Well, I got my new sewing machine and, man, it is a cute one. Better than that, it sews! It sews without skipping stitches!
I completely took apart the denim/linen mermaid and re-did her. I changed out the denim for a printed cotton and changed out the whole body top pattern, slimmed down the tail a bit where it connects to the body and generally changed how I put the whole thing together. It was a lot easier once I figured it out. I was really making it hard on myself the way I was doing things before.
I've gone back to using the yarn I like for the hair (here). I pretty much hate that yarn for anything but mermaid hair but it's perfect for that.
I'll get some pictures of her and my new lovely sewing machine and put those up soon. I'm still re-thinking some elements on her face so she's not quite finished but she's getting close!