Monster Juice - CrawCrafts Beasties

Monsters and Magical Houses

Happy Friday, everyone! And it’s not just the end of the week – today we’re also on the very last leg of our recent Germany trip. But I think I’ve saved the best for last, because it turns out that Germany is just full of the kind of cute monsters that the Beasties and I love so much! We’ll meet them later in the post.

First, let’s check out that magical house I mentioned!
Hundertwasserhaus Waldspirale, Darmstadt - CrawCrafts BeastiesHow’s THAT for a cool place to live?

This very unusual building is called the Waldspirale (“Forest Spiral”), and it’s in Darmstadt, a city just south of Frankfurt. It was designed by an Austrian-born New Zealand artist and architect called Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and the best part is that it’s not just for show. Yes, people actually do live here!

Apart from the glowing gold domes on the roof, I also loved the gentle layers of colour, smooth curved surfaces and the proliferation of plants everywhere.Views of Hundertwasser Waldspirale - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd these things are recurring themes in Hundertwasser’s designs – he was very much against straight lines and standardisation. This is especially obvious when you see the staircase in the central courtyard!
Stairs at Hundertwasserhaus Waldspirale - CrawCrafts Beasties

So, if I ever feel the need to relocate Beastie Towers to Germany, I reeeeeeallllly hope they have a spot for us in here! Oh, and fun fact – while you’ll find most of Hundertwasser’s buildings in Germany and Austria, there are a few others scattered in choice locations across the world. They include a winery in the Napa Valley in the US, an incineration plant in Osaka, Japan, and… A public toilet block in Kawakawa, a small town in the northernmost region of New Zealand!

Now, who wants to meet some monsters? Because trust me, they were everywhere! We found monster street art…
Monster Street Art in Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties… Mascots in shops…
Monsters and Mascots in Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties… And friends on every street corner!
Monsters on every corner - CrawCrafts Beasties

Hey, is this making you thirsty? Have some monster juice!
Monster Juice - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd now I think it’s high time we kicked back with a nice cup of monster tea…
Monster Tea for Me! CrawCrafts Beasties… And remember all the friends, old and new, we met on our trip!
Beastie Friends - CrawCrafts BeastiesCheers for joining us on our travels – and also a massive THANK YOU to all the Beastiebuddies who made our German trip so much fun!

We’ll be back on Tuesday with more monster shenanigans… In the meantime, are your paws taking you anywhere interesting this weekend? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments!

Old Meets New in Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties

Fine Art Fun in Frankfurt!

OK, so the last couple of posts here on the BeastieBlog have been a little on the wild side…
Wild Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ… But there’s more to Frankfurt than its zoo, y’know! Today, we’re going to take a trip into the city centre in search of some culture.

Even walking through the streets of Frankfurt was an interesting experience – everywhere we turned, it seemed that old-fashioned buildings were rubbing shoulders with the towering glass skyscrapers that you’d expect to see in one of Europe’s main financial centres.
Old Meets New in Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThat said, there’s a good chance that many of these classical-looking buildings aren’t much older than their shiny modern neighbours. Like many cities in the industrial Rhineland region, Frankfurt was heavily bombed in the Second World War, and its renowned medieval town centre was hit especially hard.

This blend is clearer as you approach the river Main…
Explorer Beastie Blocking the View of the Main - CrawCrafts Beasties…Well, it would be if a certain Beastie wasn’t hogging centre stage! The Main cuts the city neatly in half, and since we needed to be on the other side, we made a beeline for that bridge up ahead.

Explorer Beastie on Eiserne Steg, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd we chose our crossing point well! This is the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge), a pedestrian bridge which is a great place to stop and admire the cityscape…
Love Locks on Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties… Or, if you’re Explorer Beastie, to hang out among the love locks.

On the other side, we wandered down the riverbank for a while – mostly because I am atrocious at navigation and took a wrong turn at the end of the bridge. I’m glad I did though, because otherwise we would have missed this place!
Portikus, Frankfurt, From the Riverbank - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt looks like a magical castle, lost in a leafy forest… But this unusual building actually houses a contemporary art gallery called Portikus. Portikus has had a couple of homes around Frankfurt since it was founded in 1987, the first of them being the portico of the old public library building, which is where the name comes from. The gallery finally moved into its first purpose-built home in this tower on an island in the Main in 2006.

