Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Where There's Tee? There's Hope!

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 a model maker, artist and storyteller creating imaginary worlds in miniature...


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' with completion for Christmas 2018.

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.

'Holy Water at the Ready'

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.

Welcome to the Tales from Lord Byron's Abode...

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, in 2014, I suddenly found myself as a full-time care giver to my infirm mother and vulnerable adult brother and life became increasingly difficult as my time and financial independence have continue to diminish.

Lewis Carroll said 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 dream, plan and create new 'Small Worlds' either in the studio or from my shed at the bottom of the garden. 

For even though I may never own a fabulous house in Laguna Beach or live at Newstead Abbey in Sherwood Forest and I know that I could never travel back in time to the year 1815 and live as Lord Byron and Jane Austen once did, nor could I shop at dusk in a hamlet populated by crones and goblins and then enjoy a delicious supper with a talkative hedgehog - I can have wish fulfillment in 12th scale and as I keep moving forward on this road less traveled, it would be wonderful if you could be by my side too.

Your kind support will enable me to continue with the creation of my 'Small Worlds' in some of the following ways:


With the funds to buy glass bottles, paper and other mixed media, I can keep the shelves of my two Etsy stores fully stocked with my uniquely designed miniatures.

Welcome to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop...

I could design and furnish 'Nicole's House' with your support and the anticipated coffee-table book due for publication in June 2019 will be a fitting tribute to the lady who has inspired the creation of this 12th scale house and over at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, I can continue to share the dazzling Regency era with my visitors as we step inside the world of Lord Byron in the year 1815.

As the Poppies Blow on Armistice Day...

And I could continue to make the world a better place one mouse at a time with more parishioners, some flowers for the church and all of the other 'little' things every respectable Mouse Town needs!

You could also help me to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a published author when the Mouse Town adventures are discovered within the pages of a children's picture book.

Read the Rev. Suze's Welcome Letter from the Parish of St M's...

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!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Full Hearts Despite Empty Pockets!


Dear Friends, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Mouse Parish of St M's in the town of Merryworth.

It has been thrilling for me to have been invited to St M's Parish by the Bishop Martin and my family and I look forward to many happy times living here in this delightful place.


And even though I only arrived at St M's in January of last year, it has been wonderful working with Tee and she has been keeping me and the parishioners of Merryworth VERY busy indeed.

AND when I take a look at the Parish Diary and what she has planned for this month and for 2018; well, it's enough to make my ears spin!

However, Tee's report to the trustees during the last meeting of our parochial church council in October informed us that we are still very much a struggling parish EVEN though we have achieved some great things last year including the hosting of a successful Homeless Sunday, our 'Missing People' campaign and tucking into a Big Brekkie for Christian Aid.

Food and Comfort for Homeless Sunday...

A Candle and Prayers for 'Missing' Claudia Lawrence..

Come and Eat IF You're Hungry Enough!

Tee's report went on to say that even though our collective spirit of faith, hope, charity and love was as strong as ever, the amount remaining in our collection plate was now very little.

Everil - Our Church Angel!

She added that we have seen a HUGE influx of mice arriving here at St M's which is a wonderful cause for celebration; however, it also presents us with a challenge as they ALL need to be clothed and fed AND given the opportunity to work!

Edie Hitch Happy and ALWAYS Helpful!

Planting Our Lent Cross with Johnnie Hitch...

And despite some fabulous donations of fabric, wood and glue, Tee expressed concern that unless we could balance the books of income and expenditure, our lovely parish could begin to suffer.

Raiding the Ribbon Box with Millie...

We were all a bunch of really glum mice upon hearing this news and after Everil had suggested the need for some fundraising (even though I prefer to think of it as 'fun-raising') Tee excitedly told us all about the crowd funding site Patreon which is perfect for creatives like her as a 'patron' pledges some money every month in return for some exclusive rewards!

Still Working Hard for the Money with Everil...

For even though Tee has continued to dream and plan new 'Small Worlds' for St M's including a flower shop, our 'Merryworth Market' and 'Mollie's Tea Room' AND despite having been a parent to her two amazing sons, Tee has also been a full-time care giver to her infirm mother and vulnerable brother since 2014 - and ever since,  life has become difficult as her time and financial independence have diminished BUT she keeps on creating!


And with the planning application approved for the renovation of the Merryworth Windmill and with the exciting work on our 'Hub Barista Church' now underway, there is still plenty to keep Tee, my parishioners AND myself busy for some time to come! 


During our PCC meeting, Tee shared a wonderful quote from Lewis Carroll that "Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality" and she said that during this challenging time her imagination is the gift that keeps on giving as it gives her the freedom to create and to write stories as she keeps moving forward on this road less traveled AND how wonderful it would be if we were ALL by her side too!

Enjoying shortbread and Tea with Mark...

Your kind support through Patreon will help Tee with the creation of St M's Parish and it will also enable us to continue sharing our unique mouse ministry on this website, the new mouse parish blog and also on social media.

By pledging an amount every month, you can help Tee as she keeps the shelves of our shops stocked up with her uniquely designed miniatures.

And she could buy lots of polymer clay to create some more parishioners and make sure that they were fed and clothed too!

Tucking into a Cracking and Delicious Pancake Tea!

You could also help Tee to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a published author when our adventures are discovered within the pages of a picture book cherished and enjoyed by both children and adults.

And who knows what kind of mischief some of my parishioners could get up to if we were ever lucky enough to go on a seaside holiday.

As Tee loves nothing more than a nice mug of tea, we could definitely buy her some more tea bags!


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 including the chance to indulge in a little retail therapy with a lovely discount to spend in our delightful 'Mallow & Teasel Gift Shop'.

You can cancel your pledge at any time and if you are unable to pledge - knowing that you are still reading this means just as much and you can still support our Mouse Parish in other ways too!

With every blessing for you and your loved ones.


Rev. Suze (Merryworth Manse, The Parish of St M's)

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 Mouse Parish 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 InstagramFlickrTwitterFacebookTumblr 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!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

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 village shop 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 Big Brekkie during Christian Aid Week.


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 studio 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 home for a community of unique mice, several hens and one Little Big Cat in which they share their musings, mishaps and ministry; although I should add that 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 before those parishioners have made their presence felt; I shall enjoy sharing a ‘little’ more about me.


The Parish of St M’s can be found in the fictional village of Merryworth with a church and assorted emporiums and although most 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’.

From my earliest memories I have 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 MY world in 12th scale has finally been realised!



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!