Every summer growing up, we left our house in Southern California and drove to Phoenix, Arizona to spend a few weeks with my grandma and cousins….which in hindsight, seems a little backwards. Not the hanging out with family part, but the leaving-Orange-County-with-ocean-breezes-and-driving-to-the-AZ-desert-in-July part. Right?
But as a kid you don’t notice the heat. And we LOVED our grandma’s house, full of dress-ups, a pantry of treats, a swimming pool and trampoline in the backyard, and plenty of summer monsoon storms. I have many memories of doing cartwheels on her grass in the rain, and can still smell that scent of raindrops on the hot cement. Do you know that smell? Every once in a while we’ll get it here in TX (when the weather is dry) and it takes me right back to childhood summers.
On those awesome drives across the desert, we had plenty of time to gaze out the window at dirt and rocks, Joshua trees, and miles of cacti. Specifically the Saguaro Cactus (pronounced suh-wahr-oh)…which I had stared at for years as kid, but never fully appreciated till I was an adult. I mean, I always thought they were cool and unique with those awesome arms, and how amazingly tall they can get.
Did you know they can live for 150-200 years?
And that some don’t get arms till they are 75 years old?
Some don’t get arms at all, and are called spears.
And it’s actually illegal to cut down or damage a saguaro cactus.
They’re pretty special.
And I guess that’s what I took for granted. All those summers, driving past cactus and never realizing that the only place in the whole world that the Saguaro cactus grows is in the Sonoran desert (parts of Arizona, Mexico, and a small part of California).
This quintessential image of a cactus that we see everywhere in artwork, clothing, and pop culture trinkets….they only grow in this one place!
I have a new appreciation for these desert giants.
So let’s enjoy their beauty….let’s make a Cactus Pillow!
I had so much fun drafting this pattern—which only took about 7 tries, to get those arms just right….which is like minutes, in the lifespan of a saguaro.
** DOWNLOAD THE FREE CACTUS PATTERN HERE**
The printable pattern is a 6 page PDF, which you can download and print from your home computer. Just piece the pages together and cut out the shape!
Then decide how you’d like to your cactus to look.
Like people, each one is unique.
Does your cactus have many spines (prickles), or just a few spines? A flower, a piece of budding fruit?
In this project I’ll show you how to make a cute fabric flower to go along….which, technically looks more like a Prickly Pear flower (another type of cactus which is plentiful in Texas and other parts of the world). A true saguaro bloom is white, with a yellow center, and they grow in bunches on the top of the cactus head. I found this image on Tucson.com, which is the city where my husband Casey grew up. We have a lot of Arizona in our blood.
I love that you can make this cactus pillow from many types of fabric. I used a solid olive-green flannel from Jo-Ann Fabrics for my main cactus. Then I mixed it up with prints from my Day Trip collection. Look how cute it looks on Lucy’s bed with her Sherpa Fleece Blanket! So many options.
Okay. Have I rambled enough? With my love letter to a cactus?
Owen’s ready to use it as a punching bag.
Actually, Owen really loves stuffed animals (and he’ll probably hate that I’m sharing that). The pictures above made me think of this road trip below (also through the desert) a few summers back to their grandparents’ house. We stayed in this funny little motel in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. And they each brought along their stuffed animals….which of course had to be photographed in front of the awesome pink motel exterior.
And here’s another pic from one of our many summer road trips. This was taken as we pulled in to our hotel in Tucson, AZ after a 15-hour drive. They paused long enough for a pic before we hit the swimming pool.
Okay. I’m done talking.
Click the play button below and enjoy.
Or you watch it on my CHANNEL HERE:
Happy saguaro Sunset.