I have written a couple of articles about flocked critters to the member magazine of Nukke- ja leluyhdistys ry (The Finnish Doll and Toy Society). The magazine is called Nukke & Lelu (Doll & Toy) and you can see the articles below. They are in Finnish because it's a Finnish magazine, but I have included a translation of one of the articles.

Article 1

Title: Pikkaraiset - nostalgiaa 80-luvulta (Forest Families - Nostalgy from the 80s)
Language: Finnish
Published in: Nukke & Lelu (Doll & Toy) 2/2015, pages 23 - 25
PDF file: Download the PDF if you have trouble reading the article on your web browser!

Article 2

Title: Matkustava Sylvanialainen - Tässä tulee Damara DeWildt! (The Traveling Sylvanian - Here Comes Damara DeWildt!)
Language: Finnish
Published in: Nukke & Lelu (Doll & Toy) 1/2016, pages 17 - 19
PDF file: Download the PDF if you have trouble reading the article on your web browser!


The Traveling Sylvanian - Here Comes Damara DeWildt!

Many toys have brought together fans from all over the world. The hobby is more than adding to one's collection - it's doing things together, writing stories online and making friends never minding the distances. Sylvanian Families series brings together collectors and toy-enthusiasts from all across the globe. These sweet flocked animals have been on the market since the 1980's and they are still popular to this day.

Even though Sylvanians are advertised primarily as toys, a closely knit collector community has formed around the series. One place to gather is the "Sylvanian Families and Calico Critters Community" discussion forum. There collectors can talk about their hobby, write stories, show their photographs and organize events. Before Christmas, presents were exchanged between collector friends and unknown collectors, as well as other season's greetings. One of the most enticing happenings has been the adventure of the traveling Sylvanian.

Already in August of 2014, LadyLollipop, the admin of the forum, sent one of her Sylvanians on the way. The little toy took with her some warm clothes, a travel journal and some souvenirs for other Sylvanians that she would meet on the way. The traveler was Damara DeWildt, a brave cheetah lady, who wanted to see the world. According to the travel plan, Damara was meant to visit over ten locations, and the trip is still unfinished at the start of 2016. Damara's trip has taken her from her starting point in South Africa to the United States, Australia, England and all the way to Finland.


Someone familiar with Sylvanians might already wonder. There are no cheetahs in this toy line! Damara is actually selfmade, a so called custom. The figurine's past life as a bear was left behind when she was made into a charming, soft-furred cheetah by carefully painting, adding whiskers and adding a tail. The figurine's owner, LadyLollipop, has made a whole family of cheetahs. The rest of the family will wait in South Africa for Damara's return. Husband Rowan looks after the family's children, Remus and Gia, while mother Damara visits the animal collections of other collectors.

I am one of Damara's hosts myself. Damara visited me in September of 2015. I didn't expect at all that a flocked animal could be customized so beautifully and tidily. It's easy for one who has the skill! Even though Damara's fur has the cheetah patterns painted on it, she has a lovely soft fur. The wire inside her tail makes her tail an expressive addition to the character of this little cheetah. The goal of Damara's trip is to make friends with other Sylvanians and also to collect information on herbs and remedies, because in LadyLollipop's story, Damara works as the healer of her home village, Rooibosch Hill. In addition to healing tips, a lot has happened during her journey already! >>


Damara's first destination was the State of New York, where she visited a collector called Courtney and her Sylvanian village called Sycamore Springs. There she met Miss Bibbit the frog, who as a toy belongs in the Forest Families series. Miss Bibbit is even a little famous since she has her very own blog where she tells of her adventures. Into that very blog ended up also the recounting of Damara's visit. Damara did also meet a badger called Phineas, who took her to see the views and collect fossils. During her trip, Damara also made a road trip through the United States with a collector named Candy. Like any proper tourist, Damara took photos of herself with a mobile phone infront of all the state signs. >>


Damara's travels also took her to Europe and all the way to Finland. In Helsiki, Damara met my own Forest Families collection. Even though I don't usually write stories or photograph my collection, I wrote a little background story on the forums about what happened during Damara's visit. She almost got lost at the busy airport and got to visit a lion couple's wedding. The story was fun to write when I knew that my collector friends were eager to hear how Damara was doing. I also took Damara downtown - to see the sight in Helsinki of course. It was a reason to go to the top of Olympic Tower for me too.

From Helsinki, Damara went to visit a Hungarian collector, where she again got to be a part of the everyday life of a Sylvanian village in a photo story. Damara's host CastorFiber also took the little cheetah to see the sights in Budapest and several beautiful natural sights and sceneries. From Hungary, Damara continued to Trier in Germany, which is the oldest city in Germany after Cologne and full of history. Because Damara traveled to Germany just before Christmas, she got to visit a traditional, German Christmas market with the local Hunter-Smyth labrador couple. In reality it was of course collector Kyraja, who took Damara to see the sights and took photos for other collectors to look that.


Damara has already visited Australia, the Sylvanian Shop in London, Malta, a Finnish forest for some mushroom picking and many other locations. During her trip, Damara has tried geocacheing, seen kangaroos, shopped at local shops and of course she has seen many local sights. The journey continues still, and next Damara is heading to Iceland. You can read about those adventures at the Sylvanian Families forum!

Travel greetings,
Xara & Damara DeWildt

1. Rowan bought Damara a warm winter coat for the journey.
2. Damara got a ride to the airport in a landscape built by LadyLollipop.
3. Damara bought new outfits for the trip.
4. With her, Damara had a journal where all of the collectors who hosted Damara could write their greetings.
5. While visiting the State of New York, Damara got to look for real fossils with Phineas the badger.
6. On her trip, Damara met Miss Bibbit, the famous frog.
7. Damara nearly got lost in the crowd at the airport.
8. From the Olympic Stadium tower, one could see almost the whole city.
9. Damara visited the Senate Square and had her photo taken infront of the Helsinki Cathedral eg. the old Grand Church.
10. The view over the shores of the Danube was great.
11. The Fisherman's Bastion was built between 1800-1900s.
12. The medieval church in Trier was almost covered by the holiday decorations when Damara visited a German Christmas market.