Monday, 2 July 2018

If You Go Down to Tee's Garden Today...

If you go down to Tee's garden today.
You're sure of a big surprise!
If you go down to Tee's garden today.
You'd better go in disguise...
For every witch that ever there was.
Will gather there for certain because.
Today's the day that Tilly Simms came to say 'Hi!'

Okay, I didn't find really find Tilly Simms at the bottom of my garden nestled among the ferns and ivy leaves...


Actually this wonderfully adorable witch found her way to me one September accompanied by her creator Jain Squires of Giddy Kipper Dolls who is usually to be found huddled in a cosy workshop as she creates her whimsical characters and other assorted unique familiars.

As I haven't seen Jain for ages, it was really great to enjoy a chat over a cup of tea and to finally meet Tilly Simms; a 12th scale witch that I had asked Jain to make for me.


 For those who are aware of my passion for anything related to Regency history; it will probably be of little surprise that Isabella is dressed in the resplendent clothing that any respectable 19th Century lady would approve of!

 And as Tilly has had plenty of time in which to enjoy a little private time in her new home; I have been very busy with the preparations for her first retail foray at the All Hallows Hamlet although it hasn't been quite the shopping trip that she had imagined...




For as she approached the abode of Monsignor Suárez, the grim and forbidding place, neglected and possessed of some hidden terror was everything that she feared it would be and the temptation to make a run for it was almost too great... particularly when she spotted the tell-tale sign that someone or some thing had recently been there too...


Oh Tilly! Oh my!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Who Knows Magic IS Real? Who Dreams?

'See It, Feel It, Breathe It. Magick and Beauty Are All Around You.' ~ Anon

AND with a generous monthly pledge of $5 - YOU too shall see AND feel some of the magick with exclusive access to the world of the Crooked Hen on my Patreon page.


With ​access to my Patreon musings, you can enjoy an exclusive look at the work in progress and you can watch me as I fly around the All Hallows Hamlet transforming pieces of old wood and other rubbish into fantastical worlds and I'll show you how I sculpt the weird and wonderful folk with a cup of tea to hand.  

You'll have the opportunity to see a completed fantastical world before anyone else and you can enjoy other Patreon rewards too! 


But what IS Patreon? And how does it work?

Although I love what I do and cannot imagine myself doing anything other than this – I do know that in this crazy world of mine that it's impossible to survive on fresh air with only a diet of hope and the occasional box of donated teabags.

The glue, paint, wood, tools, paintbrushes, fabric and all of the other lovely stuff I use to create my imaginary worlds ALL costs money AND if it didn't - I would either be crawling over hot coals to get to this 'Land of the Free' or else I'd be spending time at Her Majesty's Pleasure...

Which brings me to Patreon!

Patreon is a crowd funding membership site for artists just like me - although I've yet to find anyone else using this site who creates anything quite like I do!

Beginning with a monthly pledge from a $1 and up which is charged to your card on the 1st of every month – not only will you be supporting me in my work but you'll also be invited to cross the portal and step into my world!


​​​AND there are also lots of unique rewards to enjoy including exclusive 'behind-the-scenes' images, giveaways, tutorials and an anniversary gift.​

As an 'Honorary Hen' you can enjoy a discount of 10% to spend on an intoxicating array of unique notions and potions in the Crooked Hen Gift Shop and a 'little' something designed by me will be posted to you on every yearly anniversary that we have shared together on Patreon - as a 'Thank you' for your wonderful support!

Your pledge means everything to me as it will allow me to the freedom to design, create and teach and it would be wonderful to inspire others to become a 'little' creative too - and you can cancel or amend your pledge at any time!

If you are unable to pledge - that's OK for knowing that you are still reading this means just as much - Thank you!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Go On, Crow ALL You Like!

Yes, dear reader, it IS true - the Yorvik Faerie is now NO More!

I have never really been happy with the name I created for my fantastical brand and a few weeks ago after several days of too little sleep and too much cake - I decided to unfasten her wings and once free, the Yorvik Faerie then flew away for the final time...


However, in her stead, comes the Crooked Hen!

The 'Crooked Hen' I hear you ask?

