Back to Beastie

Wow… It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I can’t believe it’s May already! And there have certainly been several times over the past few months when I thought “Hey, I should really do a blog post!” but there just always seemed to be about ten other things that needed to be done first.

Beasties at Work - CrawCrafts Beasties

On top of that, I really had to bounce back after 2021. 2021 was tough. I know that 2020 was no picnic for many people, especially those working in the creative and arts industries, but I was fortunate that the first lot of extended lockdowns paired quite nicely with my love of sitting down and making stuff with my hands. So I stayed home, crafted my way through the worst of it, and kept up with my knitting students as best I could via Zoom.

When things started to open up again though, it got tricky. It felt like the rules were always changing – I’d reopen for group classes one week, only to have to cut back to seeing people individually the next. Smaller groups and a lack of market opportunities meant that earning a living became a lot more difficult than it had been, and I found myself taking on every single project and promotional opportunity I could to try to keep things going. And finally, the yarn shop where I had been teaching closed. Yeouch! What a mess!

Upcoming Update Alert! CrawCrafts Beasties
(An old photo, but the mood is about right.)

So, the last few months have really been about tidying up and getting things back to some sort of order. That meant wrapping up any outstanding Beastie commissions…

… Setting up a new website for my knitting classes so that people can find me easily…

(You can check it out for yourself, here)

…And becoming my own yarn store!

I’ve also started knitting Aran pieces for an up-and-coming Irish knitwear designer… Because, you know, I’m not spending enough time knitting these days already.

And all this time away from blogging has one big upside – I have SO MANY Beasties to share with you all! So I’ll be diving into that in the next post, in two weeks’ time. In the meantime, you can keep up with the yarnier side of things on my new knitting blog. From now on, I’ll be alternating posts here with posts on the new website, so if wool, knitting and all that good stuff floats your boat, be sure to add the Knit With Helen blog to your Reader!

So, enough about me… What have you been up to since we last spoke? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

I’m Back! (Briefly!)

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all keeping well!

I’m still a liiiiittle bit busy here at Beastie Towers, and with Christmas on the horizon (eeeek! How did that happen?) it might be a while before I’m back to blogging with any kind of regularity.

However, I did want to stop in quickly and share some news… The Beastie Store is back!

Beastie Shopfront - CrawCrafts Beasties

Sumup, the company I use to process card payments for commissions and at markets, recently released their Online Store option in Ireland. I’ve always found their service to be great – easy to use, easy to track and with lower fees than a lot of their competitors. So, I thought I’d give the store a spin too!

You’ll find it here:

https://crawcrafts-beasties.sumup.link/

If you have a sec, I’d love for you to drop in and let me know what you think! I’ll be adding more Beasties and shipping options whenever I have a spare moment over the coming days too.

And now, gotta run… There’s monster-making to be done! I’m looking forward to hopefully catching up with you all again sometime soon, and WOWEE do I have some crazy commissions to share with you! In the meantime, here’s a quick taster of what I’ve been making lately to whet your appetites…

Take care and hopefully see you all soon!

Sleepy Explorer Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Monster Maker M.I.A.

Ooopsie!

In a change to the advertised programming here on the BeastieBlog, there will not be a new Beastie post this week… Or, unfortunately, for a couple more weeks, either. Between a growing heap of commissions, the reopening of knitting classes, a looming tax return deadline and a few new projects that have been bubbling away on the back burner, I’ve been finding myself spread a little thinly these past few weeks.

Explorer Beastie has too, apparently.

So, we’re going to take a short late summer break, get back on top of things, and return replenished with stories to share in the autumn!

Take care and see you then!

Helen and the Beasties x

Monster Online Sale!

Hello there everyone! Well, I’ve got some news for you all this week… We’re having a Beastie sale!

Yes, you read that correctly!

You see, some of the Beasties I have here in Beastie Towers have developed a serious case of lockdown cabin fever. They want (or perhaps more correctly, NEED) to stretch their little stripey legs and see more of the world. Normally I’d be taking them out to markets through the year, and that would quiet their yearning for adventure for a while. But with no big market days in sight just yet, this seemed like the best possible substitute.

