Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holyster's gifts

Hello and Happy Holidays everyone!

The challenge prompt for the
second fortnight of December (and the very last one of the year!) in the Sylvanian Families Collectors Community was:

Challenge #24: Free Challenge

We've arrived at the end of 2019, and the last Free Challenge of the year! Thank you all for a year full of fabulous crafts, beautiful photos, and immersive storytelling! You have made the creative challenges an amazing success. There is lots more to come in 2020! The first challenge of the new year will be posted on 1 January.

This is a chance for everyone to work on a Sylvanian project of their choosing. Choose a prompt that you would enjoy taking on, expand upon a project that you've already created, or try a new technique or material!

Make an item or items, photograph a scene, write a story, or do whatever inspires you to do something creative with your Sylvanian collection!

With this post, I am happy to say that I managed to participate in each and every challenge of this year, 2019! I wanted to try and accomplish that, so I'm very happy about it! :) Not sure if I will be able to do it again next year, but I have to say that I truly enjoyed these challenges, that inspired me to try and do different things with my Sylvanians. I even did a little crafting, which I'm not very good at! So thank you very much to Terra, the rest of the forum admins, and of course, the person who originally proposed to do these challenges last year, Kaz.

For this free challenge I wanted to illustrate some of the gifts the Sylvanians from Arcfield received from Holyster, the gift-giving, shape-shifting forest spirit!

Here we have Frances Robinson, admiring the beautiful new paint box she got! With this, she'll be able to draw and paint even more beautiful pictures. 

The Spinelli children, Livia and Silvio, received a beautiful toy box full of toys to share!

It's not only the children that Holyster brings gifts to; see, Mr Waters got a brand new tool box full of shiny new tools to use in carpintry!

Some of you were worried about Freya Chocolate, since Holyster told her that she might not get any gifts this year. To be honest, she's been worrying about that too. And today, it seems like her fears have unfortunately become true; her brother Coco (who seems quite happy with his new toy blimp) and her baby siblings have received gifts, but she can't find one for herself anywhere in the house.

And it's not that she hasn't been looking! Could it be true that she's not getting any presents this year?

I wonder why she can't find anything...? :D

Exhausted and frustrated, Freya finally decides to get out of the house to clear her head.

"Where are you going, love?" Teri, her mother, calls sweetly to her as she's about to leave. Freya looks at her, her eyes glistening with tears, and replies curtly:
"To take a walk".
"Could it be that you're upset because Holyster didn't bring you any gifts?" 
Teri's smiling sweetly at her, and that just makes Freya even angrier.
"Of course not! Who needs gifts, anyway?!"

Teri smiles even wider. It's been a while since she's had this much fun teasing someone, but still, Freya is her darling daughter and she seems upset, so in the end she decides to finally show her the present she's been hiding and moving from spot to spot all morning, and that she had been hiding behind her back as they talked.

"Gotcha!" she says, winking at her daughter. "Hope this whole thing made you think a bit, at least!"

Freya is speechless. Did her mother really just play a prank at her?!

All's well that ends well, though, and Freya's quite happy with her brand new teddy bear! She hopes you all get tons of gifts these holidays, too!

This will quite probably be my last post of the year, so Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone! See you in January! 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Winter Solstice Dinner

Hello everyone!

The challenge prompt for the
first fortnight of December in the Sylvanian Families Collectors Community was:

Challenge #23: Christmas Dinner

The month of December is all about the upcoming Christmas holiday! Both in the real world and the Sylvanian world, a highlight of each year is Christmas Dinner, with family, friends, and a wonderful feast.

There are many ways to celebrate the season! Show us what Christmas Dinner is like for your figures, whether your Sylvanians prefer a classic Christmas menu, look forward to unique local or family favorites, have a large gathering, celebrate in smaller numbers, create a massive feast or enjoy a more modest meal.

Make an item or items, photograph a scene, write a story, or do whatever inspires you to do something creative around the Christmas Dinner theme or Christmas in general! If your Sylvanians celebrate a different winter holiday, please feel free to share that celebration instead. 


As you already know if you read my previous story, the Sylvanians in Arcfield don't celebrate Christmas per se. They celebrate the coming of Winter on the night of the Winter solstice, during which the friendly forest spirit Holyster comes to bring gifts to them. On that night, families and friends assemble to enjoy a special dinner and spend quality time together. Sometimes these celebrations can get huge, as Sylvanians tend to have big families and many dear friends.

The family we'll be visiting this time, however, is a small one; the Andes family, consisting of father Rick, mother Ariadna, daughter Fiorella and baby son Óscar. They're going to spend a quiet family night enjoying each other's company. 

Here's the family decorating their tree for the season. The ornaments are very special, as their dear friends from Riverside sent them!  
(Thank you so much, Nina!).

While Rick gives the finishing touches to dinner, Ariadna and her daughter Fiorella work on setting the table. They're using the tablecloth and crockery reserved for special occasions! The crockery has flowers, of course; Ariadna loves them! Since Fiorella's quite short, she needs to get up on the chair to set the table. She hopes to get taller soon!

