One crafter’s journey into the world of succulent and cactus cross stitch design…
As an enthusiastic cactus and succulent collector, I’m well used to getting excited about such obscure terms as ‘elephant toe’, ‘Medusa’s hair’, ‘birthday cactus’, ‘blue echeveria rose’ and ‘lithops’. Several years ago, I had an enormous collection of happy plants which bred and spread to family and friend’s houses. My mother ended up with a monster – a giant brain cactus which kept enlarging like some sort of sulking alien organ and refused to settle down, even when all of the other cacti eventually dried up one particularly roasting Australian summer.
I still keep a collection of the more unusual ones today, however I’ve come to appreciate no-maintenance cactus gardens, such as artificial plants and artistic impressions. Though cacti and succulents ARE generally low maintenance, for some reason I was still having to shift pots into shade constantly in summer and then shift them into the rain in winter (the real ones required more care than was first thought). Living in a rental with concrete and fencing reflecting extreme radiation on them was not something I had thought about much.
I started decorating my house with fake cacti and succulents and found them to be quite lovely, and best of all, NO maintenance was required, ever! Not only did they sit there and do their thing, but they made the place look far more green and attractive. Combined with bits of driftwood, gemstones and shells, I started a new themed look in my loungeroom, based around nature and this was enhanced with cacti cushions, cacti prints and heaps of other stuff. It was a look that was to inspire me for the next decade – I highly recommend it (it’s so classical you’ll never want to change it).
Anyway, one day I was surfing on Etsy and stumbled across crochet cacti. For those who don’t know, crafters have been busy making crochet cacti tutorials for quite some time and they are rather beautiful – excitingly coloured and Mexican looking. They were awesome! I wanted to make one! YES, TOTALLY, I WAS GOING FOR IT!!! (enough with the exclamation marks, but that’s how I felt at the time, not having done any personal craft projects for months). So I went for it, but being the perfectionist that I am, I had to design my own cactus garden, entirely from scratch (because, hey, if I was going to live with my creation for the next fifty years, I might as well capture my entire essence with it and reflect my glorified creative soul back at myself). Hence, my new cactus crochet garden was born.
Shortly after making the project, I started up a cross stitch pattern shop on Etsy and was inspired so much by my crocheted cacti that I decided to design some brightly coloured and Mexican inspired cactus cross stitch patterns to sell, based upon the crocheted items. I’m pretty pleased with the results!
I’ve finished a series of three of the cactus planter boxes in frames to go with the cross stitch bookmark, and I’m planning some other incidental items yet to come too. All of my patterns are hand stitched to get the best frame fit and colouring and are available on this website and in my Etsy shop – I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.
And best of all – NONE OF THEM EVER NEED WATERING!