The childrens' playroom

The Mouse House

an every day story of mouse folk

 

In 2020, Penelope Creations was introduced to the wonderful world of the wool.i.am gang mice on Instagram. Then she met a whole community of makers of tiny clothing, of 1/12 scale furniture and, dolls house accessories. The mice are hand knitted collectables, only 10cm tall but with very big personalities. Created by Susan Ashford (aka wool.i.am or Mama Sue), the mice are made with the softest alpaca wool. Mama Sue is always busy knitting, creating new mice to send all over the world... Some mice live in small groups and others in large extended families but there is always a hoomin somewhere to keep an eye on their antics, hide the cheeses and Tunnocks teacakes. There are many stories of #wooliamgang adventures on Instagram, use the # to find them.

Penelope Creations, makes most of Julius and Lizzie's outfits, especially their formal wear for very special dinners, college balls and just because she likes to pamper the mice! Unfortunately Penelope Creations doesn't knit or crochet, so the mice have to rely on other small business supporters of #wooliamgangmice for those items. Credits are attached to each image in the Lizzie and Julius story below.

@wool.i.am | @themousetailor | @beetee_handmade | @littleowlmakes | @bettis_stitches | @sjmcgeorge

Our story started with Miss Lizzie Mouse PhD., arriving in May 2020 all ready to set up in her sewing room. Very quickly her husband, Professor Julius Cheeser, arrived having completed his final lecture tour. He arrived with a plentiful supply of cheeses and wine (we think he did a quick shop while travelling through France). Both Lizzie and Julius are retired academics. Lizzie loves to spend time in the sewing room. She enjoys embroidery of all types and other activities that involve chocolate, cake and/or a glass of prosecco while partaking of chitter chatter with her friends*. Now that Julius is home, they enjoy relaxed time together, wining and dining, lunching out, going on outdoor adventures and travelling. They like to visit Millie and Nibbles, their relatives in Scotlandishland and lots of other small hoomins in their families in London.

Miss Lizzie's arrival May 2020
Professor Julius arrives June 2020

In our story, Lizzie and Julius have one daughter, Philly (full title Surgeon Commander Phillipa McSqueak), who works for the Royal Mouse Navy on submarines. She is often away from home for very long periods of time. Philly is married to Commander Peter McSqueak (also RM Navy). We are not allowed to say much about his job, but it is something to do with MI-ce (Mousery Investigation and Counter Espionage). He too has to work away from home a lot. Philly and Peter met while they were both doing their naval training. They married about 10 years ago and have twin daughters, Pip and Squeak. When they are a family together they love to have outdoor adventures, helping the girls grow up big, strong and ready to take on the challenges of the world!

The twins are about seven years old (but who really knows what mouse age is). They have come to live with Lizzie and Julius while their mummy and daddy are away on their latest tours of duty. Squeak is a few minutes older than Pip but thinks it's at least a year. She gets into all sorts of adventures (and mischief). Squeak wants to study Botany and search for new plant species in the rain forests when she grows up. But for now she mostly likes to help Grandpa in the garden, climb trees and jump into muddy puddles - she isn't afraid of bugs and spiders! Pip is much quieter. She loves to read, especially David Attenborough's adventures. Pip has special glasses to help her short-sightedness. Pip often helps Granny in the kitchen making sure she recycles as much waste as possible. She also likes to spend time researching the effects of climate change. Pip wants to be an academic like Granny and Pappy when she grows up, using her knowledge as an environmental scientist to help the world.

*Any similarity to anyone that you may know is purely coincidental. The story of Lizzie, Julius and the twins is a figment of Penelope's imagination...

Originally, Lizzie and Julius had a very small house on one shelf in Hoomum's sewing room, comprising a small sitting/study room and her own little sewing room. Then a small kitchen and a very small garden were added. Julius felt a bit left out as he wanted his own study and a larger garden... Lizzie and Julius persuaded Hoomum to find somewhere bigger for them to live. The story of the Mouse House Renovations can be read by clicking on the link. But, read on for the stories of our mice.

The original mouse house - no wonder Lizzie & Julius wanted some renovations...

