Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Restocking some favorite denim staples

Hi dollies!

It's been a month of denim craze over at the atelier
and finally they're ready.

This post is gonna be photo-massive, so I hope you enjoy them...

The FR-sized Button-down denim shirt in its new faded version

Luna modeling the medium-length for 11.5-inch dolls like Barbie MtM, Poppy Parker, and others

the original denim shirt in Barbie/Poppy size

The classic skinny jeans, this time with a cuff...

Tamica rocking the version for Barbie and Poppy

newest versions of the faded and distressed denim shorts

the accidental fade level that I loved so much it made its way to the shirts, too!

The faded and distressed shorts, in its nth version =) Loved just the same ;)

That's it for now, lovelies!

Thanks for dropping by and chat with you soon!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

How to build a great dolly wardrobe

Hey hey, new weekend! It's been consistently hectic in my little corner of the room the past week due to committing to our dear dolly friends the restocking of a few wardrobe staples - the denim shirt, the faded and distressed shorts, and the skinny jeans. I think I must have overcommitted, aiming to finish more than what was in my preorder list. (Okay, sure you can scroll down to get to the point of this post as this part can get boring tee hee) It took me more than a week to finish only several shirts, maybe because they were a little more meticulous to make than other garments. I'll probably pause on the shirts this week and work on the shorts, with also lesser quantity. Same applies to the skinny jeans that I intend to start next, next week.

Those denim shirts...

Okay, enough of my report, which actually is a note to self since I just made the decision of making lesser quantity this morning, and that I might forget about it come Monday. Please bear the journaling over here =D

So let's get it on with the real deal - the Doll Collecting Tips series - which aims to help the doll community decide better as we join hands and traverse the collecting journey together.

After tackling storage, budget and play time in the past few months, I thought that the next thing a new doll collector needs to take care of is his/her dolly wardrobe, or its contents - the doll clothing - to be specific. Honestly, I think finding the right clothes pretty much is just as crucial as finding the right dolls. This is one thing I realized the moment I started collecting dolls as a child. I then started making my own doll clothes when I was about 8 because I wanted to mix and match, and that the Mattel ones that arrive in my part of the country are just way too expensive, and quite frankly, they don’t excite me, too. I have specific looks in mind and the only way to have them is to make them.

Now as an adult doll collector, who likes to style my dolls and take pictures of them, my ongoing goal is to really have a great wardrobe to use. When I say great though, I don’t mean a lot of items in it. I just want to have a decent number of pieces that I love to use often. When I got back to making doll clothing in 2011, my intention was to make anything what my material dictates. I think this was a great strategy back then to build my dream wardrobe because it was based from what I think to me are great pieces. But as the wardrobe grew, while some are very versatile and timeless, I realized that the other pieces just need to go.

I have purged my dolly wardrobe once or twice since I got back to my adult doll collecting, and for the third time yesterday, I finally decided to let go of those I kept for so long but never really got to use in any of my recent photo shoots. They were reserved for like a future photo shoot but I know deep inside I was just too optimistic - that future I was hoping for will not really happen. I decided that what I love NOW and what I can use NOW should only be the ones occupying my dolly wardrobe. 

That is why when I conducted this survey with our dolly friends, I am so happy to know that most of them love the majority of their existing dolly wardrobe. They are either very particular buyers who have specific plans as to how they will use their garments in the future, frequent inventory checkers so they make sure they get rid of items that don’t fit in these plans anymore, or style stars who make time to play around all the items they have such that every single doll garment actually can be a complement to another.

Heaps of thanks as always to these dolly friends of ours for lending their points of view and tips and all things wonderful for us to be able to come up with this post.

Vana, and last but not the least, Tet.

I am so excited to learn from these sensible doll collectors that I made a round-up of tips they shared, something I am pretty sure you guys would also love to hear. So, here we go!

Buy ONLY the doll fashions you love, but still… 

To simply say "buy only what you love" is quite tricky because oftentimes we look at things mostly only at face value. It may look great on the model doll, with its beautiful colors, embellishments or shape/silhouette, but the moment we got home and try it on our doll, we don’t feel the same awe anymore. Remember, doll clothing designers like myself, pick the best model for the clothing we created, or we design clothing for a specific doll with all her specific features considered. So, the next time you see a doll garment and you suddenly felt the urge to buy, ask yourself first the following questions:

1. Will this piece look great on the doll I intend to dress it with? 
2. Will it look great when mixed and matched with my existing pieces?
3. Is it a perfect fit (size-wise) for the doll I intend to dress up?
4. Is it of high quality enough so I can use it more than just one time?

