Where There’s Hope? There’s Tee!

The poet Lord Byron once said “IF I don’t write to empty my mind, I will go mad” and when I think back to that fateful day many years ago when curiosity got the better of me and I picked up a copy of Dolls’ House Magazine in my local supermarket which then went on to change my life – I understand where the man was coming from!

Hello! My name is Tee Bylo and I am an artist and storyteller creating life in 12th scale…

Having created an eclectic number of ‘Small Worlds’ over the years with many now in private collections; my most recent 12th scale ventures include the expansion of the Mouse Town (both in real estate AND with more mice!) the ambitious design for another ‘Nicole’s House’ and with my passion for the unique and mystical, I’m also creating more weird and wonderful emporiums and abodes populated by the mythical folk of the All Hallows Hamlet.

Oh My! Can the Crone Boldly Go Where No Crone Has Gone Before?

And with a passion for anything Lord Byron, I love to escape to the year 1815 at 13 Piccadilly Terrace as I fluff the pillows, arrange the flowers and stoke the fires in the home inspired by the life of this fabulous poet.

At Home With Lord Byron… Welcome to the Year 1815!

Self-taught and armed with plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard, papier-mâché, natural foliage, clay, glue and lots of imagination, I design my ‘Small Worlds’ using whatever is around me at the time including scrap MDF, cardboard boxes, model kits, a huge plant pot, a tatty dolls house, some chicken wire, a tree stump and even a grotty, old waste bin.

AND wait until you see the ‘Small Worlds’ I plan to create with an abandoned bicycle wheel, a plastic paint tub and one very large wire mesh basket once used to store a giant firework!

I once jokingly calculated that I would need to live another 250 years to create my dream projects into 12th scale reality.

Remember how I told you about the magazine that changed my life? Well, some years later I was offered a monthly ‘Tee Time’ column and for one glorious year I got to share my 12th scale musings along with the triumphs, tears and the delicious cake that I had enjoyed and I was paid for it too!

But why am I now on Patreon, you ask?

Having done the parenting bit for my two amazing sons, I suddenly found myself as a full-time care giver to my infirm mother and vulnerable brother in 2014 and life became difficult with time and financial independence diminished and a wish that sometimes I could live a million miles away BUT as I have continued to dream, plan and create new ‘Small Worlds’ either at home or in the studio and even in my shed at the bottom of the garden; I have come to understand that a loss of freedom can also be strangely liberating!

A few days ago, I discovered the quote by Lewis Carroll that “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality” and right now, my imagination is all that I have as it gives me the freedom to create and to write stories as I keep moving forward on this road less travelled and it would be wonderful if you could be by my side too!

Your kind support will enable me to create my ‘Small Worlds’ and keep the shelves of my two Etsy stores fully stocked with my uniquely designed miniatures.

Welcome to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop…

I could finally publish the adventures of a Little Big Cat in a picture book to be cherished and enjoyed by children and adults alike and the anticipated coffee-table book about Nicole’s House due for publication in late 2018 will be a fitting tribute to the lady who inspired the creation of this 12th scale house.

The Gift of Forgiveness? The Ghost of Christmas Past…

And I could continue to make the world a better place one mouse at a time!

Twenty Three Years and Counting! Remembering Nicole…

With a monthly pledge of $1 and upwards charged to your card on the 1st of the month, there are lots of unique rewards for you to enjoy and there’s a 10% Etsy discount too!

You can cancel your pledge at any time and if you are unable to pledge – that’s OK for knowing that you are still reading this means just as much – Thank you!

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At Home With Nicole…

Is Nicole’s House a ‘Real’ Model?
Yes, it is a ‘real’ model! And created in 12th scale.

Can I Visit Nicole’s House?
As Nicole’s House has been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when it can ‘seen’ in person and a subscription to the Brentwood Ghost Newsletter will keep you informed about our studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.

What is the Story Behind the Creation and Design of Nicole’s House?
Nicole’s House began life in kit form purchased from an independent dolls’ house supplier with the original design having been ‘tweaked’.

However the house has been created primarily with the use of MDF, plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard, papier-mâché, air-drying clay, natural foliage and of course with plenty of glue and lots of imagination!