The story of Lizzie, Julius and the grand children:

Our story is told through images that illustrate key moments in the lives of Lizzie and Julius. Click on the first image to view a larger picture with captions and extra parts of the story that describe their adventures. Keep scrolling through or Jump to the arrival of Pip and Squeak, and the continuing story:

Miss Lizzie and Prof Julius begin their adventures

The mice celebrate hoomins' brthdays

Julius and Lizzie have settled into their retirement, just as their hoomins did several years ago. Whiling away the days, enjoying quiet time in the garden, lunches out.... But what is this??? Hoomins celebrating birthdays back to back. Oh No! Not the whisky. Don't do it Lizzie! This could mean trouble...

Thank goodness Lizzie recovered from her encounter with the whisky.

More adventures with our lovely couple

Well we all know that the dreaded Covid got in the way of all kinds of adventures. Poor old Hoomum not only got IT, but worse still Long Covid stayed on to slow Hoomum down. Everything was put on hold for such a long time... Miss Lizzie and Julius had hoped to visit the hoomin families in London and their relatives in Scotlandishland, but everything went so very quiet. Lizzie spent her time in the sewing room stitching away, dreaming of times when adventures could being again. She found lovely fabrics and with the help of Hoomum set about making new outfits. Julius read his books, researching family history, ordering extra cheeses and wine to cheer everyone up. And then, suddenly there was blue sky, and singing and dancing and dressing up in posh clothes! Oh what happy mouselets....

Miss Lizzie and Prof Julius, dream of adventures then meet Mook Millie and Nibbles

But how short lived! Covid came back again, our mice pottered about indoors, taking short walks around their home town and Staying Safe! The planned Christmas celebrations with the London family postponed and rearranged at the last moment... with hasty shopping and tidying up to make a good time at home... before setting off to their favourite place for the New Year...

Festive Plans Changing, then excitement happens!

And now it is 2022. What will this year bring? Will there be new adventures? What will happen in the wonderful world of Wooliamgangmice? But wait is that a certain retired mouse lady demanding a new frock just in case there is Burns Night Supper after all???? Oh Miss Lizzie you are so demanding. It's off to Penelope Creations for prosecco and chat.... Get your wallet ready Prof Julius, I just know this is going to be expensive... I don't suppose you could just pop round to the DIY store to get some supplies... Oh Julius! did you just mutter the cheese and wine shop would be more like it.....

Now that Miss Lizzie has her new ball gown, where will she go to wear it? Could it be a Burns' Night gathering after all?? Lizzie and Julius do look such a dashing pair on the dance floor.

The story continues with the arrival of the twins, Pip and Squeak

Philly and Peter McSqueak are away on their various tours of duty, so their twins have come to stay will Lizzie and Julius for a while...

Early morning fun for Pip and Squeak

Pip and Squeak were awake early this morning. They thought it would be good fun to visit Hoomum's desk, which was tidy for a change... (*Big Tuts*... how long will that last??). Somehow the twins pulled their own work table onto the desk. They love their activity books and pencils Mama Sue (@wool.i.am) sent them. We think Hoomum's desk was tidy because she wanted to have an early start on a new project! Clearly our mouselets have other ideas! "We can have lots of fun before Granny and Pappy wake up" they squeaked to Hoomum. Well we knew it wouldn't be long before they found a box of Hoomum's stitchery things. "Is this real gold??", "What about these pretty things". Hoomum tried to intervene, but they were already dressing up and having fun with fabrics. "Will there be porridge for breakfast"? Asked Pip. "I do hope so" replied Squeak.

The Twins learn of hazards on Hoomum's Desk

What are these little rascals up to now.. Gosh Hoomum has a verrrrrry big pot of coffee which really des need some investigating by our intrepid youngsters. Stay still Squeak. Stop little mice, that really is very dangerous! Too late! Pip is falling down. Is that giggling or crying. Miss Lizzie rushes to comfort them, making sure they are alright, then a few stern but kind words on playing safely, and how dangerous Hoomum's desk can be especially if she's not there.... Come along twins let's go and have that delicious breakfast of porridge.

