A Cool Mama Beastie Commission, by CrawCrafts Beasties

When the Woolly Work is Done…

… It’s time to relax and unwind, and spend a little more time doing the things YOU want to do.

So when I was asked to create a very special retirement gift for a longtime Beastie follower to give to her mum, I wanted to make sure her monster counterpart had plenty of fun accessories. That way she can indulge in all her favourite activities, now that she has time to enjoy herself!

Let’s meet her, shall we? Hello there!
Cool Mama Beastie in Aran Sweater - CrawCrafts BeastiesFirst of all, you can see she’s sporting a very lovely handknitted Aran sweater. This Beastie’s human counterpart loves to travel… And although she’s been to some pretty far-flung destinations, the Aran Islands (which lie just off Ireland’s west coast) remain one of her favourite places to visit. What better way for a Beastie to celebrate this connection than with knitwear?

I also copied her new human friend’s hairstyle as closely as possible. Check out those lustrous chestnut locks, made from lovely soft alpaca yarn!
Alpaca Hair and Aran Sweater - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd now, how about something to tie into her working life? For a time, our Beastification subject worked for St Patrick’s Athletic Football Club – a Dublin team based in Inchicore, just to the west of the city centre. She’s also the head of a family of self-confessed football addicts… That made this a prime candidate for being included in the accessory lineup!

So I cracked out the magnifying lamp and got to work on a Beastie-sized supporters’ scarf in the team’s colours, complete with teeny hand-embroidered club crest!
Football Scarf - Commissions - CrawCrafts Beasties

Outside of work, this lady’s biggest passion is cooking. I did consider creating a full four-course meal in felt as a tribute to her culinary prowess, but in the end we settled on something more portable… A bag embroidered with the logo of her favourite local butcher!
Hand-embroidered Lawlor's Butchers Bag - CrawCrafts BeastiesWhen it’s not holding the ingredients for her latest gastronomic experiments, she can use it to carry everything she needs for her other favourite pastime – getting lost in a good book!
Books and Tote Bag - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs you can see, I’ve provided her with a selection of Beastie-appropriate titles – The Monster Family Cookbook and a classic Hercwool Poirot crime thriller!

So, let’s get everything all packed up…
All the Accessories - Commissions - CrawCrafts Beasties… And let the good times roll!
Ready for Retirement! CrawCrafts BeastiesThanks to Niamh for choosing to celebrate her Mum’s retirement the Beastie way… And for all her help in getting the blend of accessories just right!

We’ll be back next week with the last of Explorer Beastie’s London adventures, so be sure to join us then!

Beastie-sized Vinyl, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Friday Social #8 – Beasties, Books and a Blast From the Past

Hey there everybody, and happy Friday to you all! It’s been a busy week here in Beastie Towers… But I’m not able to share the fruits of my recent monster labours with you just yet. Fortunately, other members of our Beastie family have been out wreaking their own particular brand of woolly havoc in the wider world – specifically, in the library!

Diligent readers will no doubt remember tierneycreates Beastie’s very first adventure a couple of weeks ago… To her local library!

tierneycreates Beastie in the Library
Photo borrowed from tierneycreates.com

Now, I’ve always known that Beasties had a love of the written word… As you can see in this totally legit archive picture of a REALLY early monster friend (seriously, this might be one of the first 5 I made) hanging out with famous fictional crime novelist JB Fletcher!

Schtocks, She Wrote - Classic Beastie Picture from the Beastie HQ Archives - CrawCrafts Beasties
Image may have been digitally manipulated/entirely falsified.

However, there does seem to have been a spate of Beastie library visits lately… And in fact, one Beastie has gone so far as to convince his local book-lending establishment to give him a job. Look at him there… hard at work!

David Beastie at the Library
Image borrowed from tammiepainter.com

Of course, it probably goes without saying that this little woolly guy’s first day on the job didn’t exactly go without a hitch. Check out the full story here – it’ll have you in stitches!

And Sinéad Beastie has also been out and about, enjoying the sunshine in her local park.


Extra points for the sterling example of Beastie twinning in this picture!

Oh, and for anyone who’d like to see more of Sinéad Beastie, I just added her profile to the Gallery on the Beastie HQ website. Check it out here, or take a moment to revisit Mermaid Beastie from a couple of years ago!

So, have you any monster activities planned for the upcoming weekend? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments below! And we’ll be back again on Tuesday with more from Explorer Beastie – see you then!

A Beastie Birthday Bonanza!

