Sylvanian Families Escapades of a Grandma

Sylvanian Families were never meant to be only for children!

Today, 90% of our customers at Sylvanian Specialty Store are adult collectors, little by little adding to a collection that has been steadily growing over a decade or two.

Jenny, a grandmother from New Zealand, only began to establish hers last year, at 68 years old, proving that it's never too late to begin a Sylvanian Families collection.  Being a late starter is no handicap however, as Jenny's village has rapidly evolved into what is perhaps one of the most unique Sylvania's you will chance to discover!

Jenny believes everyone is entitled to enjoy their second childhood, and she's certainly revelling in hers, Sylvanian style!   “I spent 12 years as a Children’s Library assistant at a public library before I retired, so my inner child has long had free rein in my life," she explains.

An "Adult" Sylvania

Some years ago, Jenny’s hobbies involved gardening, knitting and creative crafts, but when arthritis set in it made it made difficult to continue enjoying such activites. Today her retirement hobby is assembling her own unique take on a Sylvanian village,  complete with a local Sylvanian Country Club and an entire bikie gang, known as the “Sylvanian Angels."  The Sylvanian bikers group tend to while away the day lounging against their motorbikes and sidecars at the back of the Club house. Meanwhile, numerous Sylvanian Golfers play rounds of golf on the Country Club course, in between frequenting the well-stocked Country Club Bar. 

Sylvanian Families Country Club and Golf course

The local Country Club where the Sylvanian Angels Biker club gather out the back


“My Sylvania is more of an adult-type, Sylvania”, Jenny laughs. Usually we hear of idyllic Sylvania, an imaginary world where nothing bad ever happens, however, there’s definitely quite a few bad boys and quirky argumentative type critters in this Sylvania! There’s never a dull day in this Sylvania, as there's always some drama about to unfold!

Jenny, who admits to being more than a little addicted to adding to her slightly dysfunctional ever-expanding Sylvanian village, admits that the only problem is her collection has now taken over the large spare bedroom and has left little room to move in it. One good thing about this, says Jenny, is that when the newly purchased enormous Sylvanian Grand Hotel turned up, the room was so full that there was no way her husband would even notice it's arrival!

Sylvanian Families De Burgh penguins

Up for bids

By her own admittance Jenny's a fairly tenacious Ebay bidder when she has her heart set on a "must-have" Sylvanian item. But she really prefers an outright "Buy Now" Sylvanian purchase.  Some live online auctions, with their inconvenient ending times, can prove to be an obstacle to any avid Sylvanian collector. However, if any item is required for the Sylvanian village, then obstacles have to be overcome!

It was most frustrating, Jenny confessed, to end up in hospital once when she had an important Sylvanian Ebay auction finishing. "I was busy telling the Doctor's that I had to go home, as I had an important auction to bid on. However, my husband did it for me and won a family of 4 monkeys for $12! He was as pleased with himself as I was!"

Another untimely Sylvanian auction was ending right in the middle of Jenny's Church Christmas dinner. Jenny sneaked out, hopped in the car, raced home to bid and returned in time to finish Christmas dessert! Unluckily, in spite of her monumental effort, she was 5 seconds too late and lost!

Syvlanian Families Spa with the Truffleboar warthogs

 The local Truffleboar Families turn out to to support the opening of the new Spa and Relaxation Centre 

Beginning small, but rapidly growing 

“When Sylvanian Families first came out in the 1980’s, my daughter was My Little Pony mad, so the world of Sylvania passed us by.

However, when my granddaughter, Lillian, was 5 years old, while visiting we watched Ellie V’s Calico Critters demonstration on YouTube. Lillian told me that she had a Sylvanian baby and needed a bed for it. If her mother could buy them, then so could I!

My daughter was adamant. “Do not buy Sylvanian things! We don’t want our home turning into a toy shop!” As I had done with my own children’s rooms.

I immediately noticed that she made no mention of my house. So, Game on!

I raced home and began searching for second hand Sylvanians on our local site. I started out with Beechwood Hall. Then I used all of our Fly Buy points to purchase the Sylvanians in the Fly Buys catalogue. My, was my husband surprised when he went to use the points he had collected!

I do buy from stores, but buying secondhand opens up the way to earlier items, that are no longer available in stores."

Adding to the collection

Every Sylvanian collector collects in different ways, but Jenny loves to collect in multiples. She recently acquired another 3 sets of Orchestra instruments, plus conductor and musician, taking the tally to a total of 6 music sets. “I think my orchestra may now have enough pieces” she adds “However I shall be selling off the unwanted piano’s.”

Often Jenny will buy a Sylvanian bulk lot if there are certain items in it she wants to add to other sets, but considers that it’s not a waste of money, as it can easily be recouped. Everything that is surplus will go back up for sale in the future, but Jenny's not interested in making a profit from it.  She usually resells at a "Buy Now" price that everyone would be happy to buy at. I lose on the deal, but someone else will get lucky.  One of her favourite parts of re-selling items is writing up the humourous blurbs in the sales description.


What is it about Sylvanians that fires your imagination?

When I see a new family, their story immediately pops into my head.

Sylvanian Families Penguins at the Green Telephone box

 Although worried about the growing number of penguins waiting to use the telephone, David Chiffon was determined it was time for his turn.


Her village is currently experiencing problems with the growing number of penguins. Moving the Telephone Box into the village seemed like a progressive idea at the time, after all having penguins constantly knocking on the doors of homes that had phones ended up making the penguin population very unpopular. There was always another penguin arriving at your door in desperate need of a making a phone call, and it’s very hard saying "No" to a penguin who is trying to look pathetic, even when you know you’re being conned.

Now that village has a free phone box, the problem was supposed to be solved, only the town Decision-makers never considered the dilemma of the teenage Sylvanians, who don’t yet have their own phones.

Teenagers like to talk… and talk… and talk.  And when this is on the town’s sole public telephone, it results in upsetting the entire phone-calling penguin colony.

The penguins are now petitioning the Powers-that-be for a time limit on all calls from the public Telephone box in all fairness, and a limit of one call per day per critter. The penguins have currently retreated into a huddle on their snowy slope to discuss what their next move will be.  


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Sylvanian Families White Kitchen cupboards and sets