Monday, 25 August 2014

A new family: The Cottontail Rabbit family

Unfortunately there won't be any stories this week, I just didn't get time the past weekend and honestly I didn't feel inspired enough to do anything. I've been playing with a few ideas, but when it came to doing it, I just didn't "feel" it. I'm really sorry for disappointing you all. Let's hope I get a bright idea soon.

On the upside I got a small package yesterday afternoon that I've been waiting for, for a while now. In it was the Cottontail baby boy, Comfrey and the EB mouse baby (that I ordered for a friend as part of a trade).

Lately I've prefered the baby boy's, for some reason the blue rompers just appeal more to me than the pink ones. (A heads up - another of my babies will soon undergo a sex change - just because I love the boys so much).

Little Comfrey is adorable and extremely well behaved. He kept me company all of yesterday afternoon.

The family were reunited yesterday evening and now I can finally ad them to my Villagers page.

It took me some time to decide if I want to welcome this family to my village. Even after I ordered them I was still unsure if I would like them. But not to fear, it was love at first sight, which just grew stronger when I took them out of the box. The thing that got me about them is their calm and serene appearance - they will definitely never cause any trouble in Sugarbush Valley.

The bio was easy to compile, I stuck to their original one mostly, because it just fits them so perfectly.

Father: Aaron Cottontail
Mother: Sorrel Cottontail
Brother: Gromwell Cottontail (11)
Sister: Willow Cottontail (10)
Baby Boy: Comfrey Cottontail (3)

Father Aaron is a down-to-earth and hardworking carpenter. He specialises in making the most beautiful furniture pieces and takes great pride in his work. He is such a skilled craftsman, everybody in Sugarbush Valley can recognize his furniture, because each piece looks just like a work of art.

Sorrel complements her husband's work perfectly by smoothing any rough corners, decorating it with a lick of paint if needed, polishes it up and puts new covering on it. As a mother she is practical and likes to get things done in the fastest most efficient way.

Gromwell is the fastest boy in Sugarbush Valley and for that matter in the whole district. He has already won tons of medals and trophies and he wants to be a professional track runner when he gets older. Though three years older than him his biggest competition is Oliver Periwinkle and Branson Whiskers, but to date they have never beaten him.

Willow does not like to rush anything. She glides through life, taking time to watch and enjoy every moment. Her secret is to start early, so there is no rush to finish, be it dressing in the morning or doing her homework after school. Nice and easy does it

Comfrey just loves to watch his father at work, and given the chance, he'd pick up dad's tools and make furniture too!

I know that my new family will be very happy in Sugarbush Valley and hopefully they will star in a story soon.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Aranera's giveaway

Just a quick one today about a fellow blogger's competition.

Aranera has a wonderful collection of Sylvanians who lives in Evergreen Village. What makes her blog so interesting is that she combines her stories about the villagers with tutorials on home made items.

Do visit her blog for some delightful entertainment.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Meadows family's new home

It was a chilly, but sunny Autumn morning, on Highfields farm. Hornbull was glad he grabbed his red scarf at the last moment before leaving the house. Today is the day that he wants to clean out the old stable at the edge of the farm. Hopefully after it is thoroughly cleaned and renovated, it will be a suitable home for the Meadows family. The entire village has already opened their hearts to this family, but they can't live like Nomads for the rest of their lives and Hornbull has taken it upon himself to provide a secure income for them by employing Father Jack. But it was actually Daisy that suggested they should try to refurbish the old stable into a home for them. At first the absence of ablution facilities posed a problem, but as it was situated near the Mulberry Log Cabin that problem was solved.

Hornbull was quite surprised by the state of the stable. Though it was dirty on the inside, the structure was still sturdy. He began by piling everything, from tools to reins on his wheelbarrow and loaded it on the bigger cart. Some of the stuff might even be useful again.

Just as Hornbull was about to start sweeping the floor, he noticed Roxy Renard approaching. She looked like a thunder-storm, which was very uncharacteristic for Roxy. Hornbull was quite afraid, he wasn't in the mood for the wrath of a scorned woman. He decided to sweet talk her.

