Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Chosen Two

Tevin and Ayana by Laura Tuzio-Ross, redressed for Christmas
Tevin and Ayana are babies made by renowned artist, Laura Tuzio-RossTevin, sold through Home Shopping Europe (HSE), arrived in 2005.  Not sold in the US, the artist graciously offered to purchase Tevin for me.  "I have to buy my own, too," she said, "I can get him for you," after learning of my intense desire to own Tevin.  (Boy was I ever a baby-doll enthusiast back then who went through great lengths to add the desired dolls to my collection.)  I immediately fell in love with Tevin after seeing his online images on the artist's website or those she shared with my doll group directly.  After seeing him in person, I loved him even more and still do.  He is the doll I am holding on the cover image of The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak, I Listen.

Ayana (whom I refer to as Tevin's sister) was offered by HSN in 2005.  I was not as pleased with her online appearance as I was Tevin's but ordered her immediately. I have not been able to develop the same bond with Ayana as I have with Tevin

Because they have been dressed for Christmas for several years (as illustrated in the first picture), Ayana and Tevin, are the first dolls I considered taking to my mother's house (per her request for two or three more).   Until this morning, I was not sure that I would take this pair to her because I thought my mother might see what I see in Ayana.  

This morning (while viewing pictures of other dolls that I have redressed for Christmas in the past) I stopped on this several years' old picture of Ayana and Tevin and realized they are definitely the chosen two.   I think my mother will agree that they both look adorable in these Christmas outfits.  Now the task at hand is to redress them in these stored outfits and find the time to locate (hopefully) red or green  children's chairs for them. 

Wish me luck.


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Mother Wants "Two or Three More"

The roles of mother and daughter have certainly reversed in some respects between my mother and me. Lord, was she ever so stern when I grew up. I used to wait until the very last minute to ask her permission to do something because there would always be a ton of questions involved regarding my desire to do this thing.  The jury would always be out for an extended period whether or not I would get to do it. Sometimes she would agree.  At other times, the answer was an emphatic no.  Of course I understand her reasoning now, but as a child, I never did because I wanted what I wanted and wished for her to be as lenient as most of my friends' mothers.

Last year I relented and took two of my dolls to my mother's house at her request, "Bring me two of your large dolls dressed for Christmas to use with my decorations." Instinctively, I said, "No," followed by a stern, "you can't have my dolls." A week or so later, of course, I agreed.

32-in Dreamy Walker and 24-in Waiting for Santa before going to Grandmother's on December 7, 2010
The dolls, at Grandmother's on December 7, 2010
Lee Middleton's Waiting for Santa (WFS) and Shindana's Dreamy Walker (DW) were the two dolls I allowed my mother to "borrow" last year. Waiting for Santa's original outfit was perfect to add to Mama's Christmas décor, but I had to redress Dreamy Walker. I did so using a red velvet coat dress that used to be my niece's. It fits DW perfectly. After the holidays, I didn't bother to bring the dolls home.  A few weeks post Valentine's Day, Mama asked me to bring the dolls spring fashions because she was tired of looking at them dressed for Christmas. (I didn't realize they were supposed to be there indefinitely, but I eventually redressed them in pastel colors for her.)

Before leaving home to go to her house on Thanksgiving this year, she called and asked me to bring Dreamy Walker and Waiting for Santa's Christmas dresses. I did, and redressed them as I watched whatever was on TV. As she sampled some of the food and desserts I brought her, she said, "I need two or three more dolls with chairs that I can sit there and there" (pointing to the areas in her living room where she desired the dolls to sit). After looking at her quizzically trying to determine if she was really serious, I said, "No. There's Amberlynn (pointing to a doll I gave her several years ago for Mother's Day that I redressed for Christmas before redressing DW and WFS). "Three is enough," I said.  "The next time you go to Dollar General you should purchase a child's chair and let Amberlynn sit in it," I suggested.