These are just a few of the questions I can think of that we need to ask ourselves before we hit the buy button. You may have more, but definitely pause to at least think about these four.  “Don't buy it, unless you LOVE it. Take your time and choose wisely.  I have paid for so much and later given a lot away.” confesses Terri.

Javi loves 100% of his wardrobe because they look real. He adds, “Choose what you really love. (As with) the rest, let them go... “.

Diadema’s dolly wardrobe comprises the type of clothes real people actually wear on a daily basis. This miniature wardrobe, in a way, represents her own fashion sense.

Diadema's Poppy, styled the way Diadema wears her outfits - they even have the same hairdo!

“For the newbie, just choose the right wardrobe that suits your taste. Just go with what makes you happy and satisfied”, suggests Melan. He adds that it’s important that his doll wardrobe also suits his personality.

Tet recommends just buying what you really like. “I am a bit conservative and I like simple and classic cuts and silhouettes. I am not into fad outfits. I want my dolls to look classy always and my younger dolls to look young and playful.”

Debbie is much more direct: "I don't buy junk".

Know your role, as well as your dolls’, in your playtime

This really is a big factor in deciding for the types of doll clothes you buy. You have to pretty much factor in your own lifestyle too, as director of all these playtimes, and the “lifestyles” that your dolls “lead”. Why did you collect dolls in the first place? Beyond just collecting, what role do you want to play with your collection? Are you the photography hobbyist, diorama builder, photo story teller, doll fashion maker/designer?

Eli advises,“If you plan to enter pageants, then get gowns. If not, then don't buy a bunch of which you don't use. Same goes with casual clothes. As a person who takes pictures of dolls in malls, parks, and beaches, my dolls are dressed to fit the setting. The big pieces are gowns which I got because it had a bit of twist in them such as metal like attachment or weird hood. But I have to admit that my current fave is this traditional Maria Clara gown which I requested to be made. I admit I got it for sentimental reasons but I will totally use it in my doll photography activities."

Kenya reminds us, “As with all other things collector related, focus saves a great deal of time and money."

“My dolls have a sense of style, so the doll(s) I most enjoy dressing at the time affect my buying choices”, says Leslie. “It’s not quite practical for my "normal" dolls, who aren't in magazine editorials very often, to have very pricey rare items. But if that's all you love dressing your dolls in, then by all means, stick with what works.”

Sale time! (with a little Throwback Thursday)
Leslie's dolls that she had since forever leading "normal" lives

Tet admits that what she likes from her wardrobe at the moment depends on her mood. “Currently, I am into chic and the modern take on classic cuts. I love gowns still, but simpler with this time, without much bead work. “

Fashionable Friday
Tet's ladies in chic clothing

Vana says it doesn’t matter if it’s casual or formal clothing, as the ways she dresses her dolls varies and is affected by the model, by her actual mood, by themes or tag games which she participates in, and other sources of inspiration.

Build up on timeless, versatile pieces that are easy to mix and match with 

We’re talking about clean-cut tops, well-fitting pants in neutral colors, tasteful skirts, as well as classic-cut dresses. These pieces should consist 50 to 70% of your wardrobe, while the rest are the fun pieces that make each outfit interesting. This might sound like a boring wardrobe, but trust me on this. Like what they say in art and architecture, you got to have a well-planned, sturdy foundation before you decorate it. That is why we have fun pieces that give oomph to your basic structure.

“Start with classical pieces, which can easily be combined.”, advises Michaela. “Should (your purchase) be extravagant, then start with only one part of the outfit, or with a beautiful statement-jewelry, or add some fancy shoes. A good base is important, after that you can start experimenting. Because for what you need the special pieces, when you have nothing to combine them with and create an outfit?"

Michaela's Giselles in classic Shift dresses

Tet advises it is best to invest in classic cuts because they never go out of style. “Separate pieces are nice as well as you can mix and match outfits. Earth colors and not too vulgar designs are a good choice of outfits, too. Dress your dolls sexy but classy and younger dolls to be cute always. Dress your dolls according to their look and age.”

