Beasties on film - CrawCrafts Beasties

Secrets of Beastie Photography

Over the last couple of weeks, the subject of Beastie photography has raised its head a few times in the comments! And that got me looking back at all the crazy things I’ve done over the years in the name of capturing a blog-worthy Beastie snapshot. Better still, it made me think of the sneaky fixes that other Beastie-wranglers around the world have shared with me!

So, I thought it might be fun to combine some of this knowledge into one handy post. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes those little woolly monsters just aren’t feeling the photoshoot, and getting them to cooperate can be hard work!
Beastie Photography Bloopers - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe first challenge in Beastie photography is keeping these little guys on their feet. Their sometimes overwhelming desire to just pitch over and have a quick lie-down is probably something they get from me.

Fortunately, help is at hand! A simple wire stand like this one takes the weight off their little short legs, and helps to keep them standing while you adjust your camera settings.
Florists's Wire Beastie Stand - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs you can probably tell, this is super-easy to make… All you’ll need is a length of florist’s wire, which you bend like this:
Beastie Photography Stand - CrawCrafts BeastiesTaa-daaaah!
Beastie Stand in Action - CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, sometimes you leave home without a stand in your bag, and that calls for a little improvisation! On my recent trip to Germany, I discovered that my snazzy business card holder makes an excellent substitute…
Business Card Holder as Stand - CrawCrafts Beasties… And Explorer Beastie is a dab hand at seeking out twigs to hold onto when his energy levels start to dip, too.

Other discoveries include using sticky tape…

David Beastie at the Library
Image borrowed from tammiepainter.com

Thanks, Tammie and Mr Husband!

Velcro is also an option – Tierney came up with this one for keeping her Beastie’s boots on, and I borrowed the idea for my latest commission!Special Sticky Beastie Feet - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen once they’re standing, the world is their oyster!
On the road again...I especially like pictures of Explorer Beastie where he’s toddling away from the camera – yes, he may be small, but he’s not going to let that get in the way of a good adventure!

Also, don’t forget about those paws! Show that your Beastie is interacting with the world around them by getting them to touch things within arm’s reach. Check out these two pictures…
Show Your Paws - Beastie Photography - CrawCrafts BeastiesSee the difference? Although the fish was moving a bit too quickly to be photographed properly in the photo on the right, doesn’t Explorer Beastie look so much more interested in him than he was in the mongoose in the image on the left? And notice how his paw is on the glass in that picture, rather than just hanging by his side. It really works!

But the prize for the most intrepid Beastie photoshoot to date has to go to Tammie. She found a way to snap her Beastie, Finn McSpool, underwater.

Underwater Adventuring - Extreme Beastie Photography
Extreme Underwater Beastie photo borrowed from tammiepainter.com

You can read the story behind that monster adventure here! And if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments!

Here’s to a weekend of Beastie photography fun… Enjoy!
Beasties on film - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie & Garcia Beastie

Your Daily Dose of Beastie!

Out and About With Explorer Beastie - CrawCrafts BeastiesI have a confession to make… If it wasn’t for those little woolly monsters of mine, I would have no online presence at all. Except an email address. Oh, and maybe an Etsy account. But that really would be it. So I owe the Beasties a big thank you – for dragging me out of my technological fortress of solitude, and for being willing to pose for the endless photos that I’m SO glad I don’t have to be in myself. Through them, I’ve been able to make contact with people all over the world, and get a sneaky peek at their latest craft successes, their studios and, most importantly, what they had for dinner! How awesome is that?

As a result, I’ve started gathering up social media accounts like they were Pokémon (oops, showing my age there with that oh-so-dated reference). And that means that on pretty much any given day, there will be breaking Beastie news somewhere on this vast interweb we all inhabit. So today I thought I’d give you the roadmap to all our online homes… I’d hate to think any of you were missing out somewhere! We’ll start with…

Instagram

… Because it’s my favourite. It’s so easy – I take a photo, I monkey around with it in the editor and BAM! Done! I also find it good for keeping up with the people whose pictures I actually want to see – not too much sponsored content, and no pesky algorithms deciding what appears on my screen. Well, not yet, anyway. Come and find us there! There’s something new almost every day. And don’t forget to share your own monster pics using #beastiefamily and #beastiesofinstagram!

Twitter

…Is the newest addition to the family, so I’m still getting the hang of it! I’ve managed to find a few of you on there already, but I figured some readers might not know that I even HAVE Twitter yet – in fact, that’s part of the reason for this post! You can expect new stuff here every couple of days, and possibly more once I get my head around what’s going on.