Thinking in my head (now which two, not three, dolls can I redress for Christmas that I don't mind parting with). She begged a little, "Oh, come on, Debbie. I need two or three more."  To allow time for this jury of one to deliberate, before I left, I said, "We'll see." 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lars's Last Sold Out!

Mackenzie Fenella Layla Barbie Mattel stock photo
Based on the mismatch of the fashion, this is the last doll I would have predicted to sell out in three months' time.  My discovery that the doll was only inspired by Byron Lars and actually designed by Mattel designer Ann Driskill helped formulate this opinion and my refusal to pay retail for Mackenzie Fenella Layla Barbie (MFLB).

I incorrectly assumed, if I truly decided to purchase MFLB that it would be easy to do this at a reduced price, in combination with the use of a Barbie Fan Club reward (which is usually a $20 discount).

A reduced-price purchase will not be happening for me because MFLB is now listed at as "Currently Not Available From Mattel." 

I suppose collectors who own the doll found her fashion more interesting (translation = appealing) than I ever could or will.  Or perhaps the fact that she is supposed to be Lars's last Barbie, influenced their purchase.

The doll's fashion continues to have a vertiginous effect on me, but tam's off to those who were able to purchase MFLB.


Friday, November 25, 2011

My Black Friday from Me to Me

High Brow Adéle
Isn't High Brow Adéle gorgeous?  She will probably be my last Adéle now that Integrity has changed the doll's head sculpt, which transformed her into a totally different doll. 

I like the original Adéle much better and found High Brow today at along with Mighty Real Reese (a preorder) at 20% off retail.
Mighty Real Reese, stock photo

This is a one-day sale
If you visit their site and see something you would like to purchase, enter coupon code "dolly" for the 20% discount.  There is free shipping on orders over $75.00 with $5.00 shipping on everything else (USA shipments only). Free gift wrapping is available, too (even if your purchase is for you)!


I Made a Skirt!

Black leather skirt

Three weeks ago, I rediscovered a pair of black Aerosole loafers. The shoes had been in the back of my closet for several years stored in their original box.  I was in search of  brown shoes to wear with a brown pants suit to my niece's sweet sixteen dinner party when the shoe reconnection occurred.  I wondered why I had not worn these super comfortable shoes more than once or twice.

The week following the dinner party, where I was honored to be one of my niece's 16 special people, I decided to wear the Aerosoles on my Saturday morning errands.  Dressed and ready to leave, I admired how cute I looked in my tie-dyed and wooden bead-embellished top, layered over a long-sleeved contrasting knit shirt, a pair of denim jeans, and my comfortable black Aerosoles.  I was pleased with the comfort and the appearance of the shoes, which looked like boots underneath the flared legs of my jeans.

The fact that I had on shoes and not flip-flops or sneakers prompted my son's question, "Where are you going so dressed up?" After answering his question and informing the other man with whom I reside where I was going, one of the soles of the shoes felt a little strange as I walked to the back door, but I went on my journey anyway without looking down.

At my second stop, the post office to mail a Santa that sold on eBay, I discovered the problem.  The soles of both shoes, made from a black foam-type material, were c-r-u-m-b-l-i-n-g away!  There I was thinking I looked cute, and I was literally walking out of my shoes and leaving an obvious trail of crumbs behind me.  "Thank God this post office is not busy," I thought, as I stood alone in line waiting for the one customer ahead of me to be served.  I nervously and frequently looked back,  hoping no one else would arrive until after I left.  My turn, I handed the clerk the prepaid package before ambling slowly back to the car to avoid leaving a larger-than-necessary visible track (I had already left one upon entering).  Inside the car, I took the shoes off, examined them, shook my head in disgust, and immediately drove home to change shoes before completing the rest of my errands.

Adéle Makeda wears her new black leather skirt well.

Later that day, since the top leather portion of the shoes was still in like-new condition, I decided to cut it away from the soles of both shoes for repurposing.  The result is the black skirt worn by Adéle Makeda, shown above.  The front  of the skirt has a criss-cross closure held with black sticky back Velcro; so no sewing was required. 