After breakfast Lizzie was on hand to make sure the twins played safely while she refereed the jousting tournament. Phew! What a relief, she declared it was a draw.

It's the end of February and our British weather is so changeable. Little Pip and Squeak had to stay in today, there was rain, rain and even more rain. The twins helped Granny and Pappy with the dusting and tidying, then doing some baking. After lunch it was time for playing with toys and reading. Our twins were so well behaved today, enjoying quiet time together to watch an episode of a favourite programme.

Our darling twins seem to have settled in very well with Lizzie and Julius. There's lots of playtime and helping out in the house and garden. Then after a few weeks......

NEWS FLASH!!!!! OH SSSH IT'S A SECRET....

"Sssshhhhh don't let the twins hear. " Julius quickly closed the zoom call on the laptop.."Gosh Tuesday or Wednesday can that really be true. Oh it will be such a lovely surprise for them. We'd better make sure the spare room is ready". Lizzie and Julius hugged each other and shed a few tears of happiness. They know who is on her way home, but are sworn to secrecy in case of unexpected delays. Mama Sue knows too....

A surprise visit from Mummy

Oh what a wonderful surprise for our twins. Mummy (known as Philly to those very close to her), managed to wangle some well earned leave from RMN Submarine 'The Invincible Mice'. She will now join our adventures in Mouse World. We are all very proud of Philly, she worked hard at University, being sponsored by the Royal Mouse Navy (RMN) for her medical degree, and then completing her naval training shortly afterwards. Here she is in her uniform, Mama Sue took some photos just before she started her journey home.

What was that?? Will Daddy be joining the family soon? We'll have to have a little chat with Mama Sue about that.... For now we'll have a little adventure to Center Parcs with the extended hoomin family and meet up with Mook, Millie and Nibbles....

Adventures with the Hoomins at Center Parcs

After a delicious breakfast of porridge, Granny and Pappy make sure everyone has packed their bags ready for a grand adventure. Our family meet up with Mook, Millie and Nibbles, then it is off to explore and have fun in the woods. The twins find an old bird feeder which makes for a perfect swing; they enjoy clambering over huge obstacles, climbing and swinging in the trees, all carefully supervised by the grown ups. The twins tell their mummy what they have learned about caring for the forest. Apparently the hoomins enjoyed meeting up with all the grandchildren too. What a verrrrrry happy #wooliamgangfamily What a verrrrrry happy hoomin family too.

The Twins discover the cabinet of curiosities

Hoomum accidentally left a door open and our dear little twins thought it would be good fun to sneak in to explore the cabinet of curiosities... amongst all the dust there were some interesting bits and pieces to rummage through... Gosh Hoomum must have had lots of adventures too to collect all these precious items.

The Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Easter everyone. The Twins were up very early this morning for an adventure with the Easter Bunny while the family sleep on. With the help of tiny ted and tiny rabbit they are searching for treats hidden in Hoomum's rockery. There were squeaks of delight as eggs, chicks and bunnies were found. "Oh what fun, shall we show mummy our grand haul of treats?". Thank you Mama Sue for organising #wooliamgangeaster2022. You can see the gang's easter fun on Instagram using this link here, and thank you Easter Bunny for helping the twins find their treats.

Welcome home Daddy

There were some hushed conversations going on between Lizzie and Phillipa, something about Lizzie looking after the twins while Philly goes out on a secret mission... They hoped the twins were out of hearing... Now we know our twins are a very bright pair and always up for a bit of adventure, especially if it involves a secret mission. Would they dare sneak out and follow their mummy to find out what's going on? Phew! we know that Lizzie is a very wise granny, she knew that the twins might have heard a bit of the whisper so she kept a very close eye on our twins, making sure they were safe. Our little family do seem to like secret missions...

What a good job Lizzie kept an eye on those two small adventure mice. So that is what we have been waiting for! Cdr Peter McSqueak (the eldest son of the Laird of Clan McSqueak and latterly of the Royal Mouse Navy), is home. Peter has been granted some special leave after completing his Sssshhhhh latest secret mission for MI-ce. We'd better not ask too many questions, but do you think he has lots of gadgets in his fabulous luggage? and is that an ordinary brolly he has with him??? What a lovely husband to bring flowers for Philly, and I'm sure there will be presents for everyone else too. What a happy family reunion and weren't our twins clever to follow mummy in secret safely to meet with their daddy.

