Blog Archive August 2015

Danny Choo's Smart Doll Mirai rides on his shoulder

This doll, Mirai, came to mind when one of my readers, okay, my one reader, told me he is thinking of beginning his own doll collection but doesn't know where to start.


(I hope he has a good job. If not, he could start by printing off  a picture, haha...Listen, that IS the beginning of a doll collection. Dollheads like us DO have pictures of dolls on our walls. Haven't you noticed?... "Dollheads"? Is that a thing? ...It is now!)


Mirai is a VERY well known doll in Japan. It is so famous and popular that Japan chose it as their official mascot of Japan tourism. Then Malaysia did. She stars in books and specials on TV, if I have my facts straight.


And Danny Choo designed her. Danny Choo is Jimmy Choo's son. Jimmy Choo the famous shoe designer.


Info straight from Danny's site...


Designed, manufactured and assembled in Japan by a startup called Mirai, Smart Doll is a line of 60cm tall articulated fashion dolls designed by myself Danny Choo. The Smart Doll product is a fusion of art and both modern and traditional molding methods which enables us to create a stylish and fashionable line of fashion dolls for an international market.
The “SM” from “SMART” means “Social Media” while the rest means “ART.”
Smart Doll is art which connects people in ways that an online social media service cannot possibly do in an offline world.

 Doesn't that sound like the perfect place to start?

I am excited about this doll. She has an amazing body structure...check out the stages of her, from skeleton to finished product. Different from even the best bjd's out there.


Mirai is created to appeal to people of all types, genders, and ages. Little kids, cool teens, young women into fashions, 29 year old males,  old lady doll collectors, people from Other Countries. Whether you are a dollhead or not, this is a doll with appeal.


Besides thinking of Mirai for my reader on the lookout for a good startup doll, she also came to mind when I wrote about my dolls coming with me on car rides. Wishing I was braver about having my dolls out in the open. 

Danny Choo walks around his city with Mirai on his shoulder.

Okay, so he wants everyone to have one, or his Kizuna, her friend. 

But I couldn't help thinking of the business potential of having this doll. Imagine, say, Vancouver. Walking downtown, in the business district, in your suit (or on casual Friday in an artsy Tshirt and carrying your skateboard). With Mirai on your shoulder. Doesn't that just scream business opportunity? Can't you just picture yourself signing new contracts, after sharing Japanese beers with potential clients who recognize what an internationally savvy person you are? It's so...respectful.


And having a Mirai dangling from your briefcase or backpack, or with her articulated arm wrapped around your head, I think would give you a kind of street cred. To a variety of humans.  Smart Humans.

And only 60,000 yen  A smart investment at double the price! 

Something to think about.


Not in the city? Maybe you are out in a camp somewhere, working Then it's the casual and useful khaki pants, canvas shoes, and toque she wears, that could be the appeal.... She would fit right in. She would keep you company when you are working in the field, alone, or attract others to your table in the Workforce Dining Module.


Find a cute little pickaxe for her. (She can have a small magnet in her hand so she can actually hold something metal. I know I have convinced you now! Can you send me a picture when you get her? I don't have one yet. A Real Mirai I mean...)


I hope my reader comes back and sees this. And buys one. Danny Choo might notice and send me a free Mirai for my good salesmanship. Can't wait.


If you want to see more photos of Mirai Suenaga, google her. Or go right to the site. I'll make it easy for you...Smart Doll

There. My good deed for the day.


(Hey! I think I may have 2 readers now. So excited! Do friends count? See KP's comment on my 72 Hour post.)



Dolls are like pets, sort of...

Except you don't have to feed them, or put out water all the time for them, or clean up after them with cute little bags you buy at the pet store....


Dolls are a lot quieter. And they stay where you put them.


But on the similar side...

You feel good when you look at them. 

They rely on you to look after them.

Sometimes they need to be fixed.

They look cute in clothes that they don't actually need.

And they have personality...each one is different.


Pets seem to communicate telepathically too, like dolls do. (See my last post.) People are always talking about what their pets are saying to them. Humans have conversations with their pets all the time.


If you are around when a pet owner is having one of these "discussions", there can be some ambiguity, in your mind. You yourself might have thought that pet was saying something else. Conversations and expressions in pets are open to more interpretation than human language and facial expression. I've noticed that on Facebook.

