While THOSE Mice Are Away, Tee WILL Play! Welcome to St M’s Parish Hall…

As my ideas for St M’s have grown, so have the properties and with another church, a chapel and a manse in varying stages of the embryonic design process, I have been happily dreaming up so many new festivals, feast days, fundraising ideas and fun for this 12th scale parish that unless I live until the year 2120, I fear that most are likely to be sadly unrealised!

The Girls of St M’s Parish…

Fortunately, the vision for St M’s Parish Hall has been realised and this old and quaint parish hall has been created as a place for celebration and busy social interaction for besides the Christmas Coffee Morning to raise funds for Shelter, a UK charity that offers assistance for those threatened with the loss of the very roof over their head and a Shrove Tuesday Feast; St M’s Parish Hall has also thrown open the doors to host a week of campaigning in which to raise awareness about domestic abuse and among the notices jostling for space on the busy parish noticeboard, space will always be found for the poster of ‘Missing’ Claudia Lawrence who vanished inexplicably from her home in York over seven years ago in March 2008.

No Excuse for Abuse! Getting the Message Across During the Annual Domestic Abuse Awareness Week at St M’s
Tucking into a Big Brekkie for Christian Aid Week…

Although St M’s Church and Parish Hall both took a bit of a battering during the transit to my new abode in York over a year ago; once the bubble wrap was removed and the minor repairs attended to, I decided to give them each a make-over including the creation of a dedicated bell-ringers enclave, a purpose built kitchen, some kinder-on-the-eye flooring and topped-off with a design for some attractive new landscaping for the Memorial Garden which compliments St Margaret’s Church and although the appeal of this scruffy, evergreen and restful place still endures; it remains the best place in which to enjoy a well-earned cuppa.

And on that note, I shall bid you farewell!

While THOSE Mice Are Away, Tee WILL Play! Welcome to St M’s Parish Church..

Welcome to the Parish of St M’s and the ‘Small World’ that the Mice from St M’s inhabit in which they will be sharing their musings, mishaps and ministry, although I should add that I will be the one attending to most of the arduous work including designing, creating, researching, the blogging and the cleaning up afterward!

However, I remain hopeful that I will get to enjoy the occasional ‘hot’ cup of tea and until those Mice have made their presence felt; I shall enjoy sharing a ‘little’ more about me…

The Parish of St M’s consists of (for the moment at least!) a church and parish hall in 12th scale and although both began life in kit form as simple pieces of MDF; the creation and design has been entirely my work and with my dislike for stairs and hinge brackets, the original concepts have been ‘tweaked’.

It’s the Beginning of Holy Week Here at St M’s Parish Church and All is Quiet… For Now!

As I have always loved visiting churches, particularly those old churches that upon entering can stir up an evocative history of its’ people which remains as a public monument to their art, architecture and faith and where for centuries they have poured out their hope, joy, struggle and love; my vision has been to create an old church that captures this sense of history and yet is ever changing, a peaceful place for reflection and thanksgiving.

The Chancel of St M’s Paris Church on Palm Sunday…
The Revd. Suze Makes an Appearance on Palm Sunday…

The church has been named the Parish Church of St Margaret in honour of an English Saint who having died in France in 1192 enjoys a Feast Day on February 3 and as both my mother and mother-in-law are also called Margaret; the naming ceremony was simple.

The inspiration for St Margaret’s has come from many sources and as I spent over ten years working in and around some of the most wonderful churches and chapels that surround the market town of Malton in North Yorkshire for both the Church of England and the Methodist Church; I was rather spoilt for choice!

Angus Enjoys a Snooze…

As this little church is full of items that are of personal significance, I will share the story behind some of them with you. The first being the communion table with the inscription In Remembrance of Me created by Mark and Sharon for Stockton Miniatures and although they have created other miniatures of the ecclesiastical kind for me; this remains a personal favourite as it reminds me of the wonderful table I would use in Leavening, a delightful village nestled in the shadow of the Yorkshire Wolds.

