Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Kenya and SIS Zahara Size Comparison for Muff

Hey Muff,

Here's a quick photo to illustrate Mini Kenya and So In Style Zahara's size. If Kenya's head were not as large, the two would make great playmates. Unfortunately, unless we shrink Kenya's head, the scale is a little off.


Mini Kenya's Hair Madness!

Hair Madness Mini Kenya "Funny Girl"

While browsing the toy shelves at Family Dollar, I noticed a 30% off sign for dolls priced under $10.  This would include the mini Kenya dolls, I thought.  This particular store still had a wide selection left post-Christmas.  I guess little girls were not at all fascinated with the mounds of hair the mini Kenya dolls appear to have.

I am.

I searched through each of the three Hair Madness Kenya  displays to find two dolls that I "needed," a medium complexion and a dark since I already have one that falls into the light-skinned category.  I noticed the plastic was loose on one of the medium skin toned dolls.  That one was wearing the dress I wanted.  I didn't want to buy one that had already been opened, so  I chose the only other one like that, but the skirt of the other one had more stripes than I desired.  I selected it anyway and decided to take the opened box doll to the counter to let them know the box was open.

At the counter, I handed the cashier/manager the opened box doll and informed her of the issue.  She thanked me.  I watched as the two dolls I was purchasing scanned for the regular price of $5.  I inquired why and was told that only the toys with applied price stickers reflecting the 30% mark down were included in the sale.  "I don't want them, then."  I said.  She deducted their combined $10 cost and continued to scan my other non-doll items.   Before stating my total, she said, "I can give you this one [the opened box doll] for $2.50, but it's missing this [pointing to the area where mini Kenya's yellow pick/comb should have been].  "I'll take her, I said.  That's probably why they opened it up."  She agreed.

On inspecting the doll at home, it appears it was probably a Christmas gift for some little one because the area where the preprinted $5, Family Dollar price had been was torn off the top edge of the package.  They probably just "forgot" to place her yellow pick back in the package before returning her to the store or lost it because the package that contains her rubber bands and beads was still intact. 

Hair Madness Kenya is all hair!

Kenya's mounds upon mounds of closely-rooted black hair would probably be a little girl's dream to comb or brush if it did not shed as much! 

Kenya and her hair -- the hair that remains on her head and the hair she lost
A ball of hair came out as I brushed Kenya's hair. A second brushing yielded the same result but with less hair loss.  The two brushings gave me enough of a comb-a-doll's-hair fix, for now.  For $2.50 and minus her yellow pick, which would have been useless for her head full of hair, I won't complain about the shedding.   


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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Use It Or Lose It

Earlier today I had one more Barbie Fan Club reward left valued at $20 to use toward a purchase at before it expired at 12 AM on 01/01/13.  Even though there was not much for me to choose from at the site, I decided to place an order today.

I had hoped they would offer an end-of-year sale and/or free site-wide shipping on orders in any amount.  There has been no such luck.  So today, without much enthusiasm, I ordered the following two items.

City Shopper Barbie as seen in this Mattel Stock Photo has an unfortunate ModelMuse body, but her fashion and accessories are probably worth her final cost.

This Doll for a Day Headband shown in another Mattel stock photo, was $5 before the discount.  I was more enthused about it than City Shopper because I will wear it, particularly since the Barbie logo will not be exposed!

With shipping and tax, these two items totaled $19.09 (which is less than the doll's retail of $24.99, but I really did not save much when shipping and tax are factored in.) 

Have you ever spent money to save money?  SMH at myself. 


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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Got Christie Love!

When I look at dolls, sometimes I see people.  This was the case with Fireside Chatting Kenya.  In her face, I saw Teresa Graves, the actress who played the starring role in the 1974 Get Christie Love! made-for-TV movie which was later developed into a 60-minute, weekly TV series.

As noted in a previous blog post, the manufactured Get Christie Love doll has been on my mental doll wish list for years but has remained elusive.   After "seeing" Graves in Fireside Chatting Kenya, I decided to transform one of my Kenya dolls into my desired doll.

