The Mouse Lady…

Here are just some of the questions about the work and ministry of Tee Bylo and of the stories she weaves from the Mouse Parish of St M’s in the Village of Merryworth…

Are the Models Used for the Mouse Parish of St M’s ‘Real’ Models?
Yes, they are ‘real’ models! All have been created in 12th scale primarily with the use of MDF, plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard, papier-mâché, natural foliage and of course with plenty of glue and lots of imagination!

Can I Visit the Mouse Parish?
As the models used for St M’s have been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when they can ‘seen’ in person and a subscription to the St M’s Newsletter will keep you informed about our studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.

What’s the Story Behind the Creation of St M’s Church and the Mouse Parish?
From her earliest memories the artist has always loved exploring our local parish churches and having worked in many of the churches and chapels in and around the historic town of Malton in North Yorkshire on behalf of the Methodist Church – the opportunity to recreate her world in 12th scale was realised.

It could also said to be ‘in the genes’ as many of the artist’s maternal and paternal ancestors were skilled craftsman, architects and stonemasons who designed, restored and built churches throughout the United Kingdom including the Wilson family chapel in Radford and at York Minster.

And as every parishioner, fictional or otherwise needs a ‘little’ something to buy, eat AND love; the creation of St M’s Parish with its impressive huddle of emporiums has been realised too!

Although the models used for St M’s began life in kit form as simple pieces of MDF purchased from several independent dolls’ house suppliers and having ‘tweaked’ the original designs; the creation of these models has been the exclusive work of Tee Bylo.

Does the Mouse Parish of St M’s Follow the Teachings of a Particular Church?
The world of St M’s Parish is inspired by the Church of England ethos and the festivals and holy days are celebrated in accordance with the ecclesiastical calendar; however, the ministry of St M’s remains a unique one.

Can I Follow the Stories About St M’s?
As well as following the ministry, musings and mishaps from St M’s through the Parish Records, you can also catch those mice scurrying around on InstagramFlickrTwitterPinterestFacebookTumblr and Google+

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 now enjoy exclusive access to St M’s by supporting Tee on the crowdfunding site Patreon as she makes the world a better place one mouse at a time.

Tee can also be found on the usual social media platforms including FacebookInstagramFlickr and Twitter.

Tell Me the Inspiration for the Mice from St M’s…
Since the beginning of her work on the Parish of St M’s in 2010; Tee has resisted the idea of using any form of character ‘doll’ as her vision had always been to set the scene in which the human presence is keenly felt and to also encourage the visitor to weave their own narrative about the unfolding story before them.

However, as her designs have continued to evolve; Tee fell in love with the idea of creating a community of unique characters who could inhabit the world of St M’s and so the concept of those Mice was born!

And Your Plans for the Mouse Parish?

As there are several models in the design and creation process including the ‘Leaf & Maple Flower Shop’, ‘Merryworth Market’, ‘Mollie’s Tea Room’, Alessa Mia Farm Shop’ and the ‘Hub Barista Church’; there is plenty to keep the artist AND those parishioners busy for some time to come!

And with plans for the ‘Mallow & Teasel Gift Shop’ nearing completion, there will be an opportunity to buy and enjoy a ‘little something’ from the Mouse Parish for yourself or a loved one.

Can I Share the Information and the Images from St M’s Parish 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!

 

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Hatching an Eggstraordinary Design for Those Flowers…

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter

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 exception!

And as the liturgical colours for the church at Easter are yellow and gold; I decided to create two arrangements with the use of these fancy pedestals which are typically used for the display of a painted egg.

Using a combination of real chocolate eggs, some stunning paper leaves, snippets of Conifer along with other bits of fauna I had 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!

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 1)

I also employ the use of fine silver wire for those snippets of Conifer which require more flexibility in which to arrange.

Adding the paper leaves to the arrangement was less troublesome as they were already wired and so it was just a case of arranging them as shown.

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 2)

And now for the real fun!

In order to add the eggs to the arrangement, I made a tiny hole at the base of the egg with my trusty tool of all trades and having inserted a piece of silver wire which I then cut to size, the egg could be arranged in the dry foam with ease.

