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That’s SO Tee Bylo!


And as a fair maiden was foraging through the shelves of her local supermarket on the lookout for something to ‘throw together for a family supper’ she picked up a copy of Dolls’ House Magazine in the hope that a ‘quick read’ would lighten the monotony of all the horrible housework still patiently waiting for her at home.

Hours later and with the housework unfinished and the promise of a cold supper for her poor starving family, the fair maiden realised that she had been left captivated by the wonder of the discoveries that she had made between the pages of this magazine.

And ever since that fateful day, she have been creating her ‘Small Worlds’ and although her passion to design a miniature world remains just as intoxicating and as challenging as ever was; the fair maiden is the first to admit that it has left her a lot lighter in pocket and with her children barefoot and the pantry empty of chocolate biscuits.

However, before you read on – I would like it known that even though my children have now flown the nest; they are STILL speaking to me despite this passion for creating anything and everything in 12th scale!


My name is Tee Bylo and I am a storyteller and miniaturist creating ‘Small Worlds’.

I am also a professional genealogist and grave hunter but THAT is for another tale!

Although I have been creating worlds in 12th scale for many years now – my passion to design a miniature world remains just as intoxicating and as challenging as it ever was.

And with the expansion of my property empire and with more than a little error AND trial – I have learnt new skills and can now distress and kit bash with aplomb, along with my unique techniques for painting and some rather unconventional applications with woodwork.

However, with a myriad of those ‘Small Worlds’ now in private collections, my latest miniature creations have included Number 13 Piccadilly, a Regency abode inspired by the life of the fabulous poet Lord Byron and the All Hallows Hamlet, a collection of fantastical weird and wonderful emporiums and abodes populated by the folk of myth and legend AND where the weird and fabulous collide.


And, in 2010, I began the creation of one of my favourite ‘Small Worlds’ known as St M’s Parish Church which is nestled in the fictional village of Merryworth.

As I was forever dreaming up new ideas for festivals and celebrations – life was far from tranquil within the walls of this small parish; particularly with the arrival of THOSE Merryworth Mice in 2017!

AND who can forget the adventures of one Little Big Cat?


Although I have taken the decision to close the church doors of my beloved St M’s and to give those mice a well-earned rest for now – a new church AND the promise of another adventure awaits!

For with a fascination for ALL church architecture and ecclesiastical history – my present 12th scale ventures include the ambitious design for yet ANOTHER church with a quaint chancel and chunky bell tower, all dressed in old stonework with fierce looking gargoyles and moss in the turrets.

AND there should be a small garden with crooked gravestones and the odd gnarly tree too!

And as I have no doubt that those two Little Big Cats and their friends of the fur and feathered variety will make an appearance – will you join us?


Between Two Worlds?

As a child I loved to shock others with the tale that I had been abandoned at birth by gypsies and raised en famille with kindly mice in the crypt of an old church.

Alas! The truth is altogether more unremarkable!

For I was born and raised in the ancient City of York – a Yorky who lives by the ethos that a book, a decent cup of tea and a bar of chocolate can ALWAYS make the world a better place. 

A dreamer from birth with a taste for history and the irresistible urge to create – by day you can usually find me along with my battered tool box inside my atelier creating away with the radio blaring out and surrounded by shelves of weird creatures, baskets of fabric, tubs of paints, the odd pot of glue, stacks of paper and piles of exotic woods .

AND usually under the watchful eye of a black feline with an abundance of cattiude.

Or another feline who favours a small church bell tower for creating mischief!

However, and as the sun falls on another day and with the messy apron discarded – I go in search of the dead.

For if I’m NOT musing upon the discovery of a mysterious bundle of long-forgotten ephemera, poring over the details of a tatty burial record or recording an exciting discovery of an elusive ancestor in an old notebook – I will be leading the unsuspecting through the snickelways and secret passageways of York for Death in a Chocolate Box while sharing the tales of those ordinary folk who have ALL been lost to history – until now!

I have been asked on more than one occasion how I can move between two very different worlds – one which indulges my passion for creating all things miniature and the other in which I can be found wandering through cemeteries in a quest to wake the dead.

For me, it’s not a question of ‘why’ but rather ‘why not?’

The Hen Takes Flight!

“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.”

If the author of the enchanting tale of Peter Pan is to be believed then Sir James Matthew Barrie will no doubt be reassured to discover that there is at least one faery who can be found skipping about within the stone walls surrounding the ancient City of York – although at first glance, she may be mistaken for just another conventional human – appearances can be deceptive!

