There’s something about that slight cooling of the air, the change in the light and all those Autumn colours that gets me every time. It’s a time of year when I just have to get out, stroll around Dublin’s parks and soak it all up!
And the Beasties like to get in on the Fall fun too, of course.
This year, we’re extra excited to be able to celebrate the arrival of Autumn by… Going to a seasonal market!
We had a great time selling at the Richmond Barracks May Fair back at the beginning of the summer. It’s such a brilliant venue, and right on my doorstep too! I’ll be there for the whole weekend, and I’ll be joined by a gang of seasonal Beasties…. So expect to see plenty of monsters with food, drinks and cosy woollies.
And if you’re not local and can’t join us on the day, don’t despair! I’m sure some of those Fall-themed Beasties will be popping up on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds over the coming days 😉
Hello there everyone! I have a commission story to share with you all today… Yes, I’m still catching up with all those custom orders from last year!
So, this time our tale begins at the Dublin Cat Fair, in 2019. My customer adopted this Beastie, in a rather fetching feline-themed blue sweater…
However, she had been hoping to pick up one of my Cat Owner Beasties, like this one:
These take a lot longer to make, and I tend to bring fewer of them along to markets… So by the time she and her partner reached my stall that day, they were all gone.
But fast forward a year and a bit, and there was a birthday on the horizon! My customer wanted to celebrate in the Beastiest way possible, and asked me to combine two of her boyfriend’s great loves – cats and unicorns!
First, she selected a Unicorn Beastie who was already available in my online store…
… And then I added a feline twist!
And so that their original Beastie friend didn’t feel left out… They got a kitty too!
By the way, calico cats (with ginger, black and white patches) are the intended recipient’s favourite, so I made two… Each with slightly different markings.
Here you go, Unicorn Beastie. You’re in charge of making sure both cats arrive safely in their new home!
But the story doesn’t end there.
When birthday time rolled around again, another email popped into my inbox. As it turns out, since we’d last spoken, some full-size, non-Beastie cats had joined this family – two calico cats, just like the ones I’d made, and one little fuzzy black kitty.
So, my mission was… Could I bring the Beastie family up to date with a miniature black cat? Sure I could!
This teeny felted feline was super friendly, and loved prowling over my hand and getting chin scratchies!
And this little critter is all the more important today, because it’s National Black Cat Appreciation Day! Black cats get kind of a rough deal – the old superstition that they bring bad luck is hard to shake off, and it’s been reported that they’re less likely to be adopted from shelters than cats of any other colour. So, if you see a black cat today, or if you happen to be heading out to adopt a feline friend of your own, be sure to show them some love!
That’s all from us for this week – see you next time, when we’ll be catching up with Paddy and Plunkett!
Hello there everyone! Wow, we had such a great weekend at the Richmond Barracks May Fair… So many Beasties headed off to new homes, and it was incredibly nice to get out and meet people again. If you were there and you’re checking out the BeastieBlog for the first time, welcome! Be sure to say hello in the comments.
And now, on with the Beastifications! Last time around, we met this pretty monster lady…
… But of course, it takes two to make an engagement work! Let’s meet the lucky fella, shall we?
For this little monster guy, I took inspiration from the same engagement photo that I used as reference for his bride-to-be, and tried to capture the details of his outfit as closely as possible. So that started with his grey knitted beanie, and then I got to work on copying his outdoor jacket exactly.
Well, almost exactly. Wool, sheep and monster puns are not optional in the world of Beastie.
He also has a cosy handknitted scarf to complete his toasty outdoors ensemble.
And what about accessories? This Beastie’s human counterpart is a keen photographer, so a Kniton camera seemed like something he’d find useful.
It’s been a while since I last made one of these, so I was quite impressed that I was able to find the templates and that they still worked!
As before, this Beastie-sized camera has a removable strap and lens, and details in felt appliqué or embroidery.
I think these two lil’ woolly monsters are ready to set out on their life together!
But wait a sec… Who’s this?
Mini-Tony mimics his full-size counterpart in every detail – I was lucky enough to find a video of Bigger Tony running around in the park, which made it easier to get his lovely markings just right.
That’s it for this Beastification… But there are more to come! I’ll see you for another one in a couple of weeks. And if you happen to be in and around Greystones next weekend, please drop in and say hi at my upcoming market…
Well hello there, Beastie friends! I think it’s high time we started going over some of last year’s commissions, don’t you? There are so many new monster faces to meet! As I mentioned last time, 2021 was a bit of a mad one, and I was so busy making that I kinda forgot to do the polite thing and introduce those Beasties to the world!
So, where to start? How about something a bit special – a wedding commission! This project was requested by a regular customer of mine on behalf of her mum, whose best friend’s daughter (are you keeping up with all these connections?!) was planning to tie the knot last September. As it turned out, the bride is a well-known Irish influencer and travel consultant – check out her work, highly recommended if you’re planning to visit Ireland or book a staycation here. This made finding reference pictures an absolute breeze!