However, before I explain myself, tell me does the name NOT bring a smile to your face?

And even though I live in the ancient City of York with an entertaining family which includes a tetchy spouse, an moody black Persian cat with attitude and a very sociable Persian who thinks he's a small dog - I also have some chickens!


And although my lovely 'Little' and 'Large' were murdered by an urban fox last year; I still have three poultry pals who answer to the names of 'Snowy', 'Florence' and 'Allie' AND I do mean answer - particularly if they see me clutching a handful of meal worms or a piece of croissant - to which they are very partial!

However, it was 'Allie', pictured top-left who inspired my name change when one weekend having heard an unmistakable sound, I rushed outside and there she was with her head thrown back and crowing like a cock and later that afternoon when we saw her trying to ravish poor little 'Snowy' - well, we realised that we had a chicken who was now possibly 'gender fluid'.


But when I think of that very early morning when we literally rescued her from the jaws of that fox; it's perhaps NOT surprising she's more than a little confused about who she is.

So there you have it - the inspiration for the name of the Crooked Hen! 

NOT a bird bent out of shape or deceitful BUT a bird of two contrasts and of much entertainment value!

Also of much entertainment value was the evening I spent with the members from the York Photography Network last month.

I had been invited to take along some of the models from the All Hallows Hamlet on what was possibly the worst evening for moving - anything!

Torrential rain, high winds, fog - you name it and armed with acres of bubble wrap and my deep breathing exercises, I battled across town with the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium' and the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium' in tow.




Despite the rush to unpack and dress the shelves as several camera lens were focused on me and my hands as I arranged those bottles of 'Holy Water' and other assorted notions and potions - it was a very insightful evening and amazing to see how the other photographers sought to capture my work.



And given the hurricane that occurred inside 'Harum Scarum' during transit with snippets of dried flowers and herbs scattered everywhere - I was rather relieved that I had left the grumpy proprietor at home - although she was the subject of much interest!


As the two 'Davids' have kindly given me permission to share these images, you can see more of their incredible work on the Crooked Hen website and on my Patreon page, you can discover how I transformed a piece of wood and and broken pieces of Twisted Willow into an enchanted forest clearing for you never know who you might just find there one sunny morning!



Bye for now!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Top O' the Morning to You!

"The earliest truth that we're taught is that there is a world alongside this world, with spirits, not mortals, an enchanted universe of fairies, wizards, leprechauns and trolls. They are all around us. One has only to open his eyes." ~ William Holman Hunt


After a weekend of an awful weather here in York, I pottered off into the garden on Monday morning to see the chickens and enjoy a little of the sunshine AND look at WHO I happened to stumble across! 


With a feather in his cap and a distinctive pipe to hand, it was none other than Seamus Quinn; a cheeky, little Irish elf along with his rickety barrow of unique notions and potions inspired by his Gaelic heritage on display.


Besides the snow and ice, Saturday had also been the day for the celebration of ALL things Irish but as I watched Seamus bask in the morning sunshine as he waited for the first customer of the day, I did wonder if he might have had a little more 'luck' with his sales had he made an appearance on St Patrick's Day?


Whatever his reasons for hiding away at the weekend, their loss is OUR gain as some of his exclusive array of notions and potions are now available for sale in the Crooked Hen Gift Shop!

On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller, this collection of miniature vials have been personally created by that wise little elf and ALL are guaranteed to lace life with a little of that Leprechaun magick!


And even though the day of wearing green and sporting a Shamrock corsage may be over for some;  it's never too late to enjoy a little of that Irish charm with a drop of this unique 'Leprechaun Nectar' or perhaps a spoonful of 'Living in Clover' might be more to your taste?


However, when I think of how my son and his friends were celebrating St Patrick's Day with glass after glass of Guinness, maybe a sip or several of Seamus Quinn's 'Hangover Cure' may have been more appreciated the morning after!


Thursday, 15 February 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.

Indulging in a Little Hocus Pocus with Claire Eno...

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...

And with wood, paint and glue I could design more fantastical models for the All Hallows Hamlet and with polymer clay, fabric and hair, I could create more of the 'Small' folk too!

'Vampyres, Werewolves and Zombies. Oh My'

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.