Graves' medium brown complexion closely matches that of Rock Star Kenya's caramel brown coloring, so I used Rock Star instead of the deeper complexioned Fireside Chatting doll.  (Rock Star and Fireside Chatting can be seen here as the center doll and the one on the far right, respectively.)

What Was Done

Rock Star's up swept, super curly ponytail was given the appearance of an Afro by pulling some of the curls down to frame her face and just finger fluffing it into shape (I did not remove the rubber band).

Curly ponytail fluffed out into a curly Afro; dangle earrings added

Her original earrings were replaced with gold dangle earrings that I made using gold tone discs from a pair of 99 cents earrings.
Dangle earrings from beauty supply store were used to make playscale-size earrings; several more pairs can be made from these.

Rock Star was dressed in 2002 Barbie Fashion Avenue outfit B3366, which has a 1970s flare typical of what Christie Love would wear in her successful undercover policewoman attempts at solving crimes in the hour-long TV show.

Rock Star Kenya as Christie Love

I replaced the small handbag that came with the Barbie fashion with a larger one that was made using camel-colored craft foam. 

Christie Love's new shoulder bag replaces the tiny handbag.

The shoulder bag is piped on the sides with brown braiding cord.   I attached the handle using braiding cord after piercing holes in the ends of the strap and holes in the top sides of the bag.  The smaller bag is now stored in the shoulder bag.

While not the original manufactured Get Christie Love doll, Rock Star Kenya shadows the character quite well and has placed my desire to own the manufactured doll to rest at last.    

Kenya is a very suitable Christie Love.

By the way, I am not sure how long the sale lasts, but all toys priced above $10, including Fashion Madness Kenya dolls, are now 50% off at Family Dollar stores.  I will probably buy a replacement Rock Star, since my original is now Get Christie Love! 


Added 12/31/12:  More about the character, Get Christie Love, can be read here.  (Interestingly, this information is from a role playing game and anime webring.  Under Combat Skills for Christie, the writer included her large handbag used in melee attack.)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Doll is an Expression of Art and a Messenger of Love

This year for Christmas, in addition to some other non-doll related items and a beautiful Christmas photo card, I received the following delightful gifts from my dear friend, Debra R., who resides several states away.  I couldn't have purchased better gifts for myself had I done the shopping.

(Note that the descriptions provided herein are for my purpose and for the benefit of those who appreciate detail.  For documentation purposes, I will transfer this information onto my doll inventory Excel spreadsheet, along with the current value, not included here.  This is a ritual I have conducted since 2008 after each doll acquisition, intended to help me remember what I have as well as to aid family who may need to properly dispose of my dolls someday.)

Holiday Ann is an approximately 10-inch all-resin, fully-jointed doll by Miss Martha's Originals All God's Children.  Underneath her red felt coat that has a white furry collar, Ann wears a white satin sleeveless dress and matching panties.  Her white socks and black T-strap shoes are molded on.  Her molded black curls are accented with white satin ribbons.  Held with a white satin ribbon around Ann's neck, is a white faux fur muff to keep her hands warm.  Appropriately representing a young girl of about 8 or 9 years, Ann has recently lost her left upper lateral incisor.  This adds to her appealing character face.  I look forward to displaying Ann with the  two Miss Martha's Originals that were birthday gifts from my dear friend this year. 

This chaise lounge was certainly a surprise as well as the bracelet (not shown) that was tucked inside.

The snow leopard-print cushioned top of the chaise opens up to serve as a jewelry box.  There is a deep compartment on the left and an area to store a row of rings on the right.  It also has a mirror underneath the top. 

The chaise is perfect for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Barbie to relax after performing in Ailey's Revelations to the tune of "Wade in the Water."  (AAADTB was not a gift from Debra.)
Tucked inside a white gift box was this 11-inch, all-felt doll whose name appropriately describes her sweet face, Precious.  Precious wears a delicate white dress with embroidered accents at the bodice with even more embroidery on the skirt of the dress.  White cotton panties, white half slip, white lace-trimmed socks, and white T-strap shoes complete her fashion.  She has a brown synthetic-hair wig with red satin ribbon accent.  Precious holds a white gift box decorated with a red satin ribbon, pine twig, and holly and berry.  The front of her hang tag reads:  Pretty Originals/Collectible Cloth Dolls/Handcrafted & Hand painted/All New Materials/Philly Paul Designs.  Handwritten and signed on the back of the hang tag:  "Precious"/©2008/one of a kind/Philly Paul. 
Precious wanted to take a close-up picture to show the detail of her brown painted eyes and molded nose and mouth.
The red satin ribbon-trimmed lid of Precious' gift box has a card attached that reads:
A Doll
Is an Expression
of Art
and a Messenger
of Love