It’s new Beastie day! So it must be… Friday? Yes, we’re breaking with tradition a little here, but after giving this very special pair a brief introduction in Tuesday’s post, I couldn’t wait a whole week to give you the guided tour! This cheerful monster couple were created as a very special birthday gift for author and long-term BeastieBlog reader Tammie Painter, and were requested by her husband as a surprise to round off their recent trip to Ireland.

So, after several top-secret design discussions, we decided to dress the Beasties in miniature versions of the outfits worn by their human counterparts on their wedding day!
Tammie and Mr Husband Beasties, by CrawCrafts BeastiesThat meant a sophisticated black dress with pin-tucked bodice and a floaty organza top layer for Tammie Beastie…
Tammie Beastie's Wedding Dress - CrawCrafts Beasties… With a hook-and-eye fastening closure at the back. These are my new favourite dress fastening!
Tammie Beastie's Dress Closeups - CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, Mr Husband Beastie was cool and casual in a Hawaiian-style shirt and shorts.
Mr Husband Beastie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesAlas, a true Hawaiian print comes up too large for Beastie-sized clothes! So I picked out a blue fabric that came as close as possible to the colours in the reference photos I worked from…
Mr Husband Beastie's Shirt - CrawCrafts Beasties… And then added a pair of boxy-framed glasses to complete the look!
Mr Husband Beastie in Glasses - CrawCrafts BeastiesVery stylish.

But wait a sec… What’s going on here?
Beastie Wedding Outfits - CrawCrafts BeastiesAha! Good call, Beasties!
Tammie and Mr Husband Beasties in Aran Sweaters - CrawCrafts BeastiesThose hand-knitted Aran sweaters are much more suitable for exploring the Emerald Isle! Oh, and look…
Beastie Bags, by CrawCrafts Beasties… They have bags, too! A red felt backpack for Mr Husband Beastie, and a teal shoulder bag for Tammie Beastie! Now, what can they put in there?

How about a sketchbook and pen, to record the highlights of the trip?
Beastie-Sized Sketchbook and Pen, by CrawCrafts BeastiesOr maybe snacks for long bus journeys!
Beastie-Sized Cookie and Sandwich, by CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd if you have snacks, you’ll need something to wash them down with. Hop Monster IPA, anyone? This special Beastie brew comes in a needle-felted bottle, with hand-embroidered felt label!
Hop Monster IPA, handmade by CrawCrafts BeastiesOr, for the designated drivers, a nice hot cup of tea from the travel flask might be just the thing.
Beastie Flask, by CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd last but not least… Don’t forget your reading material! This Ireland travel guide will surely come in handy, while “The Trials of Herc-Woollies” will make the plane journey home pass much more quickly!

(Oh, and human readers can pick up a copy of the non-Beastie version, “The Trials of Hercules” for FREE right now! Find out more here)
Beastie Books, by CrawCrafts Beasties“Hmmmm… I think we’d better pack all of it, just to be on the safe side!”
Complete Beastie Travel Kit - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd now I reckon they’re ready to go!
Tammie and Mr Husband Beasties, Plus Accessories! Birthday Gift Commission by CrawCrafts BeastiesBon voyage, Beasties!

Have any of you got big plans for the weekend? And if so, what will you be packing in your backpack? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Aaand we’ll be back on Tuesday as usual, with more antics from Paddy and Plunkett. See you then!

A Nice Relaxing Day at Beastie Towers

Being out and about is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to enjoy the quiet life! And as someone who has always been a fan of more… um… sedentary activities – just ask anyone who has ever tried to get me to run anywhere, or play sports for “fun” – it was only a matter of time before I started sharing my favourite pastimes with my ever-growing Beastie family!

Here, let me introduce you to my latest batch of Hobby Beasties…
Knitter Beastie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesFirst up – well, no surprises here! It’s always nice to have a Knitter Beastie around, even if they do dip into my yarn stash every once in a while.

What are you working on there, Knitter Beastie?
Knitter Beastie's Latest Project - CrawCrafts Beasties“Hmmmm… I think this might become a toasty winter sweater!”

Much as I love to knit, there is one other hobby that I really go out of my way to make time for…
A New Reader Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties…READING!

I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I even loved books before I learned how to read them, a quirk which my parents used to make my earliest mealtimes go a little more smoothly. As I pawed through my book of animal pictures, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, I barely even noticed that I was surreptitiously being fed at the same time!

So of course, the first Beastie accessory I ever made was a little felt book…

Bookworm Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Not the first one, but definitely an early one!

…and you’ll usually find a Reader Beastie hanging out in the gang on my market stall!

