Friday 17 January 2014

Grand Mansion Update

I finally resumed work on the Grand Mansion. You can check out the previous updates here and here.

I stopped mostly because of the attic. It is such and awkward shape that it was a massive pain in the ass to create a wallpaper template for. Plus I was having trouble with the flooring I had chosen too. I decided that rather than wallpapering the entire wall, I would just paint the insides a matte black and wallpaper the lower half.

And the trouble with the floor tiles I was talking about? I was using this texture from Filter Forge to make my floor, but I wanted it standing on it's pointy ends, like diamonds. Guess what I did? I tried to manually rotate the texture. That was a real pain and a half to get *exactly* right (I didn't). Yeah, it hadn't occurred to me to just type in move 45°. *facepalm*

Wallpapering WIP

The next step after wallpapering was to mask the thing so I could apply several coats of glossy paint to the 'tiles'. I know, I should have sprayed before wallpapering, but it was dark out and I was impatient to move the project along.

Spraying gloss

Look, all nice and shiny now. It warped a little, which I expected. The effect is more apparent in person. The tile mosiac in the middle was originally blue. I Photoshopped it into this sepia colour before printing it out.

Shiny new bathroom

This also happened when I sprayed this wall with gloss. No idea what happened there. Didn't affect the other walls.

Dirt on wall

Now, for the furnishings. These things have been languishing unceremoniously in a box since I got them. I've used the old TOMY Sylvanian sink and a fancy toilet released for the hotel theme. The TOMY sink is very good quality--it's made of ceramic and the tap and pipes are actual metal. In contrast, the toilet is a sad, cheap feeling thing of thin plastic. Yeah, some of the old SF stuff is just so much nicer.

The carpet is just a print out. I'm too cheap to splurge on proper dollhouse carpets, and printing them allows me to control exactly what size I want it. I probably should look into printing on textured paper, though.

Sink and toilet

On the other side of the bathroom, we have the bathtub. It's another TOMY piece, and is made of nice weighty ceramic. Like the sink, the taps and pipes are made of solid metal. The shower is actually removable. There's an option to use a handheld shower instead, but I prefer the big shower. In real life, I prefer a handheld. :P

The coat rack is a bootleg. I'm wondering if I should leave it as it is, or repaint it; and if so, what colour?


Here is the whole bathroom, all in one picture. Click for bigger.

Fully furnished bathroom.

I've also created some pictures for the walls of the mansion. I printed them out and used painted balsa wood as backing. I was reluctant to buy proper dollhouse picture frames because of how many I needed and how costly they would all end up being. I also like the fact that I can directly control the size and what I put in those frames. I'll have to print out more geeky pictures next time, and less generic ones. As it is, I already have a picture of Rivendell in one of the silver frames.

DIY mini picture frames

I think it looks quite good in a room. Here it is with fizzy fish. It lives in the Grand Mansion now.

Fish and Picture

Friday 10 January 2014

The Harvester Restaurant and some trade items

A while back I bought a Harvester Restaurant on Ebay. After much hunting, I found one within the country and surprisingly, it came with most of its accessories. I think the only things that were missing were a few of the clear glasses. It even had little circle cardboard cut outs of food which I didn't know came with the restaurant.

I decided to wallpaper it and use some of my Kabaya SF kitchen miniatures to decorate it. The Kabaya stuff was originally produced for the Kitchen Restaurant building, but it works well here as well. I don't have the Kitchen Restaurant (but badly want one!).

I need to improve my photography skills. I'm quite bad at it. I keep seeing all these gorgeous doll and toy photography on Flickr and get so frustrated by my lack of skill and understanding. The 'sky' shouldn't have tree shadows on it, haha.

Harvester restaurant front

Here's an interior shot. The wallpaper I found on a dollhouse site and I adjusted the colours in Photoshop until it was a nice shade of green. It was originally cream. That wallpaper suddenly makes the place look extra classy. (click on the pictures to see a bigger version)

Harvester Restaurant

Here's an interior shot with critters. I spent SO much time taking this picture. I've given up trying to make it look awesome. I'm leaving it as it is. I didn't set up the foremost table for two so it looks like Mrs Outback Koala has caught Mr Outback going out for a fancy-pants meal all on his own without inviting the rest of his family.

Carissa Outback: Bruce! So this is where you've been sneaking out to every afternoon! I thought you were having an affair! This also explains all that extra weight you've been putting on lately...

Busy Harvester Restaurant

Here's a picture of the kitchen side of things. I love how crowded it looks! I've since rearranged things so stuff fits better. All the cans have been moved to the top shelf; much more space for them there. The cans all have a Cottontail chef on it. I guess he's some locally famous chef with his own brand of food stuff in Sylvania, heh.

Cooking space

I've also got a tin of Cottontail brand olive oil. Might have to go to my Flickr to get a close up. I haven't figured out how to widen the margins on this template to accommodate larger pictures without messing up the rest of the layout.

I was surprised that this set came with all its bottle labels too. Some are wine labels and some are syrup labels. I superglued all the labels back on as they were either falling off or plain loose. Says a lot about the quality of Sylvanian wine that the wine's the same neon red and green as the syrup...

Cottontail brand olive oil

I made two of the cans for the kitchen. The Kabaya sets did not provide enough cans for all the can labels they had--they expected you to choose which labels  you liked best. Imagine that! Of course I can't choose! The only solution was to make a silicone mold of the cans and cast them in resin.

Resin cans

Turned out quite well, I'd say.

Finished cans

Here are some close up interior shots:

Long ago, I bought a little container of glass miniature 'ice' from Etsy. I've used it to fill the bucket. It's a right pain when they spill, I tell you. And of course that red wine has to be kept under ice. Just look at it. Anything that bright red has got to be volatile. I also know I got the knife and fork placement wrong. Just couldn't be arsed retaking the pic.


Here's what the other table has. Some spaghetti and mushroom soup, with a nice glass of red. The spagehetti is from the Kabaya sets, just re-plated as the Kabaya plates are huge. They're very pretty plates, just really big for the little SF tables. The mushroom soup and Christmas tree is from Re-Ment, and the nice red wine glass is from Orcara's fantastic red wine set.

mushroom meal

A bowl of mushroom soup and spaghetti

That's it for the Harvester restaurant pics.

I've also finally finished my end of the trade for a very nice lady on the SF forums. She's waited very patiently over a year for this. I've made a ton of extras to make up for my lateness, which made me even later, so that wasn't the best way to go about things...

Trade items

Friday 3 January 2014

New forum and Japanese room set review

The Sylvanian Families community has moved! LadyLollipop has graciously offered to host and set up a new forum. Runboard was a bit limited where features were concerned.

Come join us at the new forum here: and help the community grow!

I've also done a review of the old Japanese room set over there.
Sylvanian Families Japanese Room
Review link:

Here are a few pictures:
I used a Mulberry mother to model this. I'm pretty sure the outfit was meant for a male, but the mother's dress was easier to get off. Not that it matters anyway, Sylvanians are mostly the same without clothes.
I had to take a picture of a Pinky. They are the reason I even have this set. I'm certainly not paying current ebay prices for them now! I got it way back, before I was into SF because I thought it looked fantastic with them. I've never taken a picture of any of them with it until now. I'm sad Pinky: St isn't releasing regularly anymore. That's what made me lose interest and turn to SF. I'd forgotten how cute they can be.
Pinky St, looking cute