A Candle in Honour of the Poet Lord Byron…

Likewise, the simple gold cross that enjoys pride of place on the altar and the primitive wooden reading stand have been inspired by their full-size counterparts from the Church on Saville Street, a place I spent many happy years, as on any given day I could either be packing my craft tools into a plastic stacking box for Tot’s Praise or beavering away in the office preparing for a FloodZone Holiday Club amongst a jumble of papers, boxes of candles, fundraising buckets for ‘Water Aid’ or ‘Action for Children’ and the donations of cereals, pasta and biscuits which would soon be on their way to the Malton Food Bank or else I could be making a cup of tea for someone who just needed a warm drink and a friendly ear…

And on that note, I can hear that kettle boiling!

Adieu for now!

Tee

A Bouquet for THAT Fairy Tale Bride!

On July 29 and on an incredible and much more summery day 35 years ago, the world was ‘lost’ in a sea of enthusiastic flag waving, military parades, dubious hats, the soaring strains of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, swathes of ivory taffeta and unbridled patriotic fever to celebrate the wedding of the Prince of Wales to the Lady Diana Spencer.

As a young teenager and naive monarchist who would happily spend hours sketching designs for wedding flowers on the odd bit of paper; I remember being the first to claim the best seat in front of the television at the home of my grandparents to watch this real fairy tale wedding.

When some years later we heard the chatter about mistresses, dubious telephone calls, obsessive bahaviour and emotional turmoil; I and the other 750 million who tuned in to watch this unique and frothy spectacle would soon come to learn that this fairy tale had not ended on a happily ever after!

But what of that wedding?

Even though I had been excitedly anticipating seeing the dress; my excitement soon faded when I finally saw that huge crumpled frock and even as I write this, I can only think of that wonderful quip from Fiona in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral; ‘Scarlett, you’re blind, she looks like a big meringue.’

Five years later on another sunny July day, I watched Sarah Ferguson promising to ‘love, honour and obey’ the Duke of York at Westminster Abbey and even though she couldn’t even find the City of York on a map for a US television interview; I still believe that she really was a beautiful bride.

Although I had been a florist for some time before the union of the fun-loving Fergie to the boorish Duke in July 1986, I can only remember one or two commissions from brides who wished to emulate her S-shaped bouquet of gardenias, yellow roses, cream lilies and the obligatory sprig of myrtle grown from a cutting of Queen Victoria’s bouquet.

Diana’s bouquet, however was quite a different thing altogether and although it isn’t one of my personal favourites; I remain just as impressed by this betrothal extravagance of flora and fauna even now!

Even three years after this wedding and as an eager trainee florist I would be wiring lily of the valley, stephanotis, gardenias, yellow roses and endless ivy leaves every Friday afternoon as the ‘Diana Bouquet’ was the fashionable choice for every aspiring fairy tale bride and even thirteen years later; a mock-up of this bouquet in silk flowers displayed in my design room would still attract admirers with a request of ‘Ooo! Could I just hold this please?’

And so it was that one summer with time of my hands and the need for a challenge, I created a bouquet designed as a ‘shower’ in 12th scale inspired by the one carried by Lady Diana Spencer.

And, yes, it really was a challenge!

For not only did it take several attempts with varying degrees of success to manipulate the individual flowers into place with a combination of strong wire and determination; I also had to curb my enthusiasm for adding more ivy leaves and risk a creation suitable for my niece’s Barbie doll!

Yesterday and running the risk of an inquisitive peck from one of my resident chickens, I ventured to the bottom of my garden to capture an image of this bouquet on top of the old corbel which has often served as a useful photographic prop for my creations, 12th scale or otherwise.

And as I was firing off these images, I couldn’t help musing on my recollection of how much easier it  had been to create the ‘Diana Bouquet’ in ‘real’ fauna and flora!

Adieu for now!

A Portrait of a Grandmother in Flowers…

Hello and welcome to more of my efflorescent tales from a corner of this ‘Small World’ and although the doors to Bouvier’s Flower Shop and the Brentwood Flower Market have been closed as of late; my floral endeavours have been continuing albeit in more of a fantastical way as the Yorvik Faerie and I’ve been busy creating some plants which would struggle to find a definition in any botanical guide!

