Squeak Show Project 2021-22

Throughout 2021 and 2022, I worked on my Squeak Show project, involving a collectors' club, and the 2022 Squeak Show calendar (to find out more about the background, click here). 

Here's where you can see the original images of each calendar scene, created by me and photographed by Hollie Gordon Photography (with the exception of May's scene, which was done by Photography by Karl). As you scrolll through the images, I'll give a bit of information about the inspiration, the ideas, the challenges and the highlights for each scene.  This has been an incredible journey, and I'm so grateful to you for being part of it!

The mice in each of the scenes tell a story, and this is one of the things I love most about the wee creatures - their characters shine through, and for me, it feels like a privilege to witness them as they go about their everyday lives. And that's why I wanted to find a way where we could all peep into their lives :)

Greetings cards of each of the 12 Squeak Show scenes are available from my shop, including special packs of Christmas cards. 

  • front cover RGB
  • January - The Snowball Fight
  • February - Love Actually
  • March - The Squeak Nursery
  • April - The Easter Tree
  • May - The Street Party
  • June - Sailing By
  • July - All the Fun at the Fair
  • August - Over the Rainbow
  • September - Back to School
  • October - Painting Pumpkins
  • November - Autumn Trees
  • December - The Night Before Christmas
  • Happy Birthday

The overarching theme of the Squeak Show is to peep into the lives of the mice, like the Victorian "peep shows" of years gone by. And so I managed to find a wonderful background image which looked like a Victorian theatre, with an aperture slot that we can peep through to see what's inside. The mice having fun along the aperture are actually one mouse that I photographed from several angles, and then manipulated into different positions using my DTP program. Took some doing, but I love the result :)

The front cover of the calendar was the last thing I designed - I almost forgot about it, to be honest, as I was so focused on getting the actual calendar images sorted! So I spent a weekend working on it just before sending everything off to the printers in September :)

The Snowball Fight

The 2022 Squeak Show Calendar front cover

The Snowball Fight was the very first scene I wanted to make for the Squeak Show. It was originally based on the three Snowball Mice I made to wish everyone a Happy Christmas in December 2020. It was only a few days after this that the whole concept of the Squeak Show Calendar and Collectors' Club sprang into being! I used a snow blanket for the ground, but trying to get the mice to stand up on it was something of a challenge for the photo shoot itself :) I think my favourite mouse has to be the "mouse butt" sticking out of the pile of snow on the left - I made the snow drift out of polymer clay, and then covered it with the snow blanket :)

Love Actually

This scene is the first of two three-way collaborations, with the wooden letters beautifully painted by Tabatha of Awesome Wooden Gifts, and the miniature Valentine's cards made by Jacqueline of CardManiac. I made the tiny wrapped roses, which were included in February's Squeak Show Mouse (you can just see one held by the mouse second from the right). This is a great example of how the wee creatures interact with their environment - I love to have them clambering about on things, and they always tell a story too. When I made the mice for this scene, I also made my first short stop-motion Squeak Show film, which you can watch here. This scene also makes the perfect Valentine's card, so there will be plenty of cards available when it comes around :)

The Squeak Nursery

It was during the conception of this scene that I realised I needed to scale down my ideas a bit - in the early stages, I was thinking that the scenes had to be large scale with a "cast of thousands". But then I realised that the mice are small, so the scenes they were in needed to be small-scale too. I know, seems like an obvious conclusion to reach, but it really was a light-bulb moment when I realised it! And with this realisation, I stopped feeling so daunted by the whole Squeak Show project, and I just focused on the mice, and what they do best :) With this scene, I was able to use a lot of accessories that I've collected over the years - the bath tub, the toy box, the little toys. And I found the perfect clipart background which matched the simplicity and cuteness of the mice :)

The Easter Tree

April's scene was one of the last ones I made - there were so many possible ways I could have gone, given that Easter is one of the great occasions that the mice (and other wee creatures) like to celebrate. The tree is one of several that Tabatha had painted for me in the past, but where the Easter eggs were, there were little hearts. So I found some clip art Easter eggs, printed them out and stuck them to the tree to create an Easter Tree - because everyone knows that that's where Easter eggs come from! And this is one of only two scenes where there is a wee creature other than mice featured - the Easter Bunny had to be involved, directing his wee helpers! The background is cut from foam sheets - I'm now a dab hand at cutting out clouds free-hand!

The Street Party

This scene was the very last one I came up with. I had made the Happy Birthday scene (see below) with the rainbow cake, but on the day of the photo shoot, we just couldn't get the lighting right, as I'd wanted the little fairy lights to go on top of the cake. So I went back to the drawing board and waited for inspiration to strike. In the early stages of looking at possible scene ideas, way back in January,  I had thought about a village green scene for May, with a maypole, dancing mice, picnics, etc (this was still in my "cast of thousands" phase). So I went back to the idea and simplified it a bit, coming up with a street party theme instead. I took this scene and the Happy Birthday scene to Karl Whitehead (who I met when I was at Albert Mill in Milnrow, where he still has his studio), and he was able to create the wonderful outdoor lighting for this scene. This is one of my favourite scenes now, and it's available as a standalone birthday card too. And May had to have a birthday theme because I celebrated my 50th birthday this May!