These are not dolls, but I wanted to share the Possible Dreams "Good Boys and Girls" Santa that Debra sent me.  Santa holds a book containing a list of children's names.  I suppose he is looking for the names of the two little ones who are there to present him with their letters.
In this image, if you click on it to enlarge, you may be able to read Santa's list. 

Click to enlarge to read the inscription on the children's notes for Santa and Mrs. Claus.   Interestingly, this is the Possible Dreams Santa set that I wanted to buy Debra this year.  For several days, I hovered over an eBay auction in early November, but forgot to bid because, as a last-minute bidder, the auction ended after my bedtime.  Sleep overcame me and I forgot to set my alarm to wake up in time to bid.  Unfortunately (I think), someone else won the auction.  I wonder if it was Debra.  Fortunately, I was able to purchase a different Possible Dreams Santa for her. 

Also not a doll, but the Celebration Barbie Ornament Special 2012 Edition is inspired by the Holiday Barbie doll.  According to what Debra told me a few weeks ago, this is Hallmark's last Celebration Barbie Ornament.  I look forward to adding this one to my Barbie Ornament Christmas tree.


After seeing and reading the text on the following image shared by a Facebook "friend" on Christmas day, I immediately thought of Debra.

Thank you, once again, Debra R., for being one of my dearest friends and confidantes for over a dozen years and counting (I've lost track of the exact year we met, but I know a dozen covers it).

I love you like a real sister,


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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thank You and Merry Christmas!

Before we close out 2012 and enter into a new year, I want to take the time to thank all the followers/readers of this blog.  Thank you for your eyes, your thoughts, your bearing with my ramblings, reflections, and occasional rants about the dolls I love.  I appreciate your past and future comments.  They confirm the relevance of this blog. Thank you for listening.

May the gifts of peace, joy,
love, and friendship be yours



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Monday, December 17, 2012

Collectible Cushions

Keepsake Novelty Pin Cushion by Dritz
I found this chair-shaped keepsake novelty pin cushion by Dritz at Tuesday Morning for $5.99.  The orange, animal-print upholstery attracted my attention.  Even though I do not sew, I purchased it to perhaps allow one of my smaller dolls to use as seating.

If used for its intended purpose, it has a cushioned seat and a pillow to "cushion" pins.

 The seat also lifts up for storage.

It's the perfect size for Only Hearts Club Sydney, but...

...Briana Joy likes it, too!

(Watch out for those pins, Girls!)


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Friday, December 14, 2012


The ebony beauties are from L-R:  Princess of South Africa Barbie, Barbie Basics Model  No. 04, and Model of the Moment Nichelle (click to enlarge)
For some time now I have wanted to publish a post featuring natural-hair dolls.  This is that post.  The hair underneath the wig worn by the center doll, Barbie Basics (BB) Model No. 04, Collection 001, is a short cropped style.  For this occasion, however, she opted for a more dramatic look provided by the larger Afro wig borrowed from Urban Antoinette Adèle Makéda.  The other two ladies have tightly coiled natural tresses. 

Each doll has been redressed, some more recently than others.

Princess of South Africa Barbie wears a new metallic gold dress

Princess of South Africa (POSA) wears a metallic gold dress and coordinating black and gold, sequined shawl by eBay seller, barbie-couture.  As a repeat customer, I can attest that the quality clothes she sells are as she describes them:  durable, updated, and fashionable.  Use of stretch fabric, in most cases, allows her fashions to fit the rail thin ModelMuse body as well as the more curvaceous body POSA possesses.  The gold tone, bow-shaped choker worn by POSA is actually an adjustable ring.  The bow is encrusted with yellow faux diamonds.  Black and silver shoes from Barbie Basics Look No. 02, Collection 001 are the perfect complement to POSA's gold and black ensemble.