I also have endless fun coming up with titles for their books… Regular visitors to the BeastieBlog will know that these titles have to be a pun that references monsters, yarn or craft, so this latest Beastie is reading “The Purl”!
Reader Beastie's Book - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd here are some other classics from the Beastie Towers Library!
Beastie Library, by CrawCrafts BeastiesHow do you like to spend your down time? Let us know in the comments!

Leabhar Beastie Closeup - CrawCrafts Beasties

A Very Beastie Birthday in Portland, Oregon

Hooray! It’s finally Friday! So I thought we’d get the weekend off to a great (and slightly earlier than usual) start by visiting another Beastie abroad. This time, we’re skipping across the pond to Portland, Oregon, where a book-loving Beastie has made a new home for himself with writer and artist Tammie Painter – talk about a match made in heaven! He arrived just in time to join her for her birthday celebrations… Let’s see what they got up to! Oh, and I’d also recommend sticking around on Tammie’s blog to check out her incredibly finely-detailed artwork, or stop into her Etsy shop for some Father’s Day themed gift ideas 🙂

Tammie Painter

As promised many moons ago when I revamped my blog, although I no longer have a regular travel feature, I will occasionally share any travel adventures I do have. Last week was my birthday and to celebrate I decided I’d take a tour of Portland’s Japanese Garden.

While I do love gardens, there were a few ulterior motives behind this choice. First, it was free thanks to the Cultural Pass from my local library; second, it was only a short hop away from where I wanted to have a birthday pint; and third, I was hoping to get a few reference photos for future art projects.

Oh, and last but not least, I had a new friend who had recently moved to Portland from Ireland and wanted to see a few sites in his new home.

Meet Finn McSpool Beastie


Look at that face. how could anyone resist him? Finn…

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Hooray! New Beasties!

Brand New Barróg Beasties by CrawCrafts BeastiesWe’re taking a leap forward in time on the BeastieBlog this week – after meeting a prehistoric proto-Beastie in the last post, you’re probably ready for something new and exciting! So here they are… the first two Barróg Beasties of 2016!

For anyone who doesn’t yet have a working knowledge of the various species of Beastie out there, Barróg Beasties are a subspecies native to the island of Ireland. Their skin is made from 100% Irish wool, and they can be recognised by their slightly smaller size (we Celts are generally a diminutive people) and their typically Irish accessories… Like Irish humans, they’re prepared to travel pretty much anywhere, but they always like to bring a piece of home with them. And that word “Barróg”? That’s Irish for hug, which seemed to sum these friendly little monsters up perfectly!

So, first up from this pair is Aran Beastie!
Aran Beastie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesRemind you of anyone?
A Familiar Beastie Face - CrawCrafts BeastiesI’ve noticed that a lot of Irish knitwear companies have started to think outside the woolly box lately, and make traditional-style Aran sweaters in colours other than cream! So I thought I would hop on the bandwagon myself, and give this Beastie a jumper in fresh spring green…
Aran Beastie's Aran Jumper - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd as for his friend…
Leabhar (Book) Barrog Beastie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesMeet Leabhar Beastie! “Leabhar” is the Irish word for “book”, and this literary little monster has taken on quite the reading challenge…
Leabhar Beastie's Book - CrawCrafts BeastiesYes, that is a hand-embroidered copy of the rambling Beastie yarn “Spin-egans Wake”… This monstrously convoluted, near-impenetrable book is loosely based on James Joyce’s novel “Finnegans Wake”, often cited as one of the most difficult, complex pieces of fiction ever written. In fact, there’s a book group in Cambridge, Massachusetts who have been reading “Finnegans Wake” for the last 18 years! They’re currently on their second read-through, which began in 2010… Their first reading took 13 years. I wonder if we’ll have to set up a book club here to help Leabhar Beastie tackle his own literary adventure?Leabhar Beastie Closeup - CrawCrafts BeastiesHe seems to be getting on fine so far though – just look at that contented smile.

There will be more new Beasties joining these two soon… And tune in next week to see another hidden Dublin treasure with Explorer Beastie! See you then…

Beasties at Work - CrawCrafts Beasties

Back to School at Beastie Towers!

Beasties at Work - CrawCrafts BeastiesLast week was one of those weeks when life just got in the way – for starters, a busy few days at Other Work after being just a Maker of Monsters for a month was a bit of a shock to the system! And while I was distracted with that, the plumbing here at Beastie Towers decided it would be an excellent time to start wreaking all kinds of aquatic mayhem.

