Because I’m greedy.

So, my friend Ali is an incredible knitter (knitress?) and a far better blogger than I am. She knits these incredible little animals all the time and gives them away. I already won something she made…this little sheep.

But now she has made a gorgeous green baby sweater and I want it too. And I get an extra chance to win by posting a link on my blog.

So now you know how greedy I am.

After the flurry of picture-taking activity in the last few weeks I’ve set my camera down for a while to concentrate on a few projects around the home. After staring at my brown sofa and willing it to change color for two years now — to no avail, I might add — I have decided to sew a slipcover. The sofa has six cushions and a frame, so this is going to be a bit complicated. Fortunately, I decided to make some test versions first so I figured out last night that my original cushion cover idea didn’t work at all. I think husband was waiting for me to get upset after I wrestled the cover onto the pillow, but to be honest I was so relieved that I hadn’t cut into my “real” fabric that I was quite satisfied with Cushion 1.0. Cushion 2.0 will hopefully be finished this evening and we’ll how it goes on.

The final fabric is some thick unbleached cotton that I picked up with a 50% off coupon at Joann’s. I really need to stick with neutrals right now since I change my mind about color so much. I might get tired of green, but white or cream always works for me. Plus, you know how practical it is with a toddler in the house. :)

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Some downtown photos.

Some of you might remember that my friend Natalie Zepp and I sometimes go on a friendly little photo outing with our babies. She recently got a drool-worthy lens, so we took Isla and Camilla to historic downtown Pensacola and had some fun. Most photos are by Natalie, editing is by me. Enjoy!

Photoshoot in downtown Pensacola.

Here, have a seed pod.

Camilla at 14.5 months.

(At this point we were way past naptime and I was reduced to bribing Camilla with doughnut. That should help you to interpret some of her funny expressions.)

Finger puppet fun.

My baby is and always has been an early riser. From age 0 to 6 months, the only bit of consistency in her sleep schedule was that she always woke up at 4:30 am. Unfortunately, you don’t really feel like reading a book at 4:30 and there’s not much on the telly besides MTV — that’s when they actually play music videos — and Angel reruns. (Now, whenever I see David Boreanaz’s face or hear Fire Burning on the Dance Floor I think of those days. Sad, but true.) As you can imagine, I was pretty happy when her wake up time moved all the way up to 5:15. I bring her into bed to nurse and cuddle for 30 minutes or so and then she rolls over and is ready to go. She walks straight from the bed to her basket of toys in the living room and starts pulling things out.

These photos were taken a little later in the morning, but she’s showing the same level of toy enthusiasm.

Morning play time.

This time she chanced upon a set of keys. Keys make for very good entertainment, until you put them in your mouth and mommy takes them away.

Anyhow, what I really wanted to show you is the latest and greatest set of toys that we have started playing with.

Many months ago, Miranda sent me an incredibly awesome set of finger puppets. They weren’t initially that exciting to the babe, however, so I kept them in the closet in a ziploc bag.

Getting the puppets out of the bag.

A few days ago, Camilla found the bag* and has been playing with them steadily ever since.

*Obviously, I do not allow my child to play unattended with plastic bags. However, opening a ziploc is a good 5 minutes of supervised entertainment so we let it happen every once in a while.

The puppet lineup.

These are a couple of the puppets we have. I don’t know of you can tell, but they are handknit and have an incredible level of detail.

I'll take those.

I found a tag inside one and looked them up and it turns out that you can buy them from a website called Lucuma. The finger puppets are only $3.50 each, which strikes me as a somewhat suspiciously good deal, given how complicated they are. But however the price is set, you should check them out. They have an incredible array of people and animals, and they also come in cotton, organic cotton, and alpaca versions.

Given their current level of popularity, I think we might need to invest in a few more.

Plucking them off one by one.

I consider it planning for the day when our collection starts to get lost, as is bound to happen with small & beloved objects.

I should also mention that, despite being a mere 14.5 months of age, my genius child has already deduced that the puppets are meant to go on your finger.

I know it goes on my finger somehow...

If her wee ones were but a bit longer, I’m sure she’d have it down.

(Sorry for the shameless product plug, but I know of a few other babies who are into puppets and thought their mamas might like to know about Lucuma.)

Living room WIP.

[I know that two posts in a day is a lot for me, but I have all these photos that have been stockpiling and I just haven’t had time to put them up. So, I’m going to take this chance to catch up…]

I had one of my biannual (triannual?) urges to rearrange the living room last week. It was prompted by the realization that we needed to form some sort of home office in the bedroom so husband can work at home. Desk + living room x active one-year-old = poor studying environment. So, I added the desk to the bookshelf already cramming our bedroom wall and freed up a lot of nice space in the living room. My feng shui is undoubtedly all off, so it’s a good thing I don’t pay any attention to that sort of thing.

As it turns out, our living room has been through a number of variations already in the 1.5 years since we’ve lived here. This is an early version when we still had the desk and both bookshelves in the room (I think there was one even earlier than this, but I can’t find the photos).

Probably should have emptied the waste basket!

The pillow cases have got to go...

New apartment arrangement.

Later I swapped out the white curtain for my favorite Anthropologie duvet-cover-turned-curtains which you can see a bit in the photo below.

