Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Silver, Herb, Seed, Root or Werewolf Fur?

You’ve probably read somewhere or seen it on television that the best way to be free of a vampyre would be to arm oneself with a crucifix and a large bottle of Holy water or if you are of a very brave disposition; you could get rid of this fiend by driving a stake through it’s rotten heart before chopping off the head and then having a nice bonfire with what remains.


But did you know that there are many different ways of seeing off a vampyre?


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 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, these are exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself AND guaranteed to see off the most determined of Vampyres!






With a pinch of 'Silver, Herb, Seed, Root and Werewolf Fur' 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 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium'.

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




Away with the Faeries!

“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 not doubt be reassured to discover that there is still at least one faery 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 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 either engrossed in my own little world in a new studio at 1 Bar Lane that is nestled withing the shadow of Micklegate Bar within the ancient City of York or I'm at the bottom of my garden getting messy with paint. wood and glue!


And it is from within the cosy confines of this studio that I am working on the design of one of two rather unique 12th scale structures stuffed with those fantastical and whimsical items that I hope will add a perfect finishing touch to the shopping experience for the inhabitants of the All Hallows Hamlet!


You can now join me in the magickal world of the All Hallows Hamlet over at Away With the Faeries! AND as I burrow down and get on with some more work!

Friday, 5 January 2018

In Search of the Ghost of Piccadilly...

Of all romances in miniature... perhaps this is the best shape in which Romance can appear..' so said the fabulous Lord Byron in one of his many journal scribblings and as artist AND a passionate devotee of Regency History who loves to create a scene and not only of the hysterical kind; it is perhaps only to be expected that I would create a Regency inspired miniature!

In 2009, I began the creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace circa 1815 which is a Regency House complete with a basement kitchen and the attic rooms that will reflect the architecture, interior design, furniture and life-style of the Regency and which has been inspired by the poet Lord Byron and his circle as he lived at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.


Although my idea for the design of 13 Piccadilly Terrace began several years ago, I remain busy with the research and the hoarding of materials, fabrics, pictures with the buying of lots of delightful Regency miniatures; which I might add, is always the fun part!



And although I am proud of my painting techniques, woodworking skills and electrifying abilities; I am aware of my limitations which include a horror of dressmaking and sewing.


However, one of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is the creation of the unique 'Byron Screen' for the library and which was decorated to reflect his love of theatre and pugilism and used in his apartment at the Albany until it was bought at auction in April 1816 by his publisher John Murray.

After extensive restoration work, the present John Murray has kindly loaned the Byron Screen for display in Byron's Library at Newstead Abbey; which I was delighted to see on my visit there last January.


And another of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is to arrange a wedding in the 'Family Room' that is situated on the piano nobile and with inspiration drawn from the Byron betrothal of January 2 1815 at Seaham Hall in County Durham even though I shall have to rely on plenty of artistic license with the decor and furnishing of this room being as I am limited to the use of my imagination as the accounts of this infamous union are sketchy to say the very least!

However, as I have studied and photographed the gown worn by Annabella on that cold January day during a visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath, I can boast of one item of authenticity even if it is 12th scale!


For although I can handle fabrics I can glue, the art of the needle is beyond me and it is fortunate that I have made the acquaintance of Louise from Angelique Miniatures who having positively embraced the art of miniature couture on my behalf has created this wedding gown and the silk pelisse in exquisite form!


And so as my 'Lord Byron House' continues to develop, I will be sharing with you the unfolding tale, the triumphs and the tears from Piccadilly Terrace on the blog and even though I have been creating life in 12th scale for many years now; the passion to design and create a miniature world remains just as intoxicating, rather like my love of cake!

And on that note, I'm off for a wander into the kitchen of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the hope that a slice or three of this delicious cake remains mine for the taking!


To learn more about the life of Lord Byron through the creation of this unique house, follow the link: The Ghost of Piccadilly Terrace. The Tales from Lord Byron's Abode...

Hatching an Eggstraordinary Design!

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 last year 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!


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.


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.



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.



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!



With the design nearly complete; it's time to add the finishing touch with some tiny pieces of fresh moss and which I love working with!



I use the moss to fill in any of the small gaps that remain until I am happy with the design and after a gentle spray with misted water from top to bottom, my pedestal arrangement is now complete and ready for display.




And with the pedestal 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?

Thursday, 4 January 2018

While THOSE Mice Are Away, Have No Fear For Tee Will See 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.


I should add that several of the mice decided not to put in an appearance that day as I could offer nothing stronger than a mug of tea and those who did finally brave the cold to serve up the hot lunch I had prepared and raised awareness and support for those who have no home they can call their own - well, they did me proud!

However, as the Mice of the St M's Flower Guild were also nowhere to be seen and with neither the time nor the inclination to teach the basics of floral design to those mice I could see who were scurrying around; I decided to take myself off to find a quiet corner in the midst of all of this frantic activity and arrange the church flowers myself.

Our December holiday decorations may have long been packed away but as the liturgical colours for the church are still in honour of Christmastide with white, yellow and gold; I decided to create an arrangement with the use of this fancy pedestal although they are typically used for the display of a painted egg.

Using a combination of white silk roses, some smaller paper roses in a golden yellow colour with snippets of Conifer and some other bits of fauna I snaffled from my garden and with a handful of fine silver wire and my trusty scissors; my first step was to attach a piece of DRY Floral Foam to the top of the pedestal.


With the snippets of Conifer and inspired by the shape of the humble triangle, I begin the design of my arrangement.

I should add that Conifer remains one of my favourite faunas to work with as it has a gorgeous colour, the appearance of being 'freshly picked' for many weeks and a heady scent which I simply adore!


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


For those of you who are familiar with my floral creations, you'll know that I love to use 'real' foliage when I can and that I am an enthusiastic 'harvester' who loves to take advantage of the free pickings from the hedgerows and bridleways around me!

As I continue to add the snippets of Conifer and Fern to the arrangement, my design takes form.




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


And with the silk roses in place, I now 'speckle' the arrangement with the use of the paper roses in a delightful colour of golden-yellow.


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


With the design nearly complete; it's time to add the finishing touch with some tiny pieces of fresh moss and which I love working with!


I use the moss to fill in any of the small gaps that remain until I am happy with the design and after a gentle spray with misted water from top to bottom, my pedestal arrangement is now complete and ready for display.



And with the pedestal arrangement now in place and with those church mice busy elsewhere; I think it's time to put the kettle on and enjoy some of that delicious shortbread I received as a gift for Christmas.