Hornbull (very sweetly): Hi Roxy, thank you for coming. I know this is out of your way and a lot of trouble, but Daisy and I agreed that you will be the only person to get this dump cleaned out properly.

Roxy immediately knew what Hornbull was trying to do, and though she still felt irritable, she instantly calmed down. Yes, she was highly upset for being asked to do this. Daisy sort of tricked her into doing it, but now that she is here, and can see that Hornbull has tried his best to lighten her load she felt less done in.

Roxy (calmly): Thanks for the compliment, Hornbull, but I'm sure Daisy would've been able to do it just as properly, maybe even Maisie, but I am here now and pride myself on the work I do, so I will not disappoint you.
Hornbull: I have never thought of asking Maisie, but we actually want to surprise them, so that would have spoiled that.

Roxy decided not to argue about it with Hornbull, it is afterall Daisy that she is mad at. Without further time wasting she got out her equipment and started cleaning.

After standing around twiddling his thumbs, Hornbull decided to rather leave, before Roxy really exploded. Roxy gave a sigh of relieve and worked for two hours straight to rid the stable of all spider webs, dust and dirt. 

When finally done, she took a good look around and felt extremely proud, even she would live here now. It was really a cosy little home and she was sure that Jack and Maisie will be happy here. Roxy packed up her equipment and briefly thought of going up to the homestead to say hello to Daisy, but decided against it, she was still mad at her. Mae's house was actually closer, but she knew that Mae was at the Laundromat, so Roxy headed home.

Early the next morning Hornbull and Daisy took the Meadows down to the stable. Hornbull quickly explained that he and Daisy want them to live there, if they wanted to.

Maisie (excited): Wanted to? Are you serious? Of course we want to live here, it is perfect. Here is enough fresh air and open spaces for the twins to play in, it is close to Jack's work. It is perfect! How will we ever repay you.
Hornbull: Nonsense, we don't want anything in return. You can live here as long as you wish.
Jack: Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so much, but we are so grateful.

The rest of the morning was spent planing how to decorate the house. Both Maisie and Jack agreed that they don't need anymore renovations, but Daisy was adamant, that the stable should be wallpapered, her own recent redecorating and the joy it brought still fresh in her mind.

So while Maisie babysat the Buttercup children at the farmhouse, Daisy wallpapered the stable. She hanged the curtains, and just as she was about to take a step back and admire her handy-work, Maisie arrived with the children.

Maisie: Sorry to interrupt you Daisy, but the children were getting all fussy, so I decided to take them for a walk, and then curiosity got the better of me.
Daisy: No worries. I'm all done. What do you think?
Maisie: It looks amazing!! Thank you so much Daisy, you are so kind.

Their conversation were interrupted by Cheddar singing at the top of his voice. The little devil was sitting on top of a big piece of wood, which was pushed on top of a wheelbarrow, by Jack while Hornbull and Paddock kept it in place. The women looked at each other and burst out laughing it was a funny sight.

Hornbull quickly explained that the piece of wood would be positioned so that it will form a little shelf for some extra space. Maisie just shook her head, she has never before in her life experienced kindness like this, it was totally surreal. 

The men quickly put the shelf up, which was terribly upsetting for Cheddar, as his father needed something to stand on and the wheelbarrow was the closest thing. Cheddar threw and enormous tantrum.

Finally the shelf was up and Jack and Maisie thanked the Buttercups for all the hard work, but most of all for their kindness. 
Maisie: Now we must just save up for some furniture, but for now that is not important. We have a roof over our heads and our children will be warm and cosy tonight.
Hornbull (winking at Daisy): All in good time my dear.

That evening as Maisie closed the stable doors, she had a good look around. Everyone was already asleep, exhausted by the excitement of the day. She felt so blessed, but mostly grateful that everything worked out so good.

Maisie woke with a song in her heart. Jack got up early to do his deliveries. She quickly packed away the mattresses and blankets and was just about to give the twins their early morning milk, when she heard a commotion outside.

