Thursday, 7 August 2014

Another return from Strasbourg

I wasn't sure how to title this post. Yes, I travelled and yes, I'm back, but it's really about dolls. Dolls in trousers - what a rare sight! Hubby told me to bring home at least three dolls and such was my luck that all three were trousers-clad versions of characters from my wishlist. What were the odds?

Before the trip, I browsed doll store websites and also the local Craigslist. It is there that I laid eyes on the basic Abbey and Operetta. The ad was posted almost a month ago, so I was much surprised to hear the guy still had them when I called! For a mere 15€, I found myself with the very first Operetta!

She was very dusty, but otherwise in excellent condition. One hip is a little loose. I was expecting elastic strung hips as in older MH and I was pleased to learn she has the improved peg joints. The hair and missing mole are all my doing. I don't think they ever played with her. The elastic holding the mask was still in place and snapped as soon as I touched it. There was an undisturbed layer of dust at the hair roots. Everything went straight to the sink before I thought of taking a "before" picture. Here's the one from the seller:

Apparently, the only thing missing is the purse. They even gave me this Elvis spider:

I had to bring this monstrosity home simply to show it to hubby. He says it's the most hideous doll accessory he'd ever seen. Rather than tossing it into the garbage though, I hung it in the hall of our building. It was gone the next day.

THIS is absolute proof Operetta was never played with:

*I* could have lost that!

That ring is so tiny! It's shaped like a die. The earrings are also dice, asymmetrical in colour and length. I suppose Operetta fans are familiar with all this, but the truth is I never documented myself about all that came with the doll for fear it would not be available by the time I reached the seller (it has been known to happen and it was heartbreaking). All I wanted was a generally pleasing outfit she could share with Ghoulia and so all the extras were all the more welcome. I love the shoes. Each shoe has two treble clefs: one is the heel and the other is the little red smudge.

There are things to work on, too. The trousers don't close very well and they are sewn weirdly.

Luckily, I have everything I need to fix this (except time)

The bolero is very nice with spiderweb designs on the back. What I don't like is that it cuts shoulder movement in half. Operetta is much more relaxed without it. Excuse the hair, I didn't have a chance to do anything with it.

Speaking of hair, I hadn't realized the "fringe" is actually a full-sized chunk of hair rolled upwards. It has an interesting rooting pattern, too:

I haven't decided how to style it yet. It's very coarse hair, tangled and rooted in this specific pattern and my brain refuses to think in summer. I should have updates in a couple of months. In spite of all the minor problems, I'm very glad I managed to get this particular Operetta.

The same seller also had the original Abbey - another MH I wanted. However, I found a better deal at TRU two days before contacting him. They had several different Abbeys, including one with three outfits.

I believe it's I Love Fashion Abbey. I kept the pretty box art:

The clothes are nice and versatile, even if not exactly my style, but I loved the shoes and legwarmers. I gathered some friends to show all the goodies. Draculaura is wearing the main outfit. Catty got the short end of the stick, with ill-fitting shoes, a top that is crooked in the back and super tight trousers.

The black overskirt is a separate piece.

The shoes up close:

Unlike I Love Shoes Cleo's collection, none of the designs are Abbey-specific. There isn't a hint of snowflakes, icicles or anything that would suggest Abbey. The purple ones are transparent and have a Victorian feel. The black sneakers look like something Ghoulia would wear. The white shoes are so tight I swore I wouldn't put them on a second time. I can still redeem them with a modification I have in mind.

The set includes three necklaces, two pairs of earrings, four bracelets, a purse and a phone. Here is the stuff that didn't show up in the previous pictures:

The phone was rubberbanded to Abbey's hand in the box. Did they do it to scare the kids out of using smartphones? Behold the perils of clinging to your gadgets for too long:

I hope to fix this with hot water. Other things to take care of are the white suit and shoes and the greasy hair. The doll was made in Indonesia and there's that disgusting glue leaking out of the earholes. In spite of all that, I like her for my first Abbey. I like the glittery skin, the aurora borealis hair - yes, even with tinsel. It's nicer than the kind with a stringy base and I won't remove it. The shoes are awesome and the clothes have potential, if only for drawing patterns. The set was a great value for 30€.

That TRU in Strasbourg is full of surprises, not always pleasant. I was counting on finding Twyla there, based on their online catalogue. Instead, I found this ancient Abbey and no trace of Twyla. The EAH assortment is different from the website too. For the third doll, I had in mind a second edition basic Raven, but sometimes I was leaning more towards Barbie Style. I thought long and hard which one to buy. The problem is that each doll has one element I adore while the rest is blah. I made a chart with blue dots for things I hate, red dots for things I love and purple for neutral. This is only for faces and outfit items, I don't take accessories into consideration.