However, it also raised a little problem with the Beastie’s wardrobe. With so many photos to choose from, how could I be sure I was choosing an outfit that would still mean something in a few years, when fashions will surely have changed?
Luckily for me, a charming proposal story saved the day! The bride’s family now live on the Aran Islands, and it was during a visit there that the would-be groom popped the question. A photo taken just afterwards inspired the Beastified ensemble – a classic look of skinny jeans, slightly cropped sweater and a houndstooth check coat.
But, um, what are those in her pocket? Well, on the day of the proposal, the couple stepped out for a walk. The bride-to-be, completely unaware of what was brewing, had filled her coat pockets with carrots to feed to any horses they might meet along the way. Hard to resist a fun detail like that!
For the jacket, I wanted to match the fabric of the human-sized version as closely as possible… But alas, Dublin’s fabric shops were unable to oblige. All the checks were too big, and would swamp a little Beastie frame! When you’re making miniature clothes, EVERYTHING needs to shrink down, including any patterns or motifs on the material you use. But I wasn’t worried… When life hands you lemons, hit the charity shops! And sure enough, I found a skirt which fitted the bill perfectly. Better still, I’d bet my sewing machine that it had never even been worn – what a win!
The coat has carefully pattern-matched pockets (perfect for filling with carrots) and supporting wire in the collar so it sits open neatly.
… A little hand-knitted sweater! In the past year I’ve switched up my sweater design with new methods for casting on and casting off, plus the addition of a few strategic short rows to create a better neckline shape. This one also features slightly puffed sleeves – it was a delicate balance to make sure they weren’t too big for the jacket sleeves!
She’s also got a handy felt handbag, to carry any extra essentials.
And as we all know, Beastie bags usually have something hidden inside…
“Oh, sorry! Is that me? It is! Hold on a sec…”
Well, if a person (or Beastie) makes their living online, they HAVE to have a phone, don’t they?
This new-style Beast-iPhone has a reflective screen and (you might juuuuust be able to see in the photo on the right) a double-lens camera for those handy snaps when you’re out and about. It’s also got a magnet inside so the Beastie can really hold it!
I had so much fun with this commission! But, I hear you ask, where’s the other half of this happy Beastie couple? Don’t worry, we’ll meet him next time… And there may be another important addition to this party too. Stay tuned!
Hey there everyone! And WOW, is it hot here! Well, for Ireland… I won’t invite eye-rolls and derisive laughter from those of you who have been experiencing actual heatwaves over the last couple of weeks by citing temperatures. Let’s just say it’s been a little warmer than usual, the sun is out, and it’s not so bad that we can’t travel because the weather is already lovely right here at home.
And THAT was a pretty roundabout way to introduce this week’s new Beastie… A little monster girl who has a distinctly summery, sunshiney vibe. Oh look, here she is now! Hello!
Oooh, I love your dress! The geometric print makes me think of cartoon sunshines, or maybe sunflowers… Give us a twirl, there.
Very nice! I modelled this vintage-style dress on one owned by this Beastie’s human counterpart. The fabric is different, but I copied the full collar and slightly puffed sleeves of the original.
You might also have noticed that there’s been a bit of a change to the usual Beastie layout for this project. No stripey legs here! This little monster lady is rocking a pair of cute white knee socks instead.
Now, what next? Sticking with the retro style of her dress, we’re going to add a pair of cool red-framed glasses.
As usual, they’re completely removable, so she can pop them on top of her head when they’re not needed.
… To help her hold on to all her awesome accessories…
… Like this Beastie-sized sunflower! My sources informed me that our Beastie’s human counterpart loves sunflowers, so I just had to include one in her accessory lineup.
It’s planted in a felt pot of 100% wool roving, which has helped it to grow nice and tall, with plenty of fresh green felt leaves.
And what else can she do? Well, I did mention a singalong, didn’t I? And good news – we get musical accompaniment!
Here you go, Miss Beastie – a teeny little ukulele for you, so you can play us a summery tune!
Has anyone any requests? Be sure to share your favourite summertime song in the comments!
And you might think that this haul would be plenty to keep a pair of Beastie sisters happy… But wait, there’s more! Join us next week to find out who joined them when they ventured forth from Beastie Towers into the wider world… See you then!
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!
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!
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!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a new Beastie!
And not just any new Beastie – this one is a SUPERHERO!
Last year during lockdown, a customer contacted me to ask if I’d be able to make a Christmas gift for her daughter. This girl LOVES superheroes, and even has a secret alter-ego herself… When danger looms, she transforms into Superhero Max! Not content with merely fighting crime, Superhero Max is also a dab hand at fixing electrical boxes – you know, those anonymous grey or green metal cases you see on pretty much every street.
Well, with material like that to work with, how could I refuse?
First of all, I thought I’d better provide this little monster lady with some tools. She’ll need those if she’s going to fix anything!