She stepped out and found Stilton Bouquet and Hornbull standing outside, with an oven carefully balanced on a wheelbarrow between them.
Maisie: Good morning guys, uhm ... is everything alright?
Hornbull: Morning Maisie, sorry for disturbing you so early, but Stilton has something for you.
Maisie: Something for me? But why? I didn't order anything.
Stilton: I recently bought a new stove for the Harvester Restaurant, as the old one was just getting too small. I didn't want to throw it out as it was still in perfect condition. 
Maisie: Well yes, I guess that you are right, that stove must be too small for all the wonderful food you have to cook for a restaurant.
Stilton: Then I overheard Daisy telling Rosemary that you might be needing a stove soon and that if we would be interested in selling the old one to you...

Maisie instantly turned red with shame. Though she desperately wanted a stove (a campfire is a not ideal for cooking meals on) they just couldn't afford it now. She felt so ashamed.

Maisie: Stilton I'm so sorry but I have no ...
Stilton (interrupting Maisie) ... then I thought, the old stove is only in my way. I will be happy to get rid of it. I spoke to Hornbull and he agreed to help me deliver it to you.
Hornbull (smiling): So here is your first piece of furniture, Maisie, and a pan to for good measure. I expect an invitation to a dinner soon.

Maisie was completely overwhelmed, and totally unsure of what to do. Does this now mean they get the stove for free. She will have to make sure, but the men where concentrating so hard on getting the heavy stove inside that she didn't want to interrupt them.

After the men placed the stove in a corner and made all the connections to get it to work, Maisie nervously asked Stilton if it would be okay if they can make the first down payment after Jack has received his first wage. Stilton burst out laughing, but when he noticed the confused expression on Maisie's face, he immediately stopped.

Stilton: I'm sorry Maisie for being so indiscreet and for not expressing myself clearly, but this is a gift. I don't want anything for it, though an invitation to a dinner, as Hornbull suggested, is not a bad idea.

Maisie couldn't believe what she was hearing. She thanked Stilton and promised  that the invitation will follow soon.

Maisie was still admiring her new stove when she heard little Noah call out "daddy". She was surprised to see Jack home so early, he usually comes home for lunch but it is barely noon. He was carrying something and when he came closer, Maisie realised it was a rolled up carpet.

Maisie: Jackie, you are back early?
Jack: Yes, I finished my rounds and just wanted to come and surprise my wife, with our first piece of "furniture".
Maisie: A carpet! That is wonderful, it will surely make the little stable so warm and cosy, but ... uhm... Honey it is not really our first piece.
Jack: What do you mean?

Jack turned around and saw the stove. He gasped and look at Maisie puzzled. She quickly relayed the events of the morning to him and he just shook his head. The kindness of these villagers are outrageous.

After agreeing that they would definitely have to invite the Bouquets and the Buttercups for dinner, they got to work. Jack had the carpet cut to size, so it was easy to fit and lay it.

Just as they put the stove bacl inside, after laying the carpet, Jack and Maisie were surprised with more visitors. This time it was their neighbours Ike and Edward Mulberry, accompanied by Eric Renard. Maisie had some kind of deja vu, because once again the men had wheelbarrows on which furniture were balanced. Maisie had an idea of what was coming and she was mightily relived that Jack was with her this time. 

As suspected Ike, Edward and Eric informed them that they too want to make some donations towards a more comfortable living. Maisie was totally overcome with emotion, especially when Edward showed her the two cribs that he hand-carved for the twins. She took a moment to gather herself, while the men unloaded the furniture.

Jack helped Eric and Ike to unload the unit with a built-in sink. As a handyman, it was easy for Eric to make the unit, but he needed Ike's input for the plumbing.

For the second time that day, Maisie had to thank almost-strangers for their generosity. She was still surprised by everyone's kindness, but slowly she began to realise that this is normal for these villagers and that this is what they do for each other. 

Jack stepped inside to admire their beautiful new furniture, and Maisie was just about to see what she can magically conjure up for lunch, when she heard the calls of her best friend Heidi Mcburrows. The two has become best friends in a very short time, maybe because they both were new to town and felt like they didn't really fit in.

