researched the benefits of this free MOT via the NHS website, to find people telling their horrific tales (via video) of how they’d thought it not worth bothering with this free health check malarkey, but something made them go only to discover, in one case, that their BP was at a death defying level and they were immediately thrown into hospital on a drip.  The ‘simple’ blood test in another case revealed cholesterol levels so high (even though the case was stick thin and walked miles every day) that the case was actually an impending heart attack on legs.  The gist of all these blood curdling videos was: ‘you might think there’s nothing wrong with you mate, but unless you turn up for this health check then you’re practically doomed.’  I’ve still to make an appointment.

Trying not to look at the scary leaflet I carried on with the cutting out of the paper which would go in the lounge and stuck my bits of paper onto the first floor level of my house (the Pritt worked very well.)  Then I moved onto the second floor, the kiddie polar bears’ room and then top floor, which would be the bathroom.  I removed the top floor to make the wallpapering easier.

I added carpet to the second floor.  The paper and carpets all came in roughly 2′ by 1′ pieces (I don’t do decimal) and had to be cut to fit.  I won’t bore you with what a laborious process this is but will tell you that the carpets, being self-adhesive, are a pain to fit; you must lay them in the exact right place on your first go, as the glue sticks instantaneously.  A way round this is to peel the self-adhesive backing off one corner, lay that piece then peel the rest of the backing off as you go.  I cocked up the carpet fitting and had to cut an extra sliver of carpet to stick down at the right side.

Then I carpeted and lino’d the first floor (kitchen/lounge) underneath the kids’ room. The Pritt power stick failed miserably where the laminated lino sheets were concerned.  The tube claims it will stick anything, including plastic, but anything beyond paper and it seemed to give up the gluing ghost. I ended up using selotape on my bathroom lino.   I’m not the only one here; on typing into Google ‘my pritt stick won’t glue laminated card’ (hoping for some tips on how it might glue the lino) an hysterical rant appeared on an obscure message board, which I actually took the time to read, in which the aggrieved party wondered what the f*ck is wrong with Pritt stick?  preferring to call it ‘sh*t stick’ before going on to say that, furthermore, it’s a load of cack.

I wouldn’t go as far as this heavily  disillusioned individual.  There’s probably a law of Physics which explains why Pritt won’t stick my lino down; something to do with how porous the material is perhaps and things called ‘forces’?  Quick spot of research revealed that scientists don’t fully understand how glue works either – which sort of explains the Pritt stick situation.   Anyway the husband is going see if his copious supplies of super glue will work.

All this measuring, cutting and gluing took quite a few days, being as I had other things to do, and was also interrupted by the arrival of another package full of Sylvanian furniture, bought online from the only shop in the world (based in London) who specialise in selling Sylvanian Families and nothing else.  This meant a good hour or two was spent opening packages and setting up the contents.

And so Cedar Terrace house is now in a sort of renovated state.  Believe it or not there is more to do and my washer had to go in the bathroom being as Sylvanian houses lack space.

(This post contained photos of each stage of renovation which sadly got lost in the move to WordPress.com)

 

TBC…..

 

 

 

 

Improving Utopia – Part One

My newly acquired Sylvanian family (see blog post) have been suffering from quite a bit of serious neglect recently, due to the fact that there’s only so much you can do with a house (log cabin) that only has one room and for which you bought entirely the wrong kind of furniture.   If there was such a thing as a Sylvanian Child Welfare Officer, then they’d probably be right on my cute, plastic, furry critters’ parenting case.

Because this has been the state of the log cabin for about a week.

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Poor baby polar bear’s head is in the fire, whilst her sister is lying comatose (is there any other way for inanimate plastic figures to be?) on top of her probably asphyxiated sibling, in front of the overly large TV (none of this flat screen stuff here, your average Sylvanian telly is a gigantic, fake wood monstrosity.)  Father polar bear is lying in a hammock, outside, in their currently non-existent garden, looking like he might have had a night out on the tiles.  The only family member left with any dignity is Mother, perched on the settee in front of a coffee table that’s playing dead.

 

This messy state of affairs is because I decided that if I was going to do the Sylvanian thing properly I had to splash out on another house, one that looked like a proper house, having several floors, and so I pushed the log cabin to one side, along with its occupants, whilst I concentrated on doing up my latest Sylvanian residence – the Cedar Terrace town house.

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Yes, it became clear, in MY particular case of (my) newly discovered psychological disorder known as “middle-aged feathering nest syndrome with particular reference to miniature plastic toys” (thinking of submitting it to the BMJ) that things were getting pretty out of hand, even more so when, upon checking out my titchy critters’ new abode, I felt a huge sense of disappointment at its cold, impersonal and entirely plastic ‘feel.’  There must be something I can do about this, something to make things more homely and ‘real’ for my little family I kept thinking – thoughts which all proved that I was investing way too much time and emotional energy in a bunch of moulded plastic toys churned out on conveyor belts in China.

