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


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


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


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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Meeting My Dollppelganger: American Girl Mini Maryellen


“You’re returning from your blogging-hiatus-due-to-scholarly-pursuits by posting about a doll?” Well, you know, dear friends, that I am a girl of many facets.

I haven’t thought about American Girl dolls in approximately twelve years. In my youth, I was obsessed with the AG catalogue, but those historical (and historically expensive) beauties were always beyond the reach of my family’s limited doll-buying budget. Instead, I spent my formative doll-play years enacting all sorts of magical escapades with Stardust Classic Dolls, a fantasy-inspired 18″ doll alternative (now defunct) that fit our wallets and my imagination a little better.

It just so happened, though, that I stopped for dinner at a mall outside of Boston last week while returning home from the New England Aquarium…and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an American Girl store! Of course I, the girl who had never seen a real American Girl doll in the flesh (vinyl?) before, had to take a peek.

I recognized many familiar favorites from my childhood catalogue-perusing days: Josefina,  Addy, Samantha, and Kaya all still look great even in 2016. I was enchanted by the newest addition Melody Ellison, a stylish girl from the 1960s who loves to sing and has an entire recording studio playset. (If I were to invest $115 in an American Girl Doll today, Melody would probably be my top pick.)

But then I stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed another new-ish member of the American Girl family. This one, Maryellen, is from the 50s. She wears circle skirts and swing dresses and has ginger-orange hair with side bangs.

Which means–as you might have guessed by now–that she looks eerily like me. (Except she sweeps her bangs to the opposite side. I won’t judge.) So of course I had to acquire a mini Maryellen to do a proper  visual comparison!

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New Posting Schedule!


Happy Friday, everyone–though, oddly enough, this might be the last Friday post you see from me for a while!

You’re probably well aware by now that I’m applying to doctoral programs this fall (while also simultaneously working full-time), and as my first deadline approaches, I am officially switching my blog posting schedule to a biweekly Tuesday/Thursday situation!

Blogging (and writing letters, and so forth) is my very necessary respite from thinking about all things art historical; I certainly don’t want to take a complete hiatus, so a modified schedule is my best compromise.

For the next two months, then, you’ll see new snail mail/crafting/stationery posts on Tuesdays and style/photography/whatever else later in the week. By the time January rolls around, you can expect my usual thrice-weekly schedule to resume: after all, I have to do something to occupy my mind while I wait anxiously for admissions decisions in February and March.

See you Tuesday for more of my postal adventures!

P.S. If anyone else out there happens to be undertaking a similar graduate application quest and wants to vent/stress out together/engage in a mutually beneficial proofreading swap, let me know!