It's a grand day in the Mouse House. The twins enjoy showing daddy their play room, there are lots of hugs and cuddles and leaping up and down. The whole family is verrrrrry happy that daddy is home safe and sound. After supper, our little family spend some time reading together and enjoy catching up with all the family news. Daddy brought Pip and Squeak special ribbons to wear, Pip has a very pale yellow ribbon and Squeak has a pink ribbon, their favourite colours. Do you think Daddy needs a helpful hint to know which twin is which?? At last the twins have settled down to sleep and the parents of both generations can relax with plenty of cheese and a little glass of something special.

It's another day in the mouse house. Everyone had a jolly good night sleep, although when we peeped into Phillipa and Peter's room there did seem to be two extra pairs of little feet sticking out of the bed... Peter shares some of his feats of derring do with Julius while Lizzie and Philly look after the twins. Julius checks that Peter's lapel rose is safe around the twins "Oh yes" says Peter "It's in safe mode, and the you know know what (gun) is stored away safely." *taps schnozzle, with a knowing wink*. Ah Ha the job is always part of Peter's life... "We're glad you're home Peter" says Julius, "you do look as if you need some rest and building up with plenty of cheese". "I shall look forward to that, as well as having lots of adventures with the little ones." replied Peter.

The family gather round the dining table for a grand family feast. Lizzie thinks to herself "I'm so glad we are all here and safe, but I do wish those bloomin decorators would hurry up and finish the work" "Hoomum....."

There are still gaps in our mouse story, it will be updated as our family settle in properly. In the meantime Hoomum has listened to Lizzie and is so sorry that she's upset the builders and decorators still haven't finished all the renovations. But you know how it is, builders sometimes let customers down. Hoomum will give the decorators another prod to come back to finish the work in the Mouse House so the family can settle in properly.

The Mouse House renovations:

During the long, long, months of Covid 2020 & 2021, all travelling and other grand adventures were put on hold. Hoomum was often very poorly coping with Long Covid. However, Julius and Lizzie had ideas for some DIY to extend and improve their small home. Hoomum would need lots of new skills in miniature furniture making. She was sent to the library interesting books and set to researching on YouTube....

Lizzie and Julius knew the twins Pip and Squeak, would have to live with them while their mummy was away (seconded to the British Antarctic Mouse Survey for a two year tour of duty). We're still not allowed to say what their daddy is really doing, but MI-ce have assured us that he is safe and his job is very important to keep everyone safe in Mouseland...

Anyway... The existing Mouse House was too small for the whole family and they definitely needed more room. Lizzie and Julius helped find a larger space in Hoomum's sewing room by rearranging boxes and shelves of books. Eventually, the long process of making each shelf into a floor of their new home began. Julie Warren's YouTube tutorials and other books, were most helpful.Hoomum became more confident in making mini furniture and room design! The first rooms to be renovated in the new house were the Master bedroom with en suite bathroom and a playroom/bedroom for the twins. Hoomum explains how the rooms were created below.

Making the Master Bedroom:

The master bedroom was the first room in the Mouse House re-vamp. It started with a bed! Hoomum wanted to make a 1/12 sized super king luxurious four poster using some remnants of Laura Ashley fabrics from her stash. It was the first construction with lots of trial and error in the structure of the bed and not much knowledge of structural materials to use. Eventually the four poster idea was abandoned. Instead, a new floor to ceiling padded headboard was created with the original base. The base and headboard are made of double layered artist's mount board on a lattice structure for stability. The mattress is part of a large bathroom sponge. The end board, duvet, bolster and bedside rugs use Laura Ashley teal coloured silk. The headboard and pillows are the Chrysanthemum pattern.

