Cookie Beastie Checks In!

Hey there everyone! The sun is shining here in Dublin, and I hope you’re all enjoying some fine weather in your part of the world too! It’s also nice to see life returning to something like normal in places – here in Ireland certain shops are starting to reopen, and we can now meet in groups of 4 or fewer. We are still being asked to stay at home as much as possible, but that’s ok with me… The Beasties are keeping me busy as usual. And it seems I’m not the only one! Last week I got a lovely update from Melissa and her Cookie Beastie… With pictures!

So, Melissa had just settled down to enjoy a nice cup of tea when…
Melissa and Cookie Beastie - M Bruner/CrawCrafts BeastiesHey there Cookie Beastie! Where did you spring from?

I suppose this little monster fancied a nice refreshing brew to go with that jellybean cookie. Tea and biscuits is always an irresistible combination. Also, check out the colour coordination – surely that’s no accident!

Not content with hijacking half of Melissa’s tea, Cookie Beastie thought it might be fun to take a tour of the garden… And pose for a few photos on the way. Check out this wall of cacti and succulents!
Cookie Beastie and Cacti - M Bruner/CrawCrafts Beasties I do love a good cactus, and it seems Beasties are no different. That said, it’s pretty hard to relax with all those prickles around… How about we find somewhere else to put our paws up for a minute?

This sunny spot looks perfect. Aaaaaaaah!
Cookie Beastie in the Garden - M Bruner/CrawCrafts BeastiesCan there be any better place to spend a tea break?

Mind you, it’s not all laying back among the flowers here. During quarantine, it’s especially important to stay fit and healthy. Next stop – the gym!
Pumping Iron - M Bruner/CrawCrafts BeastiesUm, you might have to put the cookie down if you’re to make any headway with those weights.

“What, really? Oh, okay… Maybe I’ll just spot you this time around, then?”

You know, that sounds like my kind of exercising!

A massive monster THANK YOU to Melissa… Not just for sending awesome Beastie pics, but also for being one of the essential workers who are keeping the cogs of their communities turning while the rest of us are staying safe at home. You rock!

Aaaand if you’re at home and in need of something to put a smile on your face, why not spend a quarter of an hour with The Book Owl? This is a new podcast series hosted by Tammie Painter, author and human in charge of wayward book-lovin’ Beastie Finn McSpool. Every couple of weeks, she explores a literary curiosity… And the most recent episode, about kids reading to dogs in libraries, is real feel-good stuff. Enjoy!

So, hopefully that little lot will see you through until Friday, when we’ll be back and revisiting some more Beasties from days gone by. See you then!

Explorer Beastie's Jigsaw Angel - CrawCrafts Beasties

Teatime with Explorer Beastie!

Teatime with Explorer Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Poor Explorer Beastie hasn’t got out and about much recently. In fact, he’s been spending an unreasonable amount of time hanging out on my desk, watching me type up the adventures of other Beasties instead! So when I went out last Saturday to somewhere that wasn’t Other Work or the supermarket, it only seemed fair to bring him along.

First stop – the Canal Bank Market! We even met some of the local residents on the way there…
Ducks on the way to the market - CrawCrafts BeastiesDucks at the Canal, by CrawCrafts Beasties

And there was plenty to see at the market itself too!

Canal Bank Market - CrawCrafts Beasties
After a lot of wandering, and only a little bit of shopping, we decided to grab some tea at Wall & Keogh – one of my favourite Dublin tea emporiums! Well, it was just around the corner from the market… Even so, Explorer Beastie decided to hitch a lift in my bag for the journey!Lunchtime! CrawCrafts Beasties
Explorer Beastie's Luxury Transport - CrawCrafts Beasties

At least I didn’t have to buy him lunch – as usual, he brought his own.

Hey, what’s that?

Explorer Beastie's Jigsaw, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh, cool! Let’s do the jigsaw!

Um, not sure you’ve quite got the right idea here…
Jigsaws are so relaxing - CrawCrafts Beasties

Nope. Definitely not.
Explorer Beastie's Jigsaw Angel - CrawCrafts Beasties
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere!
That's better! CrawCrafts Beasties
…Or not.
Jigsaw dive! CrawCrafts Beasties

Well, at least he’s having a good time!

Explorer Beastie's Jigsaw Pile - CrawCrafts Beasties
More tea?
Explorer Beastie Pours the Tea - CrawCrafts Beasties
Yes please!