 This is my interpretation of what my daughter's cat is saying to her. To Tas, her beloved kitty is saying something like...Oh mommy, don't you want to spend some quality time with me before you get down to your boring work? Look, I'm so cute and cuddly. 

For humans there are actually books for our babies about common facial expressions, and what they mean. Lots of common expressions-happy, mad,  sad, surprised-in the human world.  


But with pets, and out.

Think of making a book with pet or doll expressions.

The debates would start!

I think you gotta know them...


My friend thinks my doll Ana is sad. No way! That's not a sad look. She's peaceful! Sheesh!


How am I ever going to do stories with dolls with wild interpretations like that!

Okay, I have a little trouble myself figuring out how to let you know that Scout is excited with her new badge. That is one sullen looking doll. Pretty and sullen. Wow.


Thank goodness for thought bubbles.


Love pets. We've had lots, thanks to a friend who, years ago, sent two kittens home on a sleepover with my children. Now what?  Have you ever tried to send a kitten back? Fast way to losing all your brownie points with your kids. Try telling your little curly headed deprived child that she's too allergic while she's cuddling a soft kitten. I had kept the whole existence of "pets"  from her for as long as I could. Then, the choice- daily steroid cream and kitten, or no kitten. Guess which a kid will pick? OMG. In the end I caved.


And the random pets flooded in for years, my kids picking up strays and bringing them home,  or feeding a new stray in the backyard while I drink coffee on the front porch until the cat thinks it has a home here.  I do remember actually choosing a pet from a litter once. How novel. But that was because one of the strays, already established as a pet,  was not "friendly" enough to sit on a child's lap, or get put in a doll buggy with a bonnet. (Did someone say doll?)


But I digress....  At this point in my life I choose dolls over pets, now that the kids are elsewhere, and the last pet is gone too. I get a lot of the same satisfaction from my cute and funny little dollies that pets offer their people. (Not just cute though, also majestic and royal. I have dolls that are like German Shepherds or race horses, seriously -don't call them "cute".)


Dolls are a lot less work. No feeding, except for an imaginary picnic or romantic dinner set up for a photo shoot. But the food is pretend and you can use it over and over. 


No yard clean up or pet hair on your couch. Okay, you gotta keep track of all the hair-ties, socks, and ribbons. But you are not up at 6 am to feed them after they've jumped on your bed and licked you. You don't have to get up in the night to let your pet out so you don't regret it in the morning. 


Although I was up and out at the other night at midnight, doll in each hand and camera around my neck, to see the blue moon. We sat out under the stars. And howled... 


Dolls and pets. Gotta love them.

Well...Scout tells me you don't have to love pets.

Scout, that's not the best way to endear yourself to Humans. They have a thing about pets. 

Did you just say you don't care what Humans think? Go to your room!

Okay, you've got a point. I'll take you to your room... (excuse me...)



The lines are blurring.

Rocking chair on a porch
It was empty when I left...

I just finished writing about how dolls stay where you put them...


But I admit I had a thought  a while back, that one of these days I am going to find my dolls Somewhere Else. That they have synthed somehow and are making choices for themselves. Moving from room to room, partying, going for night walks under the full moon. And I will have lost the advantage of Total Control. Causing confusion. I thought it had happened already the other day, when I discovered 3 of my little dolly children in what I call my office.  But then I remembered that I had put them there myself, after a photo shoot. Perhaps early dementia and dolls moving around "by themselves" go together? I better see my doctor.


For now there is stability. I find my dolls are where I put them.

My problem today is...


I was doing a short morning photo shoot after bringing G, my human, coffee in bed. I left my half coffee on the porch. When my photo shoot was done I returned to the porch. And gasped, actually gasped, when I found G sitting there in his rocking chair. On the porch. Not where I had left him, in bed. Okay, in my defense, there was something about the way he was sitting motionless, looking off into the distance. But still...


The lines are blurring. And it's not my glasses.



My dress has pretty flowers...

Gabby is learning to dress herself. Her doll friends are proud of her. And sometimes offer guidance...

(Click the right arrow on the photo for the next panel. 6 Panel story.)

Characters in order of appearance...

Gabby, a Little Tonner Patsy. We keep an eye on her. She has a curious mind, and few boundaries...

Xenny, a handpainted Little Darling by Helen Skinner. Sweet...

It's a loop right now! Imagine "The End" at the end of the 6th panel. Thanks!

6 Panel Story...then it loops!


Pachom Fashion Shoot...

I love these clothes!