Facebook

Oh, Facebook. I’d love to spend more time with you, but your mobile apps really do make the experience less than enjoyable. However, I do still try to post new stuff at least a couple of times a week, and it’s another great place to share your own Beastie pics if you’d like to! It’s also a good way to get in touch if you don’t want to use the email contact form. On Facebook, you’ll find links to all my latest BeastieBlog posts, plus fun stuff like this recent snap of Explorer Beastie “helping” in the garden.

Pinterest

I’ve read time and again that maintaining a Pinterest profile is a great way to develop your crafty business. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how this might work, but hey – it’s fun anyway! And it appeals to the magpie tendencies that have led me to accumulate boxes of old magazine clippings and photos that I just can’t bear to throw away. Here are a couple of the boards I update most!

 

And finally…

In a flurry of enthusiasm after the Irish Blogger Conference just over a month ago, I joined Snapchat. It was peer pressure! Everyone else was doing it! And I wanted to bagsy my username (@crawcrafts – soooooper imaginative). But… um… what exactly is it FOR? And why are there no instructions? I’m also disconcerted by the fact that every time I open the thing, my phone camera switches on and I’m greeted by my own bewildered face staring back at me. So if any of you have any hints you’d like to share, even if they are “you’re not 15, what on earth are you doing on Snapchat?”, please let me know in the comments!

We’ll be back on Friday with an update from Paddy and Plunkett. And if you’re looking for us in the meantime, now you know where to find us!

Explorer Beastie at the Etsy Offices - CrawCrafts Beasties

Ready for your Closeup?

Explorer Beastie at the Etsy Offices - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie and I have been quite the social butterflies recently – we started with the Irish Blogger Conference at the end of last month, and then last week found us hanging out at the Etsy offices in Dublin city centre! We were there for a one-night Product Photography Course, organised by the Etsy Ireland team. When I heard they were running this, I jumped at the chance to go – my own Etsy shop has a hard time competing with my market setup, so I was hoping to pick up some tips to make it a more fun place to visit!

That, and Etsy’s HQ is an excellent place for an adventurous Beastie to explore…
Explorer Beastie at Etsy - CrawCrafts BeastiesOnce everyone had arrived, and helped themselves to some cake…
Yumyumyum CAKE! CrawCrafts Beasties…We got started! We all had a chance to introduce ourselves, and talk about what we make, and then we tackled the tricky subject of lighting.

We’re always told that it’s best to take photos in natural light, but in Ireland this poses something of a problem. I’m certainly guilty of holding out for a sunny day to take my pictures, and it seems I’m not the only one! Even in the middle of summer, a rainy day here can mean really limited daylight… and correspondingly dark and unimpressive pictures! Some of the others also pointed out that it’s difficult to get consistency in a set of photos, because natural light changes so much from season to season – or sometimes from one minute to the next! Gaaaah! How do you fix this?

Why, you build a lightbox of course! So we did – well, two of the team members took on the task of transforming a simple cardboard box (free from your local supermarket) into a glamourous miniature photoshoot setting!
The Finished Lightbox! CrawCrafts BeastiesHere it is, being used as a backdrop for a couple of beautiful Brookwood Pottery mugs! If you’d like to have a go at making your own, YouTube is just brimming over with “how-to” videos… We watched this one before we started. And most of the things you’ll need are either free, cheap or something you’ll already have at home! We all had fun testing it out, too…
Testing the Lightbox - CrawCrafts Beasties…And here’s Cheerleader Beastie enjoying her moment in the spotlight, as Explorer Beastie watches admiringly from the sidelines!
Cheerleader Beastie's Photoshoot - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut of course, he couldn’t resist the lure of the limelight…
Explorer Beastie Strikes a Pose - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe light in this lightbox still has a bit of a pinkish hue, but this can be fixed by using daylight bulbs instead of standard lightbulbs. Javier from CartabanCards showed us another way to make a lightbox, this time using LED camping flashlight tubes and pieces of a simple slot-together storage unit. I think the lighting in this one works much better for showing off Beasties in their best light!
Explorer Beastie Portrait - CrawCrafts BeastiesDoesn’t Explorer Beastie look handsome? And look at how well this setup worked for this stunning vintage-style doll’s dress from DinahsDolls
Photographing the Dinah's Dolls Dress - CrawCrafts BeastiesDinahsDolls Dress in the Lightbox - CrawCrafts Beasties… And how it makes the colours pop in Maeve Croly‘s embroidery sample!
Embroidery Sample by Maeve Croly - CrawCrafts BeastiesAll in all, we had a great time and learned loads! It was super to make contact with some other local Etsyans as well, and swap tips and stories. I’m especially interested to try out Snapseed, which allows you to edit photos on your phone or tablet!

Thanks to the Etsy Ireland team for organising the course, and especially to Claire from mIrishDublin and Javier for teaching us! Claire also put together an Etsy treasury afterwards featuring some of the goodies from each of our shops… if you’re in need of a treat for someone (or for yourself), you could well find it there!