It was a decent arrangement, but as soon as Camilla started to show a great interest in books we decided to not fight that particular battle and moved them all into the bedroom. Josh also got me a new rug for my birthday, so I re-did the color scheme with a sort of dusty blue, green, and brown and swapped things around to look like this.

Paper garlands in the living room.

(Except for the garlands and extra chairs, which were there for Camilla’s party.)

The on-time guests...

(The wall sticker clock, fyi, was from Target but I’m not sure if they have it anymore. It is single-use, which meant that I have to work any new furniture arrangement around it or pull the whole thing down.)

Moving on up to the present, once I moved the desk into the bedroom I was able to put the bookshelf in its place.

That gave me enough room to scoot the couch against the wall, which opens up the window and — I think — the whole room.

New living room arrangement.

It gets really lovely light in the morning, and I like seeing the full length of the curtains.

Plus, I had a whole big wall to use for art!

The wall is still a bit of a work-in-progress, but I’m pretty happy with it so far. Especially since everything comes from the stash of unfinished projects in the own cupboards and I didn’t buy one single new thing.

The wall of frames.

I’ll post some close-ups sometime so you can get a better look. :) In the meantime, here is the current status of the room:

Recently finished projects:

– Move furniture
– Install permanent baby gate between living room and kitchen (should have done that a long time ago)
– Fill all the frames on the wall

Unfinished projects:

– Overdye the curtains (maybe no one can tell but me, but the green is a little too blue)
– Spray paint the coat hook white (I don’t like the brown, but I couldn’t find a white one)
– Finish knitting an ottoman cover (inspired by these)
– Find/paint two white side tables for the sides of the sofa
– Buy a new paper lantern to replace the one damaged in a tragic fly-swatting incident
– To be honest, I really really wish the sofa was white and sometimes contemplate sewing a slipcover. But the sheer amount of work involved always intimidates me. So it will stay brown (with maybe a white throw?) for now.

Once nice thing about the new arrangement is that it eliminated the need for a bunch of little things that I had been looking for to make the previous space work better. Hah hah! I feel like I’ve saved money already. Now, on to spend it on something else…

A day at the beach.

Last weekend we finally took Camilla to the beach. We tried once last summer but she was so hot and miserable and screamy that it dampened our enthusiasm for a long time. However, the weather over Labor Day weekend was so drop-dead gorgeous that we couldn’t resist the lure of the water.

We started out with a nice little picnic in Navarre.

The plum-eating face.

And what kind of late summer picnic would it be without plums?

Rarrr.

Especially the kind that smoosh all over your face and drip down your chin.

They make us sooooo happy.

And juicy.

Everyone got juicy.

Afterward, we went swinging for a little while.

Swinging by the beach.

And then: to the beach!

At Navarre Beach.

The water did have a lot of little algae bits in it, but I couldn’t see any signs of oil. And really, algae is about as neutral as it gets when it comes to weird things that float in the ocean.

You could almost see stripes in the water that day — the blue is the deeper part and the green is shallow.

Now, at this point you will probably wonder why husband and child aren’t wearing proper swimming clothes. The truth of the matter is that we had only intended to wade along the shore. But the water was so lovely that we just couldn’t stay out.

So we went in.

Splashed by daddy.

Camilla thought it was pretty great.

We took her out of the pack and let her walk on the sand a bit, but she wasn’t a big fan (= crying).

Taking a dip.

Bobbing around in the water was pretty nice, though. Kind of like a big sparkly blue bath.

Next time, I can see that we will need to all wear swimsuits.

Warm, warm water,

Now, this is the requisite handheld family-at-the-beach photo. Because of the glare, I didn’t realize that it’s a bit unflattering to each and every one of us. But it’s the only one I took, so here it is.

Beach, we will be back.

We own the sky.

I have visited and/or lived in many places with nicer landscape than Pensacola. There are no mountains, no valleys, no rolling hills. The beach is nice, but if you don’t live there you only see it every once in a while and most of your time is spent staring at very mundane little neighborhoods.

That is why it is very fortunate that we have the sky.

The sky in Pensacola has a spectacular and constantly changing topography of its own. Mountains rise up overnight, last for a few hours, and then are gone by afternoon. A meadow appears with weird fluffy white flowers scattered evenly as far as the eye can see. There are layers within layers, cities and countries and nations of cloud that form and dissipate over our heads.

Two nights ago, husband and I decided to go for our usual after-dinner walk despite a long day of grey skies and rain. When we opened the door to see whether we were going to get wet, we found this.

Our rainbow.

A perfect, pot o’ gold sort of rainbow, standing silently in the sky.

We congratulated ourselves on having gone outside rather than stay in our air-conditioned apartment and miss this natural wonder.

And then we turned the corner. And saw this.

Turning the other direction.

I think that people are so afraid to sound cliched that they don’t want to comment on a pretty sunset. But sometimes you’ve just got to do it. Especially when “pretty” isn’t exactly the word you’re looking for.

I wanted to run up and down the row knocking on doors and pulling people away from their televisions to see the fire in the sky. But I didn’t.

We just walked to the end of the road and watched a perky little fox run in front of us. We looked till our eyes were sore and then turned back. By the time we got to our door and turned around for one last glimpse, the gold was gone and the clouds were grey again.