Plans were in order to redress Adéle (see her here in her original fashion), but I never expected to do it like this.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

MySpace Clipart Graphics

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Peace and blessings,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tonner Doll @ Rock Bottom Price

21-inch Design Studio Carin Play Doll Set by Robert Tonner - stock photo

Retail price $289, on sale at The Doll Market for $59.97.  The sale ends November 29, 2011. 

I just had to share.

She's like this doll that I have redressed.


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays Soldier by Hasbro 1996 includes a 12-inch GI Joe with gift-filled duffel bag and an individually wrapped gift box.

Dolls from Vietnam

After my mother's middle son completed his Vietnam tour of duty, his clothing-filled duffel bag accompanied him home along with several months to years of war experience flashbacks in the form of night terrors.  Months prior to his final return, he sent a package home which contained the two dolls shown above.  Their wooden base is marked "Made in Viet-Nam."  A note to my mother instructed her to give the dolls to me.

While many members of the United States Armed Forces currently serving in Iraq will be home by Christmas this year, many others will not.  To send some holiday cheer to those still serving our country, I am participating in the 2011 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Program.  My 9 x 12- inch clasp envelope or perhaps a flat rate USPS envelope filled with as many signed, glitter-free, and envelope-free Christmas cards that will fit in it will be mailed to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

If you would also like to send holiday cheer to US service members in the form of greeting cards, the deadline to mail these is December 9, 2011.  Signed, glitter-free cards without envelopes are part of the guidelines.  For complete details and additional program guidelines, visit the sponsoring website:  Holiday Mail for Heroes.


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Avon Rose Splendor Barbie

Avon Rose Splendor Barbie, today's featured deal!
(I just read the fine print:  Available in Caucasian Doll only.)

Doll-friend Pam J. is an Avon consultant.  I initially deleted the CyberMonday sale notice she sent, but made the mistake of going to my delete folder (just to make sure nothing was in it that was not supposed to be) and decided to open the email.  There they were, these two lovely Avon exclusives, Rose Splendor Barbie.  I didn't take the plunge (only the Caucasian doll is available), but thought I'd post the information here, just in case someone else is interested.  Regularly priced $49.99, the current price is $14.99!  Unbelieveable.  Even if you do not want the doll for yourself, think gift.

There is free standard shipping on any order when you use code, CYBER2011.  I didn't browse the site, but you can, if interested.

Use this link just in case you do order so Pam receives the sale credit.    Well, better yet, if you are registered with, use the first link so Pam gets credit; cart your items, then go to and link back to Avon's site (your items should still be carted), then check out.  With Ebates, you'll get 3% cash back and Pam will get credit for the order. 

If you are not registered with -- do it here.  It's free. (As a rule I do not post sale items, here; I do it on my Dolls for Sale blog.)


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Last Dark-Skinned Basics

Mattel Stock Photo

The last dark-skinned Barbie Basics doll, Model No. 8 in Collection 003, looks very similar to SIS Chandra.  I like her hair and her pose.  Unfortunately, she is not articulated.

The doll is available now for $19.95 at along with the five others in this collection.   There are also two accessory packs for $14.95 each.  See the entire collection here.


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blonde Bombshells

My mother likes taking pictures, particularly when she is dressed to the nine's and the background will not mar her captured moment in time. I remember having to always tidy up or make the surrounding area look picture perfect before she would allow me (or anyone else) to capture her in photographs because, she "doesn't like ugly pictures."  

On a recent visit to her house, my mother had the following photograph lying on the table as a reminder to show it to me.  It was taken at a church function.  I blurred the faces of the two other women since I do not have their permission to share their images here.

Mama is flanked by two gorgeous congregants, one of whom is my cousin.