For those of you who have known me since childhood, it will be of little surprise to discover that the return to my hometown of York has reawakened those mystical qualities of my character and with the opportunity to acquaint myself with the inhabitants who reside at the bottom of my new garden – my fascination for all things fey has taken flight as it were.

And now with my wings firmly in place as the Crooked Hen, I’m engrossed in my own little world either in my crowded shed at the bottom of the garden or else nestled inside my garden studio with a cup of tea to hand.

And it is from within the cosy confines of my shed and studio that I am working on the design of one of two rather unique 12th scale models stuffed with those fantastical and whimsical items I hope will add a perfect finishing touch to the shopping experience for those ‘Small’ folk from the All Hallows Hamlet.

You may never know but I may even weave a tale or three for you?

Take ME to Church?

Here are just some of the questions I have been asked over the years about St M’s Church, THOSE parishioners and of the stories woven from the Town of Merryworth.

Are the Models Used for Merryworth ‘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 Merryworth?

As the models used for Merryworth have been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when they can viewed in person and message left on our Guest Book will keep you informed about studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.

What’s the Story Behind the Creation of St M’s Church?

From my earliest memories, I have loved exploring our local churches and churches and having worked in many of these wonderful buildings in and around the historic town of Malton in North Yorkshire in the past – the opportunity to recreate this world in 12th scale has been impossible to resist!

My vision has been to create an old church which captures a sense of our history and yet is ever changing, a place for reflection AND with a door that is ALWAYS open!

It could also said to be ‘in the genes’ as many of my paternal and maternal ancestors were skilled craftsman, architects and stonemasons who designed, restored and built many churches throughout the United Kingdom and in my hometown of York including the gothic marvel that York Minster.

Does St M’s Follow the Teachings of a Particular Church?

Although 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 – this miniature ministry remains a unique one.

How Can I Follow the Stories from Merryworth?

As well as following the ministry, musings and mishaps from St M’s through the Parish Records, you can also catch those 12th scale parishioners scurrying around on our social media platforms – just look for the icons below!

Remember to look out for #LittleBigChapel or #Merryworth and #LittleBigCat too!

How Can I Learn More About YOUR Work Tee?

My portfolio on all things in 12th scale including the Parish Archives from St M’s can be discovered here on That’s SO Tee Bylo!

However, you can also visit Death Becometh Her if you want to explore the darker side of my world as I go in search of the dead!

Tell Me the Inspiration for those Merryworth Mice?

Since the beginning of my work at St M’s in 2010; I resisted the idea of using any form of character ‘doll’ as my vision had always been one in which I could ‘set the scene’ with a hint of the human presence by which to encourage the visitor to weave the narrative and their sense of understanding about the unfolding tale before them.

However, as my designs continued to evolve, I fell in love with the idea of creating a gang of unique characters who could inhabit the world of St M’s and in 2017 – THOSE church mice appeared.

And Your Plans for Merryworth?

Although I have taken the decision to close the doors of my beloved St M’s Church and to give those mice a well-earned rest for now – a new church AND the promise of another adventure awaits!

Why not join me?

Ashes to Ashes!

‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.’

Genesis 3:19

Today is the first day of Lent known as Ash Wednesday and on this chilly and damp March afternoon, the doors to St M’s Parish Church have opened as the Rev. Suze supported by Verger Philly offer a warm welcome to some familiar faces who have chosen to wear some ‘Sorry Ashes’ on their mouse noses…

And some of the Merryworth visitors have also chosen to add a message of hope which will hang on the branches of our Lent Tree.

In Lent we are asked to ‘transform’ not only ourselves but also the world we live in and today we have also revealed the champion cause we are supporting with our pledge to say “NO” to single-use plastic!

And although we began our campaign to raise awareness about the perils of plastic with our ‘rubbish’ Christmas tree – our message continues!

And as the Rev. Suze and Verger Philly enjoy a well-earned cup of tea in the vestry after a busy afternoon – Mary has arrived a little too late for our special ‘Ashings Service’ after forgetting the time…

Everything IS Blooming Lovely!

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when is ceases to act, it ceases to be.”

Pope St Gregory the Great

As the hours tick by on St Valentine’s Day and with a visit from Missy and Millie and THOSE two felines – it’s a blooming lovely afternoon for Norma as she lovingly tends to those flowers…

‘Tis STILL Veganuary!

‘Gentle Reader,

The whole house has been in uproar this week!

