craft, Doll, japanese, Uncategorized

Not Orphans

We all have a few pop culture references that are so specific that we rarely say them out loud, knowing that they will fall on ears that don’t get them, yet so persistent that they haunt us time after time.

One of mine, and I think it too often, is:

Jerry: I was under the impression that you could win prizes or money. Not orphaned children.

It’s from the Mind Match skit from The State, a sketch comedy show that ran three seasons on MTV. The concept of the bit is that two games show contestants find themselves winning orphans they DO NOT WANT and start attempting, without much luck, to throw the quiz and stick the other person with the lonely souls.

Susan : Um, I have a very small apartment. I don’t know what I would do with four foster children.

Host: Well, figure it out because you’re their legal guardian and it’s time for Round 2, where the orphan points double.

What cemented this skit in my mind was the two years I worked in an independent video store in my hometown. A store so amazing that in 2018 it still exists. We had free range over what we showed/watched while working only limited by what others on staff could not stand to see again and decency (at certain hours decency not included) And we had a VHS compilation of The State ( The State and Stickers*…*stickers not included) which we often popped in.

Susan: I didn’t say anything. I mean, I didn’t answer. You must’ve-

Host: A smart move. A wrong answer could have cost you the lead. (Bell) Hey, that bell means it’s time for our Double Dare question! Jerry, how many of your orphans are you willing to wager?

Jerry: All- all of them.

Host: Hey, it looks like Jerry is looking to double his orphans. Susan, how many will you bet?

Susan: Well, uh, all of them.

And as much as The State is a beloved cult classic for for ages it wasn’t released in full only video or DVD because, as an MTV show, it used a lot of modern pop music they then couldn’t get the rights for….and the music/MTV combo meant that clips released to You Tube were cracked down on…and Mind Match never had the pop culture reach of, say, “240$ worth of pudding did.

So I don’t often say “I was under the impression that you could win prizes or money. Not orphaned children. “ but if the topic of orphans or gameshows or even winning comes up…I’m thinking it.

So when I opened up Dolly*Dolly Vol 20 and met Little Miss No Name.

There it was.

An Orphan. That quote.

In 1965 Hasbro asked itself, “What do little girls want?”…and perhaps knowing it wasn’t up for doing battle with Mattel’s fashion warrior Barbie and her additional purchases kingdom…answered “Orphan. Little girls want an Orphan to take care of.”

And they made an orphan. Nothing fancy or aspirational like Little Orphan Annie promisingyou’ll be scoped up and taken to bigger and better things. Not. A Keene-esque sad-eyed orphan among orphans. Fake dirt on her cheeks. No shoes. A patched burlap dress. A TEAR DROP. Her hand outstretched….for something. Anything.

Her box read, “ I need someone to love me. I am so tired and cold. please take me home with you and I will be yours to hold. I want someone to love me, I want to learn to play, please take me home with you and brush my tear away.”

And she was called Little Miss No Name.

From Dolly*Dolly Vol 20, pg23-24

My rough translations of….

Model: Little Miss No Name

Text: momiji

Where is love?

Where is that person?

So, this world

We can see photons and phonons, right?

Shouldn’t we be able to hear where we’ll meet this person?

The sounds of wheels on London pavement.

The permeating ether of 1,000,000,000 years connects us.

I’ve spent my time the leader of loneliness and silence.

The wandering Oliver whispered in my ear

Have you found eternity?

The world I can see from my window, is this all there is?

Yes, really. This must be all that’s been created.

To make sure, I’ll slip away tonight.














ううん本当はね きっと全部造りものなの


craft, Doll, japanese, Uncategorized

Dolly * Dolly Vol.4 Ryo Hada doll trunk.

Back in America print and magazines are languishing but in Japan there’s a magazine for everything.

There is even a four-times a year Bellydance Japan magazine… and I contributed heavily to their MOOK about how to create bellydance costumes.