We’ll have to save our visit for another day though, because we already had a plan! Onwards!

And here we are. Look, someone’s even opening the door for us.
Explorer Beastie at Staedel, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis is the Städel Museum, home to a vast art collection that includes everything from old masters to contemporary artists from Germany and further afield.

We thought we’d start at the beginning, with the Old Masters on the top floor. That meant tackling some stairs!
Climbing up to the Old Masters - CrawCrafts BeastiesPhew! Poor Explorer Beastie needed a bit of a rest after that lot… Although he pretended he was just examining this wall of portraits.
Old Masters at the Staedel Museum, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Old Masters gallery is brimming over with incredible paintings, some of them dating back to the late Middle Ages! Since I know some of you will be reading this over lunchtime, I’ll spare you the gory crucifixion and martyrdom images that seemed to so inspire artists at that time, and share this picture of Explorer Beastie examining “The Geographer” by Vermeer instead.
Explorer Beastie Meets Vermeer - CrawCrafts Beasties

And speaking of lunch… As we made our way onwards into the modern era, we stumbled upon a Renoir!
Renoir at the Staedel Museum - CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’s it on the left – and how appropriate that it’s called “La Fin du Déjeuner” (After the Luncheon)! But if you’re still hungry, perhaps I can tempt you with some Mondspargel (Moon Asparagus)…
Mondspargel by Max Ernst - CrawCrafts Beasties
We also found a scene that looked mighty familiar in this Max Beckmann painting…
A Familiar View - CrawCrafts BeastiesHey, didn’t we just cross that bridge earlier? I suppose we were lucky that the river below wasn’t full of ice, as it is in the painting. Brrrr!

This brought us nearly to the present day. So after a quick photo opportunity at John Armleder’s Mirror Mosaic wallpiece…
Mirror Wall at Staedel, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties… We headed underground to check out the Städel’s contemporary collection.

Out of all the pieces on display, Explorer Beastie particularly wanted to have his photo taken with this Rosemarie Trockel piece – can you figure out why?
Explorer Beastie Appreciates Art - CrawCrafts BeastiesNo, its nothing to do with the reference to the 90s… Although that was always going to catch my eye! Here, look a little closer…
Closeup - Who Will Be In In '99, Rosemarie Trockel - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s knitted! Explorer Beastie found this particularly inspiring – he says he never realised art was in the very fabric of his being. Now he’s planning his first solo show.

So, since he had work to do, there was just time for one last shot in this awesome space…
Explorer Beastie in the Contemporary Art Floor at Staedel - CrawCrafts Beasties… Before we headed back upstairs to ground level!

And believe me, we only scratched the surface of this incredible museum… So if you ever find yourself in Frankfurt, make sure it goes at the top of your to-see list!

We’ll be back on Friday with the last of our Germany photos, so be sure to join us for a monster-filled trip finale. See you then!

Freaky Friday in Frankfurt!

Happy Friday, everyone! And since the weekend is very nearly here, I thought you might be tantalised by a post about the weirder things we encountered on our recent visit to Frankfurt Zoo! Buuuuut if you want to start out slow, don’t worry – you can catch up with the cute fuzzies from Tuesday’s post here.

So, we left Explorer Beastie and his new friend Rose the Pink Unicorn here…
Submarine Cruise at Frankfurt Zoo! CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere to next? Let’s see what we can find under the waves… Dive dive dive!

Hey look – WE FOUND NEMO!
Finding Nemo - Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesFrankfurt Zoo has a really great aquarium and reptile house… Alas, the light levels were too low for my long-suffering camera! If you’re in desperate need of some fishy pics, our recent snaps from Düsseldorf Aquazoo should help to tide you over.