However, I have also continued to indulge in some more floral design for our ‘real’ world with the flowers for the wedding of my dear niece and her dashing groom and another tinged with a hint of real sadness.

For on the early morning of Sunday April 19, my wonderful Grandmother died and although it was a privilege to have delivered her eulogy before her loved ones during her Memorial Service at Southlands Chapel in York; I also created a tribute to her with flowers.

Calling up her gentle nature and graceful poise, as well as a nod to her favourite colour of blue, I gathered up armfuls of the palest Sea Holly, cheerful Daisy Chrysanthemums that symbolize joy and added stems of elegant miniature Spray Carnations which I finished with lush Fern and speckled with spicy grey Eucalyptus.

After I had arranged these flowers in a rustic basket and inspired by my Grandmother’s ethereal nature, I then added several wisps of Bear Grass as a finishing touch and called it ‘A Portrait of Grandma in Flowers’ the images of which I now share with you, dear reader including the words of Brian Jacques that have long remained of comfort to me.

“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”

Brian Jacques

Until next time, Adieu!

Tears For Fleurs! A Tutorial with Tee…

Hello and welcome to more of my efflorescent tales from a corner of this ‘Small World’!

As the last weekend in October is one for remembering the dearly departed with the festivals of the Mexican Day of the Dead and All Souls’ Day, I have designed my own unique tribute in remembrance of those no longer with me with the creation of a spray of flowers in the design of a teardrop and which I placed on the table in the Design Room of Bouvier’s Flower Shop on All Hallows Eve.

Boo! Bouvier’s Flower Shop is NOW Open!

However, given that my photographic skills appeared to have deserted me when I set about capturing the images of this teardrop floral spray perched on a table in the Design Room of the newly revamped Bouvier’s; I was relieved to discover that the results of the outdoor shoot were something of a compensation!

“Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.”
Eileen Mayhew

And if you would like to discover the tale behind the creation of this teardrop floral spray then please read on!

Using a combination of off-white silk roses, snippets of Conifer and some other bits of fauna that I snaffled from my garden, I also assembled a piece of DRY Floral Foam, a handful of fine silver wire, my trusty pair of scissors and a mug of tea…

I might add that the choice of beverage is optional!

Step One of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

With the snippets of Conifer, I begin to design a ‘Floral Bed’ in the design of a teardrop.

Step Two of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

For those of you familiar with my floral creations, you’ll know that I love to use ‘real’ foliage when I can and that I am also an enthusiastic ‘harvester’ who loves to take advantage of the free pickings from the hedgerows and bridleways around me!

As I continue with the snippets of Conifer, my design begins to take shape.

Step Three of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

Conifer remains one of my favourites to work with for reasons that include a gorgeous colour, the appearance of being ‘freshly picked’ for many weeks and its heady scent which j’adore!

Now that the basic teardrop design has been completed, it’s time to add the silk roses which are a lovely off-white colour.

Step Four of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial by Tee Bylo

With the roses in place, I now add the other pieces of interesting foliage that I have harvested.

Step Five of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial by Tee Bylo

I use the silver wire to hold the pieces of foliage intact within the spray.

Step Six of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

The silver wires are also useful for creating ‘circles’ of foliage which adds nicely to the design.

Step Seven of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

As the design is nearly complete; it’s time to add the finishing touch with some tiny pieces of fresh moss.

Step Eight of the Teardrop Floral Spray Tutorial with Tee Bylo

I use the moss to fill in any of the small gaps that remain until I am happy with my design.

The Completed Teardrop Floral Spray by Tee Bylo

With my floral spray completed, it’s now time to enjoy a well-deserved mug of tea…

Bye for now!

* ADDENDUM *

Although I have used ‘real’ foliage for the creation of this teardrop floral spray; alternative snippets of plastic, silk or even paper leaves would also happily work with this design and I have found some wonderful pieces of ‘foliage’ while browsing the Aquarium department of my local pet store.