So, it was a dangerous discovery when I realized I could buy used copies of old “Dolly * Dolly” ドーリィ*ドーリィ magazine/books (colloquially called MOOK) on Amazon Jp. It contains doll reviews, how-to articles on constructing doll items, doll clothing patterns, and various features about different aspects of doll life.

And Dolly Dolly Vol.4 from 2004 had multiple articles on doll trunks so I started justifying purchases there.

Disclaimer: I do not have a scanner at home. These scans were done at my local convenience store when I was tired, which is why some areas of the page are cut off.

I am also not a translator. I’m doing this for my Japanese practice but my Japanese translation style is more “getting the jist of it” than it is “accurate”… so if you have feedback please present it with kindness. I want to learn more but I don’t wish to be scared off.

The first article features work and an introduction by doll artist Ryo Hada. I can’t find much on 波田亮 . The listed web page seems to be out of commission. It seems they also go by the name Aquirax Kuroda now and create a lot of cat-related art.

Original Japanese text follows English.

Dream doll trunk

“There is a story about the marten’s pelt attached to this overcoat”

“There’s also a trunk, let’s open it and see”

What came from within were various doll costumes so resplendent they dazzled the eyes.

Dance clothing, walking clothing, tea time outfits, items trimmed in green lace and silk stockings! And then chokers, muffs, gloves, hats and lace fans and such!

The above quote is attributed to Frances Burnette, translation into Japanese by Ayame Mizushima, from the 7th chapter of A Little Princess published by blah blah blah (sorry)

It’s a famous scene from ”A Little Princess”, which I’ve ecstatically read time and time again since I was a young girl.

More than the story of Sarah Crewe, the generous protagonist of high birth by chance, or the scene in which Sarah gets her famous doll Emily, I was enraptured by the doll present itself.

The elegantly shimmering silk cape, the meticulously folded skirt with its hemmed pleats and petticoat edged with lace shipped from France. To be spellbound by a trunk packed to the brim with precisely made clothing and accessories, all miniature sized.

And there’s also our small friend’s wardrobe, and there’s a room, and there’s a secret universe all amazingly packed tightly into this dream doll trunk. Even now as a grown up, it thrills the deepest reaches of my brain.

It can honestly be said this is an homage to A Little Princess.

(Smaller Blurb)

Magic of Antique Doll Unsolved magic

Doll artist, Ryo Hada’s runk case is a two tiered construction. The lower section has a set place for the doll: neck, waist, arms and legs are secured. First of all, the size of the doll determines what sort of basket is proper, various sizes of dolls will affect construction methods. (The pictures doll is approximately 40cm)












Magic of Antique Doll 解けない魔法




Description of the outfit with the apron and head cover

Commonly sold lace was too thick so I ordered some lace to be specially made abroad for the trim on this traditional French costume.


Main description of the work shown.

Magic of Antique Doll, Unsolved Magic.

Doll Creation

Written by Ryo Hada

From grandmother to mother to daughter, European antique dolls have been handed down for generations. Within this doll trunk are dresses from various eras as if to give an impression of the history of clothing. It’s this sort of essence of antique dolls that artist Namda is trying to create in their doll trunks. The doll begins with a traditional French peasant costume and goes until 1980’s era inspired clothing with her 5 outfit set, the sort of doll that would be treasured in any European home. Making it a trunk set that passes beyond its eras and onward into timelessness/eternity

Magic of Antique Doll 解けない魔法


By Ryo Hada


Under photo of the yellow dress:

From 1860’s-1870’s inspired fashion comes this day dress for traveling, a straw hat, parasol, and suitcase are included with the look.


Under the photo of the outfit with fur muff:

A hat completes the cute coat in this Twiggy-evoking look. It’s a taste of the 1970’s in this ensemble for going out.


(Right hand text)

Nice to meet you. First, please give me a name.

Ryo Hada’s doll has not yet been given a name. The reason is because “I believe that the doll is completed only when the person who has purchased the doll has given it a name .” These aren’t just decorations or disposable items. Position them in a central location “ so you can continue to get the most out of them through playing.” If they spend their days being loved they become exceptional special dolls.