Sailing By

This is the first of two collaborations with Rachel Pettitt Designs. I first spotted Rachel's beautiful wooden boats on Facebook nearly three years ago, and we've kept in touch ever since, most recently working on our Winter Trees collaboration at the end of 2020. So I knew I wanted to work with Rachel for the Squeak Show project, and she made these wonderful boats, both for the scene and for the Collectors' Club Mice for June. I made the ground using shaped pieces of foam sheets, and Hollie added a few seagulls in post-production to complete the scene. There's so much going on in this scene, and I loved making all the Wee Sailing Mice for the Collectors' Club - so much so, that I couldn't resist making another short stop-motion film, which you can see here.

All the Fun at the Fair

The Fairground scene was another idea that I'd had from the start of the Squeak Show, and I had envisaged it on a very grand scale with a miniature helter-skelter, coconut shy and Big Top. But once again, when I started focusing in on the mice themselves, they told me how they wanted to be! I made the little stripey booth in best Blue Peter tradition with lots of sticky-backed plastic and lolly sticks! For the background, again, clipart came to my rescue, creating the perfect setting for the mice. The balloon seller mouse was rather tricky to photograph, and Hollie and I spent quite a long time trying to capture him at the best angle, with me hanging over the back of the scene holding him suspended by a wire, and waving him from side to side :) There's another short stop motion film to be made about this - watch this space!

Over the Rainbow

Mice and rainbows are two of my favourite things, so of course there had to be at least one scene dedicated to them both! "Over the Rainbow"  is another three way collaboration with Tabatha and Jacqueline - Jacqueline made the gorgeous rainbow and clouds which August's Collectable Mice were carrying, and Tabatha painted this beautiful rainbow. I made the clouds held by the fairy mice by stitching together felt cloud shapes using blanket stitch. So now you know that fairy mice are the ones that make clouds scoot about in the sky!

Back to School

I had so much fun coming up with this scene! The parquet flooring reminded me of my own school days, as did the miniature desk which the wee grey mouse is working at. Again, the story of these mice just make me smile :) There are lots of little details which I had fun coming up with - I'm going to leave it to you to see how many you can spot!

Painting Pumpkins

I love the impact of this Pumpkin scene! The pumpkin is a ceramic tea-light holder, which Tabatha helped the mice to paint :) October's Squeak Show Mouse was the Sleepy Wee Pumpkin Mouse, based on the snoozy mouse at the front, who is definitely shirking his duties! The paint pots and ladders are dolls house miniatures, and I made the little paint roller held by the mouse on the far right.

Autumn Trees

This is the second collaboration with Rachel Pettitt Designs, and this scene just makes me so happy! Autumn is my favourite time of year, and I managed to find some miniature leaf scatter (usually used for miniature railway scenery), and of course there had to be a tiny hedgehog and squirrel to help celebrate the scene (the squirrel is a nod to my frequent "squirrel moments" during the Brew and a Blether video chats!) These two really are teeny tiny, each made with only one gram of clay (the mice are made with three grams of clay). Rachel also made all the little wooden Autumn Trees for November's Squeak Show mice :)

The Night Before Christmas

The Christmas scene was one of the last ones I made, and is a real triumph of some wonderful finds so far as the accessories are concerned. I had bought the Christmas tree way back in January (it does have working lights!), and found the miniature fireplace on Etsy (made by Chris Brooking of Firecraft Miniatures). The picture above the fireplace is of Santa Claus Mouse by R John Wright, and Santa Mouse is reading "The Night Before Christmas, by Barbara Reid (which is just perfect for this scene!) The miniature stockings were crocheted by Monique of Amazing Hats, and I created the miniature cards for the mantelpiece. All in all, I love the story this scene tells :) I've had this scene and January's scene made into Christmas cards, and they can be bought in packs of 10 cards (with 5 of each design).

The Squeak Show 2022 Calendar

The Squeak Show 2022 Calendar has been printed by Southfield Stationers in Edinburgh. The calendar is A4 size (roughly 12" x 8") and folds out to A3 size when hanging up (roughly 16.5" x 12").  They are £12 each plus shipping.

There's plenty of room to write appointments, etc for each month, and there are two lined pages at the back for notes.

The calendar will come carefully packaged in a clear cellophone pouch, and can be sent anywhere in the world.

As well as the calendar, there are a range of greetings cards available based on the calendar designs, starting at £2 for individual cards. The pack of 10 Christmas cards (with 5 each of January and December's designs) costs £12 plus shipping, and there will be a limited number of 12 card sets with all 12 designs at £18 each plus shipping.

Happy Birthday

May's scene was the last scene I made, and I started out with this idea - a mouse baking an oversized rainbow cake, with balloons and presents and sparkly things! In the end, I decided to go with the Street Party idea for the calendar, but I kept this idea to have a standalone birthday card. Thanks to Photography by Karl for capturing this scene - I really want a slice of that cake!