So unfortunately, that means I have no new Beasties for you today – despite the best efforts of my little helpers, who you can see working away in the photo above!

However, I thought this little hiccup might be the perfect opportunity to tell you all a little more about what’s going on behind the scenes here at Beastie Towers… namely, my own ongoing education.
(Picture borrowed from www.fatmovieguy.com)

You see, last year I was busy. Flat-out, using-every-spare-second-and-then-some BUSY. And it occurred to me that I’d sort of reached the limits of the skills I had, and it was high time I picked up some more – skills that would help me to better design, make and share my creations.

Alas, there is no real-life Monsters University where I can enroll, so I’ve had to make up my own study programme. Here, let me introduce you to some of my teachers!

Next Level Sewing with Abby Glassenberg

Abby blogs at whileshenaps.com, and while I’ve learned a lot from her regular posts and newsletters about running a crafty business, I really hit the jackpot when I treated myself to a copy of her book “Stuffed Animals – From Concept to Construction” just after Christmas. Even flicking through the book for the first time was exciting… Finally, I’d found someone who was teaching the stuff I needed to know! Up until now, I’ve had to figure everything out myself, using a combination of guesswork and techniques borrowed from dressmaking books, with varying degress of success. But with Abby as my guide, I’ve been better able to understand how to cut and shape fabric so that it does my bidding faster, easier and with considerably less cursing!

So far, I’ve been mostly dipping into the help sections when I need guidance… but I have also attempted one of the projects. I made this felt bunny as a gift for a little girl who turned one in January!
Felt Bunny (From an Abby Glassenberg Pattern) by CrawCrafts BeastiesBunny Closeup (Pattern by Abby Glassenberg) - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe pattern was super-easy to follow, and it was nice to let someone else do the brainwork for once! That said, I did still stitch every seam by hand. So, another class I’ve been taking is…

Sewing Machine Wrangling 101

This is not really a class. This is me sewing miles and miles of practice seams on my sewing machine, to become better at using it. On the plus side, I’ll never need to buy another cushion cover!
Cushions, Cushions Everywhere! CrawCrafts BeastiesI’ve also been honing my drawing skills, so that I’m able to put sketches for commissions together more quickly…
Beastie Beginnings - CrawCrafts BeastiesFor this, I’ve been trying to keep up with Tammie Painter’s Sketchbook Saturdays… here’s what I came up with for this week’s prompt, “Leafing Out”!
Sketchbook Page 1 - CrawCrafts BeastiesSketchbook Page 2 - CrawCrafts Beasties I’ve also signed up for an online sketchbook workshop on Tammie’s recommendation, so I fully expect these doodlings to magically become Da Vinci standard over the next couple of weeks!

And finally, I’ve been taking a Social Media Refresher Course using this book…
(Cover image from www.thedesigntrust.co.uk)

Aaaah, social media… yes, it’s great for sharing your crafty goodies with the whole world, in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible a few short years ago. But it feels like such a time sink! I’m sure I’m not the only person who dips a toe into the murky waters of Facebook “just to have a quick look”, and resurfaces 2 hours later. I feel like there has to be a better way to use social networks which I can’t quite figure out by myself, so I’m going to let someone else explain it to me. With pictures. And that’s what this book is for. Here’s the review on Fizzi-Jayne Makes which convinced me to give it a shot!

Oh, and I nearly forgot! As an extra-credit assignment, I’ve been having a stab (ha!) at needle felting, in the hope that I’ll be able to use this method to make some of the Beasties’ smaller, fiddlier accessories. That, and it’s great for stress relief after all this studying!

Have you tried anything new this year? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Reader Beastie… Or Cowboy Beastie?

Beastie in Boots - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
It’s widely assumed that bookworms tend to be stay-at-home types, who like nothing more than curling up on the sofa and losing themselves in a good story. Not so for Reader Beastie! Since moving to Canada earlier in the year, he’s really flung himself into the life of a ranch hand… although as you can see from the photo above, he’s yet to find a proper pair of cowboy boots in his size!