How are your weekend plans shaping up? Have a good one, wherever you are!

99 Beastie's Icecream Cone, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties, Beans and Blogging

Beasties at the Ha'Penny Flea, Dublin - CrawCrafts Beasties
It’s been a busy couple of days in Beastie Towers… and beyond! On Saturday, we took part in our first market in aaaages, at the Ha’Penny Flea. Because Beasties don’t take up much room, we got a really good spot by the front door, so we were able to enjoy a little bit of the sunshine. The weather was behaving surprisingly well for a bank holiday weekend!

At the market, a couple of my newer Beasties (who haven’t really had a chance to make an appearance on the BeastieBlog before now) headed off to new homes. Ready to meet them?

First of all, one of my Summer Edition Barróg Beasties was snapped up by one of my regular customers! This is 99 Beastie, because summer wouldn’t be summer without dollops of snowy-white vanilla ice cream served with a chocolate flake on top…
Summer Barróg Beastie - "99", by CrawCrafts Beasties
And let’s just have a closer look at that ice cream cone, shall we? YUUUUUM!
99 Beastie's Icecream Cone, by CrawCrafts Beasties
By the way, if anyone knows why we call this type of ice cream a “99”, please enlighten me in the comments… so far, the only explanations I can come up with are a) that they used to cost a mere 99p back in the good old days, or b) that if you eat 99 of them in one sitting, you’re in real trouble.

Another Beastie who left with a new family on Saturday was Tea Lover Beastie!
Tea Lover Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
It is possible that they are more of a coffee-drinking household, but Tea Lover Beastie is more than happy to try new things!
That's one happy Beastie! Tea Lover Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Also making the journey to a new home today (thanks to the wonders of Etsy) is one of my little fleecy “Mame-Chan” beans!Mame-Chan, by CrawCrafts Beasties
She’s on her way to Alyssa, in the USA… thanks, Alyssa!

And finally, you may notice a little bit of extra activity on the BeastieBlog over the next three weeks. I’ve just started WordPress’s Blogging 101 course, in the hope of making my little corner of the internet a nicer place to be! Yesterday’s challenge was to introduce myself to the world and my new classmates, so I took the opportunity to refresh my About page. If you have a second, please go and check it out… I’d love any feedback you might have, even if it is “I liked it better the way it was”!

Thanks for reading!

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!

A Monster Tour of Dublin

Tae Beastie at the Guinness Storehouse - CrawCrafts Beasties

Wow! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at Beastie Towers! Sometimes a project comes along that demands a little extra effort, and that’s why there hasn’t been much activity here on the BeastieBlog lately. I’ll unveil that monster undertaking soon enough, but it seemed a bit much for a Friday… so let’s take a leisurely stroll around Dublin with Tae Beastie instead!

Just over a month ago, I got a request through Etsy for a Beastie with a mug. My tea-loving Barróg Beastie, Tae Beastie, was excited to leave Beastie Towers for pastures new… and when his family-to-be asked for some photos of him in his home town, we were happy to oblige! So here is Tae Beastie’s whistle-stop tour of Dublin, in pictures!

We started off just down the road from Beastie Towers, at the Guinness factory. Guinness is still brewed here on the original site at St James’ Gate, a little west of the city centre, and most days the air in this part of town is filled with the delicious chocolately scent of roasted barley, which gives the beer its dark colour.
Guinness Factory - CrawCrafts Beasties
Tae Beastie at the Guinness Storehouse - CrawCrafts BeastiesTae Beastie in the old part of the Guinness Brewery - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs you can see, there’s quite a contrast between the modern high-tech brewery and the older buildings on the site! However, many of the original buildings are still in use – one houses the Storehouse visitor centre, while others have been converted into offices.