Above the picture, the male photographer printed, "The Three Blonde Bombshells."  That caption could be considered sexist or complimentary depending on the recipient. Did he mean gorgeous or did he mean sexually attractive?  Or was he just referring to the color of their hair as in "blonde bombshell" hair.  Usually the latter reference is reserved for white women, but on a recent search, this label has been used to refer to Beyoncé's hair color.  I am going to assume the photographer meant gorgeous because black women are as beautiful as any others, regardless of hair color, texture, style; or the amount of sex appeal they possess. 

The photograph and caption influenced me to think about the blonde dolls in my collection, which are in the minority.  Pictures of a few blonde dolls that I own that were readily accessible follow:

International Candi and United Colors of Benetton Barbie
Gone Platinum Barbie

Janay and Friends Janay

Colin Dehan

Indigo Obsession

Fashion Flashback Janay
So what about your collection, are blonde dolls of any color a minority, too?


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Friday, November 11, 2011

New Couple - Character Meets Caricature

Radiant Child Remi and Monsieur Z Jungle Fever by Integrity Toys

Remi and Nessa (Monsieur Z Jungle Fever) have united as a couple. I am not sure why they formed an attraction.  Maybe their safari-style attire is the reason, or maybe Remi was attracted to Nessa's caricature eyes, which are still obvious despite the recent color change of her pupils.

For a hot minute I thought about darkening the corner whites of her eyes to give her a more normal-eye appearance. Using Brother's makeup was a consideration, but before doing that I thought I'd ask Son to Photoshop this close-up image I took of the new couple to give me an idea of what Nessa would look like with scleral darkening.

Remi and Nessa close-up to illustrate Nessa's caricature eyes

I explained to him what I wanted to achieve: "I want her to look more like a character doll instead of a caricature." After his incredulous, "She's a doll," reply, I explained, "I know, but look at his face. He looks like a real person; she doesn't. That's the look I want... real." His "Oh," meant he got it and didn't think I was gone all the way off the deep end.

Well, what he did in Photoshop convinces me that I will leave well enough alone or at least not take an eye makeover to such extremes. If Nessa looks like a caricature now, she definitely looks like something from somewhere beyond after Son's Photoshop interpretation of what "real" looks like.

Monsieur Z Jungle Fever with Son's photoshopped real-eye interpretation

What do you think?


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

She Didn't Get the Dolls... a birthday gift, but my daughter received lots of other nice gifts and a picture cake that she thought was hilarious.

A photograph of Daughter at 8 months was used to decorate her birthday cake (butter cream icing... yum!)

She has not seen her former dolls that I updated and briefly considered regifting her.  I keep forgetting to show them to her (selective memory), but regifting is not a consideration now (unless she says she wants them).


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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Brother's Makeup

A digital capture of page 133 in the Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Melillo illustrates Sun Set Malibu Francie.

Sun Set Malibu Francie is one of a few doll specimens purchased during the 1990s when my desire to deepen the complexion of white dolls was in full force. Various techniques were used, which include but are not limited to the use of Rit clothing dye, acrylic paint, vinyl spray paint, and clear varnish.

The use of Rit dye was the preferred method, but the doll specimen, I discovered by accident, has to be porous in order to absorb the dye. It works well, of course, with cloth and soft vinyl, but hard plastic surfaces will not absorb clothing dye. Instead these materials turn an ugly gray to green color or they do not change in color at all. Synthetic hair, depending on the material from which it is made, usually absorbs dye, but in a rare few cases it does not.

In the case of Sun Set Malibu Francie, a doll composed of a variety of porous and nonporous materials, the Rit dye changed the color of her soft vinyl face and her slightly firmer vinyl arms and legs. Because of their different porosity, the dyed colors were not an exact match. Her rigid plastic body did not absorb the dye. Her yellow hair color also refused to change. I tried to match up the colors using acrylic paint that was sealed with a clear varnish, but never could achieve the desired perfect match. As a result, she was tossed aside, stored for years inside a file closet.

I rediscovered the doll recently, looking more pitiful than she did on the day of her banishment. Her face had impressions of hair strands where it had pressed against the vinyl paint used to match the face and body color. I examined her body, arms, and legs and was pretty impressed with the even color I had achieved so many years prior. This is what prompted me to do something about her face and stubborn yellow hair.  She, too, wanted to be freed from her closeted dungeon.