It all began the morning after Burn’s Night when having discovered a missive from my Lord Byron – the maid servant Florence, (a foolish girl if ever there was!) took it upon herself to notify Cook of the contents.

Now, even though I was attending to some financial correspondence in my room at the time – the hysterical shrieking, wailing and bellowing from the kitchen below was simply too much and I had to leave my desk to investigate.

Upon my arrival downstairs, I observed Florence cowering in the furthest corner of the kitchen sobbing hysterically as Cook paced back and forth waving both letter AND cap frantically in the air while screaming ‘Carrots! Carrots! We need more carrots!’ at the terrified young kitchen hand.

Although I had not the slightest idea of what was going on – I quickly deduced that this scene of domestic discord had something to do with Cook’s letter and the supply and demand of the humble carrot.

As Cook rushed over to me clutching the letter – I immediately recognized the scrawl of my Lord Byron:

‘I must inform you that for a long time I have been restricted to an entire vegetable diet neither fish nor flesh coming within my regimen, so I expect a powerful stock of potatoes, greens & biscuit’

To say that I was utterly baffled at the conclusion of this letter was something of an understatement – particularly as the author was still ensconced with his bride and her family some two hundred and seventy miles away AND dining quite contentedly upon the fish plucked from the wild north eastern sea by recent reports!

Added to which was the letter was in fact dated ‘June 25 1811’ and addressed to the author’s late mother Mrs. Catherine Gordon Byron – two facts of some importance and both quite unnoticed by Florence AND Cook!

With all summoned to the kitchen table, I sought to calm those tears and fractured nerves over cups of tea and generous servings of Cook’s apple cake and my gentle inquiries to the reason for the earlier fuss were followed with a chuckle from footman Arthur Gray.

‘Why? ‘Tis still Veganuary Mrs. S.’ says he.

Sincerely Yours.

Mrs. S.’

‘January 31 1815’

Let Them Eat Cake!

‘Gentle Reader,

Today, on this twenty second day of January in 1815 in the Year of Our Lord – MY Lord Byron is now seven and twenty!

In a hasty missive addressed to Cook, the whisper from Henry Opie, a gleefully indiscreet footman from Halanby is that His Lordship’s ‘treaclemoon’ is now most ‘certainly OVER’ and that Her Ladyship has left Yorkshire and returned to her parents at Seaham Hall in County Durham.

Rumour has it that my Lady is in desperate need of a reassuring panacea from her doting parents!

However, I have been reliably informed from Cook that despite the MANY protestations from my Lord to his bride – he too is safely ensconced at the Milbanke family seat.

And as Cook appeared surprisingly hesitant to reveal the closing paragraph from the Halanby missive and she has been seen clutching a distinctive pocket book about her person – what COULD she be about?

Although Cook is not without her foibles and her passion for the gaming tables an open secret – she does make an exceedingly delicious plum cake…

And on that note, I shall enjoy a slice or two in honour of my Lord’s birthday.

Sincerely Yours.

Mrs. S.

‘January 22 1815’

Taking My Leave of Number 13?

Walked early to look at my old house in Piccadilly – saw into the room where I have sat with him, and felt as if I had lived there with a friend who was long since dead to me.

No sense of past agony – all mournfully soft. My thoughts floated peacefully into other channels as soon as I had left the spot…

These poignant reflections were noted in Annabella’s journal on September 17 in 1820, a mere four years after she had left hearth, home and Byron behind on this very day in 1816 and walked out of the front door of 13 Piccadilly Terrace for the last time.

I fell into a sound sleep on the last night, as I believe is often surprisingly  the case in such cases of deep sorrow. Next morning I woke exhausted. I went downstairs – the carriage was at the door.

I passed his room. There was a large mat on which his Newfoundland dog used to lie. For a moment I was tempted to throw myself on it, and wait at all hazards, but it was only a moment – and I passed on. That was our parting.

On the eve of her departure Annabella had confided in her former governess Mrs Clermont that “if ever I should be fool enough to be persuaded to return I shall never leave his house alive”.

However, some 198 years later in January of 2014, the doors of 13 Piccadilly Terrace reopened – albeit in 12th scale for a feature in the Dolls’ House Magazine for GMC Publications.

’13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815′ February 2014 (Issue 189)

‘The house, named ’13 Piccadilly Terrace’ after Lord Byron’s London address, has been styled to 1815. Byron lived here with his wife Annabella Milbanke, who he had married in January that year, while that December saw the birth of his only legitimate daughter, Ada Lovelace.