It's finally time for the family to enjoy dinner together! Everything is delicious, and Fiorella's delighted, as her parents have prepared all of her favourite dishes. They dote on her so much! She's positive there'll be pudding for dessert, too!
Even little Óscar's having his bottle at the table with the family. :)

After dinner, in the quietness of their home, Fiorella sings traditional songs for her parents and baby brother. Even though she does it completely a cappella, her voice is so beautiful and crystalline that it almost sounds like there are musical instruments accompanying her. Immensely proud of her daughter, Ariadna closes her eyes, smiles and lets Fiorella's voice carry her elsewhere, very far away.

(Thank you Emilie for the adorable printable!).

A bit later, when the children are already in bed, Ariadna and Rick finally have the time to enjoy a glass of wine together. 
Rick Andes sighs contently and smiles adoringly at his wife.
"Are you happy, my dearest?"
"I am" replies Ariadna, also smiling, her eyes twinkling slightly in the dim light. "I couldn't be happier, my love".


Hope you enjoyed these pictures of this nice, special evening at the Andes' home. :) I tried my best to capture a quiet, cozy and Christmassy atmosphere. 
I wish you all a wonderful month of December!


Friday, December 6, 2019

The festive forest spirit

Hello everyone!

I'm once again quite late, but here was the second challenge for the month of November in the SF Collectors Community forums:

Challenge #22: Christmas Wish List

Is November too early to begin thinking of Christmas? Not in Sylvania! Throughout the village, Sylvanians are already beginning to prepare for the festivities. There are trees to decorate, parties to plan, menus to organize, and shopping lists to make!

Postman Pete has been quite busy delivery holiday catalogues into each postbox. Shops and craftspeople have begun stocking special items for holiday shopping. Soon, store windows will be filled with beautiful holiday displays.

Young Sylvanians (and some that are not so young!) are taking part in the time honored tradition of making a Christmas wish list to give to their parents and Santa Claus!

Make an item or items, photograph a scene, write a story, or do whatever inspires you to do something creative around the Christmas Wish List theme or Christmas in general!

And my contribution to it. Hope you enjoy it!


Not far from the village of Arcfield there's a dense forest believed to be full of magic. The huge tree stump that the citizens use for many of their celebrations is just one of the many strange things that can be found in there. The elders and adults of the village, particularly those who have been living there for many years, tell many curious stories about the things that have happened to them or their acquaintances in those woods. There are also numerous stories of the many forest spirits that inhabit this mystical place.

The inhabitants of Arcfield have co-existed with these forest spirits (considered mostly friendly and helpful, though they can also be a tad mischievous) ever since the village was first founded, and thus, they follow many traditions that involve them. One of these traditions involve the children of the village taking a short stroll in the woods when Winter approaches in order to leave offerings for a particular spirit, known as Holyster. The offerings are to be deposited in a mysterious wooden trunk hidden in one of the forest's clearings; according to the stories, on the night of the Winter's solstice Holyster will empty the trunk and, if he likes the offerings, will bring the children gifts in return. This is why nowadays the children leave a wishlist along with their offering. However, if Holyster finds the gift lacking, the gift might not be what the child expected!

The day of the Winter solstice is fast approaching this year, so some of the children of Arcfield are going through the woods in search of the mysterious trunk where they must leave their offerings to Holyster. Each of them is carrying something with them; 

Frances Robinson drew a beautiful picture, Annabelle McFarlane wrote a short story...

Silvio and Livia Spinelli made delicious baked goods with the help of their mother (I think Silvio kind of wants to eat the bread himself, haha!), and Freya Chocolate... Well, Freya's going to improvise. She'll probably end up giving the spirit forest berries or a curiously-shaped leaf!

The children finally find Holyster's trunk in the woods, and leave their offerings and wishlists in it.
"Wow, it sure is bigger than I expected!"
"Did you know it appears on a different place of the forest every year?"

As they are about to leave, and after turning their backs to the trunk, they hear a mysterious voice speaking in a curious way behind them; it sounds very young, yet very old at the same time.

"I am v'ry fain thee cameth"

Although the voice and words are quite peculiar, the one who spoke looks just like an adorable baby koala. The children are startled at this sudden appearance, but Annabelle and Livia quickly approach him.

"Are you lost, little one? Do you need us to take you home?" 

"Nay! f'r i am the f'rest spirit, Holyster!" 

"Do you understand anything he's saying?" asks Silvio, scratching his head.

"Ah, I can talk like you do, if that's easier for you" the little koala smiles, suddenly speaking normally. "I said I am the forest spirit, Holyster. See? I'm wearing my colours, red and green. Surely you've been taught that! I'm glad you came to bring me your offerings this year as well".

The children look at each other, dumbfounded, the ones born in the village and that have been performing this tradition for years as stunned as the others. Never before has the spirit appeared before any of them! Annoyed at their silence, the one calling himself Holyster sighs.

"I see you don't believe me. Very well, let's see if this convinces you".

 There was a sudden flash of light, and when it went away...

 "Ta-dah! I am Holyster, the shape-shifting spirit of the forest!"

"Crème?!" asks Freya, her eyes wide open. The one now before them looked just like Freya's baby sister!