Time to resurface! And back on dry land, a feathered friend hinted at what we should go to look at next.
A Peacock Points the Way - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQThere are heaps of exotic birds living here – some of them in free-flight aviaries you can actually walk through! Here are a few of our favourite sightings… An elegant red-crowned crane, a shy cassowary and a brightly-coloured bee-eater!
Birds at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQBut hey, I promised you weirdness! And although these boat-billed herons definitely look like they’re plotting something sinister…
Boat Billed Herons at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties…They’re no match for the mighty marabou stork!
Marabou Stork at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties

These massive, cadaverous-looking birds might not be winning any beauty contests, but they’ve a long association with the world of high fashion. You see, for many years, their delicate fluffy down (called “marabou”) was coveted as a trimming for the most glamorous evening wear and saucy lingerie! Not only is it soft and fuzzy, it’s naturally white and takes dye really well, too.

Of course, the downside of this for the marabou stork was that it almost literally became a fashion victim. Fortunately, a shift towards synthetic marabou, or using similar feathers harvested from domesticated turkeys, has helped them to bounce back. Hurrah!

Moving on from the aviaries, we met some more unusual creatures – an entire family of baboons, who had come inside to shelter from a passing rainstorm.
Baboons at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt was the first time either of us had seen a hamadryas baboon, and Explorer Beastie thought they were really strange. Mind you, from the look the big male on the left is shooting at us, I reckon he thinks the same about us!

And while these guys were all safely behind glass (thank goodness! You should have seen the size of their teeth), in another section of the primate house, we encountered a daring escape artist!
Escapee Lemur! CrawCrafts Beasties“You ain’t seen me, right?”

This lemur had somehow found him/herself outside the enclosures where the other lemurs were nonchalantly going about their day. Since there were staff about, we figured this separation was intentional… But that didn’t stop us being really surprised at first!

Oh, and then Explorer Beastie got distracted by the “most dangerous animal” exhibit, which he completely misunderstood and used as a photo op.
The Most Dangerous Animal in the World - CrawCrafts Beasties

Then again, the idea of being a dangerous animal didn’t seem to faze him that much. He wanted one of these signs for himself.
Beware of the Beastie! CrawCrafts BeastiesRight, time for you to mellow out a bit! Let’s go and visit the gorillas.
Gorillas at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesOne of them even came to hang out with us for their lunch break!
Lunch with a Gorilla - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut by the time we left the great apes, those scattered rain showers had become a steady downpour. We took shelter in the nocturnal house… Yes, definitely shelter! We totally weren’t hiding from this guy.
Gaaaaaah! Giant Bat! CrawCrafts BeastiesNope, not terrifying in the slightest.

But even the giant screaming bat couldn’t frighten the rain away. In fact, it got even heavier! So we decided to head for home. For some of the zoo’s inhabitants though, it seemed to be a refreshing end to a long hot day at work!
Sea Lion Enjoying the Rain at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThanks for joining us on our whirlwind tour of the Zoo! And if you’ve any plans to hang out with furred or feathered friends over the weekend, be sure to let us know in the comments!

We’ll be back on Tuesday with more from Frankfurt, so don’t forget to join us then… Have a super weekend!

It’s a Jungle in Here!

Hey there everybody! It may be another bright and sunny Tuesday in Dublin, but here in Beastie Towers we’re still dreaming of our recent adventures in Germany
Explorer Beastie in Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ… And today’s post finds us moving on to Frankfurt, where we had urgent business – visiting Frankfurt Zoo with friends!

At around this time, Frankfurt Zoo was experiencing a bit of a baby boom. The main attraction was the triplet lion cubs, who had arrived in mid-April, but it turned out this momma bear had had some good news of her own recently too!
Mummy Bear at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesShe was a lot braver than the cubs though – we were only just able to see them peeking their noses out from the doorway in the background!

And while the lion cubs had been formally introduced to their adoring public at the end of May, this new family wasn’t being subjected to the spotlight all day every day. But thanks to the wonders of technology, we were still able to see all the latest goings-on inside the lions’ den!Inside the Lions' Den - CrawCrafts Beasties Hey, looks like it’s lunchtime!

A little further along, we were able to catch up with some less elusive creatures. Looks like Explorer Beastie is planning a new career as a goatherd!
The Woolly Goatherd - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext up – alpacas! They appeared to have had a haircut recently… What a shame I missed THAT! I would gladly have taken the trimmings off the Zoo’s hands for a reasonable fee.Alpacas at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, at the zebra enclosure, Explorer Beastie made a friend!
Rose the Unicorn, and some Zebras - CrawCrafts BeastiesSeems pink amigurumi unicorns enjoy a day at the zoo too!