Here are some of the lil’ woolly monsters who are eager to break out and explore pastures new!

And if you fancy a quick Beastie fix, and since we’re now halfway through the year, our printable Beastie 2021 calendar is now FREE!

Beastie Calendar Sale - CrawCrafts Beasties

But you’d better be quick!

The sale is running from now until this coming Saturday – that’s the 19th of June – and it will end at 6pm Irish time.

After that, I’ll be making some changes to Beastie HQ… The most significant being that there will no longer be an online store on the Beasties’ website. Over the past year, the number of Beasties finding new homes through the website has remained the same, but the amount of commission requests I’ve been getting has leapt up… And those commissions are becoming ever more complex, too! So it makes sense for me to focus on that side of things, at least for the moment.

For anyone who appreciates the simplicity of an Aran or Cookie Beastie though, don’t despair! I’m still happy to make these perennial favourites… Just drop me a line. You’ll even be able to add a more personal touch by selecting your preferred colour scheme and winsome monster smile style!

And finally…

Website updates always bring the potential for disaster interesting and unforeseen developments, so I’ll be skipping next week’s post to weed out any potential gremlins in the works. You can still keep up with the Beasties and their antics on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in the meantime, though… And we’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!

Famous Tomb - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – Russian Around!

Hey there everyone! It’s just going to be a quickie post today… Mostly to clear up the mystery of where in the world Paddy and Plunkett were last week. Did you guess?
A Famous Cathedral - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts BeastiesA good few of you got it right! Plunkett had indeed got his woolly paws on the photos of the short Russian adventure I enjoyed with my good friend and travel buddy, waaay back in 2012. We spent a fun couple of days exploring Moscow, which included wandering through the labyrinthine interior of St Basil’s Cathedral, pictured above.

We also went inside the walls of the Kremlin…
Still Cold - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts Beasties… To see the treasures of the Armoury Museum. That, by the way, includes the Russian Diamond Fund, or “more sparkly things than I have ever seen in my life.”

Oh, and this place?
Famous Tomb - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis is Lenin’s Mausoleum, and like Paddy, we went in! The embalmed body of Lenin lies in state inside, protected by some very serious, very armed soldiers. Keeping a respectful distance is… um… encouraged, and lookie-loos will find themselves moved on promptly if they stop to stare. Like us, Paddy was probably in and out in five minutes, so Plunkett wouldn’t have been standing out in the snow too long!

That said, he’s decided he needs to warm up a little this week.

On the Beach - Paddy and Plunkett
Original Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels. Guess who added the Beasties in 😉

I can’t imagine those woollies and tweeds will be particularly comfortable though, so we should probably cut and run while the lads are still decent!

By the way…

If you feel like your own post-lockdown adventures would be enhanced by the addition of a little woolly friend to your travel party, just swing by the Beastie HQ store! There’s a whole host of monsters in there who can’t wait to get out and explore the world.

All-Irish Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesAlso, a quick word about commissions – unfortunately my books are currently full, so I won’t be taking any new custom orders until May 25th. For anyone who has been in touch with me already (through email or social media), don’t worry!  You’re all set, and your Beastification is in progress. And if you’re looking ahead to the summer, and think you’d like to have a Beastie to help celebrate a wedding, birthday or other big occasion, be sure to reach out nice and early so your lil’ monster buddy is ready in time.

We’ll be back next week with a new Beastie for you all to meet… See you then!

Header - CrawCrafts Beasties Beastie HQ

It’s that time again…

Oh, it’s snuck up on me (and possibly all of you as well) a bit this year! But with the evenings getting darker, trees suddenly looking bare and the odd set of fairy lights appearing in windows around town, there’s no denying it – the end of the year is fast approaching. And that means…
Paddy's Idea - Beastmas 2018 - CrawCrafts BeastiesNo, I’m not quite ready to say it yet either! So I’ll just hint that I’m going to be very busy for the next couple of weeks, and leave it at that for the moment.