Pachom Suesuwan is a doll clothes designer and dressmaker. I have included here several of her fashions, and also several dolls of different sizes and shapes in the same clothes, showing their versatility.  Good stuff!

Just click on the middle arrow to autoplay the 32 slides.

Or click on the right arrow to go at your own pace. Thanks!

I ordered a few basics from Pachom on eBay. She had a variety of styles and sizes, for tiny dolls and tall dolls, skinny dolls and wide.

And great prices!

My favorite dress is this yellow flowered white one, because not only does it fit about 5 different dolls, it fits my 17" busty bjd!

That's like a miracle...

So of course, I want more!!

Where's Pachom?

I found Pachom on her eBay shop-Pachom10.

She also has an Etsy store, Pachom....

I'll go back again when I have saved my pennies. 

(That's just an expression now. We don't have pennies any more in Canada. Even penny candies are a nickel these days.)

I would do a verbal commentary as these slides go by, but I don't know how!

There are 32 slide photos, this group shot at the beginning, and the white and pink nightie at the end. Just so you know where to start and finish. (It's a loop.)


I have included 9 pieces of clothing from Pachom (well, 2 pants sets) and most of them on different dolls to show their versatility. My modern dolls and my hard-to-find-clothes-for vintage dolls. Very cute! 


One to go, a tiny green dress for those really skinny dolls.

 I'm off to find one to take some photos!

I did it! 2 photos of the little green dress on 2 different dollies. AND a photo of my vintage Cindy in that pretty flowered dress...

Click here for more photos of Pachom's fashions, on my dollys...(yup I know...spelling. Thanks)


New doll from Togo, Africa!

African doll

Okay, so it's not here yet.

This photo is of my only doll from Africa. 


But I am very excited, because my youngest daughter was here today with her good friend, Lindsey. Lindsey is headed back to Togo, Africa, where she is a Recreation Director at a school there. I immediately recognized an opportunity and introduced Lindsey to a few of my dolls. Especially Silent Sam who is beloved here. But let's face it...not a lot of buddies from his home continent. Well, not any. 


And it worked! Seeing the longing in Sam's eyes, Lindsey started to talk about the dolls she has seen in Togo. African dolls. African dolls made by African elders. Blind African elders. I got a little longing in my eyes too, when she told me about these dolls. 


I want one, I think I said.

And I made sure that she has my address.

And I stuck a $20 in her pocket. 

I'm so excited.


I'll check the post office tomorrow. 


Silent Sam is practicing his French, because that's the official language of Togo. But he is also learning some words in "Ewe", which we think might be what his new friend will be talking. Sam is saying, "Hello, cousin".  We are ON this!



My dolls all have names, some have several actually

They came with names, most of them. Then I gave them names myself, when I got them, most of them. And some of them have had their names changed since then. For a variety of reasons.


This is an Iplehouse "Tania" sculpt. You can find her by googling this name. You can choose her skin color, and levels of movement you want her to have, and her face-up, if you actually order her. And you can choose her hair and eyes once you have her. And those things can change the name you think she should have. A name that expresses her being. Like Pam, or Gabby. Or Mercy...


When this pretty doll was coming to me, that's what I called her, Mercy. And still do. As a fantasy creature, she is one of the Elementals, the water element. So I call her Leau a lot now, too. Especially to others.


And since I imagine my dolls in stories, sometimes she plays a character that suggests a different name. As the redhead, platinum blond, and ash brown wigged- on The Others page today, what names do you think suit her?


So, I jump back and forth with several of my dolls between their given names, and names I want, and now...


I want to create a book of the English alphabet sounds. So I decided to match each sound to the name of a dolly. Now there's a project....

And since some sounds didn't match a dolly name. I just went ahead and changed the names of a bunch of my dolls so the beginning sound of their names matched each of the 45 English sounds. For the most part.

In English, there are always exceptions. And opinions...


Yes, I was a Reading teacher, and phonetics IS the basis of the simplest teaching approach to learning to read English... Until we get that chip in our heads.


So to get in on the 1st level of my project, Stevie went back to Ana, Jakob became Hal, and Rhett became Butler.  Liz stayed Liz. And Ivy moved from the 3rd level to the 2nd when she was renamed Scout...she was excited, thought it was like an online game. "I made it to the 2nd level!! Where's my badge?!"