Maisie (excited): Heidi! What are you doing here? I am so glad to see you! What a wonderful surprise!
Heidi (shyly): Oh stop it, how can I let my best friend cook on her first day in her new house, it is probably chaos here. I thought I stopped by and bring you some food, and a surprise for the twins.

Heidi brought all kinds of treats - salad, bread, juice and even some yogurt for the children. As well as a basket of vegetables for supper and two of the softest blankets for the twins, which she bought at Nocturnal.They decided to have a picnic in front of the stable and had a fantastic time.

Maisie told Heidi all about the kindness of the villagers and how they were spoiled with all kinds of donations and gifts. Heidi wasn't surprised at all, as she new that that is exactly the nature of these people. Soon it was time for her to head home. Maisie thanked her for lunch and the lovely blankets for the twins.

Maisie was still wondering how she will thank everyone for their kindness, while clearing the picnic spot, when more visitors came to surprise the Meadows. This time it were their friends the Hawtons with whom they shared a room for a month in the commune, when they moved to Sugarbush Valley. 

They too brought a welcome gift, and though it wasn't as extravagant as any of the other things they received that morning, it meant the world to Jack and Maisie.
Jack: Howdy, welcome to our humble abode.
Hildie: Well, it might be humble, but it is perfect. Congratulations.
Maisie: How wonderful of you to come by.
Barry: We wanted to bring you a little gift. It is not much, but we thought you might find it useful.
Maisie: Oh that was unnecessary. Don't you need it for your own room? 
Hildie: Nonsense, you need it more than us.
Barry: I found it at the school. Headmaster Huckleberry wanted to throw it out, but I rescued it, so I got Aaron to refurbish it.
Maisie. It is perfect thank you so much.

They showed their friends around and told the story about every piece of furniture and the generosity of their fellow villagers. For Hildie and Barry this too, wasn't surprising. 

After a relaxing visit Barry and Hildie had to leave. Jack and Maisie thanked them for their kindness and the fantastic gift.

Soon it was time for dinner again, and they ate the leftover bread with cucumber and tomato. Maisie couldn't stop staring at her house. The empty stable of that morning was a very distant memory.
Maisie: Jackie, can you believe these people?
Jack: What do you mean, Honey Pots?
Maisie: Bringing all these furniture and gifts, without expecting anything in return.
Jack: It sure is unbelievable, but stop worrying about it now and just enjoy it. 

The two were still discussing their good fortune, when they were once more interrupted, but this time it wasn't just anyone. It was thé MAYOR of Sugarbush Valley. Maisie almost got a fit and quickly wiped the children's mouths and straighten her own dress.

Jack: Mayor Hugo and Mayoress, what a lovely surprised.
Savannah: Hugo, I told you this will be a bad time, the people are having dinner.
Maisie (flustered): Oh don't worry about that, we just finished. Can we offer you something to eat.
Hugo: Thank you and I don't want to sound ungrateful, but we just ate at the Hamburger Restaurant, we even brought you some takeaways.
Jack: That is very thoughtful of you, we will save it for lunch tomorrow, or maybe a midnight snack.

Everyone laughed at Jack's little joke, but the attention quickly shifted to the couch on the trolley.

Hugo: The real reason for our visit, however is not takeaways, but rather this welcome gift from all the villagers of Sugarbush Valley. We hope you will be extremely happy here and do know that if ever you have any problems, our door is always open.
Jack: This is too generous, wow! Thank you.
Maisie: Oh my goodness, and it is a sleeper couch too. How can we ever thank you for this!
Savannah: No need to repay us, we are the ones that should thank you, for choosing Sugarbush Valley as your home. We are sure you will be fantastic contributors to conserving our beautiful valley.

Maisie smiled shyly, this was the last reply that she ever expected, but it was good to hear. Jack, with the help of Mayor Hugo carried the couch inside. It fitted perfectly as if it was made especially for this tiny space. Maisie thought to herself that maybe it was made for it, because though it sounds ridiculous in this village anything seems possible.