We’ll be back on Friday to check up on a Beastie abroad… in the meantime, if you have any top photography tips of your own please share them with us in the comments!

Have a great week!

Mame-Chan and Friends - CrawCrafts Beasties

Monster Market Day!

My Market Stall - CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh woweeeee! What a super weekend we all had at the Creative Collective Ireland Craft Fair! I’ve been working flat out since I came back from my holidays, and I think I assembled one of my best-ever teams of Beasties…
Beastie Group - CrawCrafts BeastiesBeer Drinkin' Barrog Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties

…With some super accessories!
Great Knits-pectations Book, by CrawCrafts Beasties

I also brought along some Beans (which are fast becoming a market day staple!) and an order form for my Beastie 2016 calendar!
Mame-Chan and Friends - CrawCrafts BeastiesBeastie Calendar, by CrawCrafts Beasties

And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, my Beastiebuddy Eirin stopped by to take some photos of the stall for a project she’s working on!

Beasties on Parade - E Torgersen/CrawCrafts Beasties
She got some great shots of my monster Christmas tree, complete with Jingle Bean decorations…
Beast-mas Tree - E Torgersen/CrawCrafts Beasties
… Beasties playing hide and seek…
Santa Beastie Among the Beans - E Torgersen/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And even some of me.
Me hard at work (ahem!) - E Torgersen/CrawCrafts Beasties
You can see more photos on her Facebook page, or check out her website!

What I love most about markets is that it gives me a chance to leave Beastie Towers for the day and introduce my little monsters to the world! I still get such a kick out of seeing people’s reactions when they meet the Beasties for the first time, and I was especially chuffed to talk to people who remembered us from the last time we did this market, back in 2013! So thanks to everybody who stopped for a chat, or decided to bring a woolly friend home with them. I also lucked out with my neighbours – cheers to Kate and Andrew from Baressential soap and Aoife from Diplodocus Books for Beastie-sitting when I went on a caffiene run! Aoife even adopted a Beastie of her own…
Aoife and her Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties
Meanwhile, I think I showed admirable restraint… I only bought myself a couple of teeny treats! Explorer Beastie seems pleased with them too…
Explorer Beastie with our Market Goodies - CrawCrafts Beasties
Clockwise from top left: Hand-bound Crow notebook by Diplodocus Books, Ruth Turpin‘s homemade mince meat, chamomile and juniper natural soaps from Baressential, Ye Old Town CandlesWinter Time tin and felt bowl by Teri Collins.

I’m hoping to do a couple more markets before Christmas… hopefully I’ll get to see some of you there!

A Pair of Piemaker Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties

High Time for Pie Time!

Piemaker Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Anyone who knows me AT ALL will be familiar with my long-term love affair with pies, both sweet and savoury. In fact, so enamoured am I of the humble pie that when I first started to sell my knitwear (in those distant pre-Beastie days), I labelled my pieces “Good Pie Handknits”!

So as you can probably imagine, I was delighted to be asked to make some Piemaker Beasties to grace the counter of Farmhouse Direct‘s mobile pie shop… Although I will admit to craving tasty pastry treats throughout the manufacturing process!

Anyway, let’s meet these lovely pie-toting ladies, shall we?
A Pair of Piemaker Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties
I wanted these Beasties to be recognisably a pair, without being identical… so I made one crimson with yellow stripes, and the other yellow with crimson stripes. Plus, as you can see, they have different hairstyles, smiles and pies!

So while Red Piemaker Beastie has one big felt pork pie…
Red Piemaker Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties
Red Piemaker Beastie's Pie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesOne Big Pie, by CrawCrafts Beasties

… Yellow Piemaker Beastie is carrying a tray of smaller pies, based on Farmhouse Direct’s own Brandsby Pies! Needless to say, I really enjoyed looking up reference photos for this project… YUM!
Yellow Piemaker Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Miniature Felt Pork Pies, by CrawCrafts BeastiesYellow Piemaker Beastie with her tray of pies - CrawCrafts BeastiesOh, and I also made them some matching green felt aprons as a work uniform!

Piemaker Beastie Apron, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Let’s hope their first outing as pie sellers is a successful one!

Aaaand in other news, I’d like to say a massive thank you to Cheri at The Daily Post for including my entry for last week’s Weekly Photo Challenge in her list of “Photos We Loved” from that prompt! Look, the Beasties even got a shout-out in the intro!
Beasties in the Daily Post! (Image taken from dailypost.wordpress.com)
Do go and check it out if you get a chance – there are some truly awesome photo galleries in there, and I’m proud to have my work shown alongside such amazing photography! And if you’d like to put together a Mesh gallery like the ones used in the post, you can get started here!

Have a monster week!