Kenya has quite a few dresses, but the bulk of the items she keeps are primarily separates - lots of tops, pants and skirts. Her doll wardrobe was primarily 90% Mattel (mix of playline and collector) and 10% Integrity Toys (Fashion Royalty). “Though I had a modest collection of Fashion Royalty, it wasn’t enough to mix-n-match with. I leaned more towards Mattel because the clothes were affordable and fun.”

Terri loves buying dresses the most, but has also acquired quite a collection of tops and bottoms, too. She also suggests that we choose classic pieces that will look good years down the line.

Ford has his doll wardrobe in this set-up – a good mix of tops, pants, and skirts.

Casual style clothing is also a favorite among these doll collectors.

“These are smart casual clothing.” describes Melan of his doll wardrobe. “I adore this kind of clothing because it’s easy to mix and match and you always can play with them. You can also reuse by just pairing them with a different wardrobe collection. “

Melan's Erin in her casual atelierniSHASHA clothes

Leslie says much of her items are for casual wear because her dolls lead "everyday" lives.

Eli’s favorite pieces in her wardrobe tend to be the more casual style and beach/tropical, too. "I love them because I get to use them more. “

Invest in well-made garments and good-quality fabrics

When you are already decided with the types of clothes you want to buy for your dolls, it gets easier to narrow down your seller options. If you choose to buy some timeless pieces, that’s when you want to invest a bit more, or budget for. Doll fashion makers who are really passionate with their craft put so much emphasis on quality. These well-made items required a lot more time to produce, and use the best materials, too thus they can really be a lot more expensive compared to their play scale counterparts.

“Always look for well-sewn clothing and nice fabrics. A cheap doll wearing a well done outfit looks fabulous but with a cheap looking outfit, even an expensive doll looks cheap”, asserts Vana. For Vana, everything is in the detail. “ I love detailed and realistic clothing. This means working pockets, tiny buttons and rivets, realistic fading, decorative stitching and of course, first of all, good workmanship. I adore the talent and accuracy my favorite designers invest in sewing or knitting clothes.”

Vana's Vanina vacationing in Hvar, Croatia

Javi has all kinds of garments, including dresses, jeans, jumpsuits, overalls, hand knitted sweaters but each one has a common factor: all clothes look real.

Leslie also adores the items in her wardrobe that are handmade by talented artists in Etsy. “I appreciate the time/effort each piece makes. I know that those items, either in limited number or OOAK, are special.”

Diadema loves to invest in custom-made by extraordinarily talented people, too. She continues, “They are not mass produced, meaning I only get to share them with few people.”

Debbie buys doll clothes based on variety options, fit and value for money. She adds that while priced higher than brands that offer these values, hand sewn items are of much better quality. “As they say, “you get what you pay for,” or “quality costs more.”

Debbie's Goddess in her handmade atelierniSHASHA outfits

With all the emphasis on good quality items, that means we avoid glittery play line fashions, as Ford suggests. “Total mess (at storage) and very difficult to mix-match.”

Clarify the information in the item you plan to buy

Pictures can be deceiving.  As much as doll clothing makers like me want to show our handmades in the best light through creative photography, there may be other aspects of the garment that you need to pay attention to that we may have missed to include in our listing descriptions. Always communicate your concerns before purchasing. Often times, makers assume that you have already digested the information provided once the purchase has been made. Returns and refunds are possible but can be a hassle too.

“Ahhh the rest (the not-often-used wardrobe items)…..”, sighs Eli. “These are the ones bought when I was less knowledgeable about what I wanted out of my doll collecting and was just buying anything remotely doll related. I've even ended up with stuff that don't fit. Most of them I got because I had so many ideas on how I was going to do these photo shoots, but then I realized those were not feasible due to my lack of skill, time or access to a certain setting i.e. forest or body of water without the danger of losing the doll. In other words, I was too optimistic.”

“The others are mostly stock outfit the doll came with. They're not crappy. I just don't use those often because they didn't really fit with the theme. I mean, who wears a trench coat in the Philippines? Though, come to think of it, they now seem to fit the settings here (Note: Eli moved to the US recently). Hmmm."

Eli's Ace McFly in a weather-appropriate outfit

Eli further warns, “Don't buy everything you see. Take a breath. Ask the size. This seems basic but trust me this is something you should practice doing. Just because they say it fits a 1/6 scale doll doesn't automatically mean it will fit your doll. There are different bodies out there, so double check."