After the Mayor and his wife left, Jack and Maisie took a moment to admire their house. It surely underwent some changes since that morning. They were grateful for the blessings they received and just knew that they will be extremely happy in Sugarbush Valley.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A very productive day for Savannah!

Savannah made herself a cup of tea, a very strong cup of tea that is, as she definitely needed it. She felt
terribly excited, but extremely anxious too. Today will be the day that she must do it. She made that promise
to herself nine months ago. She turned around and looked at the typewriter glaring at her from the dining room table.

She poured the tea, and took a sip. She turned her head again to have a look at that terribly frightening sight. Maybe it is too soon, maybe she was too optimistic. How on earth will she be able to write anything after almost two years of nothing. At the beginning of the year Savannah encircled today's date on the calendar, it would be her only resolution for the new year. Hugo inquired what it meant, but Savannah felt too insecure to tell Hugo. 

She wanted to do it alone and only if she was ready. She surely didn't need the extra pressure. So that morning, when everyone had left, Savannah went upstairs to their room and dragged the big old typewriter from under the bed. It was a bit ironic that she has slept on it since they moved into Beechwood Hall. She had to laugh at her own silliness.

The moment, however, when it was completely out from under the bed, it was just too much for Savannah. She almost pushed it right back. It was a terrifying sight. She rushed downstairs, just to get away from it as soon as possible.

To her disbelief their was nothing for her to do downstairs, as she had already done all her chores before she made the tea, subconsciously maybe another way to delay facing her worst fear. She started to remake the kids beds and slowly but surely started to build up the courage to start with the inevitable.

It was quite exhausting to haul the big old thing downstairs and place it on the table. It was extremely heavy. In the past Hugo always carried it around for her, but as he wasn't around she had to too it herself. He used to moan quite a lot about the old heavy thing, and offered to buy her a brand new, modern and smaller version on various occasions. Savannah wouldn't hear of this. She loved her typewriter. All 9 books she's ever published was written on it, and she always lovingly reminded Hugo that he bought it for her some years ago at a jumble sale held in Rooibosch Hill. 

Finally Savannah felt ready to put the few ideas she had, and been playing with in her head to paper. It was simply magical, like she has never "left", the words came tumbling out, and thank goodness she was a good typist as her fingers could barely keep up with the words that just poured out. It was as if they have been locked up for too long and was terrified that they may be stuffed back in, if they don't get out immediately.

After a few hours of constant fast typing, Savannah needed a break. Her fingers was cramped up and her head was spinning from all the adrenaline pumping through her veins. Her first book, after a two year hiatus, was almost finished, it needed another chapter or two, and obviously some fine tuning, she felt terrific and it surely was satisfying to be doing a different "job", than just being a mother for a change. As she was about to sit down and enjoy her sandwich the doorbell rang.

Savannah played with the idea of just pretending not to be home, but then she remembered that she was the Mayor's wife and maybe someone really needed her. She opened the door and forced herself not to sigh. The visitor was Mona Hazelnut. Savannah had no problem with Mona, they were not best of friends but Mona wasn't unpleasant, but just so exhausting. This visit may take hours, and Savannah wants to finish her book.

Savannah invited Mona in and offered her some tea. Mona declined, muttering something about indigestion. It quickly came to light, that Mona might not have a particular reason for her visit. 

Savannah inquired politely how the pregnancy is going, which was a huge mistake as Mona wailed for, which felt like, an eternity of how inhumane it is to carry and grow a new life inside of one. Savannah decided not to comment on that remark.

She just let Mona talk, as she obviously needed an ear that listened. Savannah sneaked a secret peak at her typewriter, how she wished she could just be alone and type.

Then Mona suddenly got up, and Savannah gave a sigh of relieve, this visit was over quicker than she anticipated, but it turned out that Mona only got up to show her some pictures of their recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal.

Savannah felt horrible. How could she forget, especially after she has told Mona to take plenty of pictures and that she must come and show her. Immediately Savannah had a mindset change and vowed to give all her attention to Mona. She is not a self involved person, never has been.

Savannah took the envelope of photos from Mona and looked at the pictures with interest. She tried to make up for her absence of the past 15 minutes, by asking some questions about the pictures and encouraging Mona to be as descriptive as possible.