I kept seeing the two Barbies and Teresa everywhere, but no Raquelle, who is clearly the winner in my chart. You would think Teresa should be next based on the dots, but the green trousers called to me so much that I almost gave in, if I hadn't found the one in the back of a general store shelf...

I love this doll! She looks like some kind of celebrity strolling around casually. I like her even better without all the bling:

The reason for these sneaky head poses is one very wonky eye:

The eyelashes aren't very far off and I should be able to repaint this to look normal. I'm just glad I found her.

The gold stuff is much yellower than in promo photos. I might paint the studs or replace them with silver ones altogether. Two accessories are shiny gold - a bracelet and a whistle. The other bracelet is rubbery and so short it has to be held with a rubber band.

It works just as well, if not better, as a MH choker. A terrible fit.

The jeans are different from promo photos too - good different. They are bulkier, more like trousers and less like leggings. The hair is super soft with red highlights and not a trace of glue inside the head. The shoes are more creative than regular Barbie footwear:

I always wondered what they had in that booklet. Turns out it's pictures of different outfit combinations from this line. The other side has pictures of Raquelle and questions to answer about clothes.

This concludes my doll purchases. Time to go for a walk. The city is the same... and not. They finally fixed St. Paul's church. Some part of it was always under restoration every time I went there. As much as I hate tourist-y photos, I had to shoot this:

I was told this church isn't open for public, but we found another one that is. This is Church St. Peter the Young:

A specific type of event for summer in Strasbourg are light shows at night. Let me explain: an animation is projected on some building in combination with an arrangement of lights and music. This year they chose the cathedral and the covered bridge. This is the bridge...

The cathedral shows used to be just colourful lights, but this year they made it downright psychedelic.

Click to enlarge

I realized I didn't show any daylight pictures of the cathedral last time. There you go:

And one of the interior:

There was the "silk tree" in full bloom at the Orangerie. It feels like fine corn silk and smells like a cross between linden and honeysuckle.

The bus trip I took to get there was pretty awesome too. We passed a bunch of mountains in Romania, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. I'm not impressing anyone with bus pictures but mountains rock.

I'm quite familiar with the city that I no longer take proper pictures of places of interest. Instead, I like to look at things that nobody would put in a guide.

Well, maybe some would go in a guide after all.

It's so peaceful and inviting.


I found a kitty for my collection:

There is never a shortage of pretty sights in Strasbourg.

I had a nice and eventful trip. How about you? What did you do this summer? What are your plans? I can't wait for the heat to be over and return to work on my old and new dolls!

The Black Kitty

P.S.[update] I received a private message from a friend about the size of my blog pictures. I'd like to know everyone's opinion so I put a poll in the upper right corner. You can vote until the end of the month. You can also leave a comment on any blog entry. Your vote matters! Thank you!


  1. Lovely photos!
    Operetta looks very cool; what a lucky find! I love the shoes that Abby came with, especially the black ones.

    1. Thank you! I never dreamed I'd come across a basic Operetta so long after her release, I still can't believe I did! I chose that Abbey precisely because of the shoes, they will match most characters.

  2. Oh my days!! Congratulations on your Raquelle. As you know , she may end up being "the one that got away" for me ... Shame about her eyes though :( I know you said you can fix it but you shouldn't have to!! Annoying.

    I'm interested to see how you make out with Operetta's hair. I undid the victory roll on my Dot Dead Gorgeous version as it was a little playworn, and cut her a fringe in myself. However, boil washing her proved super difficult, it took me about eight goes to get it anything like OK and it still isn't good enough now. Must be the hair gunk - do you think?

    1. Raquelle seems to be so hard to find, especially outside USA, that I decided to get her in spite of the eye. I have no regrets. Until I repaint her, the defect is hardly noticeable the way she is posed on my shelf. You may still find her, I hope you do. I think she was released later than the other three and is still due to be delivered in stores. I didn't mention it in the post, but her box was weird - not a word in French, it was in Russian, Ukrainian and two Baltic languages. I don't know how she ended up among the "normal" dolls.

      I didn't find any gunk in Operetta's hair. This is a pre-head-glue release. It's just regular Operetta coarseness, from what I understand. Apparently all Operettas have coarser fiber. I boil washed it once and it lay in nice waves. I may have to trim the most fried ends, but it's acceptable now. To be honest, I'm more bothered by the side parts. I would have loved to soften her triangular face with a more centered part.

  3. Eeeeeee, duck butts! I know I'm weird, but I love ducks, and I love how they wiggle their little butts. The dolls are awesome too, but I actually squealed when I saw the upside down ducks!


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