And my full schedule means that unfortunately the BeastieBlog will be going into hibernation until things quieten down a bit on the monster-making front. Don’t worry, we’ll be back before the end of the year to wave goodbye to 2020! So, stay safe out there and we’ll rejoin you in a few weeks.

In the meantime, please resist the urge to party too hard…

Plunkett Falls For Buckfast - CrawCrafts Beasties

…Lose yourselves in the news…
Beastified Irish Times - Beastie Accessories by CrawCrafts Beasties… Or overindulge in high-calorie foods.But you may wish to take your mind off the Beastie-shaped gap in your life by perusing the shelves of our online store. That we can heartily endorse! 😉

See you soon!

Inside La Catedral Studios - CrawCrafts Beasties

Our New Studio Home!

Hey there Beastie buddies! It’s been a bit of a hectic week here at Beastie Towers… Yes, I know I’ve been saying that A LOT recently, but it seems like every week that passes brings even more action than the one before! So, what’s this week’s slice of news? Well, it’s a biggie – I took a studio space!

Up until now, my monster-making activities have always taken place in the comfort of my own home. And that was great, up to a point… A point that usually corresponds with the onset of the festive season. Then – CRAFTSPLOSION! Piles of wool, felt and fabric had been steadily colonising the living areas of Beastie Towers, making it nearly impossible for the non-crafting members of the household (sorry, Boyfriend!) to find a spot to sit down at the end of a working day. Trying to contain the sprawl wasn’t really an option either – it seemed like a lot of my valuable crafting time was spent trying to find things I’d only just tidied away.

Then, I started taking sewing classes with Zaria at The City Seamstress, and I was very taken with the incredible building where she has her workshop. Through a small door on a side street, up a flight of stairs… And you’re in the most amazing eclectic art space! I began to wonder if the Beasties could maybe find a home there too. So, on a whim, I applied – and was offered a place the same day! Care to take a look? Follow me!
The Back Loft at La Catedral Studios - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe’re just down this passageway, in the open-plan Back Loft area! Turn the corner and…
My Studio! CrawCrafts BeastiesPlease excuse the mess… I’m still in the process of moving in! A bit of that craftsplosion I mentioned earlier will definitely take care of those empty walls and clear tables, too.

For the moment, I’ve been enjoying spreading out across my new desk…
Colonising the Desk - New Studio - CrawCrafts Beasties… While still having a separate fabric-cutting and ironing station!
Ironing Table! CrawCrafts Beasties

Filling up the shelves is fun, too!
New Studio Shelves! CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd here’s a sneaky peek at some of the communal spaces. I’m really looking forward to relaxing in the roof garden this summer.
Inside La Catedral Studios - CrawCrafts BeastiesToday, I brought along the first (and most important) decorations for my studio walls as well – pictures and cards from some of my Beastie friends! Perhaps a few of you will spot something familiar in here…
Beastie Memorabilia! CrawCrafts BeastiesOh… And one more thing. This studio comes with a free feline friend! Hey there, Ophelia!
Ophelia the Studio Kitty - CrawCrafts BeastiesIsn’t she pretty? Expect to see a lot of her in future posts! Apparently she has a bit of a thing for yarn though, so I’m making sure all my storage boxes are kitty-proof!

So, welcome to our new home! I hope you enjoyed the tour… And if any of you have any decor tips, please share them in the comments. I haven’t done any interior designing since I painted my entire bedroom teal at age 14, so I’m not hugely confident in my abilities!

Also, I’ll be taking a bit of a break from blogging over the next couple of weeks as I get settled into this new space and get caught up with some of the other work I’ve been neglecting lately! But we’ll be back soon with new Beastie friends to meet and fresh monster adventures. See you then!

Godzilla Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties

A Festive Beastie Weekend!

Hey there Beastie friends! It’s just a quick “hello!” from me today, because (and I might have mentioned this once or twice lately) we’re going full tilt here in Beastie Towers right now! But I really wanted to share some photos of the lovely market we went to this past weekend – a fun, festive affair in one of the beautiful Georgian houses that surround Merrion Square park in central Dublin.

