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 =)


  1. Ahhh she is so inspirational! Makes me want to drop everything and make a diorama now! >.<
    Lydia's Dolls @

    1. I know, right? Sigh, it's so tempting to jump into her dioramas and live with her dolly characters! Miranda is super talented!

  2. Miranda is definitely one of my favorite storytellers! I love her diorama's and her ability to pull us all in and get us hooked on a story. Her characters are so real, that sometimes it is easy to forget that they are dolls. Her photography skills are also amazing and the way she takes a photo brings her story to life. I loved this interview with her and I am once again inspired by her to do more storytelling.

    Thank you both, Shasha and Miranda for sharing Miranda's story!

    1. Thanks so much, Phyllis - I totally agree with everything you said. Miranda is such a super creative person and I am always amazed to see her art. I am so glad to be having her here in the blog, to inspire us all =)

  3. Awesome interview!! I absolutely love her blog. I have been a follower since the beginning. Luke and Laura have always been my favorite of her characters. They are so intriguing as were their namesake characters on General Hospital. I get super excited to see a post from her. The dioramas are totally awesome and now that you have interviewed her it is clear as to how this is all developed.

    Thanks Shasha and Miranda for an awesome interview!!

    1. Thanks, Georgia Girl! Every time I see a Jack Sparrow doll, he's the Luke I have come to love (and sometimes hate for being too weak haha!). I have come across many doll photo stories but it's OneSixthAvenue I got myself hooked!

  4. So inspiring! She gave some great advice. As a novice dio builder and storyteller, I appreciate her words of wisdom. Thanks so much to both of you for this interview.

    1. Truly, what Miranda shared here are very helpful for us novice dio builders. I am so happy she said yes to grant this interview =)


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