Kenya adores her OOAK items because they are unique and fun to incorporate with other clothing lines. She likes her vintage too, but with regards to fit, it’s a hit or miss situation. “I collect primarily modern dolls – so sizing can sometimes be a problem. “

“I love the way the "designer" doll clothes fit my dolls,” Terri tells.  She remembers that every now and then she gets to buy something ill-fitting items, but for the most part she does quite well. “For example, I mostly use Mattel Barbie dolls for my dioramas and pics and I did some research and found that they are the exact same size as the FR Nippon Misaki doll. This meant I could buy from Clear Lan, which opened up a whole new world of doll clothes for me.”

Terri's Trichelle in ClearLan overalls

 “I enjoy Sparkle Girlz fashions because they fit Barbie and most other playscale dolls,” notes Debbie.

Spend some time experimenting with your existing items

Ford adores his entire collection, which is a wonderful mix of play line and designer items. “I may not be able to use a particular piece as soon as I get it, but sooner or later I will find a piece that perfectly matches it. Sometimes I think of my collection as a living, breathing collection. They just keep on surprising me with great and on-trend ensembles.”, beams Ford.

Ford's Modolls in his mix of play line and designer items

Vana supposes most of us will have owned play line clothing at some point, so to tap into this rather not-much-preferred-by-adult-collectors group, she mixes them up with designer pieces of factory items from high-end brands. “These (items) can be fun too and can help to create new styles.”

“The rest of my wardrobe isn't necessarily for my collector dolls--it's for the dolls I've had forever that often help complete scenes/group settings or it's very casual wear. “ explains Leslie. “Some items are sentimental because I've had them for many, many years, but I have a lot of clothes because I still have a lot of dolls and have collected since I was little, parting with little along the way.”

Javi “recycles” his not-so-loved items. These oversized clothes, crazy prints are sometimes paired with his other ready-to-wear staples.

Michaela says “I do not have a specific taste. I like many styles, classic dresses and evening gowns but also jeans and suits. My dolls have a really big wardrobe LOL! I love to create new outfits. It makes so much fun to put a complete outfit together with shoes, jewelry and a bag after choosing the doll, because the makeup should fit as well. And then comes the best part for me, I so love to photograph it."

Make an inventory and purge every now and then

Sometimes, we surprise ourselves with items we have already forgotten about. Some of them are still useable, but most often, they have already deteriorated in quality, and in beauty. Most of these items I gave out to my nieces because the young ones really don’t care about trends anyways. These just gotta be cleaned up and kept bright-colored, and they’re the happiest!

Also, having clothing that have been sitting in your wardrobe “waiting” for its moment only gives me a heavy feeling. The nagging sight of it reminds me to work right away on the photo shoot theme, which I frankly don’t have the excitement for anymore. And letting go of these kinds of items, really eases, if not, removes the burden. Every time I take out items from my dolly wardrobe, I feel lighter, happier even.

Terri confesses to have accumulated a lot, okay, a whole of doll clothing, in the past two years. “ In recent months, I have given away most of the Mattel clothing to my friend's daughter and kept the really nice higher-end clothing for myself.”

Leslie goes through her items once a year and look for items that are out of date (past fashion trends) or whose condition is deteriorating so I can make room for the new stuff. It's a constant revolving collection. “I always sort through my items and if it isn't really wearable anymore because of its condition, it either gets tossed or donated.”

Kenya shares that she’s in the process of weeding out most of her dolly wardrobe as her taste and requirements change over the years. She proudly and amusingly reports that she already got rid most of what she deemed to be crap. “I’m trying to stay away from things that aren’t of any use in all aspects of my collection.”

A photo posted by @aneky43251 on
Kenya's gal doing a mirror selfie

Michaela only buys doll clothes that she really likes, and the rest, like those that come with the doll, she sells after photographing them.

Javi also confesses to having a lot of Mattel clothes in the beginning, but upon realizing that the fabrics used and the finish do not satisfy him anymore, he decides to sell such and started buying online. “Nowadays, I love most of my clothes.”

Chanel has arrived.
Javi's OOAK gal in atelierniSHASHA shift dress

The Dolly Wardrobe - an on going process

Truly, our dolly wardrobe will always be a work in progress, an ongoing separate project, a work of art that never gets finished. We probably change clothing items more frequently than we do with our dolls. This may be another aspect of collecting to consider budget for, however, it shouldn’t necessarily rattle our brains again come general budgeting time. It’s always nice to keep a great balance of our staples and fun items, at any time. And the tried-and-tested ways to accomplish this are the ones our dolly friends have generously shared with us today.