The model remains the exclusive work of Tee Bylo.

Can I Follow the Stories from Nicole’s House?
As well as sharing the stories from at Home with Nicole; you can also follow the news from Nicole’s House on InstagramFlickrTwitterPinterestFacebookTumblr and Google+

And you can now join Tee as she continues the story on her blog Nicole Brown Simpson…

Why the Creation of Nicole’s House?
Beginning with the news of the murders in June 1994 and from the first book she bought in the Autumn of 1994 to the sensational murder trial with the lurid tabloid tales and the campaign to raise much needed awareness against domestic abuse as well as being the subject of a controversial thesis; Tee’s interest in the life of Nicole Brown Simpson has been an enduring constant.

Tee’s contention is that for all of the many thousands of words written about Nicole with the tales of glamour, celebrity, wealth and beauty have only served to make Nicole a remote and insignificant figure – a wrong Tee is determined to remedy.

“The woman loved life. She loved to entertain, and she went all out when you visited, whether it was for coffee, lunch, to play tennis, to have drinks to eat dinner. You always felt special walking into her world…”
Tanya Brown ‘Finding Peace Amid the Chaos’ (US: LangMarc Publishing 2013)

And even though Tee has been making ‘Small Worlds’ for many years now and the passion for design remains just as intoxicating; the creation and story of Nicole’s House celebrates the life of a talented and much-loved young woman who relished nothing more than being with her family in the home that she had made for them.​

How Can I Learn More About the Work of Tee Bylo?
You can discover more about the artist’s work with a visit to her official website Tee Bylo or by signing up to follow her blog Creating Life in 12th Scale… and you can also support Tee and enjoy exclusive access to the creation of Nicole’s House on the crowdfunding site Patreon.

Tee can also be found on the usual social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Twitter.

And Your Plans for Nicole’s House?
With ‘pumpkin carving’ planned for Halloween, a turkey to ‘roast’ for Thanksgiving and gingerbread cookies to decorate for Christmas; there is plenty to keep the artist busy in the kitchen of Nicole’s House for some time to come!

With completion scheduled for Christmas 2018, Tee is now busy with the ambitious design of another and much larger Nicole’s House and plans to recreate Nicole’s last home at 875 South Bundy Drive as faithfully as possible; the story of which will be published on this blog with further exclusive updates available on Tee’s Patreon Page.

There will also be an opportunity to buy Tee’s tribute to Nicole Brown Simpson as a gift for yourself or a loved one with the release of a beautiful coffee table book which tells the story of Nicole’s House and is due for publication in June 2019.

Can I Share the Information and the Images from Nicole’s House on My Website or Blog?
Of course! However, all we ask is that you will remember to fully and accurately credit the artist and her work. Thank you!

It’s All Hallows Eve and There’s Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice for Miss BrightSide!

Nicole was a Mom. She put her kids first. She put everybody else first… My sister had the ability to live life, live it bright and live it large… She had fun.’

Tanya Brown

Even if I haven’t exactly been ‘living it large’ here at Nicole’s House as of late; I’ve certainly been having some ‘fun’ even though I have been so busy with moving furniture and shifting plant pots while packing away the toys and putting the cherished family photographs into temporary storage.

And the reason for this interior upheaval?

As today is All Hallows Eve and I’ve long wanted to host a spooky soirée here at Nicole’s House; I thought it would be a great idea to ‘brighten’ up the place with terracotta pots of gnarled tree branches, lashings of cobwebs, an colony of spiders, bats and other fantasy folk, an abundance of peevish pumpkins and with enough candy and cake in which to sink a ship, 12th scale or otherwise!

As Nicole was always known throughout her life as a devoted and loving mother who loved nothing more than to decorate her home for a party, I’d like to think that I’ve managed to capture just a ‘little’ of her inspirational creative spirit this All Hallows Eve.

Now, where did I put my plate of cake?

When witches go riding.

And black cats are seen.