Normally I’d pop magnets inside these so the Beastie can hold them securely… But since her human counterpart is still quite young, I went for elastic loops on the handles instead, just to be on the safe side.
As you can see, they still fit snugly into her utility belt, ready for action.
She also has a cream-coloured super-suit, based on Superhero Max’s own favourite outfit. And this one comes complete with a special custom-designed hand-embroidered logo!
But of course, it’s oh-so-important that her identity remains a secret. Don’t worry, Miss Beastie! I’ve got you covered.
With a red felt mask and starry cape (inspired by her human counterpart’s passion for outer space), she’ll be able to head out completely incognito.
But wait a sec… Doesn’t every SuperBeastie need a super-sidekick?
Just as Superhero Max never goes anywhere without her trusted bunny friend Hop, this Beastie has a cuddly rabbit companion to join her on her adventures, too. He even has the same uniform, including a removable mini cape!
I also had fun adding in special bunny details, like a fluffy white tail and carrot-inspired sidekick logo.
Well, I think that’s all the angles covered! Just as well, because it looks like someone is ready for takeoff.
Up, up and… AWAAAAAY!
Yikes, she’s flown right out of the teeny photo studio! Um, can I ask everyone to please keep an eye out and report any low-flying Beasties in your neighbourhood directly to Beastie HQ? Thanks and see you next week!
Hey there everyone! Wow, you’d barely know you were in Ireland today – it’s so warm and sunny outside! So I thought it might be the perfect day to catch up with the rest of Explorer Beastie’s springtime wanderings, after our slight digression last week.
Oh, and if you missed part one, you’ll find that here. We’ll kick back and relax while you get caught up.
Springtime in the Irish countryside is a very colourful time. The fields are full of blue…
… And white…
… And yellow!
Those gorgeous golden gorse flowers are always a treat. Take a good big sniff there, Explorer Beastie – being careful of those spines, of course!
“Mmmmm! It smells like… Coconut!”
He’s right, it really does. It makes a stroll in the countryside feel like a holiday in the tropics!
And the plants aren’t the only ones putting on a show in glorious technicolour.
“Look! It’s the first ladybird of the season!”
There were also plenty of butterflies to admire, but the ladybird was the only colourful critter who stayed put long enough to be photographed… Next time I’ll know to bring along my proper camera! But never mind, there’s still plenty of exploring to do.
Through the long grass and rushes, and up a staircase made of tree roots…
… To discover traces left behind by other visitors.
“Someone’s stopped here for dinner recently! It looks like they ordered escargots…”
Oh yes! Flat rocks and broken snail shells are a sign that a bird (usually a song thrush) has been enjoying a springtime snack. The birds use the stone as an anvil to break open the shell and extract the snail from within.
Are we having snails for lunch too, then?
“No thanks! I’ll hold out for a sandwich when we get home.”
Fair enough. Oh look, dandelion clocks! Take a deep breath, and…
So, what time is it?
The number of seeds still clinging to the stem after you blow supposedly tells you what time it is. That’s why these seed heads are called clocks! One seed left means it’s one o’clock, two seeds, two o’clock… You get the idea.
“Oh, okay… One, two, three – LUNCHTIME!”
Ah, a Beastie after my own heart! Let’s turn our paws for home, then.
For anybody outside Ireland who couldn’t watch me on the telly last week, the nice people at Ireland AM sent me a video clip of my segment! I’ve popped it on the Beasties’ Facebook page, here, if you’d like to see it!
And we’ll be back next week with another new Beastie for you to meet… See you then!
Hello there everyone! How are things where you are? Our county borders reopened here in Ireland last week… And maybe it was this, or possibly I was inspired by Paddy and Plunkett’s “great escape” last week, but I decided it might be a good time to escape to the lovely Irish countryside for a couple of days!
Explorer Beastie came along too, looking very dapper in his new Aran sweater.
Um, can you maybe turn around so we can see?
Much better! That’ll keep you nice and cosy while we go exploring. Although it looks like we’ve been uncommonly lucky with the weather – you’d hardly know we’re in Ireland at all!
This apple blossom is great, isn’t it?
“Yes, and it smells AMAZING!”
“Hey, what’s over there?”
Oooh, good idea! Let’s head off over the fields and see what we can find.
It wasn’t long before we came across these very delicate flowers – does anyone know what they are?
“I’ll stand next to them, for scale!”
Identifying these was easy enough though – hello, primroses!
It’s always nice to see their sunny yellow faces peeking out of shaded, Beastie-sized hollows in the hedgerows.
And even though we were there last week, it looks like we only just caught the end of the May blossom! The Irish countryside is white with flowers at this time of year, thanks to the many hawthorn and blackthorn trees that make up our hedges. This is a blackthorn tree, I believe…
Ahhhh! I think we might just hang out here for a while, and watch the clouds drift by…
… And listen to the birds singing in the background. Make sure you have the sound on when you watch the video, so you can hear them too!