I used Oops! to remove the old paint from her face and experimented with Old English Scratch Cover for dark woods in an attempt to darken the face vinyl. It did, but but not enough. With no desire to paint her face, I needed to think of something else to use... finally, I remembered my brother's Flori Roberts makeup palettes.

My brother in 1997

During the 1990s, probably around the time I first began experimenting with colorizing dolls, my brother worked with his then girlfriend as a Flori Roberts makeup artist in major department stores. They traveled from store to store, usually on the weekends, where my brother's good looks and his innate talent as a gifted graphic artist, drew in women seeking makeovers or perhaps just to have him touch their faces. Even though I did not wear makeup at the time, I allowed him to make me over once, and he was pretty good.

Camera-shy me and my always-smiling brother, circa 1957 in a photo taken by our oldest brother

My handsome and talented brother succumbed to colon cancer in 2007. He was four years my senior and always so full of life until his last eight months.  He was given two years to live after his diagnosis.  Unfortunately, he gave up the fight in eight months.  Even though I know we all have our appointed time, if he had been afforded access to better health care, and, had the doctors not given him such a grave prognosis, would he still be here or would his surrender have been postponed?  I wonder.  I never even dreamt I would surpass him in age, let alone in life.  I have done both.

I have a few of his things as tangible reminders of his existence in the earth realm and of course his memory will always live in my heart as long as it beats. One of his unused Flori Roberts (FR) makeup palettes is one tangible reminder. I kept it because I knew I could use it for my dolls in some way.

Using a makeup sponge, Sun Set Malibu Francie's face color was deepened with FR Brown Satin cream makeup followed by #6 pressed powder from the same palette. I used some of my blush for her cheeks.  (Yes, I wear makeup most of the time now... age and vanity have forced that upon me.)   Her eyes and lip color were repainted with acrylic paint. I even used some of the cream makeup to darken her yellow hair and gave it low lights with black hair color mascara (something else age and vanity force me to use to cover up my graying temple hair).

Dyed, polished, painted, made up, perpetually smiling, Sun Set Malibu Francie free at last!

Like me, Sun Set Malibu Francie is not perfect, but she looks much better than she did when I retrieved her from the file closet, thanks to my brother's makeup. 


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

First Lady Michelle Goes Dreamettes Gold

First Lady (FL) Michelle Obama by Franklin mint wears Dreamette Effie's gold satin dress by Robert Tonner. Effie's dress was chosen instead of Deena or Lorelle's because FL Michelle's body is more curvy on the bottom than the latter two dolls. This redress, for me, was less expensive than the $90 gold dress made by Franklin MintEffie's gold platform heels fit FL Michelle, but I opted for her to wear off-white pumps that I embellished with heart-shaped rhinestones. 

I removed the posts from a pair of earrings before attaching the hearts to the shoes with clear rubber bands.   The hearts can be glued on later, if I decide I want them there permanently.

FL Michelle wears drop rhinestone earrings, and a gold toe ring serves as a bangle bracelet.

As illustrated above, after some tucking and pinning, Effie now wears a dress formerly worn by Tonner's American Models Basic doll (Rihanna).   The very tall Rihanna (named by me) now wears "Mountain Retreat," a exclusive by Tonner.

Redressing a doll is the next best thing to acquiring a new one and is far less expensive.


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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Models: Hopeful and Actual for Limbe Dolls Lingerie

Last week, I was surprised with a beautiful, well-made Limbe Dolls St. Regis lace ensemble.  It was included in the package that contained the Limbe Dolls brown braided wig purchased for one of my daughter's former dolls.

Artsy Fashionista holds St. Regis lace ensemble by Limbe Dolls

Initially Artsy assumed she would be the lucky doll to model the lingerie. She eagerly took a photograph holding the well-presented two-piece red bra and lace panties.