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 3)
The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 4)

As the eggs were a little larger than I would have liked (NOW, there’s a first! ME complaining about the size of a piece of chocolate!) I only needed five for this arrangement.

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 5)
The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 6)

And with all the eggs now in place, I added pieces of dried twig and continued to add more snippets of the Conifer here and there.

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!

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 7)
The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 8)

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!

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 9)
The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 10)

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.

The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 11)
The Floral Design for St M’s Parish Church at Easter (Step 12)
Welcome to the Parish of St M’s…

And with the pedestal arrangements now in place and with those church mice busy elsewhere; I think it’s time to put the kettle on and sample one or two of those chocolate eggs that have been surplus to requirement…

Well, it would be rude not to – wouldn’t it?

While THOSE Mice Are Away, Tee Sees to the Flowers…

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.

Welcome to the Mouse Parish of St M’s…

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.

Step One of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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!

Step Two of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

I also employ the use of fine silver wire for those snippets of Conifer which require more flexibility in which to arrange.

Step Three of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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.

Step Five of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo
Step Six of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

Now that the basic design has been completed with the fauna; it’s time to add the white silk roses.

Step Seven of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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.

Step Eight of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

With all the roses now in place, I continue to add more snippets of the Fern here and there.

Step Nine of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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!

Step Ten of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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.

Step Eleven of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo
Step Twelve of the Pedestal Floral Arrangement Tutorial with Tee Bylo

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.

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’.

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!

Tee

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!

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’

Kitchen... Red Roses (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!

Creating Life in 12th Scale? Yes, That’s SO Tee Bylo!

“Of All Romances in Miniature… Perhaps this is the Best Shape that Romance Can Appear.” ~ Lord Byron

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! Which, I might add has also left me a little lighter in pocket!

Vision and inspiration for the creation of my small worlds comes to me in all different forms, the pages of a history book perhaps or a television drama series or even within the pages of a contemporary magazine I find myself reading while waiting for an appointment!

The Roof Garden of Nicole’s House…

My small worlds have included the Gothic Castle Dracul perched on a snow covered mountain to the trendy and “hip” Themis, a fashion boutique inspired by the “Swinging London” boutiques such as Biba and Granny Takes a Trip.

There is also Surf’s Up!, a surf store that is complete with it’s own beach and guaranteed beautiful weather…

I have even created Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom as reported by the police officer who had discovered the body of the movie star in the early hours of Sunday August 5 1962…

‘Cursum Perficio’ The Journey is Finally Over for Marilyn Monroe on Sunday August 5 1962…

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laughter broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies – Peter Pan”

If the author of the enchanting tale of Peter Pan is to be believed then Sir James Matthew Barrie will not doubt be reassured to discover that there is still at least one faerie that can be found skipping about within the stone walls that surround the ancient City of York, although at first glance, she may be mistaken for just another conventional human; appearances can be deceptive!

For nestled in the shadow of Micklegate Bar and within the ancient City of York is where you will discover the studio of the Yorvik Faerie and where I create my ‘Magick in Miniature’ with the design of the All Hallows Hamlet, a collection of fantastical miniature buildings where the weird and fabulous collide.

And over in this world of the Yorvik Faerie, there’s the Harum Scarum Emporium that sells all manner of notions and potions that can be found nestled somewhere within the All Hallows Hamlet…

A Pinch of This and a Pinch of That at the Harum Scarum Emporium…

As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary; it was only right that I should have unlocked the doors of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer’s Emporium on All Hallows Eve!

For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a fascination with (and a sneaky regard!) for the Vampyre of folklore and mythology and as such I created something of a fantastical store that seeks to offer those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter or slayer of the undead.

I confess that I have been more than a little excited about the creation of this ‘Small World’ for not only is it a fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind and after a lot of meticulous research on my part (any excuse to read, read, read!) really is seeped in all manner of ancient folktale and superstition!