The moon laughs and whispers

‘Tis near Halloween

I have loved this quote for as long as I can remember and with a passion for anything and everything to do with Halloween, I always wanted a black cat and was beyond thrilled when Minnie B came to live with us last year; even though she can get into the occasional spot of mischief which is usually when she wants to grab my attention or else she’s pestering for a few of my cat ‘treats’.

But, I remain smitten with her and now that she has been created in 12th scale by the talented Pearl from Literature in Miniature as a Little Big Cat; Minnie B is also the inspiration for this All Hallows Eve tale.

At first Minnie B had been very excited to have received her special invitation to the party at Nicole’s House for this All Hallows Eve but as the day arrived and even with the promise of lots of delicious cake; she was not her usual happy self.

‘Tis Halloween and Orange IS the New Black for Little Big Cat!

 

 

 

Home IS Where the Heart IS! The Story and Creation of Nicole’s House…

For as well as enduring interest in the life and legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson, a passion for the Regency world of the Poet Lord Byron and the occasional bar of chocolate, I am also an artist and storyteller creating ‘Life’ in 12th scale.

AND as one of the most popular ‘Small Worlds’ is still Nicole’s House, I thought I’d share a ‘little’ more about this unique 12th scale house.

 “I just don’t see how our stories compare -I was so bad because I wore sweats & left shoes around & didn’t keep a perfect house or comb my hair the way you like it – or had dinner ready at the precise moment you walked through the door or that I just plain got on your nerves sometimes.

 I just don’t see how that compares to infidelity, wife beating, verbal abuse.

 I just don’t think everybody goes through this…. I called the cops to save my life whether you believe it or not..”

 These are the harrowing words written by Nicole shortly before her brutal murder on Sunday June 12 1994 in the garden of her Brentwood home in Los Angeles as her two children were sleeping.

Nicole’s former husband O.J. Simpson was subsequently arrested, tried and acquitted of her murder and that of her friend Ronald Goldman in a relentless blaze of publicity the following year.

 I began to read about Nicole shortly after her murder in 1994, she was the focus for the research and publication of my BA thesis in 1999 and I have been reading about her ever since.

 She was also the inspiration for the creation of the ‘Ghost of Brentwood’ and now known as ‘Nicole’s House’.

For in June 1994 and shortly before her brutal murder, Nicole was making plans to leave her home in Brentwood in order to escape the abuse and obsession that had characterised her long relationship with Simpson.

 Only days before her death, Nicole had seen a beach house in Malibu available for rent and she was excited and positive at the prospect of a move there with their children.

 ‘Nicole’s House’ is a 12th scale miniature of several narratives:

A recreation of some of the principle rooms at 875 South Bundy Drive as they were discovered in the early hours of Monday June 13 1994 as the investigation into the murders of Nicole and Ronald Lyle Goldman was underway.

Additional rooms are created as a tribute to the style and essence of Nicole who loved the style of interior design that has come to typify the “California Look”.

 

Finally, as we know that Nicole was planning a move to a beach house in Malibu, ‘Nicole’s House’ is a poignant reminder of “what might have been”.

To learn more about the life of Nicole through the creation of this unique house, follow the link: Nicole’s House. The Story. The Creation…

After THAT Verdict, Dominick Dunne Goes in Search of the Ghost of Brentwood…

A young woman named Moya Rimp, whom I met during the Simpson trial, called to tell me that she and her mother, Pauline Rimp, a prominent real-estate woman in Brentwood, had moved into Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo, the scene of the murders, in order to help the Brown family sell it. The Browns are eager to get rid of the condo, although as yet there have been no takers.

“What’s it like living there?” I asked.

“Very strange. Tourists are still coming by to look at it. When I walk the dog, I meet all these people in the neighborhood who tell me things. There’s one who swears she saw O.J. talking to Ron and Nicole before the murders, but she wouldn’t come forward.”

Moya Rimp invited me for dinner, I went. Robert Altman, the film director, and his wife, Kathryn, were also there…

With the reverence of a docent at the Getty Museum, Moya Rimp showed us through the condo. “This is where Nicole’s exercise equipment was,” she said stopping in an area outside the master bedroom. We stared at the empty space, then moved on.

