Calico Critters: Introduction

I thought the time had finally come to share my Calico Critter obsession. Like everything on this blog, it comes with a story. 🙂

Last summer, one of my favourite Mini bloggers, Katie, from Katie’s Clay Corner, scored a really cute gypsy wagon on eBay. It sparked an interest in me, but not as much as all the little critters she was always using in her photographs, and entire blog really when you start looking into it more as I have been! She is obviously the reason for my obsession and I thank her daily!!! 😀

These tiny little felted (or flocked?) animals made me all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. They are nost commonly referred to as Sylvanian Families, but here in North America, they are called Calico Critters. I’m pretty sure I never owned any as a child — maybe I wanted them, not sure, but they did originate when I was younger, and there was a television show based on them, so it’s possible that’s where the nostalgia comes from?

I decided I would like to add some to my collection. I read on an about.com page that “the figures are close to 1:12 scale”, ao I figured if I did find any cuties I liked, they could take over the Orchid from Lina and steal the posing spotlight from the petite blythes. I also was thinking their furniture, which is readily available in my local toy stores, might even work for furniture in the dollhouse. The eBay gods (who might be in the knows with rhe thrift store gods), must have known I wanted to get some of my own because back in the summer I ended up winning a lot of vintage critters for $13 including shipping.

Cuties right? And some families are still together-ish. The raccoons are missing a mother and sister, the cats(?) I am not aure about as they seem to be a wedding couple so maybe they were a swt by themselves. Haven’t looked into thaf enough yet! Now as a more than rookie, (but less experienced), collector, I know that this was an amazing deal I am not likely to find at ease again.

After I had them in the mail, I got to thinking..why not find some furniture too? On eBay there is a lot of “generic brand” furniture you can buy. It is cheap, not the same colour schemes as the critters and has less attention to detail. But is nice considering you can find the bed, desk, dresser, mirror hangers and coat rack for around $6. I figured if the generic furniture ended up looking as cheap as I thought it might, I could always customize the pieces without guilt since they were so inexpensive. I also found an authentic but out of box and only partial living room which included a set of sofa chairs (which now i have since discovered I could have bought full set for only a little more at local store..figures, lol). I thought the set might have been suitable for the Orchid living room if it didn’t look too “plastic”, knowing that these are plastic toys.

So I ordered, and waited for what felt like forever, but was probably only a few days or weeks, until finally the critters and furniture were in my hands. I opened them with much excitement, anticipating the little details like opening drawers. (Which you don’t often find in many dollhouse miniatures, especially, from what I’ve noticed at least, miniatures targeted at collectors and 1″ scale. Or if they do have drawers that open, you pay about $50 more than the ones that don’t).
I opened and played and then it suddenly hit me. This is not 1″ scale….not even close! Take a look at the living room set in my room box next to the 1:12 scale door….

UGH! It would figure that they wouldn’t be the right scale. But after only a moment of frustration I thought to myself “Oh well, now I will just have to make a critter house!”. I was pretty sure that they’d fit into the creatology dollhouse, which you can get at Michaels, and I currently have in my stash.

Well turns out they are a little too big for those houses. Somewhere in between 1:24 and 1:12….of course! So here I am with all this “other” collection of things. Just what Gord wanted to see, LOL. But seriously, how cute! I can’t give them up! To try to balance out my collections, I started selling off a LOT of Barbies to balance that out, but really the intention was always to sell them, (I just needed to get certain outfits and heads and bodies for my personal collection, LOL), but it has gotten rather out of control because of all the moving and such lately.

So, when Christmas came around, and the Calico Critter Town Home Gift set was on sale at Toys’R’Us, I asked Gord if Santa could bring it for me…and I guess they came to a consensus because as I already mention in my Christmas Post I received it.

I had to obviously open it before Christmas morning or else there would have been lots of confusion in the room, as I am sure Nia would have assumed it to be hers. While Gord is supportive of anything I do, he really doesn’t understand why I have chosen this as a part of my miniature collecting. So, before I show you pictures of all the stuff that was included in my gift set, let me explain to you why I love calico critters (sylvanian families elsewhere)

1. Obviously. Cute.

2. Miniature. We know I like mini things.

3. Detailed. There is so much detail in these toys, as I will show you in my pictures to come.

4. The artistry. I consider myself an “artist”. I produce, ad have produced many different forms of artwork — paintings, the miniatures, sculptures, etc. I really appreciate the artistry that goes into the details of these tiny things. Even though they are manufactured plastic toys. Someone had to create the original pieces for which these used to create the plastic molds. This to me, is awesome. It’s really why I love all toys that posses a miniature quality.

So there.

Now let’s look at everything! 🙂

Obligatory "box" picture.

Obligatory “box” picture.

Front of the house.

Front of the house.

There is incredible details, not only in the materials (i.e; the wood), but the architectural details as well.

