By Kate Merrill

CARLISLE (CBS) – The tiny town of Carlisle, with around five thousand residents, hasn’t changed much in the 371 years since it was first settled.

There are no apartment complexes, no shopping plazas and no traffic lights. Thirty-percent of the land is permanently protected open space, perfect for animals and wildlife, especially mice. But not real mice.

At “Wee Forest Folk,” or as they call it, the mice factory, they’re making tiny beloved collectables. Each is handcrafted, painstakingly put together, painted and then shipped all over the world.

It was founded by Donna and William Petersen’s mom in 1972. William Petersen told WBZ-TV “it just feels very important” to keep his mother’s legacy going.

Annette Petersen is now 102 and still very involved. She started the company for fun in her kitchen almost 50 years ago. But now her small studio, run by her two kids, is pumping out product like she could have never imagined.

Connecting with the characters is still the secret.

“I just remember when mom used to sculpt, when she really liked what she was doing, she started talking to the mouse, ‘Aren’t you cute!'” Donna Petersen told WBZ.

They’re cute, detailed and amazingly precise. Each one is hand painted, down to the tiny embellishments on the little outfits. There are Christmas mice, mice carolers, mice in cars, mice sleeping and any other family-friendly event or holiday celebration you could want.

One of the mice made at Wee Forest Folk in Carlisle. (WBZ-TV)

The Petersens started out slow, only selling in gift shops, but once Wee Forest Folk went online the world took notice.

They’re cute and inspiring, for both the collector and creator.

“They write such beautiful letters and they say it brings them such joy and has brought people together. It makes you feel so good to know what it means to these people,” Donna said of her customers.

For more on Wee Forest Folk, visit their website.

Kate Merrill