And there were more pink creatures to see, like this vaguely rose-tinted pelican…
A Pinkish Pelican - CrawCrafts Beasties… And of course, FLAMINGOS!
Flamingos at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut it soon felt like we were back on the African plains… On our wanderings, we encountered a rhino, a klipspringer and a whole herd of dama gazelles!
African Wildlife at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie even got to hang out with the giraffes… Sort of.
Giraffes at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, because it was a really HOT day, we were happy to take the zoo up on an opportunity to cool off underwater! Hmm, is anybody home?
Anybody Home? CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQLuckily, there was a Beastie buddy on hand to make sure Explorer Beastie didn’t miss anything!
Seeing the Seals at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd to top it all off, he got to take ride in a submarine with his new friend Rose!
Submarine Cruise at Frankfurt Zoo! CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere will their undersea craft wash up? You’ll have to join us on Friday to find out…

Also, thanks to Isabel and Rose for all their help with the photos for this post! You’re the best!

Riverboats, Railways and Falling Elephants

Hello there Beastie friends! I’m working on some new monster projects which need to remain a closely-guarded secret for the moment… So I thought we’d switch up the posting schedule from the last couple of weeks. Let’s catch up with Explorer Beastie’s progress through Germany… And as you can perhaps tell from the unusual title, today’s post finds us in transit!View from the Train - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ

We decided to do all our internal travel in Germany by rail, and it was brilliant! The beautiful sun-drenched Rhineland countryside zipped past the window of our carriage, and we passed through a few of the region’s towns along the way. From our seats, we even glimpsed this alternative mode of transport in the city of Wuppertal…Wuppertaler Schwebebahn - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ

That green line cutting through the middle of the photo is the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn. This monorail holds the very specific honour of being the oldest “electric elevated railway with hanging cars” in the world. The first track opened in 1901, and it’s still in use today… But that’s not what it’s locally famous for.

Back in July 1950, the Althoff Circus decided it might be fun to put a baby elephant onto the Schwebebahn as a publicity stunt. As the car moved off, the elephant got bumped around a bit and actually fell out of the train…

Tuffi the Elephant on the Wuppertal Schwebebahn
Not my picture, obviously… Borrowed from Ullstein Bild, via

Fortunately her fall was broken by the river Wupper, and she only sustained minor injuries… but from that day on, she was known as “Tuffi” – the Italian word for “waterdive”.

Oh, and I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that the dopes who put her on the Schwebebahn in the first place were rewarded with hefty fines.

Now, onwards to Dortmund! Where a Beastie welcoming committee had rolled out the red carpet for us…Welcoming Committee, Dortmund Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties

Chelsea Wool-fe on the left there was my very first Goth Beastie – isn’t she looking well?

And there were more Beastie friends to catch up with later in the day, too. But first, let’s sample some of the local brew!A Dortmund Beer for Explorer Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Hey, look who’s here! It’s Alex Beastie!Meeting Alex Beastie at Herr Walter - CrawCrafts Beasties

Alex Beastie moved to Germany just before Christmas last year, so it was nice to be able to meet up with her again in less frantic circumstances! We took a table on the Herr Walter “Eventschiff” – a bar on a boat that’s permanently moored in Dortmund’s port. It was so refreshing being by the water on such a warm evening!Explorer Beastie and Alex Beastie Catch Up - CrawCrafts Beasties

And what better place to spot ducks and watch the sunset?Beasties at Sunset - CrawCrafts Beasties

The port area in Dortmund is changing, as the city leaves its industrial past behind and focuses on the technology and services sectors instead. And this change is happening all over town! The next day, we visited another district which has also had a major facelift in recent years.Explorer Beastie at Phoenix-See, Dortmund - CrawCrafts Beasties

This is Phoenix-See, a man-made lake whose shores are sprinkled with cafés, restaurants and upmarket houses.