Even though I have been creating and teaching floral design for many years now, I STILL believe that everyone has the ability to make some sort of an arrangement with the use of fauna and flora and once you have mastered the basics, there really is no right nor wrong way!
I hope that my tutorial will inspire you to create your own little floral masterpiece and if you have any questions for me, please ask…

BOO! Bouvier’s Flower Shop Is NOW Open!

“Witch and ghost make merry on this last of dear October’s days.” ~ Anon.

For on All Hallows Eve there was ghostly fleurs and much merriness a’ plenty to be discovered somewhere in a ‘Small’ world!

For after the trials, tears and tribulations of that drastic renovation and the tale of woe you can chuckle over; the doors of Bouvier’s Flower Shop have finally reopened and with a revamp of enhanced lighting to appreciate the larger floor space, the exposed beams that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical and finally the lick of cheerful paint that banished those pesky damp patches; I am confident that the imaginary inhabitants of this particular small world will find their new working conditions much improved!

The year before last I found myself surrounded by vases of lilac Sea Lavender and buckets of lime-green Asters on All Hallows Eve at the Brentwood Flower Market as I went in search of some feline luck that was rumoured to be nestled among the gloriously decadent Birds of Paradise in those colourful clay pots.

Last year however, as the theme is one of ghostly design and to compliment the new furniture that has been finished with a subtle powder blue paint; I have been working with bunches of white Statice, elegant Arum Lilies and snippets of lucky white Heather.

The black spiders that can be seen dotted here and there and the generous lashing of cobweb finished with a moss in the palest of green compliments this scene of spookiness…

If the Halloween palette of orange and black is more to your liking, there are several grumpy pumpkins to be found and let’s not forget the obligatory large bowl of candy canes that are waiting to be devoured!

And if you are in need of a little feline luck, a York Lucky Cat is patiently waiting…

Upstairs at Bouvier’s and the design room is as busy as ever for there’s been a flower basket to create that will offer some much needed cheer, the design of a hand-tie bouquet with a message of sympathy and a plant that waits to be lovingly gift wrapped and delivered to its lucky recipient…

As the first day of November is All Soul’s Day in which the dead are remembered with prayer and celebration throughout our world; a poignant funereal tribute of white roses awaits…

And if you too would like to create a floral tribute for your own special ‘Small World’; there will be an easy to follow tutorial coming soon!

Perhaps it’s just as well that after such a busy day that someone has kindly left a large slice of a Halloween ‘Treat’ for me to enjoy!

May your All Hallows Eve continue to be a sweet delightful treat too!

Tales of Demolition AND Woe!

Dear Diary…

Ooo! How refreshed and rested do I feel after two weeks of soaking up the sunshine on a delightful beach in the Caribbean with only the sound of the waves to listen to and that handsome young waiter at my beck and call.

Alas! The nearest I have been to a beach lately has been to gaze at the pebble that is perched on my work bench and I am feeling very far from refreshed right now and for those of you who follow my ‘twittering’ on Twitter, you will know only too well what I have been up!

On one chilly April day and after a week or two of sensible deliberation, I served an eviction notice on the ‘Pinchot Art Studio’ which had been nestled in the garret of ‘Bouvier’s’ Flower Shop for a number of years as I wanted to expand  my miniature floral business and with the ‘Art Studio’ duly relocated to the temporary and safe residence of a plastic stacking box, I continued with my plans for the vacant attic space.

However, I failed to resist the urge to keep my creative digits from the remaining two floors of my beloved flower shop in pursuit of an extreme make-over that would have made any hedonistic designer proud!

It was only after spending several hours ripping out the walls and flooring accompanied by the sound of my sensible inner voice reproaching me with the cries of “what have you done?” that I decided that a ‘time out’ was needed as I reconsidered the cost both literally and metaphorically of my grand designs and that my beloved flower shop would need time to recover from the horror of that unexpected pillage.

And as if things could not get any worse, I had to abandon this sad and sorry excuse of a building for several weeks  as I found myself increasingly occupied with other projects as my sympathetic followers on Twitter can probably attest to!

And I confess that I frequently had cause to regret my impetuous creativity.