However, the husband had been forced to part with £39.99 for the new home, so I’d better do something with it.  After researching all things miniature on the web, I was astonished to find that there’s an invisible army of people out there who, like Disney, go around singing ‘it’s a small world after all’, creating miniature houses, model railways and entire towns and these people need titchy supplies for their titchy worlds.  There are plenty of companies out there churning out microscopic replicas of just about everything and anything; which is when it hit me.  My Sylvanian homes may be made out of plastic but why not bung wallpaper and carpet in there, just as though it were a real home.

Thinking what a remarkable brainwave I’d had, I then discovered various Sylvanian blogs all displaying impressively decorated houses, meaning that several toy based lunatics had got there before me.  And so, buoyed up by the fact that I’m not the only Sylvanian nutjob out there, I set about hunting down miniature wallpapers, carpets, tiles and lino’s (really, though, who knew?) and spent a couple of hours browsing a likely website before lashing out £21.93 on interior decor – just think, I could have bought a couple of cinema tickets with that, or a new top, or enough food to last two days.

My carpets and tiles

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My wallpaper

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And so, here’s how I’ve set about decorating my Cedar Terrace town house.  This kind of thing is called a Tutorial, although I hesitate to call it that since I’m pretty sure most people can work out how to do stuff for themselves, but my clever, talented and good looking niece No.3 suggested I include tutorials in any further Sylvanian-based posts, being that blog readers like that sort of thing, whilst also suggesting I re-name my blog Sylvanian Famdom (get it? I nearly didn’t, but it’s very good.)   The CMB, however, will remain as ‘all over the place’ as it’s always been, with the occasional foray into the land of Sylvania – depending on how long I (and you, my 5 constant readers) can remain interested in cute little animals that aren’t real.

My niece-inspired tutorials will be very precise (as WordPress blogs lack video capability) and I’m going to assume, as most tutorials do, that you, like Pooh Bear, have very little brain.

You will notice that I chose, in the above pics, a gentle, tasteful and refined colour scheme with regard to wallpaper, carpets, tiles and lino, feeling that my Sylvanian family should live in the kind of house I’d like to live in.   You,  of course, may have dissimilar tastes and, if you want to go with something bold, brash, loud and completely common then that’s entirely up to you.  It’s unlikely that your Sylvanian family will ever be able to criticise your interior design skills and, if they do, then I’d take it as a warning that, like me, you’ve finally lost the plot.

I began by creating templates of the inside walls of Cedar Terrace so I could cut the wallpaper to size.  I used greaseproof and baking paper; a pair of scissors (to cut things); a pencil (for marking the paper) and a ruler (for making straight lines.)

Here’s a picture of a pair of scissors, a pencil and a ruler (in fact the very ones I used) in case you’re not up to speed in the scissor/pencil/ruler department.

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The baking paper was brilliant, being as it’s see through and quite tough.  It didn’t tear when I outlined areas in pencil, or when I cut into it.  The see through bit was particularly helpful as I could see the windows clearly to draw around them.  The first floor proved impossible in terms of adult hands manoeuvring pencil and paper around in such a tiny space, as the second floor is non-removable (unlike the 3rd floor) so a tip would be to trace your template on the outside of the house for this floor:

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The rest of the house can be done on the inside:

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Now this tracing and cutting out of the wall panels is a time consuming and laborious process; at some point you’re probably going to pause awhile and reflect on the meaning of life (your life in particular), wondering just exactly why you’re doing this and facing up to the scary prospect that you may have lost all your marbles.  Keep your chin up, this phase will pass as your templates collect in a pile beside you (they must be positioned beside you and in a pile.)   Remember to write which bit of the house each template is for, using your pencil, like this:

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I did find, however, that templates made from baking sheets tend to curl at the edges, so it remains to be seen how effective they’ll be when it comes to cutting out the wallpaper:

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Then place the templates, for each floor, in separate food bags. I used food bags because they were in the same drawer as the greaseproof and baking paper and I thought, ‘oh here’s some handy little bags’.  You, on the other hand, may use something entirely different, particularly if you use normal, non-see through paper to create your templates.  For instance, you might use printing paper and find some empty ink cartridge boxes nearby, or there might be a large empty packet of M&Ms on your desk, that you secretly demolished the night before, even though your partner thinks you’re sticking to that diet, in which case you can bung your templates in there.  Label your container of choice with the respective floor numbers so they don’t become mixed up – like this:

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To be Continued…….