I’d always intended to get around to making gifts for the teachers of my little boy’s nursery, as we have handmade them for every gifting occasion for the past two and a half years that he has attended. This year, however, we did not get …
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I have given up on green things. I have a love of the wide green outdoors: the kind of outdoors of woodlands and shaded streams rather than sunny spots and beaches. As we are in a flat and so have no garden, and can’t go out to the shady woodland places and walks that we might usually spend our weekends at, I have tried to bring a bit of green growth into the house. I have a very healthy (almost too healthy as it has taken over my entire kitchen with it’s gigantic form and hundreds of babies) spider plant. Likewise a pilea that grows happily in my bedroom, but everything I try to grow in my living room is doomed to fail.
My living room has the biggest windows I have ever seen, which sounds lovely (and is, to a point) but it means that in the summer months my living room is like an oven, in a sauna, on the sun. I will happily grow plant babies all through winter and spring and then two days of sun in June and everything has gone.
My next door neighbour gave us a few little seeds to plant as an activity at the beginning of lockdown. We grew the leggiest and palest lettuce leaves you ever saw, and a single beetroot, all on the windowsill. A few weeks ago a single day of sun saw off our daddy long lettuce, but, somehow, the beetroot with it’s bright magenta stems seemed a bit more hardy. As the weeks of sun grew stronger she had the odd wilting moment, but a bit of emergency water and she perked back up. Yesterday marked four months since sowing, and harvest time for our single beet. I took it into the kitchen and eased it out of the pot, knocking the earth away from the ball-like root. More earth came away, and more, until I was just left with the stems and the thin white ground roots. There was no beetroot. Not even a marble sized one. I give up.
So, I am going to fill my little plant space with something different. Cactuses! Can I keep a cactus alive? Who knows. I’m going to just assume no, and therefore have opted for paper ones.
I found the cutting template for these three cactus plants in the book Cutting Machine Crafts by Lia Griffiths. The book is £1.99 in the Kindle store at the moment, and does come with the link and a personalised password to all of the .SVG and .PDF files for the projects in the book.
I resized each of the cut files to fit a paper base disc 9.5cm in diameter, so that they would fit in the pots that I had to hand. Each of the green cactus patterns took 2 sheets of 30cm² card stock, whilst the blue cactus took a single sheet, and I used just a scrap of pale pink card stock for the flowers. You may just be able to see in some of the pictures that there is a buff coloured circle of card at the base of each cactus, and this took an A4 piece of card.
Though the instructions for these cactuses say to glue them together, I have simply slotted them together without glue, and balanced the flowers on top. As I have sized the base disc to fit snugly in the pot they also sit straight into the pots with no additional material or stabilising.
So, now my plants are made of paper, and I will just accept that I cannot pretend to garden and grow things in my flat. One day I will have a garden and be back out in the fresh air and open spaces. For now, paper greenery will have to do.
My first bit of personal sewing during the pandemic was a pair of slippers. It seemed as different to a face mask as I could imagine. I reluctantly made a one-person production line of masks for ‘out there’, and slippers were as much of an ‘in here’ project as I could hope for. I really love sewing bags, but who needs bags at the moment with nowhere to go?
So it followed (as I am struggling for imagination or inspiration at the moment) that my second selfish sew was another pair of slippers. Because I really dislike making the same thing numerous times I made a different pair of slippers. Variety is the spice of lockdown life.
I have owned the pattern for these Olivia Slippers for seven years. I bought it at the same time as I bought the Kimono slipper pattern, and though I have made the Kimono Slippers a couple of times, this is my first outing with this pattern.
I made the same size as I made the kimono slipper because those fit very well, but goodness these do have quite the different fit to them. Whereas the Kimono slipper has a very relaxed fit and may be suited to a wider foot, the top band on the Olivia pattern means that it tends to suit a more elongated, narrow foot.
Both pairs of slippers fit me, though I think if my feet had been even a fraction of a centimetre bigger the Olivia slippers would not have got over my feet at all. However, the feel of the slippers is completely different. Though they are not tight or restrictive as such, on my foot shape they are not relaxed, and goodness me that is really all I want from my indoor footwear. If I were to make these again, and maybe I will, I would make that top band a centimetre wider.
Overall the pattern is quite fun to make, though as with the Kimono slippers the instruction is a bit lacking. With the Kimono Slipper pattern, no indication is given as to which side should overlap the other to create the crossover for the left/right shoe (which would probably be fine for someone with good 3D spatial sense – the kind I do not have), but this pattern omitted to mention which of the lining/outer layers you were sewing, and the pictures contradicted the written instructions. My best guess was right, but I should not have had to result to guessing.
Though these slippers are constructed from a greater number of pieces than the previous pair, they are still incredibly simple to make. A simple drawn-thread gather forms the texture on the top of the slipper, and unlike the Kimono Slippers, the inner sole lining is integral to the slipper (rather than a padded insert), so the whole slipper is at the penultimate step. This is the only slightly fiddly step, and I think made somewhat more difficult by the incredibly thick non-slip canvas sole fabric I was using.
I do honestly love these slippers and would probably wear these as my preferred pair if it were not for that band across the top of the foot. I have the short, wide feet of a toddler, and as such this pattern will need a touch of tweaking to make them perfect for me. But I don’t want to consign these to the shelves of things I won’t use but cant bear to throw away, so if you are a UK 6.5-7 (or equivalent) with a narrow to average width foot and would like a light pair of slippers in 100% cotton fabrics with a non slip heel, please do drop me a line here or on Instagram as I’d love to send them to a new home. They’ll fold down flat for postbox posting and I’m sure my neighbour or friend would be happy to pop them into the letterbox for me.