As with these dolly friends of ours, balancing the right slices in the wardrobe pie continues. The need to spice up our clothing collection with fun items, as well as making sure our staple items are always in good quality to perform at its best, will carry on with our doll collecting journey.

Dream items to maintain exciting wardrobes include tops that are sexy, structured and the again trendy off-the-shoulders, as well as basics like long-sleeved and tank types in a variety of color options. Boucle and duffle coats, as well as turtleneck sweaters were also in their add-to-wardrobe outfit. Our doll friends also wished for more skirts in varying lengths, silhouette and fabrics. Staple bottoms like denim pants, and leggings should always be in top shape. Home-y pieces like pajamas, lingerie, underwear and robes will be perfect for Friday night stay-ins in our doll houses/dioramas. A black jumpsuit, denim overalls and special evening gowns and OOAK pieces surely will give oomph to our wardrobe, as well as Avant garde and high fashion pieces. Homme clothing, which aren’t as ubiquitous as the girls’, need to be given more attention to as well.

I hope that with this post, you guys can create your own formula of balancing your wardrobe's dolly clothing proportions. I am very much getting a lot from this list myself. Editing this post teaches me everything I needed to know, even as a not-so-novice doll collector.

Okies, gotta go do some groceries for the upcoming week. Drop by and let's have a chit-chat, ayt? BRB....

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Creative Doll Collector of the Month: Miranda Zieglar of OneSixthAvenue

Hi guys! Happy Weekend!

How have you been? I did check on your blogs whenever I can
but whew, what a week for me, indeed! I have been floating in denim heaven,
while also rebuilding my illustration skills. Some of you may know that I am
restocking on the denim staples I made in the past - the shirt,
the skinny jeans and the faded/distressed shorts. These are detail-y things
that need some more time and focus, and I also had to sneak in
a watercolor illustration a day - a project I have been wanting to start for so long.
I post my illustrations here, if you wanna check them out =)

So please allow me to kiss and make up with you,
with another awesome interview!

I have been so excited to know what's going on in the brains of the person behind a really cool blog, which runs an awesome story of the "lives" of her favorite dolls. Her characters are so interesting, but  to me, it's her photos and the diorama she builds to make her story panels look so realistic make the blog addicting!
She also makes and sells her miniature creations over at her Etsy shop.
Yes, because this isn't called the Creative Doll Collector series for nothing =)

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
I mean how exciting is it to find out your baby's gender, just like this one from her episodes here, right?

Our doll collector of the month is mom of two, pet parent to a chihuahua and a poodle,
and have been with her husband for 17 years, all the while playing with toys
of which she confesses, she'll never grow out of.

This lady from Texas likes 90s country, as well as alternative and rock n roll music,
so it pretty much shows in her work (now you know why you see lots of band gigs, and more in her blog). She's a Walking Dead fan so she's probably so excited now for the new season to come out. Fall is her favorite time of the year because it's the kick off
to the Holidays season and that the weather starts to cool down.

Okay, I'm done talking now so that I can give the stage, or should I say the rest of the post to our
Creative Doll Collector of the Month:

Miranda Zieglar of

Hey, it's Miranda!

When did you start collecting dolls as an adult? As a child?

I have always loved dolls, Barbie in particular from a young age, but I didn't start seriously collecting as an adult till about 10 years ago. My daughter at the time was 3 years old and starting to get into dolls and Barbie too of course. It started out slow, just buying playline dolls, mostly second hand thrift store finds and any other "props for Barbie" we could find. Then one day while out shopping, I found my first collector doll at Wal-Mart on clearance. She was "Top Model Barbie", I hadn't even realized there were collector dolls out there like this, she was so different than the others I had seen, so I snatched her up and took her home.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Laura, one of Miranda's main characters in her photo stories, wearing an atelierniSHASHA dress

What draws you to dolls?

 Well....I know a lot of people are drawn to Barbie because of her beautiful fashions and endless wardrobe, me not so much. Yes, I do love to dress the dolls and give them lovely fashions but I was always drawn to her because she let my imagination run wild! As a child, my sister and I would play for hours on end with our dolls, thinking out elaborate stories for them to star in.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Miranda's childhood doll photography - so cute!

