Viking Beastie Settles In

Viking Beastie Outside

Well, it’s been a week since I found Viking Beastie wandering the streets that once formed the heart of Viking-era Dublin, and he’s adapting surprisingly well to the 21st century. He’s even agreed to pose for some photos to show off all his spiffy Viking accessories, in the hope of starting his own ultra-retro fashion blog… What do you think?
Viking Beastie Full Ensemble
Let’s start off with a full-length portrait, showing all of Viking Beastie’s kit… horned helmet, round shield, woollen trousers, sword and EPIC beard. His magnificent face fuzz is naturally curly, and since it’s made from alpaca yarn it’s also surprisingly soft!
Helmet and Shield
Alas, there is no concrete historical evidence to support the popular image of Viking raiders in horned helmets… well, apart from the fact that Viking Beastie is wearing one. The shield, however, is an essential accessory – according to tradition, all free Norse men were required (yes, required) to own weapons, and they were permitted to carry them all the time. Although wealthier folks would flash their cash by accumulating status symbol weaponry such as helmets, swords or battle axes, even the average farmer would have owned a round wooden shield.Viking Beastie Sword
But Viking Beastie is most proud of his sword. Forged from the finest weapons-grade felt, it bears the maker’s mark “+ULFBEAS+T” on the blade – a striking parallel to the prestigious Ulfbehrt human-sized Viking swords which have been found across Europe. Ulfbehrt swords were made from high quality crucible steel – this means that the metal was produced at extremely high temperatures, which reduced impurities and upped its carbon content, giving a blade that was stronger, more flexible and less brittle than anything else available at the time. That, as well as their scarcity, made them highly desirable objects – the Rolls Royce or Birkin bag of Viking weaponry! So sought-after were Ulfbehrt swords that there may even have been a hearty trade in cheap(ish) knock-offs… archaeologists have found several similar-looking swords bearing the distinctive mark “+ULFBERH+T” that turned out to be made of inferior metal!

Viking Beastie will be continuing his travels around Dublin later this week, when he makes his way out to Dalkey to join some of the other Beasties who are currently holidaying in the Creative Collective shop. He should fit right in there, since Dalkey also has Viking history… in the early 900s, following a defeat at the hands of the locals, the Vikings were forced to retreat and regroup at Dalkey Island, which they also used as a holding place for slaves. In fact, in Victorian times, a hoard of Viking coins was found in Castle Street, which is where the shop is located! If you can, why not drop in and pay him a visit?


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!

Been a while…

New Big BeastieHoly moly! Where has the last month gone?!

Well, for starters, I’ve been taking a few steps towards making my largely sofa-based cottage (or, more accurately, apartment) industry into a more business-shaped concern. I’ve started keeping proper accounts, declared myself to the taxman and put together a Beastie information leaflet, so I can share their stories with even more people without having to leave the house!

Unfortunately, while these things are significant, they don’t make for particularly interesting reading. I’m also reasonably confident that my readers would soon tire of photos of me sitting in front of my computer. So, that takes care of the first couple of weeks of my absence.

The OTHER reason I’ve been away is…
Creative Collective Shop…We have a new shop!

This beautiful, quirky little gallery space in Dalkey, South Dublin was offered to Creative Collective Ireland in the middle of this month. They very kindly invited the Beasties to take up residence there, alongside an all-star cast of gorgeous jewellery, fashion and homewares. Of course, we all jumped at the opportunity! After a  hectic few days of painting, furniture moving and shelf installation, we opened our doors to the public at the weekend. And the best part is that we’re here for the summer! The shop will be open every weekend (Friday-Sunday) until the end of August. So if you happen to find yourself in Dublin, drop in and pay us a visit! Even if you can’t make it, you can still find out more about Creative Collective and the shop on our Facebook page.

Of course, a new shop means new Beasties! I decided to put together a couple more All-Irish Beasties to get the ball rolling…
All-Irish Beastie - PintPint Beastie Close-Up

I couldn’t resist making one with a pint! And I also took the opportunity to break out some classic book-based puns…
All-Irish Beastie - Wool-lyssesWool-lysses Close-Up
All-Irish Beastie - Woolly-ver's TravelsWoolly-ver's Travels Close-Up

I also brought along one of my super-cuddly Big Beasties, just to look after the smaller ones…
Big Beastie

I’ll be sending more Beasties down to Dalkey to join these guys soon! Stay tuned for pictures…

It’s Showtime!

Pop Up Shop

Taaa-daaaah! Today I was out in Dun Laoghaire setting up Creative Collective Ireland’s Pop Up Shop. After a whole lot of shelf hauling, bemused studying of empty spaces and incremental tweaking of the displays, I think we’re ready to go!

And of course I got a little bit of extra help…
Hipster Girl Beastie
Well, sort of. Hipster Girl Beastie was too busy checking out the jewellery.

Beastie with Jewellery
Fortunately my rhubarb-and-custard-coloured Beastie was on hand to tidy up after her!

Beastie with Box
He also took a shine to this hand-turned gift box, then…

Beastie with Scarf
… found a soft silky scarf, and settled down for a bit of a snooze. At least Ninja Beastie was working hard – he’s in charge of security.
State-of-the art Security System

Others were happy just to pose for a couple of publicity shots! I’d like to introduce you to one of my Big Beasties – this is the first time I’ve had them up for sale, so I’m interested to see how people react. They’re twice the size of regular Beasties… and at least twice as huggable!
Big Beastie and Rose Beastie

Opening day is tomorrow, so wish us luck! I wonder who our first customer will be…
Victorian Explorer Beastie with Soap