Poppy Seeds and Whitehorn…

And as the last weekend of October was one of celebration with the festival of Día de los Muertos or otherwise known as the Mexican Day of the Dead, I have it on good authority that a certain ‘Small’ feline did in fact put in an appearance within this newly inaugurated establishment, along with one or two other folk from the All Hallows Hamlet…

As Tilly Simms has always been something of a creative soul, her imagination was now flying all over the place much like the leaves that had tumbled from the old Oak trees that surrounded All Hallows and she began to wonder if the cat she had seen was not really Murphy at all but a Mundane in disguise as a shape-shifter or could it be the beastly familiar of that most evil witch or… that it had been Murphy that she had seen but that he was now slowly transforming into a…. werewolf!

To Discover the Tales that I Weave About the ‘Small’ Folk from the All Hallows Hamlet for Yorvik Faerie

Productions, Simply Follow the Link: It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus! Tales from the All Hallows Hamlet…

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..

And as I have been known to share the extraordinary tales of a ‘Small’ Cat; I thought I’d share with you a ‘little’ more about this 12th scale feline as he is the ONLY animal, domestic or otherwise that is permitted unlimited visitation rights to the ‘Small Worlds’ that I create!

Perched Among the Christmas Gifts in the Loft of Nicole’s House…

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” So said Robert A. Heinlein…

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at Piccadilly Terrace and a ‘Small’ Feline IS Stirring!

The inspiration for a ‘Small’ Cat is a Persian fluff-ball that moves like the speed of light, has a penchant for lime-green feathers and can on occasion be extremely vocal; particularly when a basket of grooming implements comes into view!

He will on occasion answer to the name of Murphy…

The Feline is Beset by Bits of Baby’s Breath at the Brentwood Flower Market on St Valentine’s Day…

AND the exciting tales of this ‘Little Big Cat’ look set to continue with the debut appearance of ANOTHER fluff-ball who enjoys a ravenous appetite, has a fondness for cuddles and will on occasion, answer to the name of ‘Minnie B’!

It’s All Hallows Eve and Orange is THE New Black for One Little Big Cat!

However, when I’m not troubled by the antics of these ‘Small’ felines; I can usually be located within the annals of Regency history and in particular the year 1815 as the design for my abode for the delightful Lord Byron called 13 Piccadilly Terrace circa 1815 continues…

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 awaits…

I can handle fabrics that I can glue but, alas, the art of the needle is beyond me!

The Drawing Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

It is fortunate that as I am also an enthusiastic social networker who travels through cyber space to the lands of Facebook and Twitter, I have been able to meet other miniaturists whose skills can more than compensate for my shortcomings.

Artists such as Louise Goldsborough of Angelique Miniatures have positively embraced the art of miniature couture on my behalf and Hayley Bedells of MiniMunchies has managed to create a delicious feast or two for my ‘Small World’ inhabitants which is something my own family have been known to long for!

It’s Christmas Day at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815 and a Delicious Breakfast Awaits…

Now what I most long for is a nice cup of tea and perhaps a chunk or two of chocolate!

However, before I disappear, I have one final ‘Small World’ to share with you for I am also the designer 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 from St Margaret’s Church and Parish Hall, along with the antics of those two Little Big Cats!

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! I am also hopeful that I will get to enjoy the occasional ‘hot’ cup of tea now and again!

However, until these Mice make their presence felt in the very near future, I shall enjoy sharing another story with you about me…

St M’s Parish consists of (for the moment at least!) a church and parish hall, both 12th scale models that have been designed and created by me.

My vision was to create an old church that captures a sense of our history and yet is ever changing…..

Seven Years and Counting! Where Are You Claudia? St M’s Parish Remembers ‘Missing’ Claudia Lawrence…

In addition to being a peaceful place for reflection and thanksgiving and always with the enjoyment of plenty of good food and lots of cake!

Enjoying a Delicious Cake on Homeless Sunday…

 The old and quaint parish hall has been created as a place for celebration and busy social interaction…

Tucking into a Big Brekkie for Christian Aid Week…

… AND one in which the mouse presence is keenly felt!

Complimenting St Margaret’s Parish Church is a Memorial Garden that has the enduring appeal of a scruffy, evergreen and restful place.

It’s also one of the best places in the world (‘Small’ or not!) in which to enjoy a cuppa!

And on that note, I shall say ‘Adieu’ for now..

Tee