Wearing a little black dress or redressed, wigged or not, Model 04 is fully confident in the skin she's in. 

Having retired her little black dress nearly a year ago if not longer, Model 04 now wears the only solid color Barbie Fashionistas dress I have ever seen. The lavender color of the dress and her deep complexion are an appealing combination.  Her silver shoes are from Barbie Basics Look No. 02, Collection 001.5.  As mentioned previously, Model 04 borrowed the Afro wig from Adèle. 

Model of the Moment Nichelle, looks lovely in bronze and black

Model of the Moment Nichelle is the most recent of the trio to be redressed.  Her bronze lamé one-shoulder top, bangle bracelets, and shoes were borrowed from BB Model No. 08, Collection 002.5.  Initially she was going to go buck wild and wear the top alone to flaunt her shapely legs.  Actually she did this for a couple of days in the doll room, but some of the guys were getting a little "emotional" as a result of her overexposure. I thought the black leggings, made by Shasha of Atelier ni Shasha, would calm their emotions.  Girlfriend wouldn't have been able to do an about face without exposing her buttocks had she not put on those leggings.  Her bronze, star-shaped earrings were purchased on a card of five pairs from a local beauty supply store for a dollar. 

I usually buy most of my fashion dolls' earrings from that store and just as often dismantle these over sized, often dangle earrings to create multiple playscale-size earrings using paired pieces from the parts.   Model 04's bow-shaped choker was purchased there, too.  I usually use toe rings as necklaces for my playscale people, but, according to the clerk, they were sold out.  She kindly suggested an adjustable ring instead (not knowing I wanted to create a necklace for a doll).

Beauty can be found in people of all sizes, shapes, colors, hair textures and hair lengths.  These three inanimate, gorgeous representations of women and the people who look like them are proof that ebony skin and natural hair are included in the many combinations of beauty.  One standard of beauty is a myth.  


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gourd Dolls and Figures

The term, gourd, is occasionally used to describe a variety of crops such as squash, cucumbers, melons, and luffas. Pumpkins are also included in the Cucurbitaceae family of some 700 species of hard-shelled fruits and vegetables.  For centuries, these hard-shelled crops were cultivated and used as containers for food, water, and as eating utensils in Africa and other geographical locations.  Early and modern-day people have used cured gourds as decorative pieces. 

The purpose of this post is to share my one and only gourd "doll," which is not actually a doll at all.  It is a Santa, shown below.  Also included in this post are  images of gourd dolls shared by others.

African American Santa made from a gourd

While not a true doll, Santa "holds" an African American rag doll that I imagine in reality would have made a little girl happy to receive on Christmas morning.  I was thrilled to find Santa on several years ago.  This delightful Santa has been used yearly as part of my Christmas décor.  

Decorative gourd vase made in Kenya has carved images of elephants and giraffes.

We (as in my husband and I) also have another item made from a gourd.  It is a decorative vase with carvings of elephants with raised trunks.  Husband collects elephant figurines, but only those with their trunks up.  A raised trunk is supposed to be a symbol of good luck.  I purchased the vase for him as a gift.

Images of Gourd Dolls Shared by Others

Gourd fisherman doll, photograph courtesy of Janice Larsen-Tyre and Lanny Peterson

The delightful gourd fisherman doll shown above (note the fish he holds in his left hand) has a gourd body, clay head and feet.  Applied fiber creates the hair on his head, beard, and mustache.   He is signed by his artist and dated 2002.

Bògòlanfini or bogolan ("mud cloth") is a handmade Malian cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud. It has an important place in traditional Malian culture and has, more recently, become a symbol of Malian cultural identity. [Ref. 1]   

Hollowed out and dried [calabash gourds] are a very typical utensil in households across West Africa. They are used to clean rice, carry water, and as food containers. Smaller sizes are used as bowls to drink palm wine.  [Ref. 2]

Mali mud cloth and calabash gourd pillow doll, photograph courtesy of Bonnie Lewis

Hand-dyed cloth and calabash gourds were used to create the unique mother and baby pillow doll shown above.  This pair is from the collection of Bonnie Lewis, who purchased Mother and Baby from a 1998 Gold Coast Africa catalog.