Take the Beastie Tour!

I caught up with Woolly Jumper Beastie in the entrance hall…
Festive Christmas Tree at the Irish Architectural Archive - CrawCrafts BeastiesOoooh, look at that Christmas tree!

This building is home to the Irish Architectural Archive, and our Beastie friend took full advantage of their miniature Dublin skyline sculpture to do his best Godzilla impression!
Godzilla Beastie! CrawCrafts BeastiesThen I lost him for a moment – I could have sworn he was right next to this leaf and berry arrangement a second ago!
Festive Beastie Berries! CrawCrafts BeastiesAha! Found him. That’s some pretty good camouflage, though.

Now, upstairs to join your friends at the market!
Stone Stairs at the Irish Architectural Archive - CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’s better!
Christmas on the Square Stall - CrawCrafts Beasties

We had a great time here, and many of the Beasties you see in the photo above headed off to new homes over the course of the day! We were also kept in good festive spirits by a kind gentleman who wandered the building for the duration of the market bearing a tray of complimentary mulled wine… How civilised!

I hope the Beasties behaved well enough for us to be invited back next year!

And speaking of markets…

I’ve a teeeeny favour to ask. A whole heap of Dublin markets have been made to close their doors this year, and the future of those that remain is looking a little wobbly.

The organisers of the Dublin Flea market are lobbying Dublin City Council to make some provision for market spaces in Dublin’s ongoing development plan. They want to ensure that markets and indie retailers aren’t squeezed out by the bigger players… And we want to support them! The Beasties and I love our markets, and we’d hate to see them become a thing of the past.

And even if you don’t live in Dublin, your signature still counts! Because you might want to visit at some stage, right? And wouldn’t it be nicer to travel to a city with its own unique identity?

So, please take a sec to click through and sign their online petition here.

Alrighty, back to my crafting table I go! We’ll be back next Tuesday with a quick reminder about our last market of the festive season. See you then, and have a great week!

 

Old Wall, New Market Season Beasties - CrawCrafts Beasties

The Calm Before Market Season

Hello everybody! There’s heavy weather forecast for Dublin later today, so as I write I’m looking out the window and enjoying the bright sky and autumn colours before the storm sets in! And it seems doubly apt, because with market season on the way, right now is the calm before THAT particular storm kicks off too.

So, I thought it would be the perfect moment to share some sunny snaps I took on a bright, crisp Saturday a couple of weeks ago, when I let a few Beasties off the leash in the gardens at the Irish Museum of Modern Art!

First of all, I had to get them there. And that wasn’t easy, with every other tree presenting them with a tantalising climbing challenge and colourful photo opportunity!
Cosy Scarf Beastie in the Tree - CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough it turns out that urban scenery appeals to them too.Aran Beastie at the Camac River - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd interestingly, Aran Beastie has stumbled upon The River That Google Maps Forgot! This is the River Camac, whose name took some pretty intense searching to find… Possibly because it has been sent underground in several places along its course to avoid various roads, canals and other man-made features, and then it trickles unobtrusively into the Liffey at the end of its journey. Around here, though, its rushing waters made a pleasant soundtrack to our wanderings.

Now, onwards! We’re almost there.

Inside the gate, we found a rustic stone wall that was crying out for some Beastie action!
Cosy Scarf Beastie and Gift Beastie - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd a faded alcove at the entrance to the formal gardens made an excellent spot for a group photo.
Old Wall, New Market Season Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut when I turned the Beasties loose in the hedges, they really started to have fun!
Hedge Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesThey also enjoyed walking down the tree-lined avenues, and marvelling at how tall their shadows looked in the sunshine!
Autumn Sun - CrawCrafts BeastiesAutumn Sunshine Before Market Season - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs the sun started to set, it was time to think about heading for home. But wait a sec, isn’t there someone missing?

GAAAAAAAAH! PANIC!

Fortunately, Gift Beastie’s lovely bright pink complexion was easy to spot among the green grass and fallen leaves.
Gift Beastie Leaf - CrawCrafts Beasties“I just stopped to look at this leaf… Check out that yellow! You should get some wool this colour for next year.”