The dolls’ house is complete with a basement kitchen and attic rooms that reflect the architecture, interior design, furniture and lifestyle of the Regency gent, inspired by Byron and his circle.’

’13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815′ February 2014 (Issue 189)

‘Comments made in letters to and from Byron have given Tee insights into aspects of life at Piccadilly Terrace. These snippets have guided her when deciding what goes where, or at least in conveying the same atmosphere in miniature.

Being an avid blogger, Tee has documented her progress allowing her passion for Byron to reach other fans of the poet as well as fellow miniaturists.

Christiane Berridge’

’13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815′ February 2014 (Issue 189)

However, despite this complimentary words – Number 13 remains a work in progress for with the beds unmade, the ancestral portraits to hang in addition to locating the elaborate dining service as the scrumptious dishes of Regency cuisine languish in an old biscuit tin!

Sources Used:

The Life and Letters of Anne Isabella Lady Noel Byron Ethel Colburn Mayne (London: Constable & Co Ltd 1929)

A Stitch in Time?

‘Gentle Reader,

Earlier this morrow, I was awakened to the sounds of frantic shrieking coming from the direction of Lady Milbanke’s bedchamber.

Only moments later, Her Ladyship’s plump and VERY red-faced chambermaid burst into MY bedchamber and along with her loud babbled excuses for having disturbed me – I was duly informed that my skills with needle and thread were needed IMMEDIATELY!

Apparently, the hem of Miss Annabella’s muslin wedding gown due to be worn later that morning had been inexplicably torn and I was thus summoned downstairs to make a hasty repair and I might add, without the benefit of my usual cup of morning tea and dry biscuit!

It would appear that the whisper I had heard upon my arrival at Seaham Hall two days earlier about the improper sobriety of Lady Mil’s seamstress is NOT without some merit.

I have some concern about the success of this betrothal…

Can I trust you to be discreet?

Sincerely Yours,
Mrs. S

‘January 2 1815’

Dreary? How Indiscreet!

‘Gentle Reader,

In one of his typically indiscreet moments – His Lordship let slip to his fellow poet Thomas Moore that he thought Seaham to be rather ‘dreary’.

I disagree. Seaham is a delightful place if you are partial to a chilly eastern wind and plain speaking besides.

But as a guest of His Lordship’s future in-laws – I must hold my tongue.

However, before I enjoy a glass of Sir Ralph’s finest champagne in honour of the New Year – kindly accept my warmest felicitations.

Although I would much prefer a snifter of His Lordship’s brandy…

Sincerely Yours,
Mrs. S’

‘January 1 1815’

Famous in MY Time?

‘What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It’s the gift of anticipation.’ ~ Mrs. Wilson of Gosford Park.

Mrs. Eleanor Spencer – the formidable housekeeper of Number 13 and a purveyor of clean laundry, beeswax candles, fine manners and herbal remedies.

Partial to Syllabub, Plato and the odd glass or three of His Lordship’s finest claret.

The eyes and ears of the Piccadilly household? Absolutely!

As the Poppies Blow…

Today is Armistice Day and with the weather here in York somber and dark, the ambiance feels somehow appropriate as I wind my way through my garden and to the old corbel stone that is nestled among the shrubs and ferns and where my ‘Poppy Garden’ now waits.

I would be alone if it were not for our three resident chickens, affectionately known as the ‘Girls’ who are keeping a respectful distance and as I pause while holding a silver cross decorated with a Flanders Poppy and with the eleventh hour approaching, I think of the poem written by John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

It is then that I hear the familiar rustle of leaves and before I can add my tribute to the others in the garden…​

I can see that Murphy has slipped quietly into view with his own poppy tribute cradled between his paws.

As I watch him carefully place his poppy in the garden – I wonder who is occupying his thoughts today for having recently discovered the identity of an another ancestor who perished in WWI – I’m thinking about a Private William Lamb who never lived to see his 21st birthday.

Although my research about William still continues and with the promise of exciting tales as yet undiscovered, I have been sharing the ‘fruits’ of my sleuthing on the family history blog and a newly commissioned ‘Roll of Honour’ will soon have pride of place within the cosy interior of St M’s Parish Church in Merryworth Town!

However, much to my surprise, I hear yet another rustle of the leaves and there before us is Minnie B!

For on this most solemn day of remembrance, she too had made her way through the garden all on her own with a carefully nestled Poppy between her paws.

However, it is Murphy who senses her uncertainty about what to do next and he quickly makes his way to her and gently shows her what to do.