Hoomum couldn't find a ready made wardrobe that suited Lizzie, so this one is cut from mount board to fit the side of the room. The chests, drawers, dressing table and bedside tables are coloured card folded and stuck to shape. The mirror was a foil food tray thoroughly washed and recycled. The bedside lamps are from a Julie Warren tutorial using silver beads and a button. The bottles on the dressing table were purchased from Julie Warren's Etsy shop. The bedside rugs are padded silk fabric. There is an en-suite bathroom with fittings from Minimum World. Clever Hoomum made pictures for the bathroom walls using tiny pieces of sea glass and shells collected from Seaham Beach. Pictures on the bedroom walls are from the Rabbie Burns celebration UK stamps, and a small Christmas card.

Hoomum is very pleased with this room!

Making the Children's room:

The Children's room with en-suite bathroom is a new addition to the house. A few more accessories are required to make sure Pip and Squeak have everything they need. The walls are foam core board covered with gift wrapping paper, decorations are cake toppers from a high street card shop, and the chalk board from The Range all 1 each. The window frame, bunk beds with integrated workspace, chairs and stools were the first pieces of 'wooden' furniture made by Hoomum. She used lollipop sticks and coffee stirrers for the frames, then painted them with acrylic. All the bedding, cushions, curtains and padded play mat are from scraps in the stash.... We started with a chest of drawers of folded card, but that has been relegated to the attic now. Mama Sue (Susan Ashford @wool.i.am) very kindly sent beautiful toy chest with Pip and Squeak when they arrived. The rocking horse was bought from Minimum World. The ceiling lights are washers stuck to the paper lining with double sided tape. The tiled floor in the bathroom is a pattern resized, printed onto card stock then covered with clear sticky backed plastic. The ceramic bathroom suite was purchased from Minimum World. Hoomum did try making taps and a shower but her wire bending and manipulation skills are not good enough yet.

Our twins love their playroom/bedroom. Here are some more images of our twins at play (click on the first image to see a larger version).

 

Making the Study & Sitting Room:

Miss Lizzie is upset that this room hasn't been decorated yet and no sign of the new study for Julius!

 
 
The Sitting Room before renovation - Julius would like his study to have lots of bookcases, a fireplace and a large desk. Lizzie would like to have the three piece suite recovered. The twins would like a big television...
 

We haven't got very far with this room yet, but there is a space reserved for it. The twins have been granted their wish for a big TV, Julius has a wonderful chair for his study, and Great Aunt Agatha's clock has made an appearance... The decorators did make a start, but definitely need a prod to finish the work. The carpenter also needs a very, very big prod to get on with the desk and chair as well as another comfy chair for Peter or Phillipa to use the study. Julius thinks they may need to put a wall up between the study and sitting room so the grown ups can work quietly, especially if there has to be a secure MI-ce connection installed...

Making the Kitchen & Dining Room:

Miss Lizzie is upset that the extension for the dining room hasn't been completed!

 
 
The Kitchen before renovation. Lizzie would like a large dining table for her posh dinner parties.
 

The Decoratiors and carpenters made a start, but disappeared... Poor Lizzie has dreams of an elegant dining room and country style kitchen. Until that happens this is what she has to put up with... Hoomum know exactly how Lizzie feels, she is still waiting too....

Making the Sewing Room:

Lizzie liked her sewing room in the old house. It was spacious and had everything she needed. Her new room needs a jolly good makeover.

 
 
The Sewing Room before decorating.
 

Miss Lizzie's life does seem to mirror that of poor hoomum. Hoomum's sewing room is always untidy too, so much stash, so many projects to complete... Hoomum would love to have someone come in and make her ideas for a really good workspace a reality. Until then...

At least Lizzie can step out into the garden room to enjoy the plants and flowers while enjoying a glass of prosecco with Philly or other friends that just happen to drop in for a stitch and chat session.

Making the Garden:

Julius is hoping the new garden will have room for a fire pit and space for growing more things in it. We don't think this is going to happen for a very long time. Hoomum would like a new patio and seating area in her garden too... She likes afternoon tea outside in the warmer months.... and it would be so nice for the grandhildren to have a big space to play in....

 
 
The Garden before renovation. Lizzie hopes there will still be space for patio drinks and being lazy.
 

Come back soon to read more adventures of Lizzie, Julius, Philly and Peter and the twins. Don't forget this is a story it's not really real!

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