After disrobing, she was very disappointed that her chest articulation prevents the bra's proper fit. She redressed, and I found a more suitable doll model.

Target-exclusive Barbie gets chosen to model St. Regis Lingerie by Limbe Dolls

A Target-exclusive Barbie is the lucky doll. It fits her perfectly and enhances her appearance.   Her brunette hair is now more noticeable.  Wearing the ensemble sets her apart from the several other dolls that share the overused Desiree head sculpt.

Looking lovely, she insisted on wearing the lingerie only, for a while at least. She also wanted to join other dolls in a more visible area of display. Her wishes were granted.

Thanks again Limbe Dolls!


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Terri Lee and Beautiful Angels @ Zulily

Today is the last day for Zulily's current Terri Lee doll and Pavilion Gift Company holiday decor event. This morning I noticed this blog was in draft mode because I inadvertently began writing it here by mistake. The actual information about the event was published here earlier this week.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From Loathe to Like...

...thanks to my trusty ultra fine point brown Sharpie marker, I now like Jungle Fever from the Monsieur Z line by Integrity Toys/Jason Wu.

Jungle Fever by Jason Wu with orange pupils

I harbored a strong dislike for this doll's cartoon eyes after seeing her in person for the first time in August 2010.  She had been deeply discounted by IT Direct, the reason I ordered her.  I wrote about her initially here.

I finally freed her from the box completely last night after deciding to do something about her dreadful orange pupils. "If I mess them up, who cares? I don't like her anyway. I'll just keep her body and toss the head... But she does have a nice head of closely rooted hair," I thought.

Jungle Fever after Sharpie treatment (brown pupils)

Well, I did it. And she looks soooooooooooooooooo much better now. For a second I thought about darkening the sclerae, but I like her enough to leave the whites of her eyes as they are... for now.


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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And Then There Were Three

Helen Kish is one of my all-time favorite doll artists. Her dolls so adequately capture the innocence little girls possess.  Some have adorable potbellies and slightly bowed legs.  Some have expressions of wonder while others appear very serious.  Their painted eyes are so well done, they appear inset.  Because of their continued popularity, collectibility, and ability to escalate in value, even in today's depressed economy, many other collectors share my Kish doll sentiments.

Amalia (the taller doll) and Natalie by Helen Kish from 1997 "Ballet Recital" and 1996 "Ballerinas Collection"

I purchased the first of my now three Kish ballerinas in November 2010.  After Amalia arrived, I became aware of two other café au lait and sepia complexioned ballerinas by Kish and had to have them.  The second, Natalie, also arrived in November 2010.  These two were featured in a September 2011 post where I mentioned my desire to find Kira. (There I go writing things into existence again; but for the faithful, it works.)

The day after the recent October evening when my disappointing loss of another Kira occurred, the doll that would be mine popped up on eBay's home page through their means of tracking my previous bids and searches.  My doll had been listed in a seller's eBay store since August of this year!   How did I miss her, I wondered? 

While I had an eBay search notification email programmed for "Kish ballerina," my doll was never included in any of my notifications because the seller's title did not contain these exact key words.  Even with free shipping, the seller's price was far more than I wanted to pay, and I thought it would be useless for me to even consider owning this perfect, absolutely mint-in-box-with-certificate Kira.  After some hesitation and a brief email consultation with another Kish enthusiast regarding the seller's price, I asked Seller if the price was negotiable.  It was and, as they say, the rest is history. 

Finally the doll that had been on my want list for almost a year is here.  Kira arrived as described, in pristine condition with her box and certificate. The one that I lost to another bidder was not in mint condition:  the neckline of her leotard needed restitching, and she did not have her original box.

Kira "Ballet Recital" 1997

My doll, a perfect-looking 6 year old, with potbelly and slightly bowed legs is proof that when exercising patience, long sought-after dolls (or anything else your heart desires) will eventually surface.   Kira is also proof that, "it never hurts to ask... if the price is negotiable and if shipping is still free." 

My three ballerinas by Kish


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