After a wander through the lanes and alleys of the old brewery, we started heading for town! There was plenty to see along the way – this part of the city is packed with old churches. I asked Tae Baestie to pose with two of the most well-known… first of all St Audoen’s Church, which was built in 1190 and is the oldest parish church in Dublin (factoids courtesy of Wikipedia). I’ve also heard rumours that it’s haunted!
St Audoen's Church - CrawCrafts Beasties
Next, we passed Christ Church Cathedral, which in Medieval times was right in the very heart of the city.
Christchurch Cathedral - CrawCrafts Beasties
It’s a fascinating building, with flying buttresses, a crypt and a covered passageway which links the  Cathedral to the Synod Hall on the other side of the street. Christ Church stands at the far end of the Temple Bar area, so our next move was to take a stroll through the cobbled back streets!
Back Streets, Temple Bar - CrawCrafts Beasties
Temple Bar can be a bit of a tourist trap, but there are a few good pubs around here if you know where to look. I still enjoy an occasional visit to The Porter House or the Palace Bar when I’m in the area. However, most people end up here…
The Temple Bar - CrawCrafts Beasties
Our walk through Temple Bar brought us out conveniently just in front of Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells. It’s also where I went to university!
Front Square, Trinity College - CrawCrafts Beasties
This is Front Square, and the archway you can see towards the back of the picture is the main entrance to the College. Outside is one of the busiest roads in the city centre… but once you walk through Front Arch, all the traffic noise just VANISHES. It’s like stepping back in time! Tae Beastie enjoyed posing with the Campanile and this statue of a former Provost, whose expression I just can’t figure out… is he very stern, or does he have a bit of a cheeky glint in his eye?
The Campanile, Trinity College - CrawCrafts BeastiesTae Beastie meets the Provost - CrawCrafts BeastiesAfter that, we made a beeline (or, rather, a Beastieline) for St Stephen’s Green. This park is right in the middle of the south side city centre, and it’s a great place to enjoy the arrival of spring!
St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts Beasties
Just inside the main entrance at the top of Grafton Street, you’ll find this lovely long avenue of lime trees. I’ll sometimes go out of my way to walk along here, whether it’s to enjoy the shade on a hot summer’s day, or kick through piles of bright yellow heart-shaped leaves in the autumn. Tae Beastie was especially taken with the fresh new foliage… check out those vibrant bright green leaves!
There were also plenty of spring flowers to see…
Spring Flowers at St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts BeastiesCherry Blossom at St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe managed to get our final pictures just as the sun disappeared behind a cloud, and (luckily) before the rain started. Well, that’s spring in Ireland for you! Later that day, Tae Beastie headed off to his new home in Atlanta, Georgia… let’s hope he’s settling in well in the Peach State!

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Cosy Cuppa Beastie and Bobble Hat Beastie

In my last post, I introduced Dog Lover Beastie… my biggest, scariest and most challenging Beastie project to date! And although most of my special Beastie requests involve a certain amount of clichéd activities such as thinking outside the box, diversifying my skill set and exploring the potential of my raw materials, sometimes they’re as simple as, “Hey, I like that Beastie… but can I have them in these colours?”
So, Cosy Cuppa Beastie (on the left) was made for a friend at work who fell in love with Winter Warmer Beastie… but unfortunately after he’d moved to Canada.
Winter Warmer Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Still, that meant that I was able to make her a Beastie of her very own, with sunny yellow stripes and a big ol’ cup of tea!
Cosy Cuppa Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Meanwhile, my second monster request might look more than a little familiar to anyone who’s been following this blog for a while…
Bobble Hat Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Explorer Beastie caught someone’s eye on Facebook, and although no two Beasties are exactly alike, sometimes there might be slight family resemblances! Bobble Hat Beastie was happy to leave Beastie Towers in search of adventure… Looks like these two monsters might share more than just the same colour scheme!
Explorer Beastie and Bobble Hat Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Stay tuned for more new Beasties over the next couple of weeks!

Oooh! New Beasties!

All-Irish Beastie

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to make a range of Irish Beasties. Of course, my Beasties are already pretty Irish – they are born here, after all. But it always surprises me how little of the yarn we get in this country actually comes from here. And when you have a whole world of beautiful fibres to choose from – South American alpaca, merino wool from Down Under – it’s very easy to take what you have at home for granted.

Fortunately, I recently got a couple of timely wake-up calls. A while ago, some of my knitting friends and I started taking “Knit Days” – we’d hop on a train, or form a convoy of cars, and travel to another town or city to enjoy a crafty day out, usually fuelled by copious quantities of tea and cake. One of these Knit Days took us to the village of Graignamanagh in Co. Kilkenny, which is the home of Cushendale Woollen Mills. This family-owned mill has been producing yarn and finished woollen goods since the mid-1800s, and we were lucky enough to get a full tour during our visit. Since then, I’ve been looking out for a project that would allow me to use some of their products… even more so after I helped my friend with the annual stocktake at her wool shop, and I couldn’t stop admiring the beautiful colours of the Cushendale yarns. I realised that they reminded me of the countryside out in Roscommon, which is where my boyfriend comes from, and somewhere I never get tired of visiting…