"Who's Crème?" asks the tiny rabbit. "I said I'm Holyster! This is just my luck, I show myself for the first time in centuries and I get the rudest children in town.

"I can't believe this" says Freya. The one calling herself Holyster looked at her coldly.

"I don't like you very much, little lady. You might not get any presents at all this year".
"Ah, we... we just, you see, we're surprised... We didn't mean to be rude, Mr... Mrs..." mumbles Frances Robison, quite shyly.

"Just Holyster is fine. Ahh, I understand, you're awed by my powerful presence, it's understandable. Here, I'll perform one last trick for you all!".

And, after another flash of light...

"Wow!" Livia exclaimed. "What are you now?!"

"As I mentioned, I am the forest spirit, Holyster". The strange being before the children smiled calmly. She seemed quite satisfied with their expressions. "I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you coming to find my trunk every year. I'll make sure that you get excellent presents this year!"

And with that, the spirit winked at the children and simply vanished, like she had never been there. They were too stunned for words. Had they really witnessed a true forest spirit? It sure seemed like it... But would anyone believe them if they told the story? Still, they walked back home in good spirits, feeling like they had experienced something truly extraordinary.

That said, the spirit's ominous words would for sure be haunting Freya Chocolate's mind until the night of the Winter solstice!

"You might not get any presents at all this year"!


The End! Hope you enjoyed this little story. It's a bit different from what I usually write, but I wanted to start weaving some of Arcfield's unique mythology, and creating a "Christmas" spirit for this challenge seemed like a good way to start. :)

Now I'm inspired to keep thinking of other forests spirits, haha!

The adorable baby koala elf you saw in this story (the first form Holyster took) was a lovely gift from my collector friend Amaia. I absolutely adore him, and wanted to use him in one of my stories for sure! She also generously sent me two of the blind bag babies I was missing and a lovely card. Thank you so much, Amaia!

Before ending this post, here's an extra picture of the forest spirit, Holyster! She says hello!

I hope you get a lot of presents this year! :)

Have a wonderful week-end!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December Calendar Picture

Hello everyone!

I can hardly believe it, but it's already the last month of 2019, and my last Calendar post of the year!

Here is the picture for the month of December in the 2019 official SF Calendar:

We have a beautiful and quite Christmassy night scene in the Town! Stella Chocolate is here with her boyfriend, William Cinnamon, and I absolutely adore their clothes! I wish they sold these beautiful coats and suits! The Christmas Tree behind then is absolutely stunning, too, and the starry sky just adds to the atmosphere. I also love the tram with its light at the back! 

I thought for a moment that we had no Freya this time, but of course, that's not the case! :D She's on a balcony in the background, along with her mother Teri. :)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for ever since the start of the year: the Freya and Crème count! Let's see how many times the two sisters have appeared in the 2019 Calendar pictures:

Freya Chocolate: 10 times!
Crème Chocolate: 6 times!

Freya wins, of course! With the boom and success of baby-themed items and sets lately, I kind of feel like Crème might become even more ubiquitous than her big sister, but it seems like for the time being, Freya's still in the lead!

All jokes aside, I also wanted to show you the picture for December 2018, also included in the Calendar, but that I didn't get to show:

This is a beautiful, snowy picture! I'm not sure if this is the new Beechwood Hall, it might be. I love how many Sylvanians there are in the picture, the huge Christmas tree and adorable little Crème on the top window. The decorations are also quite adorable. And once again, I want all those scarves and coats! :D 

And now, for the final surprise of this post: the December 2019 picture in the new 2020 Calendar!

There is currently a big Sylvanian Families exhibition in Spain, about an hour and a half away from where I live, organised by the Spanish branch of the company. It's apparently the biggest SF exhibition ever made in Europe! I had the chance of attending last week, and it was amazing! There were several huge dioramas representing the Village, the Seaside, the Town (this one even had movement!), and a beautiful snowy one with an ice-skating rink! I took loads of pictures and hope to make a post about it soon. :)
Here's a link to a news article with a couple of pictures:

In any case, they had the Calendar for 2020 for sale there, so I bought it! And here's the picture I mentioned, the very first one in the Calendar, for December 2019.

I love the clear colours and all the white and gold in this picture, and once again, Stella's coat is absolutely gorgeous! She's once again with her boyfriend William. Love those little decorative trees!

I've really enjoyed posting the monthly Calendar picture this year, as Emily and Cutata did before me. I'd be glad to continue doing it next year, but if someone else wants to take over for 2020, I'll be happy to read their posts too! :)

I have been pretty busy lately with non-Sylvanian things, so I'm pretty late for the forum challenges. I still haven't taken any pictures for the Wishlist one, and the following one (Christmas Dinner) has already been posted! I hope to be able to catch up soon. The lack of sunlight doesn't help, as I need to take pictures in the morning now, and I'm usually busy with work at those times. There's also a couple of other posts I want to write and publish here, so looks like I have my work cut out for me, blog-wise! :) Thank you everyone for reading and commenting, I truly appreciate it! I'm also quite behind in reading and commenting on your latest posts and contributions to the challenges, I hope to be able to do that soon!

I hope you have a wonderful December and wish you all happy holidays!