However, I was delighted that when the renovations were finally under way; my designs for a wonderful refurbishment finally materialised from the ‘wonderful big idea’ to actual reality!

And just to add to this tale of woe, the ‘scaffolding’ you see was one of the most time-consuming and frustrating miniature structures that I have ever had cause to make but that’s for another tale!

The Door of ‘Bouvier’s Flower Shop’ Opens!

It was the artist Henri Matisse who said that “there will always be flowers for those who want to see them” and although I am no fan of his work, I do love his philosophy!

For many years I lived and breathed a world of flora and fauna as a floral designer and although my life has taken many strange twists and turns since I began as a ‘green-fingered’ recruit in my teenage years; there will always be a place in my heart for a flower or two.

That’s Me with Another ‘Small’ Creation of Mine!

When I began to create my ‘Small Worlds’ many years ago, a flower shop was one of my first projects which I designed in the style of the Victorian era in the year 1898 as a tribute to a gentleman called John Tibbett, a florist and my great-great grandfather!

Now, if I had a coin for every time that someone has said to me that ‘It must be in the genes’, I would be extremely wealthy!

In the summer of 2009 when I could no longer resist the urge to ‘recreate’ another world, I decided that it was time to propel my little floral abode forward in time to our present day and ‘Bouvier’s Flower Shop’ was the result.

My vision for ‘Bouvier’s’ was the creation of a typical flower shop within a building that was essentially Victorian in character and which having seen better days is now in need of a lick of paint and is alive with human presence.

The inspiration for the name of ‘Bouvier”s Flower Shop’ was realised after I had read a rather riveting biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for who despite the triumphs of being a First Lady and style icon, also happened to be blessed with the wonderfully elegant name of ‘Bouvier’!

There was once a small room nestled in the attic of ‘Bouvier’s’ Flower Shop’ called the ‘Pinchot Art Studio’ and inspired by the Georgetown artist Mary Pinchot Meyer.

And as has been reported, Mary had enjoyed something of a liaison with the spouse of the said Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis before her murder on a towpath in October 1964.

However, that is for another story!

Bye for now!

September Has Ended! Time To Wake Up!

Dear Diary…

Summer has come and passed

The innocent can never last

Wake me up when September ends…

© Green Day

It’s probably something of an understatement to tell you that I’m rather glad to see the back of September and that of the month before when my father died suddenly and even though I had walked away from our painful relationship some time ago, these last few weeks have been rather challenging to say the very least!

He died of heart failure in the morning of an early August day at the age of 68 and now when I think of my relationship with him from my earliest memories and what has been revealed since his death; I really believe at least in the emotional sense that his heart failed him many years ago and as my intention is to leave the man to his rest; I shall say no more about it.

Now, can I have a drum roll please? For, wait for it; my website is FINALLY published!

It’s been a long process as I was building it myself and yes, I could have given birth and moved house in the time that it has taken me to arrange the images, text, icons, links and others I have since forgotten about but it felt so wonderful to finally hit that ‘publish’ button!

And if you fancy a wander through my world in 12th scale, here’s the link:

‘Between Two Worlds’ Creating Life in 12th Scale…

I’ve also been building in 12th scale over at my studio in Bar Lane and have spent many an hour through August and September wrestling with some MDF, getting messy with paint and glue, cursing at my solder iron, thwarting the mischief from that one Little Big Cat and seeking solace in large cups of tea and the occasional biscuit.

However, as the studio has been so warm and I’ve been working with the windows open, I have found myself an object of curiosity from tourists who while walking along the Micklegate end of the Bar Walls here in York were also enjoying a great view of my studio and so I’ve had to be on my best behaviour, particularly when I realised one day that it was me who was at the end of a long camera lens!

And if you should ever stumble across a image on the web tagged ‘Strange Folk of York’ of a woman with wild blonde hair wearing a paint splattered apron and yellow sneakers with something of a crazy look about her; it will probably be me!

Anyway back to the tale about the expansion of my 12th scale property empire and having received more than one request for the secret of my ‘realistic’ stonework, I have put together a recipe for the budding stonemasons among you.