In fact, we were only able to find one clue to its former identity as a steel works – this sculpture by the waterfront!Steelworks Sculpture at Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut in its new incarnation, as a place to spend a lazy Sunday clambering over the rocks on the shore, it’s hard to beat!Lazy Sunday at Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesLovely!View Over Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesHere’s wishing you all a nice, relaxing start to your week! And we’ll be back on Friday with a peek at what the rest of our Beastie family has been up to! See you then!

A Road to... Where? CrawCrafts Beasties

Düsseldorf Days – A Walk in the Park!

Hello everybody! It’s veeeery nearly the weekend… And between the scorching weather and the lovely time I’ve just spent picking out pictures to use in this post, it really does feel a lot like I’m still on holiday! Hopefully a little of that will radiate out from your screen as you read… Now, let’s catch up with Explorer Beastie and see what he got up to on our first day in Düsseldorf!
Catching up with Explorer Beastie in Nordpark - CrawCrafts BeastiesAha! He appears to have waded into a Beastie-sized jungle. It’s certainly an adventurous way to kick off the holiday! Maybe we’d better stick to the paths, though?
The Entrance to Nordpark, Düsseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties

When we visited Düsseldorf last spring we were only there for a few days, so we pretty much stayed in the city centre. This time, we took advantage of a bright sunny morning and hopped on the underground to Nordpark – a park made up of a series of themed gardens. Perfect for an early summer walk!

Everyone we saw stopped for a photo op with the fountains, so of course Explorer Beastie wanted to as well.
Explorer Beastie at the Nordpark Fountains - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd as we ventured in deeper, we found some formal walks to wander along…
Walking in Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties… And some places where Nature seemed to have gained the upper hand!
Space Left to Nature, Nordpark - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie found some interesting beetles wandering around here… Does anyone know what these are?
Explorer Beastie's Beetles - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd then, around the next corner, we found ourselves on the other side of the world!
The Japanese Lantern - CrawCrafts BeastiesWelcome to the Japanese Garden!

It’s a beautiful place to relax and stroll through – lush and shady, and there are even koi carp in the pond!
The Japanese Garden, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts BeastiesSomething you may not know about Düsseldorf is that it has one of Europe’s largest Japanese communities – in fact, the third biggest after London and Paris! In the years after the Second World War, a handful of Japanese firms set up in the city so that they could export metal and machinery from Germany’s industrial heartland back to Japan. Word spread, and by the early 1970s, 200 Japanese companies were registered there, and 2000 Japanese people called Düsseldorf home.

The community continued to grow through the 80s, but numbers dipped a little in the early 90s, when Germany’s capital relocated to Berlin and Japan’s economy took a downturn. However, Japanese people began to drift back to Düsseldorf from the late 90s onwards. Why? Because it already had everything they needed to help them feel at home when working in Europe – a support network for new arrivals, a Buddhist centre, a Japanese school and even a weekly Japanese newspaper!

So, to celebrate this special bond, in 1975 the Japanese garden was gifted to the people of Düsseldorf by the “Japanischer Garten in Düsseldorf” Association, a group of Japanese firms and members of the city’s Japanese community.

I’m not sure that those people could ever have imagined that one day, a little woolly monster from Ireland would be climbing in those perfectly-manicured trees…
Tree Climbing, Japanese Garden - CrawCrafts Beasties… Peering over the bridge…
What's Under the Bridge, Explorer Beastie? CrawCrafts Beasties… Or catching some rays beside the stream!
Sunbathing by the Stream, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts BeastiesFeeling very zen indeed, we took one last look back at the Japanese Garden…
Japanischer Garten, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties… And continued our wanderings! I really loved this place, too… A sundrenched meadow where the long grass was full of singing crickets!
The Cricket Meadow - CrawCrafts BeastiesHaving successfully “Beastie-bombed” my tranquil vista, Explorer Beastie tore on ahead to our next destination, at the end of this tree-lined path…
A Road to... Where? CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere are we off to? You’ll have to come back next Friday to find out!

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend – are you enjoying the same heat and sunny climes as we’re getting in Ireland? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to join us again on Tuesday to meet another new Beastie friend!

Paddy and Plunkett in Torquay's Greenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties, Beasties… Everywhere!