And with that, all the Beasties piled into my bag and let me carry them home. Thanks, lads.

Back at Beastie Towers, I was able to put these pics to good use… As market season promotional shots! I sent them off to the nice folks at the Dublin Flea Christmas Market, and my profile on their site went live this morning! See which photos made the cut here.

And don’t forget to join us again next week, when I’ll be confirming my final lineup for Market Season 2018!

See you then!

 

Tae (Tea) Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Beastie News Roundup!

Hello there Beastie friends! How’s your week going? This week’s post is going to be a bit of a mixed bag, as we catch up with a few snippets of Beastie news that I’ve been meaning to share for a while.

So, without further ado, let’s start the show…

Beastie Autumn Fun Worldwide!

Autumn Leaf Colours - CrawCrafts Beasties Explorer Beastie isn’t the only little monster who’s been out and about enjoying the fall colours. Before he even stuck a paw outside, tierneycreates Beastie was enjoying the great outdoors with her mini-miniature schnauzer Mikelet!

tierneycreates Beastie and Mikelet - T Hogan
Picture sneakily borrowed from https://tierneycreates.com

This woolly little lady was so excited to change into her handknitted Aran sweater and kick through the fallen leaves… Although be advised that this post contains – SHOCK – Beastie nudity! You have been warned! Be sure to skip over to Tierney’s blog and check out the full post – it really made me smile.

If you’re in the mood for something more blood-curdling though, you might want to swing by Tammie Painter’s site and see what Finn McSpool encountered on his autumnal wanderings.

Finn McSpool at Hallowe'en - T Painter
Image spirited away from https://tammiepainter.com

Portland, Oregon is already gearing up for Hallowe’en, and the city is sporting some truly spine-chilling finery! Finn caught up with some celebrity spookies at City Hall, but the true horror was lurking in someone’s garden on the walk home. And if that wasn’t enough to turn you into a gibbering wreck, Tammie also used my October calendar page as the basis for a tale of Beastie terror that will scare the stuffing out of even the most courageous woolly monster!

Spooky Beastie Colouring - T Painter
Image Beastie-napped from https://tammiepainter.com

And Also in the Blogosphere…

Now, I usually like to keep things nice and upbeat here on the BeastieBlog. I mean, life is serious enough, right? But wow, this year September was tough! A couple of side projects that I’d invested a bit of time in came to nothing, and then I found out that I’d managed to completely miss the application call for my favourite Christmas market. Disaster!
Oooops! CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, I stumbled on some good readin’ among my fellow bloggers that helped perk me back up again. It was super cool to hear all about Weekes finding her creative feet again, and how taking photographs helped Paula of Typewriter Girl discover that she has an artistic streak after all! So thanks to both of you for making me smile!

Oh, and my mood lifted completely when I learned that the market I thought I’d missed out on had added an extra weekend, so I’m in! Hurrah! Full steam ahead on the Beastie-making!

And Looking Further Ahead…

Christmas Flea Stall 2017 - CrawCrafts BeastiesWhile we’re on the subject of Christmas markets, I’m in the process of confirming a few for this coming festive season! Check out my scedule so far!

  • The Dublin Christmas Flea is the big one, and, all being well, I’ll be there with bells on for the second weekend (that’s the 13th-16th December inclusive). If you’re in the neighbourhood, come on over and say hi! Entry is free, and there is always SO MUCH GREAT STUFF THERE! (Besides the Beasties, obviously.)
  • I’m also going to be selling at the Dublin Cat Fair for the first time! So I’m currently working on a few feline sidelines that will be exclusive to that event, as well as some cat-themed Beasties. That’s on the 25th November.

There are a couple more in the pipeline, which I’ll post about as soon as the details are finalised.

Phew! Beastie news roundup complete! So I’d better get on with some crafting now, or those market stalls are going to be a little bare!

How about you? Are you prepping for festivities, or planning to remain blissfully in denial until the 15th of December? Be sure to let us know in the comments!