stitches & squid: an illusion knit scarf

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It seems that I only turn to knitting exactly once a year: something I hope to change in 2018! My single project for 2017, though, was typical fiber fare for me. I’ve been dazzled by illusion knits since I was in high school, and I have crafted a number of such scarves as holiday presents over the years (my personal favorite was the miniature helix scarf I attempted as a secret Santa present for a friend in college). This time, I decided to design my own pattern, inspired by Generic Squid Characters In No Way Associated With A Game My Fiancé Enjoys.

By the time you read this, he will have already opened this weird and whimsical gift at our belated second-Christmas celebration in January, so it can be safely revealed to the world. I, however, am writing this in the past, and at this moment in time all I can say is that I truly hope he likes it!

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planning the spring sea-mester

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Though I cannot in any way profess to be one of those talented planner folks who create works of art in tiny week-by-week boxes, I do get a lot of mileage out of my own organizational tools: after all, I’m a grad student, a TA, and a snail mail-er who enjoys carefully cataloguing every letter I send and receive.

I use a bullet-journal style notebook for to-do lists and keeping track of assignments, but I’m happy to have this larger planner to maintain a sense of the bigger picture.

(I’m typing sentences like that last one in an attempt to convince you that there are many logical reasons supporting my ownership of this planner, but let’s be real — I’m mostly in it for the mermaids.)

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snail mail favorites: blast from the pastel

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With each passing day, my stationery choices make me even more of a parody of myself! Cactus cards? Soft pastel unicorn notepads-repurposed-for-letter-writing? Holographic mermaid folders? Thank you, popular culture, for supporting my unabashed childlike quirkiness with your school & pen pal supplies selections.

As we inch closer to grad school go-time, you can expect this blog to become a little bit more of a stationery oasis – as someone who takes any excuse to organize my life in a cute way, I am already neatly tucking away all of my registration paperwork into these ridiculous folders. Is it madness, or is it mermazing? Only time will tell.

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pin review: trilobite by natelle draws stuff

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Happy Trilobite Friday! At the start of June, I had just been thinking that my pin collection was seriously lacking in representation of Paleozoic ocean life–and then Natelle Draws Stuff released a brass 3D trilobite pin and I became more delighted than I’ve felt in eons.

I’m aware that I am totally setting myself up for strangers telling me “ew, there’s a bug on your collar!”*: but introvert though I may be, I remain incredibly excited to spread the good word of trilobite natural history to anyone who happens to question my accessory choices.

*I mean, it is an arthropod, but it’s a cute one! Come on!

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Knitting: An Accidental Whale

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It’s a new year and time for a new blogging category on Mailbox Mermaid: ocean-inspired knitting projects!

During my holiday at home, I finally picked up a pair of knitting needles for the first time since I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in the fall of 2015. Although I managed to recover, thanks to occupational therapy and workplace modifications, I still shied away from returning to an activity that is basically the textbook definition of “repetitive motion.”

But then I gave it a try and made this whale!

This little guy was actually supposed to be a dolphin, according to the pattern, but I think he looks much more like a humpback. Perhaps, like my favorite cetacean documentary that involves robotic camera-creatures filming pod activity, this whale can gather intel from within the knitted dolphin community.

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A Childlike Interlude: A Girl For All Time’s Matilda

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So…I bought a[nother] doll.

Before you ask: no, this is not about to turn into a doll collecting blog. (There’s no way I could afford such a lifestyle, much as it tempts me!) But after my American Girl nostalgia trip a few weeks ago, I wondered what indie alternatives to such commercialized dolls existed. Over the course of my research, I discovered A Girl for All Time, a U.K. company that creates detailed, sophisticated dolls and prizes historical accuracy. I fell in love with these dolls because of their sweet faces, which lack the sometimes-unnerving open mouths, blinking eyes, and bared teeth of their competitors.

I felt a little odd about investing in a doll as a twenty-something Supposed Adult, but I’ve come to think of it as a curatorial, art-collector-esque decision. Matilda, my Girl of All Time of choice, really is a work of art, and she certainly makes a good subject for outdoor photography here in Hawai’i.

(I’m also justifying a self-present of such a collector’s item by claiming that it’s my duty as a historian to review historically-mindful dolls. Obviously.)

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School Supplies & Sea Turtles: Iwako Puzzle Erasers

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Novelty erasers have always made me a little uncomfortable. Why would I want to take an adorable object in the form of a sweet creature and slowly erode it bit by bit to cover up my pencil-related mistakes? (You can imagine that I find the act of eating animal-shaped cookies quite challenging too.)

I spotted some whale shark erasers in a stationery store in Liverpool over the summer, and while I didn’t pick them up at the time (I was short on space and nearly out of pounds!), I’ve kept those erasers in my mind ever since. When I noticed a pack of sea life Iwako erasers on Amazon, though, I knew the time had come to add those whale sharks to my desktop aquarium! (And no, I don’t plan on ever using them for their intended purpose. They’re too cute!)

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