Thank you, Janice Larsen-Tyre, Lanny Peterson, and Bonnie Lewis for sharing the images of the delightful gourd fisherman and unique gourd and cloth doll pillow from Mali, West Africa.

For more information on making dolls or decorative items using gourds, the book, Making Gourd Dolls & Spirit Figures might interest you.  According to, "Ginger Summit and Jim Widess, authors of The Complete Book of Gourd Crafting and Making Gourd Musical Instruments, pay tribute to an ancient craft in a volume both inspirational and instructional. It’s packed with images of dolls from different cultures and eras, filled with testimonials from the most creative artists working today, and brimming with advice and irresistible projects. Summit and Widess explain how to choose a gourd, mold one as it's growing, clean it properly and safely, pyrograph and sculpt faces, create movable joints, and make such creatures as a simple, limbless Stump Doll, beaded Zulu doll, endearing Hobgoblin, and stacked Mother and Daughter dolls.  Read more; see more about this title here


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Nissen's United Children of Our World Muhammed

Another long sought-after doll has entered my collection as a result of a conversation I had last month with fellow doll enthusiast, Betty A.  Not only did Betty and I discuss dolls by D'Azucar Creationes, which led to my finding two of their dolls, we also discussed dolls by noted sculptor and mannequin maker John Nissen.  Nissen produced a series of dolls during the 1990s that represent children of diverse cultures.  The series was appropriately named United Children of Our World Doll Collection.

According to information provided in a past auction for one of Nissen's United Children of Our World dolls:

Although the “United Children of Our World” is John Nissen’s first doll project, he is no stranger to sculpting the human face.

In 1947 he began a long and distinguished career as a sculptor at the Royal Danish Porcelain Company, one of the finest porcelain makers in the whole of Europe.

Finding a love for the lines of the human face, in 1960 he became chief designer for Hindsgaul, the largest manufacturer in the world of window mannequins, and in 1973 he started his own mannequin company.

Today, he is one of the most sought after designers and sculptors in Europe.

The “United Children of Our World” is John Nissen’s original concept.  Each doll has been thoroughly researched and accurately represents the characteristics of the country or region portrayed.  Authentic costume designs by Else Madsen add to the beauty of these lovely creations…”

During our conversation, Betty mentioned her Nissen doll, Tala, a 27-inch doll representing a Nigerian girl.    Except for their dress and the regions of Africa they represent, Betty's Tala is identical to my first Nissen doll, Fatou.  Fatou depicts a girl from Gambia and arrived in time for me to document her in my 2008 publication, Black Dolls:  A Comprehensive Guide...

Until my most recent conversation with Betty, my saved eBay searches had included "john nissen doll" in order to be notified of new Nissen-doll listings.  As a result of this saved search, I was able to add a 14-inch Nissen boy to my collection, but he was not the one I had wanted for more than five years.

After Betty and I discussed Muhammed, my long sought-after Nissen doll, I created a new eBay saved search for "john nissen muhammed."  Because of this narrowed saved search, within a few days, eBay notified me of a listing for Muhammed.  Whattt???  I couldn't believe it.  So, right then and there, after adding the auction to my eBay watch list, I named Muhammed and claimed him as mine!  As usual, I waited until the last day and last seconds of the auction to enter my maximum bid.  I was the only bidder and won!

Muhammed arrived safely on 11/30/2012 exactly as his seller described him.
By doll artist John Nissen from the "United Children of our World" series / collection, this 27-inch tall vinyl example titled, "Muhammed."  Representing Egypt, Muhammed is in customary attire and is in beautifully maintained condition with no rubs to the vinyl.

His black wig and full eyelashes are nicely intact.  No original packaging is included with this example.  Original costume is in [excellent] condition with no rips, no tears, no stains and no odors.

The seller, bieg, also sent a copy of Muhammed's pamphlet and a very nice thank you card.