Hey there everybody! We’re baaaaaaack! And what a couple of weeks it’s been… Beasties have been popping up just about everywhere! So this post is about picking up where we left off, and telling you what you lucky folks can expect to see on the BeastieBlog over the next while!

First up, Paddy and Plunkett are still living it up in the English Riviera. Before I headed off on my break, they were exploring the steep stone-lined streets of Clovelly
Paddy Admires Clovelly Harbour Below - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But they haven’t stayed put in the meantime! The adventurous twosome have also been spotted gambolling in the beautiful flowerbeds in Torquay – clearly their tour of the Eden Project has given them an appetite for horticulture!
Paddy and Plunkett in Torquay's Greenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPlunkett also had high hopes of cooling off in a nearby Beastie-sized swimming pool – but for some reason this sign put him off.
Not a good day for a swim - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesErk. Probably for the best, Plunkett!

The boys also visited the laid-back, alternative town of Totnes, where Plunkett took some snaps of the unusual buildings and picturesque streets…
Views of Totnes, by Plunkett - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And Paddy visited a gender-neutral toilet. Um… Thanks, Paddy! I suppose these are still a rare enough sight back home – or maybe it was just the nice bright sign that caught his eye.
Paddy's Totnes Photo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, I might have mentioned once or twice that Explorer Beastie and I have been on holiday recently!
Beastie Holidays! Explorer Beastie in Germany - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe can’t wait to share our travel pics with you… I’m still amazed how much we managed to cram into our trip!

And if you can’t wait until next week to start the tour, you’ll get a quick fix of some of the highlights from our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds!


Then, if that lot has still left you hungry for more monster-based entertainment… There are new Beasties for you to meet! May was a veeeery busy month, and there are recent additions to the family who are keen to have their moment in the spotlight!

So, join us on Friday to meet a new monster friend! Plus we’ll also be checking what the rest of the Beastie community has been up to in our absence. See you then!

A Busy Beastie… And Her Best Friend!

Hello everybody, and welcome to the first proper BeastieBlog post of 2018! I hope you all got a bit of a break over the holidays – I know I certainly took advantage of the end-of-year lull to catch up on some sleep! But it’s great to be back, and right now is actually one of my favourite times of year. Yes, really! Because NOW I can finally start sharing my Christmas commissions with you all!

It was tricky to choose which of my latest Beasties I’d introduce you to first… But in the end, the honour has gone to this little monster lady!
Translator Beastie, with her Accessories - CrawCrafts Beasties
At a time of year when many of us are resolving to make changes in our lives or try new things, I thought that this multitalented Beastie might provide a little inspiration. She was created as a special companion for a lady who works as a translator, so she speaks a couple of languages…
Translator Beastie's French and German Dictionaries - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And she’s also interested in art history, so she never leaves home without a handy sketchpad and pen! You just don’t know when inspiration will strike.
Beastie-Size Sketchbook and Pen - CrawCrafts Beasties
Of course, she’d never get anything done if she had to carry all this stuff around in her paws. So I made her a cool satchel-style bag to put everything into!
Beastie Satchel Bag, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Perfect! She certainly looks happy… But what’s that I hear?
A Contented Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties
Aha! Beastie’s best friend… A sweet little felt pooch to keep her company while she works.
A Canine Companion for our Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties
Because this Beastie was going to live in Germany, I modelled her four-legged friend on traditional German breeds, like the German pinscher and Jagterrier. Hello there, pup!
Beastie Dog Closeup - CrawCrafts Beasties
I think it might be time for walkies… What do you reckon?
Beastie Walkies! CrawCrafts Beasties
And of course, there’s always time for hugs and treats!
Hugs From Beastiedog - CrawCrafts Beasties
This year certainly is off to a good start! How about you – any big plans for 2018? Let us know in the comments… and if one of your new year’s resolutions is to be more organised, don’t forget to download your FREE Beastie calendar pages from the store!
Calendar Page January - Paddy and Plunkett - Printable - CrawCrafts BeastiesJanuary is there now, and February will be added shortly!

We’ll be back next week, when I’ll be sharing snaps of my biggest ever custom order! See you then!