In the left hand corner of the page there is an additional blurb about awards given to and exhibitions including Ryo Hada from 1996-2004 but I was tired so I’m ending it here for today.



craft, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

For Rookling: The Secret Project.

Let’s meet the girl behind the project I’ve been keeping secret. She’s my favorite corvid-human hybrid, Rookling. Her project happened simultaneously alongside Archie.


Does she look surprised? She was!

Rookling, her polychrome hair mushrooming around her face, thick lashes and extra lashes on top of that, the eyes of Liza Minnelli, and such aptitude, y’all…such aptitudes…such a mind for images and words.

I met her when we were 20 or 21 when we both frequented Anime conventions.

She was somewhere between here and here.

I would have had short black chopped hair, making us quite the Liza Minelle cover duo.

It’s been at least 20 years. We kept in touch, although there were large gaps. We’ve seen and heard each other break open. There have been times when we fell prey to young  insecurities, jealousy, and confusion…but we got through that. A series of crying exchanges and a few FaceTimes about 7-9 years ago bonded us back into what we are to each other today, so far away.

As did proper medications and self-knowledge.

Rookling has health problems that limit her body from doing what her dynamic spirit desires. I’m glad that the internet has expanded to the world it is today and is there for her to travel, research, find inspiration, and connect with others where she is and when she is able. Before? well, she would have found a way to hold salon discussions at her place somehow but this is easier.

You may actually know her, her social presence is that vast. We often find ourselves with mutual online friends who marvel that we go back to what the fussy-daddies call Real Life. That should have read Fuddy-Duddies but I’ll keep the auto correct.

It’s been haaaaaaaard keeping this doll a secret. Even secret groups I’m in for shouting these sorts of secrets in, she’s there. I whispered it to people in private messages when I needed a boost.

I found Barbie in a bin at a Hobby Off around Christmas. I wasn’t looking for a Barbie but there she was, in a baggie, with dark hair only slightly longer than Rookling’s was when we first met. She had boots and, goddamn it is fate, ROOTED LASHES.


I knew what I had to do. I had to make my girl an action figure.

This Barbie has some serious posing limits, her legs don’t really move, action figure is pushing it…but she had the look. I had to.

Rookling loves having blue hair above all colors. She’s always been unable to resist dolls with blue hair but I wasn’t about to learn re-rooting hair for my first Barbie repaint. I have limits. Besides, this was Rookling as she’d first imprinted on me.

First I cut her hair so it was a less severe bob and more like a, well, a fluffy head cap

I wrapped her body and hair in protective fabric and set to work with fixative and pigment.

I had no idea what I was doing. I made mistakes. I got frustrated. It’s not as clean as I’d like…but it is her. Her dimples, her makeup, and her dreamy eyes.

This was when I learned how fussy fashion doll clothing is.

I messaged Rookling asking what she’s wearing nowadays. Most of her photos of herself, and there are many, only show her face.

It’s a testament to the more random exchanges we have that she never asked me why I wanted this, she just told me she’s opting for soft and comfy. I guess she figured I wanted to update to my mental imaginings. As much as she posts lovely blue gowns and mod dresses she finds online, I wanted this doll to be the practical Rookling as she is.

I started with the sweatshirt. I didn’t have black sweatshirt material so I used what I had…grey material cut from my Wonder Woman /Hello Kitty crossover sweatshirt. I’d cropped it for teaching belly dance while also staying warm.


Then came those TINY DENIM JEANS.I now know that you can replace the needle plate on your machine for one with a smaller hole that won’t swallow delicate fabrics when you start stitching.


I’d had this fake fur (purple leopard print) laying around. I’ve had it for 8 or more years always knowing it would go into a project for Rookling. I made her a fake fur jacket she’d love and lined it with skeletons because I gotta be me.

I cut the grey boots she’d come with to a more combat boot length and primed, painted, and finished them.

