Fat carved pumpkins, the smell of freshly baked spiced cookies, fallen leaves, chopped Pine branches , the Flanders Poppy and the crisp twilight air…
Enjoy a stroll through Autumn as Tee Bylo creates ‘Life in 12th Scale’…
Artist, Storyteller, Whatever…
Fat carved pumpkins, the smell of freshly baked spiced cookies, fallen leaves, chopped Pine branches , the Flanders Poppy and the crisp twilight air…
Enjoy a stroll through Autumn as Tee Bylo creates ‘Life in 12th Scale’…
The American poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant once said that Autumn was the “year’s last, loveliest smile” and even though I adore the season’s vibrant colours, collecting horse chestnuts, the fallen leaves and the… More
After the austerity of Lent, Easter always calls for something a little special in the way of floral design and my plans for the 12th scale church in the Parish of St M’s were NO… More
Of all romances in miniature… perhaps this is the best shape in which Romance can appear..’ so said the fabulous Lord Byron in one of his many journal scribblings and as a passionate devotee of Regency history as well as an artist who designs ‘Small Worlds’ in 12th scale and who loves to create a scene and not only of the hysterical kind; it is perhaps only to be expected that I would create a Regency inspired miniature!
In 2009, I began the creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace circa 1815 which is a Regency House complete with a basement kitchen and the attic rooms that will reflect the architecture, interior design, furniture and life-style of the Regency and which has been inspired by the poet Lord Byron and his circle as he lived at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.
Although my idea for the design of 13 Piccadilly Terrace began several years ago, I remain busy with the research and the hoarding of materials, fabrics, pictures with the buying of lots of delightful Regency miniatures; which I might add, is always the fun part!
And although I am proud of my painting techniques, woodworking skills and electrifying abilities; I am aware of my limitations which include a horror of dressmaking and sewing.
However, one of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is the creation of the unique ‘Byron Screen’ for the library and which was decorated to reflect his love of theatre and pugilism and used in his apartment at the Albany until it was bought at auction in April 1816 by his publisher John Murray.
After extensive restoration work, the present John Murray has kindly loaned the Byron Screen for display in Byron’s Library at Newstead Abbey; which I was delighted to see on my visit there last January.
And another of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is to arrange a wedding in the ‘Family Room’ that is situated on the piano nobile and with inspiration drawn from the Byron betrothal of January 2 1815 at Seaham Hall in County Durham even though I shall have to rely on plenty of artistic license with the decor and furnishing of this room being as I am limited to the use of my imagination as the accounts of this infamous union are sketchy to say the very least!
However, as I have studied and photographed the gown worn by Annabella on that cold January day during a visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath, I can boast of one item of authenticity even if it is 12th scale!
For although I can handle fabrics I can glue, the art of the needle is beyond me and it is fortunate that I have made the acquaintance of Louise from Angelique Miniatures who having positively embraced the art of miniature couture on my behalf has created this wedding gown and the silk pelisse in exquisite form!
And so as my ‘Lord Byron House’ continues to develop, I will be sharing with you the unfolding tale, the triumphs and the tears and even though I have been creating ‘Small Worlds’ for many years now; the passion to design and create a miniature world remains just as intoxicating, rather like my love of cake!
And on that note, I’m off for a wander into the kitchen of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the hope that a slice or three of this delicious cake remains mine for the taking!
Adieu for now!
As Sunday January 22 was Homeless Sunday here in the UK and having given up the word ‘procrastination’ as my only New Years’ Resolution; I was determined to throw open the doors to St M’s Parish Church and having gone to the trouble of creating a feast of tasty goulash in polymer clay for the less fortunate of the parish; I was also determined to put those church mice to work that day.
I should add that several of the mice decided not to put in an appearance that day as I could offer nothing stronger than a mug of tea and those who did finally brave the cold to serve up the hot lunch I had prepared and raised awareness and support for those who have no home they can call their own – well, they did me proud!
However, as the Mice of the St M’s Flower Guild were also nowhere to be seen and with neither the time nor the inclination to teach the basics of floral design to those mice I could see who were scurrying around; I decided to take myself off to find a quiet corner in the midst of all of this frantic activity and arrange the church flowers myself.
Our December holiday decorations may have long been packed away but as the liturgical colours for the church are still in honour of Christmastide with white, yellow and gold; I decided to create an arrangement with the use of this fancy pedestal although they are typically used for the display of a painted egg.
Using a combination of white silk roses, some smaller paper roses in a golden yellow colour with snippets of Conifer and some other bits of fauna I snaffled from my garden and with a handful of fine silver wire and my trusty scissors; my first step was to attach a piece of DRY Floral Foam to the top of the pedestal.
With the snippets of Conifer and inspired by the shape of the humble triangle, I begin the design of my arrangement.
I should add that Conifer remains one of my favourite faunas to work with as it has a gorgeous colour, the appearance of being ‘freshly picked’ for many weeks and a heady scent which I simply adore!
I also employ the use of fine silver wire for those snippets of Conifer which require more flexibility in which to arrange.
For those of you who are familiar with my floral creations, you’ll know that I love to use ‘real’ foliage when I can and that I am an enthusiastic ‘harvester’ who loves to take advantage of the free pickings from the hedgerows and bridleways around me!
As I continue to add the snippets of Conifer and Fern to the arrangement, my design takes form.
Now that the basic design has been completed with the fauna; it’s time to add the white silk roses.
And with the silk roses in place, I now ‘speckle’ the arrangement with the use of the paper roses in a delightful colour of golden-yellow.
With all the roses now in place, I continue to add more snippets of the Fern here and there.
With the design nearly complete; it’s time to add the finishing touch with some tiny pieces of fresh moss and which I love working with!
I use the moss to fill in any of the small gaps that remain until I am happy with the design and after a gentle spray with misted water from top to bottom, my pedestal arrangement is now complete and ready for display.
And with the pedestal arrangement now in place and with those church mice busy elsewhere; I think it’s time to put the kettle on and enjoy some of that delicious shortbread I received as a gift for Christmas.
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!
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.
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!
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’.
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 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!
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.
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!
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!
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.”
Until next time, Adieu!
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.
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!
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!
With the snippets of Conifer, I begin to design a ‘Floral Bed’ in the design of a teardrop.
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.
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.
With the roses in place, I now add the other pieces of interesting foliage that I have harvested.
I use the silver wire to hold the pieces of foliage intact within the spray.
The silver wires are also useful for creating ‘circles’ of foliage which adds nicely to the design.
As the design is nearly complete; it’s time to add the finishing touch with some tiny pieces of fresh moss.
I use the moss to fill in any of the small gaps that remain until I am happy with my design.
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…
“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!
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!
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.
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!