Leau here would be in the 4th level of my project. Nobody would meet her for months, if my project worked sequentially, like learning to read does.... ("Tania" and "Mercy" aren't much easier). So she wanted to say hi now.... (At least, that's what I think.)


So, just go with the flow, if the doll names change here as often as the wigs do....  Thanks. I appreciate it.


You can see more of Mercy, or Leau, or Tania on The Others page...



It's all about the wigs...

This week and last, there have been a lot clothes changes and wig changes here in Dolltown...

It's a funny thing with dolls because there is no real reason to keep them the same, except that we want to. We become attached to the look of a doll.

(OR, of course, if we want to leave them untouched and in their glass cases to keep up their perfection, or value.  I forgot that. Sorry. And thanks to all the doll people from whom I received perfect dolls.)


Some of the dolls I collect have rooted hair-so it's like human plugs. It takes a cut-to-the-quick job to change the look. And the original hair is gone. You can't go back. That's a real commitment.


Some have hair that is glued on so it stays in place, but can be coaxed off with the right tools and a little patience. And the wig can go back on. Less commitment.


And some dolls have wigs with just a tiny bit of glue to stick them to the dolly heads, and so are meant to be removed easily for flexible looks, if that's what we want.


Some of the Ellowynes, like Poppy here, actually have a couple of velcro attachments on their heads that act like a bit of glue, but are perfect for changes in looks. And they don't need rolled scotch tape to keep the wigs on,  like the glueless, plugless dolly heads do.


Here is Poppy in a brown Bubbles wig by Monique. I may have to change her name now, because I love it.

It may be her forever look....

Or maybe I'll get one in red. Match her eyebrows...and keep her name.

This long auburn is her original wig.

It doesn't match her eyebrows.

The brown "shag"... 2 lengths,

the worst of both worlds.

Then the brown bubble wig...:)

Great with those blue eyes.

What do you think?

I have 5 Bubbles wigs in use. I obviously have a thing for this round, bobbed look.

So I am biased. But really, isn't it the best?


For more wig changes, pop over to The Others, where Tania shows off several different looks...eyes and wigs.



Paola Reina dolls from Spain...

I am happy to say that I ordered these cute little Spain-made dolls from The Paola Reina shop in Canada. And got great service even though the company was moving locations! 

My reasons for getting these dolls...I wanted Liu, the Asian doll. So cute. And I don't have a Paola Reina and their pictures are always very appealing. So, while I was ordering Liu, I was taken with the dollies' clothes. And I ended up putting Dasha in her winter coat in the cart, and adding the sweetest Halloween outfit, with a doll in it. Abigail, her name is...


My intention to keep Liu, pass on the other 2 dolls, and keep their clothes for my Little Darlings and the McCalls, has been thwarted. Once these 3 Paola Reina Las Amigas were here in their pretty boxes, I began to have second thoughts. And made up reasons to keep them. A cute bird in the hand...

So, I am getting to know myself better. And know now that I was a pushover when my kids showed up with another "pet".  I was a sure thing. 

It's just best for me not to look too closely at ANYTHING cute, especially dolls. If I want to keep my office from turning into a doll house. 

There are 30 photos before it loops...

Ana, a Little Darling, was here to welcome the three Las Amigas. Ellowyne Poppy was called away after the first box opening... You'll notice Ana ends up trying on their clothes and hats.

Girl bonding.


Wishes for bows...

In Dolltown, the little children have opportunities that real little humans can only imagine. Like having a Barbie around, with wings, and wish fulfillment talents....

Just ask!

8 photo loop...just click the pic or arrows...


Pants for the boys...

Pachom to the rescue!


In Pachom's Fashion Shoot, one of my Chris Miller boys tried on a pair of pants from a cute blouse and pants set for my girl dolls. A fit! 


I was so excited that I emailed Pachom. And she sent me 3 pairs! These boys have been wearing long lean jeans belonging to the Tonner guys (that's why Eddie shows up here to get his jeans back!)


Their new pants are corduroy (soft!) so these boys are happy to see a little rain after a hot summer. And loose enough that they can sit down, and climb trees!


Now for shoes! They share one pair in their single photos...


Thanks Pachom! Again! lol

Look for Pachom, from Montreal...

Pachom's eBay shop

Pachom's Etsy shop

In the first shot Xenny sits with the package from the Post Office.  

In the last she checks out the pants on the boys.

She is happy to see the smiles on the boys faces.

Or she imagines they are smiling.

15 photo loop...