Explorer Beastie in Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie in Germany

Wilkommen, Beastie-Freunde!Explorer Beastie, hanging out in Koln - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie and I are just back from a great few days in Cologne and Düsseldorf! And there’s plenty here for both humans and monsters to enjoy… care to join us for a spin through the highlights of our trip?

First stop – Cologne! And of course, we had to go and have a look at the famous cathedral. This twin-spired Gothic masterpiece dominates the city skyline, and it only took 632 years to build! Still, the extra effort seems to have been worth it… The Kölner Dom is still the biggest cathedral in Germany, and thanks to those spires, it has the largest façade of any church in the world.
It is also, it turns out, really difficult to photograph. I’m still kicking myself for leaving my proper camera in the baggage lockers at the station and only bringing my phone with me!
At Cologne Cathedral - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut take our word for it – this is a real-must see. From the outside, which is just dripping with statues, flying buttresses and gargoyles, to the stained glass and high arched ceilings of the interior, it’s stunning from every angle. Oh, and it’s free to go in too – WIN!

As it turns out, we got a better view of it from further away. This is what you see from the rail bridge over the Rhine, where Explorer Beastie enjoyed a bit of boat-spotting and clambering among the padlocks attached to the fence as well!
The Bridge Over the Rhine - CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, sightseeing can make a Beastie pretty thirsty. Time for a glass of Kölsch, the region’s speciality beer… Prost!
A Toast with Kolsch - CrawCrafts BeastiesBetter not have too many of those, Explorer Beastie – day 2 is THEME PARK DAY!

Phantasialand is just outside Cologne, and I last visited it -gulp- at the turn of the century, when I was still in my teens. Eeeek! Despite much monster cajoling, I’m sad to say that my zeal for rollercoasters has waned somewhat since those days. Explorer Beastie was a little disappointed, but I was able to get him back on side by letting him hang out with a dragon for a while after lunch.
Beastie Meets Beastie - CrawCraftsBeastiesPlus there’s always plenty for a Beastie to see, even when you’re technically too small to go on most of the rides.
Explorer Beastie at Phantasialand - CrawCrafts BeastiesAfter all those high jinks, it was time for a stroll through the streets of Düsseldorf, our home for the long weekend.

We frequently found our feet (or paws) leading us down Königsallee, a leafy canalside walk near the centre of town. It’s lovely for a stroll…
Strolling at Konigsallee - CrawCrafts Beasties… A sit…
Explorer Beastie in Konigsallee - CrawCrafts Beasties…Or a chance to take a moment and watch the world go by.
Watching the world go by - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe also enjoyed meeting the creatures who grace the ironwork on the side of one of the bridges, even if we didn’t spot their living counterparts in the water below!
Creatures on the Bridge at Konigsallee - CrawCrafts BeastiesA little further down the road, the view is quite different. First, you pass the Rheinturm, Düsseldorf’s tallest building…
Explorer Beastie at the Rheinturm - CrawCrafts BeastiesOfficially, it’s a telecoms tower, but there’s also a revolving restaurant and observation deck up there for those with a good head for heights!

But for us, the sunny riverside location of Düsseldorf-Hafen beckoned, so we kept our paws on the ground and took in the sights of this redeveloped dockland area instead. These unusual buildings greet you as you head towards​ the water…
Neuer Zollhof at Dusseldorf-Hafen - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe white, silver and red brick “Neuer Zollhoff” blocks were designed by Frank Gehry, and are supposed to represent a family – the shiny silver building, the “child”, reflects its brick and white plaster “parents”. But, as you can see, its warped stainless steel walls double up as a handy funhouse mirror, perfect for monster shenanigans!
Practicing my Monster Smile - CrawCrafts BeastiesSome of the older buildings in the area have been given a fresh new makeover, too. Explorer Beastie’s favourite was this former storage facility, now being scaled by 29 brightly-coloured “Flossis”, created by Stuttgart-based artist Rosalie.
Monster Building Takeover! CrawCrafts BeastiesThere are a few nods to the area’s industrial past here, too…
Dusseldorf-Hafen - CrawCrafts BeastiesHigh five, old-school dockland crane!

And as the weekend wound down, we spent a lazy Sunday morning in the park…
Sunday Morning in the Park - CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough thanks to this rather dramatic signpost, we elected not to feed the ducks!