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 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!

From Dusk 'Til Dawn...

Are the Models from the All Hallows Hamlet 'Real' Models?
Yes, they are 'real' models! And all have been created in 12th scale.

Can I Visit the All Hallows Hamlet?
As the models used as part of the All Hallows Hamlet have been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when they can 'seen' in person and a subscription to the Crooked Hen Newsletter will keep you informed about our studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.

What is the Story Behind the Creation and Design for the Models of the All Hallows Hamlet?
Many of the structures have been created 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!


However, some have been designed with the use of an eclectic assortment of materials including a huge plant pot, chicken wire, a tree stump, bicycle wheel and even an old and grotty plastic waste bin! And even though several began life in kit form as simple pieces of MDF purchased from several independent dolls' house suppliers; the original designs have been 'tweaked' by the artist.

The models remain the exclusive work of Tee Bylo.

Can I Follow the Stories About the All Hallows Hamlet?
As well as sharing in the 'Magick' through Crooked Hen Productions on the website, you can follow the tales of the 'Small Folk' on InstagramFlickrTwitterFacebookTumblr and Google+

And you can now join Tee as she weaves that special 'magick' from the confines of a crowded shed at the bottom of her garden or from her studio in the heart of York on this blog!

Why the Creation of the All Hallows Hamlet?
A day dreamer since birth, Tee is a natural creative and with a passion for the unique and mystical, the idea of creating a hamlet of weird and wonderful emporiums and abodes populated by the folk of myth and legend was impossible to resist.

And even though Tee has been creating 'Small Worlds' for many years now; the passion to continue with the design and expansion of this fantastical world remains just as intoxicating!


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 Creating Life in 12th Scale... or by signing up to follow her blog Tee Bylo

You can also support Tee by becoming an 'Honorary Hen' and enjoy an exclusive peek at her work AND an Etsy discount on the membership site Patreon.

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

Tell Me the Inspiration for the Tales about the 'Small Folk'...
With an instinctive gift for weaving stories and as her designs for the All Hallows Hamlet continued to evolve; Tee fell in love with the idea of a gaggle of unique characters to inhabit this fantastical world and with the help of Jain from the Giddy Kipper and Pearl from Literature in Miniature the tales have begun to unfold!


And now having created the first of her 'Little Folk' -  an Irish elf who answers to the name of 'Seamus Quinn'; her imagination is now soaring to new heights!



And the Plans for the All Hallows Hamlet?
As there are structures in the design and creation process including a Christmas Grotto, flower shop, patisserie; barista bar and herbarium; there is plenty to keep the artist and those 'Small Folk' busy for some time to come!

And as the doors to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop have FINALLY opened; there is now the opportunity to indulge in a little retail therapy and buy a 'little something' from the All Hallows Hamlet for yourself or a loved one.


Can I Share the Information and the Images from the All Hallows Hamlet 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, 8 February 2018

A Poppy Seed a Day Keeps a Vampyre Away!

Every respectable vampyre hunter knows that a sprinkle of 'Poppy Seeds' around the grave of these pesky creatures will make sure that they will STAY sleeping BUT did you know that these seeds are packed full of calcium, iron and zinc keeping bones healthy AND boosting brain power?


Now if that's not enough to make you fly over to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop to treat yourself to some - I don't know what will!


AND if you become a supporter of my work on the crowd funding site Patreon, you will become an 'Honorary Hen' AND enjoy a 10% discount too!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Stirring Up Some More Trouble...




Why not indulge in a 'little' retail therapy as you browse the shelves of a magikcal emporium nestled somewhere in the All Hallows Hamlet and linger over the intoxicating array of exclusive notions and potions designed to entice your imagination AND your wallet.

On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop.


Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, each vial is an exclusive (and a somewhat sinister!) remedy ALL freshly brewed from the ancient recipe book belonging to one Claire Eno.




With a pinch of 'This and That' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... OR could YOU discover another use for it?


Whatever your plans for this miniature; a unique vial of will find it's way to you beautifully packaged with a collectible 'Thank you' card and a poster from the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium'.

This is a collectible miniature and as such is NOT intended as a toy OR suitable for children.