However, there are other ways for a Beastie to get about…
Reader Beastie, Travelling in Style! N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And it looks like he’s waaaaay better at horseriding than I ever was, too!
Saddle Up! N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
We’ve just caught him on his way out to the community pasture, where he’ll be checking up on the livestock. This huge stretch of land (around 6000 acres) is owned by the Saskatchewan government and is leased by a group of local farmers every summer. It’s a great opportunity for the cattle to stretch their legs and raise their calves in the great outdoors! Everything seems to be in order here, anyway…
Reader Beastie Checks the Herd - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And it’s also fun to catch up with all the gossip at the water cooler.
Water Cooler Chat - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
You never know who else you might meet out here… Hey there, baby hawks!
Baby Hawks in their Nest - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
Reader Beastie decided not to hang around until mum came back, though. He figured it was probably safer to take a break a little further down the road, where his buddy the cowdog could keep sketch…
Reader Beastie Takes a Break - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
…While he took a weight off in the sagebrush…
Reader Beastie Relaxes in the Sunshine - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And enjoyed the view!
View of Big Coulee Pasture - N Couture/CrawCrafts Beasties
All in a day’s work for this intrepid little monster… at this rate, he’ll be able to write his own book!

Thanks to Nicole for sending me pictures from Reader Beastie’s latest adventure. I love to see what the Beasties get up to once they leave Beastie Towers, so keep those photos coming!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Time For A Monster-Sized Snack!

Coca-Cola Beastie by CrawCrafts Beasties
Aaaah, it’s a beautiful day here at Beastie Towers! The sun is shining, the birds really are singing… it couldn’t be more perfect for sitting outside with a good book and an ice-cold can of something fizzy. So it’s lucky that Coca-Cola Beastie is making his special guest appearance on the BeastieBlog today!

The tale of Coca-Cola Beastie really begins with another Beastie. A couple of months ago, I decided to make a monster to celebrate our national obsession with Tayto cheese and onion crisps. These delectable delicacies are one of the things Irish people living abroad miss the most (along with strong tea and decent bacon), and I would estimate that a sizable chunk of Tayto’s annual output ends up being unofficially shipped overseas in care packages and holiday luggage. Tayto crisps also have their own theme park, and when Mr Tayto (an anthropomorphised potato in a suit, who is the company’s mascot) published his autobiography a few years back, it sold more than 60,000 copies. I figured the Beasties deserved a bite of the crispy, delicious action as well, so I set about making a miniaturised bag of tasty felt crisps for one of them to enjoy… You can see Tayto Beastie here, on the right in front of the teapot!
Beasties at the Market - CrawCrafts Beasties
Tayto Beastie was lucky enough to find a new home that very day, and it wasn’t long before his new family were looking for another snack-loving Beastie to keep him company! This monster needed to reflect his new mum’s love of Coca-Cola, “Great Expectations” and purple, so…
Coca-Cola Beastie relaxes in the sunshine! CrawCrafts Beasties
The book’s cover is designed to look like an old-school Penguin Classic, as specially requested in the commission… Great idea, don’t you think?
Coca-Cola Beastie's copy of Great Expectations, by CrawCrafts Beasties
And of course, there’s the all-important can of Coke! It’s made from felt, with hand-embroidered lettering.
Coca-Cola Beastie's Favourite Tipple, by CrawCrafts Beasties
And here are the two Beasties together on the day they met! (Picture from Instagram)
Coca-Cola Beastie and Tayto Beastie - C Moran/CrawCrafts BeastiesLet’s hope they get a chance to enjoy their snacks outside later… maybe today’s the day the Beasties will have their picnic!

More New Beasties…

Rugby Beastie

Holy moly! It’s been another busy week… this summer is just zipping by! At least I’ve been able to find a couple of spare minutes to finish off a few new Beastie friends. Yesterday, I sent a top secret Beastie commission to his new home – I’ll share pictures once he reaches his destination successfully!

I also thought that the Creative Collective shop in Dalkey could use a bigger Beastie turnout. Beasties are naturally gregarious creatures, and they’re happiest when they’re hanging out in a big bunch. So I used that as an excuse to add the final touches to some monsters who have been living in my “In Progress” box for a while.

First of all, meet our cover star… Rugby Beastie!
Rugby Beastie side view

Rugby Beastie is the newest addition to the Irish squad. He’s shown up for training this morning with his own rugby ball and old-school rugby jersey, and he’s taped up his ears to prevent long-term damage…

Cauliflower Ear!

Uh-oh! Looks like he’s a little too late on that one. And because he’s my first Rugby Beastie, it was obvious which number he should get…
Rugby Beastie back view

Cheering him on from the sidelines is a lady who usually prefers to stay at home with a good book – Book Club Beastie!
Book Club Beastie

With her mop of blonde hair and natty print skirt, she can easily be spotted lugging another huge bag of purchases out of her local bookshop or enjoying a good read in her favourite cafe. What’s she reading right now, you ask?
The Great Knitsby

“The Great Knitsby”, of course!

Thanks for stopping by… have a monster weekend, everyone!