With Minnie B’s tribute now sitting proudly along with the others in the Poppy Garden, I watch them as they pause before the rows of silver crosses.

But with the now sky growing darker and with the promise of a heavy rain – it’s soon time for us to leave.

And as the felines set off for home in search of a warm fire, I take a moment to enjoy a last look at our Poppy Garden.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Stirring Up More Trouble!

‘Witch and ghost make merry on this last dear of October’s days ~ Unknown’

As the sun disappears on this All Hallows Eve – the folk from the All Hallows Hamlet are excitedly polishing shoes and dusting their finest hats as they dress to impress to celebrate the Festival of Samhain BUT not everyone wants to enjoy this special evening!

Sadly, there is no fabulous frock to wear or a sumptuous banquet to enjoy for Claire Eno this All Hallows Eve as this reclusive and unfriendly crone is busy pottering about and cooking up some rather unusual elixr from inside the Harum Scarum Emporium which is carefully shielded by the prickliest thorn bushes and whispering trees in this bleakest part of the hamlet.

There are no visitors here and Claire’s only friend is the ancient book that has been in her family for as long as anyone can remember and it is from within the dusty pages of this HUGE recipe book that she concocts a vast array of nasty potions from the beautiful flowers, nourishing berries and healing plants that she gathers every day at dusk and even though they all gather dust on the cobwebby shelves waiting for the customers who never arrive – Claire is unable to stop weaving her unkind magick…


Vampyres and Werewolves? Oh My!

Matilda ‘Tilly’ Simms hadn’t really enjoyed the celebrations of the festival of Día de los Muertos yesterday as she had been very troubled by the strange behaviour of Murphy – the small furry cat who prowls his way through the sleepy hamlet of All Hallows and who charms all who cross his path – including old Bella Pendle, the grumpy owner of ‘Dogwood & Myrtle General Stores’.

“Oh my!” sighed Tilly as she thought about Murphy stalking the All Hallows graveyard at dusk with some very odd white foam on his face!

And why was he suddenly leaving his grey fur all over the place, she wondered and then she remembered the time she had spotted him hiding behind that strange mask of silver as she was enjoying a quiet walk alone!

“Oh my!” sighed Tilly.

As Tilly is something of a creative soul, her imagination was now flying all over the place like the leaves tumbling from the old oak trees surrounding the All Hallows Hamlet and she began to wonder if the cat she had seen was NOT really Murphy at all BUT a shape-shifter in disguise OR the beastly familiar of an evil witch!

OR could it be that Murphy was now slowly transforming into a werewolf?

“Oh my!” sighed Tilly.

And after sighing some more, Tilly knew that help was needed AND quickly as she was very fond of Murphy even though he had made her quite cross one day when he had chased away those spiders she had been saving for a very special spell.

Having remembered a faded poster pinned to an old tree to hire someone who could chase away all kinds of strange creature – Tilly went in search of this tree and as it was near the Dolce Vita Patisserie; she knew that her visit across the All Hallows Hamlet would be worth the long journey if there were any of those delicious Cream Pumpkin Pies on offer!

Later that evening and with a shopping basket full of pie and and a map in her hand – Tilly decided to pay this elusive vampyre hunter a visit!

Now, even though she had been warned by a sharp-tongued old crone that the Monsignor lived in the furthest corner of the All Hallows Hamlet and that he did not welcome unexpected visitors – Tilly was still determined and despite her fears, off she went in search of a tiny stone cottage with a rickety wooden porch known to be surrounded by bare trees and mystery.

And with the light fading fast, Tilly finally arrived at the home of the Monsignor and this grim and forbidding place haunted by some hidden terror was everything that she feared it would be and having spotted the tell-tale sign that someone or something had been there too – she now wanted to run away as fast as she could.

But despite her terror and determined to do all that she could to help Murphy – Tilly decided to push that old wooden door open.

“Oh my!” sighed Tilly.


‘Vampyres and Werewolves? Oh My!’

A Crooked Hen Production

Tears for Fleurs!

After the celebration of All Hallows Eve, the first day of November is one for remembering the dearly departed with the festivals of the Mexican Day of the Dead and All Souls’ Day and with this in mind, I designed a unique teardrop tribute of flowers for display inside the design room of one of my favourite flower shops.

However, given that my photographic skills appeared to have deserted me when I set about capturing some more images of this floral spray perched on a table – 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.

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.

And even though I have been creating and teaching floral design for many years now, I 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?