My handsome Egyptian boy and his pamphlet are shown below in photographs "bieg" permitted me to use.  An additional photograph taken by me of Muhammed and the other members of my John Nissen United Children of the World doll family follows.

United Children of Our World, Muhammed by John Nissen, ca. 1990s - photographs of doll and pamphlet courtesy of eBay seller, bieg.  Muhammad was described as 27-inches by the seller but he is actually 29 inches tall. 
United Children of Our World, Muhammed of Egypt is joined by 27-inch Fatou (Gambia) and a smaller, 14-inch boy whose African descent is unknown (click to enlarge any image).

Again, thanks to my conversation with Betty, I have added three new dolls to my collection (Buba and Kolo by D'Azucar Creationes and now Muhammed by John Nissen). 


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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tamina Gets a New Dress After All

Tamina by Elisabeth Lindner shows off her new dress.

I love surprises.  One was waiting for me at the post office this past Saturday, a dress with sleeves for Tamina from Betty A (the doll pictured above).

Last month, Betty A. made a capped sleeve dress for a doll of my choice.  The doll I chose was Matoka by Annette Himstedt, but Tamina had been my first choice for that dress.  Unfortunately, the cloth in Tamina's upper arms would have been exposed had she worn it.  I must have shared this with Betty during my thank you conversation with her or in my written thank you letter.  In turn, she made this lovely pink polka dot dress with sleeves, not indicating which doll it was for.  On the drive home from the post office it dawned on me that it must have been made for Tamina.  So Tamina gets a new dress after all thanks to Betty A.

Thank you again Betty (if you ever read this) for sharing your sewing expertise with me and my dolls.  Matoka and now Tamina thank you, too!


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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fashion Madness Kenya Complexion Comparisons

L-R:  Light, medium, and dark Fashion Madness Kenya Dolls:  Movin On, Rock Star, and Fireside Chat

For those considering the use of Fashion Madness Kenya dolls as articulated body donors, the following images should prove helpful in selecting the right donor for your recipients (click any photo to enlarge).

Movin On Kenya's complexion closely resembles AA Stardoll's light complexion, although Kenya is slightly lighter.

Rock Star's complexion closely matches Barbie Basics Model 8's medium complexion.

Fire Side Chat's deep complexion is a close match for S.I.S. Chandra. 
I hope this helps!


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Clever Tip Jar

Doll Tip Jar - Photo courtesy of eBay seller renatejr

I saw this creative tip jar on eBay while searching the site for, what else, African American dolls.  I am not sure what keywords helped me locate it, but I did.  With seller's permission, the images are shared and a link to his current listing is included below. 

Doll Tip Jar - Photo courtesy of eBay seller renatejr

Featuring what appears to be a basic fashion doll, the seller attached the doll with a screw and washers to a painted, gallon-size tin container. Decorative stickers are attached to the lid and front of the tin along with the caption:  Tipping is Sexy.

Close-up view of Doll Tip Jar - Photo courtesy of eBay seller renatejr

The seller's auction description explains that tips increase "my musician's income."  Further, explanation for these is that most manufactured tip jars are too ordinary and not as likely to encourage generosity as much as the ones crafted by the seller. 

At the time of this post, the seller is offering two doll tip jars, the AA one featured here and a My Scene Barbie one along with several other non-doll tip jars.  Provided the auctions are still current, they can all be seen here among seller's other listings.

I wonder if the seller has considered creating a doll tip jar using a male playscale doll or action figure?

Thanks again, renatejr for allowing me to share your eye-catching tip jars with the readers of this blog.


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Monday, December 3, 2012

So In Style Skating Fun Kara and Kiana

Mattel Stock Photo
So In Style Skating Fun Kara and Kianna have been seen in a West Coast Wal-Mart.  Kara appears to be fully articulated (elbows and knees).

In the above stock photo, Kara has gone super curly and has an open smile with the appearance of teeth.  I have seen a production photograph.  The hair on the produced dolls is less curly and Kara's mouth is closed, no teeth.   For those interested, hopefully this doll set along with the Grace and Courtney tennis duo will show up in your area soon.  (Production Grace and Courtney may or may not appear the same as the stock photo.) 

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