There are so many different ways of creating realistic looking stonework but this is the way which works for me and if you are going to use a stencil, I have found the best ones from Bromley Craft Products and yes, you can order directly from them.

But what of the 12th scale build that I have devoted most of my summer to, I hear you ask?

Well, as I have also been taking advantage of the glorious sunshine in my garden in which to work on the design for another 12th scale model of the fantastical variety for Yorvik Faerie Productions; my summer works schedule is now a ‘little’ behind schedule but at least I can be thankful that unlike in the ‘real’ world, I shall suffer no financial hardship for any late penalty clause.

However, now that September has come to an end and the celebration of All Hallows Eve is beckoning, I do need to wake up and create or I could end up with a wake up call of a different kind!

Now, as to what this 12th scale build will finally be; well, here are some teaser images of my creation in progress to whet your appetite.

And talking of appetites, mine as just been whetted by the sight of that bar of chocolate which has lurked just out of view until now.

Adieu for now!

EVERYTHING Is Blooming Lovely!

If you are fed up with the cold weather, the bills that must be paid and the housework that never seems to be completed and if you long to escape into another world that is deliciously fragrant and delightful to look at… Welcome to my Flower Shop Tales!

For it was the artist Henri Matisse who said that “there will always be flowers for those who want to see them” and although I am no fan of his work, I do love his philosophy!

For many years I lived and breathed a world of flora and fauna as a floral designer and although my life has taken many strange twists and turns since I began as a ‘green-fingered’ recruit in my teenage years; there will always be a place in my heart for a flower or two.

It’s All Hallows Eve and a Broom Awaits at Bouvier’s Flower Shop…

Having already created ‘Bouvier’s Flower Shop’ several years ago, I have simply been unable to resist the opportunity to design another small world of flowers and so I have created the Brentwood Flower Market which now can be found nestled within a quaint Tudor building that has all the appeal of a typical rustic flower shop and which remains alive with the human presence.

Roses Abound at the Brentwood Flower Market for St Valentine’s Day..

As Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”, I have been known to whittle up a floral tribute in 12th scale too!

Time to Say Goodbye..

For as well as sharing the musings and mishaps about the unique ‘Small Worlds’ that I will be creating; I will also be including a few of my ‘Tee Tips’ that may inspire you with your own floral endeavours!

And as I have been creating small worlds in miniature for many years now and the passion to design and create a miniature world remains just as intoxicating and challenging!

The vision and inspiration for the creation of my small worlds comes to me in all different forms, the pages of a history book, a television drama series or the glorious and imperfect world that I frequently find myself in!

One of my ‘Small Worlds’ can be discovered in the Parish of St M’s which includes an old church and a parish hall that I have designed with a scruffy and charming graveyard capturing a sense of our history and yet is forever changing and alive with the human presence.

And the opportunities in which to decorate the chancel of this 12th scale church with any assortment of blooms for the occasional betrothal, thanksgiving service and a flower festival really are never ending!

Welcome to the Parish Church of St M’s…

I also have a curiosity in the life and legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson and although she and her former disgraced spouse have continued to make headlines since he was tried for her murder in 1994; my interest is very much of the 12th scale kind as she has been the inspiration for the creation of an abode known as ‘Nicole’s House’

Red Roses and Memories in the Kitchen of Nicole’s House….

And as Nicole loved nothing more than a home full of flowers, I have only been too happy to oblige!

I can also be found immersed in the year 1815 as I continue with the design and creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace circa 1815a large and suitably grand house that has been inspired by the life and times of my favourite poet, Lord Byron.

A Portrait of His Lordship in the Hallway of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815…

And although the pots of distemper paint, lime wash and brown mahogany wood dye have been packed away for the moment, a large cardboard box containing the gorgeous silks for the soft furnishings still awaits for I’d much rather arrange a bowl full of roses than thread a needle with cotton thread; any day!

However, I am very happy at the moment surrounded by lots of small pots and moss that await the planting of some wonderful flowers that will find a home somewhere in a small world… but perhaps after a nice cup of tea?

Bye for now!