Lake, RoscommonRoad, RoscommonForest, RoscommonAbandoned Car, RoscommonPeat Bog, Roscommon

Gate, RoscommonBlackthorn Blossom, RoscommonMoss, RoscommonPeat Bog on a Cloudy Day

So, I picked out the four colours which I thought best summed up the peat-bog palette, and got knitting! Having completed my first full All-Irish Beastie, I had to give him an accessory… something really IRISH. I could have gone the obvious route – shamrock, leprechaun outfit – but I wanted something a little different, that still reflected everyday life in this part of the world. So he got…
Irish Beastie full lengthIrish Beastie Tea Mug


Bet you didn’t see that coming… but, no matter who you consult, we Irish always make the top 3  in the world tea-drinking charts.

Our only challengers for the title are Morocco and Turkey, where people must be making cuppas 24-7 to hold us off the top spot. Truly “Irish” tea is made in a teapot, then put back on the range to stew into a viscous tar-like substance, before being thinned out with liberal doses of milk and sugar. But most of us settle for throwing a bag of Lyons or Barrys into a mug and just stirring it around a bit!

More All-Irish Beasties will be landing soon! Let me know in the comments if there are any you’d particularly like to see!

Liebster Award – it’s like Oscars Night all over again! (Sort of)

Well, a little exaggeration never hurt anyone… Many thanks to lovely Roma at Cottage on the Green, who has nominated me for one of these:

Liebster Award logo

If you have a minute, check out her blog – it always makes me smile!

Anyway, it seems that I have some work to do before I can swan off down the red carpet and start swigging champagne like it’s going out of fashion. Let’s start with some rules… the first rule of Liebster Awards is that you do not talk ab… no, that’s not right. The rules are:

*Thank the person who has nominated you and link back to their blog (by posting a link on yours).

*Copy and display the award in your blog post available from here

*Answer the 11 questions about yourself, which are given to you by the person who nominated you.

*Write 11 random facts about yourself.

*Nominate 5 – 11 blogs/bloggers that you feel deserve the award. They need to have less than 1000 followers.

*Think of 11 new questions for the bloggers you have nominated and write them in your post.

So, it looks like you’ll be finding out more about me this week. Here goes…
1) Where would you most like to visit?
I’d love to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Not really a destination, but never mind.
2) What item do you treasure most?
It’s a tie between my spiffy fabric scissors, the bookshelves my Dad made for me and the toy monkey I got on my first Christmas.
3) What craft do you admire most?
All of them. Seeing a skilled craftsperson at work is the most fascinating thing, whatever they’re doing.
4) What is your favourite meal?
Pie or sushi. But not together.
5) What is your favourite TV program?
Murder, She Wrote.
6) What makes you laugh?
My boyfriend.
7) What is the best time of day?
8) Who is your favourite author?
Truman Capote.
9) What is your favourite flower?
Cactus flowers.
10) What must you do before leaving the house?
About six entirely unnecessary things.
11) Do you wear a watch?

11 Random Facts About Me
1) I can sleep anywhere, apart from on long-haul flights.
2) I hate getting up early, especially when alarm clocks are involved.
3) I brew my own beer.
4) I once worked on a commercial pig farm for a week, to learn where sausages come from.
5) I have flown a plane, but can’t drive a car.
6) I am unbelievably, hilariously bad at singing.
7) I need at least 2 cups of tea a day to function.
8) I still listen to cassette tapes.
9) I would never go to the cinema alone.
10) I don’t really understand the appeal of Twitter.
11) I find it incredibly difficult to compile lists of information about myself.

I’d like to nominate:
Monster Maven

Make + Do

Strey Creative

Manon’s Maze


A Wandering Teacup

…And my 11 questions are:
1) Where would you most like to revisit?
2) What’s the most useful thing you own?
3) What’s your guilty pleasure?
4) Do you tend to arrive late, early or on time?
5) What’s your hot drink of choice?
6) Where is the scariest place you’ve been?
7) What makes you nostalgic?
8) What annoys you?
9) What was your favourite childhood TV show?
10) What item of clothing do you most regret wearing?
11) Yippee! You have an unexpected day off! How do you spend it?

Thanks for reading! To wrap up, I’ll include a picture of some Beasties with the giant box of tea (“Knitting Fuel”) I was forced to buy yesterday… it was either monster-sized Lyons or any other tea, so that decision pretty much made itself.
Beastie Tea Party