(Herewith a few pictures taken on my own vacation to Lisbon recently. I actually did take the Hazelnut family with me with the intention of taking pictures of them, but there were really never the time. Feel free to visit my facebook page for more photos)

Mona excitedly showed Savannah the pictures of the wonderful shops first. In Barrio Alto and

... Rua Augusta. This strip leads to the Placa de Commercio and the Triumpal Arch on the Tagus river.

Beneath is the Triumphal Arch, an unbelievably majestic structure. Next to it a picture of the Lisbon Cathedral.

Mona excitedly showed her a picture of the funicular trams and also pointed out how many of the building was not plastered off and painted but was tiled.

Their are several viewpoints in Lisbon, it is afterall the city with the seven hills. And the views from it was breathtaking.

One of the main attraction in Lisbon is of course the Torre de Belem. Another enormous structure.

After having another quick look at some of the pictures Mona indicated that she must leave. She thanked Savannah for a wonderful visit and that they must do it again soon. This made Savannah feel even worse, especially after her initial disinterest.

Savannah, who was starving by now, quickly ate half of her sandwich and just got comfortable in front of her typewriter when there was another knock on the door. Savannah wanted to cry, but she quickly suppressed the feeling, as she still felt bad about Mona.

She went to open the door and was incredibly surprised with her visitor. It was Margaux Bercher carrying a bouquet of flowers. The Berchers was relatively new in Sugarbush, and though they have met, they weren't really acquainted.

Savannah invited Margaux in and again it became evident very quickly that there was really no real reason for her visit. Margaux mainly talked about the village, the friendliness of the villagers and asked a few questions about some day to day events. Margaux obviously only wanted to get some inside information of all the unspoken rules and regulations of the village.

Soon it was time for Margaux to leave and this time it was Savannah that invited Margaux back for another visit. Savannah felt pleased. It turned out that Margaux was a lovely person and definitely someone with whom Savannah can become friends.

Satisfied Savannah got comfortable in front of her typewriter again. Surely she will not be interrupted again. She still has a few hours left before her family return home, which will be enough time to finish the last chapters.

It was not to be. The knock on the door came just as she hit the first key on the typewriter. At first she thought it was the sound of the typewriter, but then she heard the second knock. Savannah couldn't believe her misfortune, but once again she got up and opened the door.

If Savannah was surprised with Margaux's visit, she was completely shocked and astonished with her next visitor: Pansy Chestnut. In all the years that the Chesnuts have lived in Sugarbush Valley she and Pansy has never once had a conversation. Obviously they greeted each other at public events or when they pass each other on the streets. For the second time that day, Savannah felt as if she was a bad Mayoress.

She had a dreadful feeling about this. What on earth could Pansy want, maybe she wants to tell her how snobbish Savannah is and that she do not care about her fellow villagers. What made things even more difficult was that Pansy's 2-year old son, Ricky (she can not be that bad if she knows his name AND age, Savannah thought), doesn't sit still for a moment. She tried to ignore it and attentively listened to Pansy.

In the end it turned out that Pansy only wanted her opinion about the nursery school and daycare center. According to Pansy her children was ready for daycare, but that she didn't want to send them to different institutions. She was in two minds of what to do, as technically Amy who is 3 should go to Delia's nursery and Ricky who is 2 and too young for the nursery school, should attend Penny's daycare center.

After a good chat, Pansy was happy and thanked Savannah for being such great help in making a decision. No word was uttered about Savannah being a bad Mayoress, on the contrary Pansy was extremely friendly and grateful. 

Once again Savannah got in front of the typewriter feeling pleased, however, more reluctantly, as she was waiting and listening for that knock on the door. This time, though, Savannah got the peace and quiet she desired and finished her book.

Later that day when her family got home, it was with great pleasure and an enormous feeling of accomplishment that she showed them her handy work. The babies obviously didn't understand any of the fuss that was made by their father or older siblings. Not even Nellie and Igor could fully comprehend the enormity of the situation, but all that Savannah needed was that look of sheer pride in her husband's eyes.