Don't Feed the Ducks! CrawCrafts Beasties
“Entenbrot ist Ententod” – literallly, “Duck bread is duck death”. Erk!

And what would a holiday be without a few friends in tow? Some of you may recognise my first Goth Beastie, Miss Chelsea Wool-fe, in this photo where she’s accompanied by Explorer Beastie and her chum Marge the Glamorous Pug.
Beastie Pals - Explorer Beastie, Goth Beastie and Marge - CrawCrafts BeastiesA perfect end to a super weekend!

Where are you all off​ to this summer? Let us know in the comments!

At The Bridge - L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties

Guest Post – Fairy Princess Beastie’s Adventure!

We’re turning the BeastieBlog on its head this week! Last Wednesday, I got another update from a Beastie abroad – like buses, these things tend to come along in threes – and I just couldn’t wait to share it with you! On a sunny autumn day last month, Fairy Princess Beastie’s human family took her on a special day trip, and they were good enough to send me both pictures AND tales of her antics. So, without further ado, I’m going to hand you over to Louise – your guide for this monster day out! Enjoy!

Fairy Princess Beastie spent a lovely autumnal day out visiting Germany’s longest suspension bridge in Geierlay, Hunsrück (that’s in Rhineland-Palatinate if you know your German states!)

Before she set off on her big walk, she needed to build up her strength with a hearty lunch at a local beer garden. As there was no Beastie Menu, she settled for the Kids’ menu… schnitzel and chips (yum) and also some colouring pencils to keep her busy while she waited.
Monster Lunchtime! L Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties
The 1.8km (that’s about 1.2 miles) walk to the bridge crosses over wide open fields and the views are dominated by various wind farms. Fairy Princess was intrigued and took a few minutes to check out the information panels on wind power…
All About Wind Power - L&P Döring/CrawCrafts BeastiesNot only did they explain the link between the wind turbines and the bridge (this is fully financed by the income produced by the local wind farms), they also described some of the archaeological discoveries made in digs preceding their development. Apparently, the Romans traded with local precious ores.
Now there’s something a princess can relate to – sparkly precious stones!

After plenty of walking it was time for a well-earned break for Fairy Princess Beastie and her companion Isabel. This must have given her back plenty of energy because next thing you know she was off climbing trees – check out this cool oak tree forest!
Time for a Break... And Tree Climbing! L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties
And then, finally, they found the bridge! But would they be brave enough to cross? It hangs 100m above a deep valley, is 85cm wide and 360m long!
At The Bridge - L&P Döring/CrawCrafts BeastiesQuite an adventure – even for a big Beastie like this one! And as if that wasn’t enough – check out this hawk circling above for some tasty Beastie-sized treats, eek!
Look Out, Fairy Princess Beastie! L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties
Fairy Princess Beastie summoned all her courage (and maybe cast a few anti-vertigo and protection spells for good measure) and was soon walking, jumping and even climbing on the bridge to get a good look down at the valley below! On the other side Isabel and Fairy Princess Beastie were amazed to see that the bridge has only been around since 2015.
Careful Now! L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties(Careful now, Fairy Princess Beastie! It’s lucky your people are there to hold onto you!)

After some more relaxing (and more tree and rock climbing)
More Climbing! L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties… It was time to head back over the bridge for the journey home. As her fairy wings had been left at home, the Beastie was very glad of a piggyback and a big drink after a successful adventure. The beer garden even had a traditional German beach chair for her and Isabel to relax in.
Heading For Home - L&P Döring/CrawCrafts Beasties
To keep everyone entertained, Fairy Princess Beastie waved her wand to perform a spontaneous fashion show before it was time for the long drive home – this girl loves her accessories!
So Stylish! L&P Döring/CrawCrafts BeastiesWhat a great day! Thanks again to Louise, Peter and Isabel for bringing Fairy Princess Beastie along, and for sharing your adventure with us!

And to keep with the topsy-turvy theme of the week, I’ll have new Beasties to share on Friday… Join us then to meet them before they head off to Smithfield Market Fair (Gothic Edition!) on Sunday 30th!