That miniature world in which I was in control and could make anything happen made for some of the best memories for me as a child. Now as an adult I can relive those childhood memories by making doll photo stories to share with others. Secondly, I love the challenge of creating this miniature world, these two aspects are really what draws me to doll collecting.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
OneSixthAvenue characters celebrating Phoenix' 2nd birthday

Aside from directing and running a doll story, making doll fashion and diorama building, 
what other creative activities do you enjoy that involve your doll collection?

 Hmmm.....Well this is a tough question, lol!  I guess the answer would be, customizing dolls. I would love to one day be more skilled at it but I just have not given myself the chance to practice enough. I really do enjoy making my dolls look different than all the countless other ones out there just like them, but at the moment  I do small changes.  It could be anything, from changing the eye color or lipstick on a doll, to giving my guys tattoos and facial hair, I feel this makes them look more mature, more real. My goal here is to get better at it, and one day do a whole face repaint if possible...

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Laura, Baby Phoenix and the main man Luke in his customized tat-laden body

What inspires you to make stories for your doll collection?

Well this one is easy! Ha! My inspiration for the doll stories was jolted into full force when I bought Luke, aka Captain Jack Sparrow Ken doll. Before Luke entered my life I was very much into the doll stories but they were slow going, plus my diorama skills were still being developed. That ALL changed when I bought him, and then paired him with my Barbie Basics Model #4 from the Jeans collection, who we all now know as Laura. The child in me with the wild imagination came out, and these two quickly became the center of my doll world and reshaped the way my collecting was going.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Luke and Laura several years ago - I just love how they evolved from this as well!

Please tell us more about your favorite Luke Allen Cooper =)

 That day I brought Luke home was like nothing I will ever forget, as soon as I redressed him and snapped pictures of him, I had fallen head over heals for a doll, lol! The love affair had officially began, and so that very same week I bought him, I went back to Toys R Us and purchased another captain Jack. I had never felt the need to buy two of the same doll before but with him I did! I have had Luke for a little over 6 years now, and his "character" has developed more and more over time. Right away he struck me as a guy who loved music, and being a child of the 80s and 90s, I love grunge, alternative, and rock and roll, Luke naturally fit the bill for this. So, late one night his bio just came to me, and his persona, who he was and what I wanted him to be. And to this day I still can't help but be in awe of this little doll and how much he inspires me.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
He is just hot!

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Tell me, who wouldn't fall in love with this guy.. er I mean doll, right?

Building a diorama is vital in telling your doll stories, do you sometimes feel like it’s exhausting to build them, or is it always fun?

Oh yes, definitely! I have my times when I feel at the end of my rope with a diorama. The chapel I built for Michelle and Benjamin's wedding was one of them. That diorama involved so much repetitive work that it eventually got tiresome for me and I had to stop for awhile. I finally picked it up again when I got the drive to finish it.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on

A photo posted by @onesixthavenue_diorama on

Also my first major diorama, Bull Tavern, took me several years to finish. It had many set backs, as I was still learning what worked and what didn't work when it came down to it. So for the most part, I do enjoy building dioramas, it's a huge passion for me, but like anything else in life it has it's challenges and I sometimes have to pause and come back to it when I get inspired again.

A photo posted by @onesixthavenue_diorama on
The Bull Tavern

What tips can you give us your fans about storytelling?

Tips on story telling....Well, I have been a soap opera fan for many years, since I was a teenager actually. So I model a lot of my stories off of that. I try to keep it realistic for the most part with that touch of drama added to keep it interesting. Having strong characters, I believe is key to good story telling, like any good book you might read or television show you may watch. Once a doll has a role in my stories I try to determine what kind of person they would be and try to stay true to that character.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
I love how Laura's character has been so consistent through the years

If you're feeling overwhelmed just focus your stories on one doll or a few dolls. I find it much easier to type dialogue between 2-3 dolls as opposed to more. Then I think about how natural the conversation between the dolls would be.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Buddies for life

Last is take lots of pictures! Take them from all different angles if you can, you don't always have to move the dolls around too much, just the angle of your shot. I think having more pictures between the dialogue keeps the reader engaged, this is after all a photo story. The same way I approach the dialogue is how I approach pictures I just think what would happen next in real life?

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Different camera angles = different dialogues

Lastly have patience! Pace yourself, especially if you are stuck then stop and come back.