There is incredible details, not only in the materials (i.e; the wood), but the architectural details as well.

A little close up of the detail again.

A little close up of the detail again.

Front door. Welcome!

Front door. Welcome!

Even little stone details! and of course, the doors all open. :)

Even little stone details! and of course, the doors all open. 🙂

There is a balcony, with some french doors.

There is a balcony, with some french doors.

Open doors.

Open doors.

You can kind of get a glimpse into the house from this angle when the house is closed.

You can kind of get a glimpse into the house from this angle when the house is closed.

Terra cotta tiled roof.

Terra cotta tiled roof.

Back view. Lots of details!! :)

Back view. Lots of details!! 🙂

Open house.

Open house.

First room, where one enters through the front door.

First room, where one enters through the front door.

There is free printable wallpaper available on the calico critters website. I printed it and was disappointed at the dotted black lines that are over the pattern, :( I added this in quickly, but hope to change the wallpaper to my own....one day... lol

There is free printable wallpaper available on the calico critters website. I printed it and was disappointed at the dotted black lines that are over the pattern, 😦 I added this in quickly, but hope to change the wallpaper to my own….one day… lol

The upstairs room. It has a removeable room divider that creates another small room (see below).

The upstairs room. It has a removeable room divider that creates another small room (see below).

This is the small room that is created by the room divider.

This is the small room that is created by the room divider.

Closer look into the little room. My instict is that this is where the stairs lead to and it would be a hallway.

Closer look into the little room. My instict is that this is where the stairs lead to and it would be a hallway.

Room divider closed. Creats a large upstairs room.

Room divider closed. Creats a large upstairs room.

The room that enters out onto the balcony. I assume it would be a bathroom based on the flooring, but it would also be weird to have a door in your bathroom no? lol.

The room that enters out onto the balcony. I assume it would be a bathroom based on the flooring, but it would also be weird to have a door in your bathroom no? lol.

Full view.

Full view.

Tiled? Floor.

Tiled? Floor.

Parquet style floor.

Parquet style floor.

Another bonus is that two of the rooms light up! You can buy another light that can go into the other two rooms. Those will be on my birthday list of course. ;)

Another bonus is that two of the rooms light up! You can buy another light that can go into the other two rooms. Those will be on my birthday list of course. 😉

The house came with this additional play space that can be added on to the bottom floor.

The house came with this additional play space that can be added on to the bottom floor.

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There was also a small balcony to add some more space upstairs.

There was also a small balcony to add some more space upstairs.

The stairs place nicely here into the room which they seem they blong to, as I mentioned before.

The stairs place nicely here into the room which they seem they blong to, as I mentioned before.

Nice detailing.

Nice detailing.

They could be placed in the corner as well.

They could be placed in the corner as well.

Or even off of the balcony.

Or even off of the balcony.

Or better yet, on the outside, onto the "grass". This is the downstairs extra space flipped over to provide an outside yard. :)

Or better yet, on the outside, onto the “grass”. This is the downstairs extra space flipped over to provide an outside yard. 🙂

Grass detail.

Grass detail.

Since this was the gift set, it came with “50+ accessories”. This is what was in my box (note that they differ by country).

There was a LOT of stuff for my critter's mini kitchen.

There was a LOT of stuff for my critter’s mini kitchen.

Pots and pans, and the details are amazing! Look at the little spoon!!

Pots and pans, and the details are amazing! Look at the little spoon!!

The little lids even come off and the oven opens!

The little lids even come off and the oven opens!

A tiny tiny toaster and some iddy bitty toast!

A tiny tiny toaster and some iddy bitty toast!

Which you can even put into the toaster (sorry these are supposed to be for children?! SO SMALL!)

Which you can even put into the toaster (sorry these are supposed to be for children?! SO SMALL!)

Placemats. You can see the basket in the background.

Placemats. You can see the basket in the background.

Jams, cups and a coffee maker.

Jams, cups and a coffee maker.

Bread box, juice pitcher, blender, cutlery, cups and plates!

Bread box, juice pitcher, blender, cutlery, cups and plates!

and all the lids come off and the bread box opens! Details are not missed here!!

and all the lids come off and the bread box opens! Details are not missed here!!

A desk, and chair with the smallest pencils and pencil holder I've ever seen in my life.

A desk, and chair with the smallest pencils and pencil holder I’ve ever seen in my life.

A piano.

A piano.

Which opens, and if you press the keys, they move down. No music though :(

Which opens, and if you press the keys, they move down. No music though 😦

Bed with the thinnest blanket and mini pillow.

Bed with the thinnest blanket and mini pillow.

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I was going to share with you my main family who has been taking up residence here thus far, BUT, I feel as though I have bombarded you with enough pictures for today. Stay tuned for the rest of my critter introduction! 🙂

Rebecca

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