I then sent it to her, with tracking, and obsessively followed its progress.when tracking alerted me it had arrived to her parents (who can better pick up missed deliveries than she can) I messaged her.


She assured me they did and she’d get it the following day. I replied, “I’m not good with delayed gratification!”

I’m not.


And then she had it.

And there were tears.

” I cried! I’m in awe and…well, hit me up when you’re up and free! She’s perfect, perfect, beyond perfect, and her lipstick even exactly matches one I frequently wear and have since before we met, Revlon’s Blackberry. Her hair is exactly mine when you and I saw one another in the 90s. And those perfect jeans! To see what you said was so hard to do, and it’s for me?! I’m so moved. Oh, the boots! Her eye makeup. Dimples! Oh, I’m crying again about the beautiful, beautiful Rook doll!

Tears on both sides. As I type, tears.

We haven’t always been the best friends we could be at all times but we’re trying… you know? And when we do it, when we are the friend the other deserves, it’s overwhelming, I tell you, overwhelming.

There will be pictures of her and the doll later but this, for now, is what I have to share.

craft, Mary Frances sewing

The Sewing Bird

The first Thimble Person Mary meets is the Sewing Bird. Frankly, the sewing bird is the only character I’d want to encounter and even then the stilted rhymes would grind me down. You can see the Sewing Bird on the table in this illustration…it’s the only thimble person on whom eyes make sense. The rest are pure abominations.

Dick, a real bird, is in the background. Sewing Bird sometimes taunts Dick but who doesn’t?

sewing bird 2

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Prohibition part 1.

This might be an odd place to start a blog. I don’t care.  I started watching the Ken Burn’s  PBS Prohibition a few nights ago and a friend (Hey, Jill!) told me that she’d be excited to read what I thought.


America DRANK.
Physicians used to recommend whiskey and cider and rum and beer as “far better than water hauled from muddy rivers and stagnant pools”…and they probably weren’t wrong.  It took us a while to get clean water all figured out. We drank all the time and had a daily bell for “grog time” and celebrated everything with it, including public hangings.We celebrated public hanging. Yup.
In the 1800’s our distilled spirits got stronger and more readily available. WATCH THE FUCK OUT. Soon we as a nation were drunk AF.
Women, who depended on the men in their lives for an income, had no means fight this. There was no way out of bad marriage or way to take control of money or their own bodies. Men were drunk AF and women were just kinda fucked.
In the documentary, we’re still talking about white women. Drinking must have adversely affected free black women in the north but there’ not mention of it. One black man, Fredrick Douglas, has been quoted in the documentary as saying “Whiskey makes me feel like a president.” but he’ll soon join the Temperance & Abolitionist side of things. His hair looks great. When he joins the Temperance side of things we’ll get a second quote, his hair will be silver and it will still look great.
A few white Protestant men get together and create the Washingtonian Society. It’s men helping other men sign pledges and get sober. No church involved so clergy men are PISSED by the idea of men helping men without a kickback to God, so >they< get involved to clean the country of sin. Abolitionists join in and there are groups where Temperance and Abolitionists interests co-exist and overlap… but they’re about to be busy elsewhere.
America starts modest with the idea of temperance, but we’re Americans. We can’t help ourselves when we’re “helping ourselves”. Soon we’re over doing it. Did we say moderate intake? NOW its TOTAL Abstinence for all! Groups beget groups beget more off shoots and some groups make uniforms and special vests. We make our kids pledge and wear stupid sashes! Some groups form separate groups for Black Americans. Fredrick Douglas gets involved now with the temperance folks who cross over with abolitionists. This is pretty much the last we hear about black men and women in part one.
And there are WOMEN.

Women who’ve had no power are now getting involved in auxiliary organization. They’ve got a major stake in this and they have more time to organize (if their children are grown).
These women start getting pissed about how women are doing more of the organizing but not getting a voice in these groups. Susan B Anthony starts her own ALL WOMEN group.
I must interject, all WHITE protestant woman of a certain level of social class. Susan B. and Elizabeth Cady didn’t mean ALL women.

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