“Now we’re entering Nicole’s bedroom. That was her bed, and beyond, in the bathroom, you can see her tub, which was filled with water that night and had lit candles around the edge.” We became caught up in her surreal thrall.

As many times as I had walked by the condo and looked at the pictures of the crime scene, I was still amazed at how large the place is – 3,400 square feet – and how small the killing area is.

A fabulous look at 875 South Bundy Drive as it is now!

I perched on the spot outside the picture window where Simpson would have sat when he reportedly spied on Nicole prior to the killings. It was the perfect place for a voyeur…

“We think he was watching Nicole through the window on the night of the murders before she came outside,” said Moya Rimp.

In the ill-lit, eerie space, I felt as if I could almost hear the scuffling of rubber-soled Bruno Magli shoes and sneakers in the dirt and on the walkway. “This is where Ron fell,” said Moya. “That’s where Nicole was.”

As I looked at the scene, remembering the horrifying photographs shown in court, I didn’t want to be there anymore, and we went inside.

Dominick Dunne Three Faces of Evil for Vanity Fair (June 1996)

A Peek Inside the Abode of a Has-Been…

Brentwood was definitely not my neck of the woods. The conventional wisdom about this upscale ‘hood was that it was a place where people air-kissed, compared implants, and did lunch. During my stint in Beverly Hills, I discovered that the cliches were pretty much true.

The hills north of Sunset were jammed with multimillion-dollar estates hidden behind many millions more dollars’ worth of landscaping. All to create the illusion of privacy. The farther north you went, and the higher you climbed into the hills, the narrower the streets became, and the more obscure the street signs were. I strained to find Rockingham Drive.

There was a cruiser parked up ahead, where a uniformed officer directed traffic. A few civilians milled around outside an iron security gate. Some of them had the nervous, unfed look of reporters. Still, the scene was not exactly bustling with activity. I got the impression that the main show had come and gone.

I slipped unnoticed past the press and through the gate, where I got my first look at the larger Tudor-style house overhung with old eucalyptus trees. The manicured grounds seemed to glow an unnatural shade of green in the midday light. In one corner of the lawn stood a child’s playhouse. O.J. Simpson might be a has-been, I thought, but he must still be bringing in serious bucks to manage the upkeep on this place.

A white Ford Bronco sat nosed into the curb on Rockingham. Extending up the driveway from the rear of the vehicle was a trail of reddish-brown spots. The rust-colored droplets stopped several yards short of the house. The front door was open and in the foyer I could see more droplets. They appeared to be blood. Gingerly, careful to disturb nothing, I stepped inside.

Search warrant or no, it always felt weird to me to walk into the house of a stranger. But there’s also a voyeuristic fascination: what a person chooses to surround himself with tells you a lot about him. This interior of O.J. Simpson’s house was exquisitely appointed with overstuffed white furniture, Lalique glass, and Berber carpeting. And yet the place gave off a faint odor of mildew and neglect.

“Hey, Marcia, come upstairs. I want to show you something.” It was Brad Roberts. I followed him up the spiral staircase, where the wall was lined with photographs, mostly shots of O.J. Simpson with various fat cats.

It was on that stairway that I got my first look at the face of Nicole Brown Simpson.

She was blond, with handsome, almost mannish, features. Her hair, teeth, and skin all had that gloss peculiar to the West Side elite. In some of the photos she was with a pair of lovely brown-skinned children, a boy and a girl. They all wore ski attire. Her face was difficult to read. The expression in all the photos was uniformly happy, but her eyes were glazed. She had – how would you describe it  – a thousand-yard stare.

By now,  I knew that the Simpson had been divorced for two years. I found it peculiar that he still had her pictures everywhere. The photos of my ex were long gone from the walls and end tables.

I peeked into the master bedroom suite. From that vantage point I could see only the top and one side of the bed. Brad Roberts knelt on the floor. He reached under the box spring and, using his fingertips, pulled out a framed photo. It showed Nicole and her husband in evening dress.

“Is that the way you found it?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied. “Just like that. Facedown. Under the bed.”

“Make sure they get a photo of that.” I told him.

Marcia Clark Without a Doubt (New York: Penguin Books 1998)