A video posted by @onesixthavenue_diorama on
Ah... the prize of all that patience...

Any tips as well on diorama building?

Tips on diorama building....Well, I have learned that steering away from using most "Barbie doll sized furniture" will make a big difference in making your dioramas more realistic. Not just painting over the bright pink works, most Barbie furniture is way too under scaled and really suits an 8 to 10 inch doll better. So if you are serious about building realistic dioramas this is an important thing to note, of course I didn't have all these things right at my disposal right away. It has taken me years to accumulate items and build items. So any chance you get check out your local thrift stores, flea markets, and garbage sales. I'm sure most of you know that you can find great stuff at these places. Also foamcore board and contact paper are great items to always have on hand. You can make furniture, walls, and so on with this stuff. If you are comfortable using a hot glue gun and an exacto knife then you can do a lot with these two items. I almost always use these items for quick diorama sets ups. Last tip I try to keep my color palette neutral when building my dioramas, especially the walls and main pieces of furniture. Then add pops of color here and there in the accessories. Because in real life most of us do not live with super bright colors on our walls and furniture. If you look in stores or online, most of these items are neutral in color. When ever in doubt I always refer to something in real life so I can mimic it in my doll world. :)

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Laura's new kitchen currently in the works - see how Miranda's neutral palette background works?

How are you able to manage time between your family/work life and the sixth scale universe?
(Tips on making time for our hobbies)

 Well, I don't have a 9-5 job with a paycheck. My husband supports our family so that I can take care of the kids and the household. Sometimes I do miss working but my kids come first and foremost so making sure they are off to school and doing well is my number one priority. Plus my son has a learning disability so me being there for him is very important at this stage. So with that, I have time during the day to stop and take time for the dolls, my evenings and weekends are usually more busy with family time. I don't always get doll time everyday but I try to at least get a little done each day. Pacing myself is very important, otherwise I can stress myself out between family life and working on my doll stories. Plus it's easy to get carried away and loose track of time. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to try and post an episode each week, as much as everyone all loves this. It was highly stressful on me, so now I try to not push myself that way, and just finish it when I can. Because when your hobby starts to feel like a chore it is no longer fun any more. I went through a bout where that happened and I had to just step back and take it slow. When you are not feeling creative don't push yourself. Find something else that relaxes you and then come back. That's my tip! Just let it flow naturally don't push it. :)

How do you see Luke and Laura’s future and the whole gang’s (or what can we look forward to) over at One Sixth Avenue in the next five years?

Wow! Okay, so without giving any spoilers away....Hmmmm let me see. Well, I can promise that Michelle and Benjamin will be having a kid within the next 5 years, plus they will eventually get a different house. No room for kids in that tiny condo of theirs, lol! Of course I hope to have more dioramas built within that time.

A photo posted by MirandaZ (@onesixthavenue) on
Benjamin and Michelle's Wedding - this episode is one of my faves!

I will definitely build Luke's record shop, sometimes I feel so bad I have not built it yet. Then I have to remind myself he's a doll and has no feelings about this! Ha! And I also would like to elaborate more on Shaun and Amari's relationship, but first Shaun needs his own place so I need to work on planning that. Some of you know I'm in the process of making Laura a custom kitchen, I hope to have their house done or near complete in the next 5 years. So as you can see diorama building is a big factor for me and the characters at OneSixthAvenue. So all of it really hinges on if I can get these dioramas done! :)
Thanks again so much Shasha!

*end of interview*

Wow, thank you so so much again, as well, Miranda!
It was so great to hear about how OneSixthAvenue started and developed - it really shows all your passions in life! I am so fortunate and happy that you have granted me this super cool interview.
I have also learned a lot from your tips, and I enjoy all your photo stories so much!
Thanks again, Miranda! Thank you for all you do - You rock, girl!

Darn - was that really the end of the interview already?
Sigh... I would have wanted to listen more to Miranda's behind-the-scenes, too!
But, we can always have a chat again with her right? Part 2 of the interview, perhaps?
Tee hee... so for the mean time, let's check out all of Miranda's sites so we can catch up with the gang
over here:

OneSixthAvenue Blog (Photo Stories)
On Instagram:
and Etsy for Miranda's miniature creations!

I hope you enjoyed the interview, guys!
Have a great weekend and drop your comments, too so we can chat =)