Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Dogs? Dog Blogs?... Whatever!

I am a dog person. I have a blog and a forum in Russian, devoted to rescue and to promotion of responsible ownership and breeding (or, rather, non-breeding). That resource is about pets in general, but because I love dogs so much, it is somewhat skewed in their favor. And this blog is not about dogs - it is about our Etsy shop where we sell ikat pillow covers, clothing and accessories; it is about Uzbek culture, arts and crafts, ancient cities of Uzbekistan, travels, Silk Way and Central Asia in general, but not about dogs. At least it was not supposed to be. 

Today I was trying to write something about Uzbek traditions, embroidery and pottery - something for your edification and delectation - but just did not have the inspiration. I will do that later, and in the meantime I would like to ask you to say a few words about your dogs (you can tell me about cats, too - Jager and myself are cat-friendly - although I would prefer to cover them separately). Links to blog posts or Facebook with photos and more information are appreciated, as well as links to your shops, if you have any. I love shopping in pet-friendly shops! 

Later on I will make a collage with pictures of our pets (I assume that by giving me a link to your dog photo you agree to grant me permission to use it for that collage) and links to your resources.

As for me, I have this wonderful Malinois called Jager:

And my mother owns a rescue Dachshund called Juliya (in this picture she is in the background, playing with a pup we rescued):

Another picture of Juliya and Sophie: look at those ears!

I will be happy to receive your comments with links to the photos of your pets (as well as your blogs, pages and shops) and a few words about them. Do not limit yourself to just one photo, please! 

Update: the first part of the collage is ready - - thank you everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Mink

I know, it is funny to love fur when you live in Central Asia. It is very warm here during the most part of the year, to put it mildly, and summer temperatures are 100F and up (40C and more). That does not change the matter for me; I love fur. I love cuddling in it, wrapping and touching it. I am aware of all the controversy, and can only say that I still love fur and buy it vintage.

I had been wanting a mink stole for a long time. I must confess I had this silly idea of wearing it to the office and using it as a shawl or wrap. And of course I was thinking of how it will look in a theater or a posh restaurant. I searched for a stole on Etsy and found a huge choice there, ranging roughly from US $50 to US $700.

I kept watching for newly added items and one day there was a stole that make me gasp. It was so beautiful! And it looked like it was in excellent condition, fresh and supple, as far as you can judge from the picture, in lovely honey color and at a steal of a price - US $85! And it had a wonderful poetic description. All descriptions in that shop were amazing - I just kept reading.

I bought it. The seller was the most pleasant person, charmingly courteous and with a wonderful style of writing. My stole arrived very quickly. I received the unexpectedly light and small box, took the weightless folded fur out and shook it - it unwrapped like a butterfly leaving the cocoon. I was breathless, and then for half an hour I just kept touching it and trying it on in many ways.

I had a fun photo shoot the next day when my brother came to visit - you can see the picture below. The pictures on the right are from the listing.

I have not had a chance to wear it yet, but I certainly will. I cannot wear this piece of indulgent luxury to the office - I do not want them to think that they pay me too much and it is time to cut my salary. And certainy I do not want to look richer than my manager.

In the meantime, my mother took it from me, saying I was still too young to wear mink and that this was her shade rather than mine. Well, I think we can share it. We do live in Tashkent, and of course a fur accessory is a toy for us rather than a necessity, especially when it is a stole. It is enchanting to feel connected to the years long gone. My mother wore the mink with a Jackie O style lace dress, color of feulles mortes (dead leaves), and with a 100-inch long pearl rope. You can rest assured, her boyfriend was impressed. I must make a portrait of her in that attire, too. 

The mink comes from walkbymoonlight, and Dianna is a pleasure to deal with and to talk to. Right now she offers another beatiful stole, dark chocolate in color, but I will be prudent. One is quite enough for the two of us. 

And what are your favorite finds from Etsy? I would love to hear a few words and to see photos!

Beach Invader

This is the most bad, spoiled, naughty and irresistible working dog ever! As soon as I get up from my beach mat to have a swim, he occupies it and then makes this face as if it were his legitimate place, and I was just a noisy insect trying to move him from his territory! Look into these eyes full of lazy contempt and immeasurable arrogance! I often call him 'my kitten', and sometimes he looks quite cat-like.

Look, Jager, most of your relatives live in crates, do not swim in their owners' pools, and are neither kissed not hugged! They work in street patrols, look for bombs and live a hard life, whereas you have drawn a lucky ticket. I am giving you a lot; you make me support US economy by buying endless toys and other things for you; you have more toys and training aids than my daughter has. So give me back my beach mat, at least!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

...We Loved Your Silk Ikat Pillows, Mulberry Whisper!

I had to post this picture of my wonderful customers. At least, I wanted to make this collage to look at how colors would fit. Lovely, is not it? I believe both ladies would love to own our ikat pillows in autumn and woodland colors and certainly would leave positive feedback. At least I hope so. (It is so hilarious - I laughed a lot!)

They Could Use Our Pillows, Too

My mother looked at my previous post quite sceptically and said that I forgot about Goya's Naked Maja and Manet's Olympia. They could certainly use our silk ikat pillows, too. These ladies, definitely, knew how to make themselves comfortable - their home textiles are luxurious. Maja's cushions are monumental, and Olimpia has beautiful big pillows and an exquisite throw.

Francisco Goya, Maja Clothed

We laughed heartily together. My mother asked if I could use 'my computer skills' to add our silk pillows to the pictures, but then we decided that it would be a blasphemy. We love both pictures and of course I would not touch them even for a joke.

I especially like Olympia, with her serene face and flowing lines. I admire Japanese art, and its influence is very obvious here. I think I read somewhere that the model was a courtesan, but even if so, it is hard to tell from the picture - she looks so dignified.

Édouard Manet, Olympia

We will think of more potential customers for our ikat pillow cases - it is a very amusing game.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Silk Rug Pillows - Harem Worthy

Rug or kilim pillows are very popular, and it is easy to see why. They have beautiful colors and lovely texture, and will add exotic and adventurous spirit to the most plain and reserved room. I love the contrast of modern furniture in neutral colors and rug throw pillows with their lavish colors and patterns.

One not so pleasant feature often found in rug decorative pillows is that they can be not very nice to the touch. The wool they are made of is often quite rough; it would be perfectly normal in their previous live as rugs, but not everyone wants to lie on a sofa with a book and a pillow that makes you itch.

A pillow made of a material as luxurious as a silk rug might be a perfect solution. While possessing the exotic beauty of a kilim, it would be nice to the touch and could serve the practical purpose of a sofa pillow. But who would cut an authentic Persian silk rug for pillows?  Certainly not me.

However I have a very nice vintage Uzbek rug that I bought for myself and never used. It is made either of a silk and cotton mix or of rayon. The colors are beautiful, the pattern is elegant and sophisticated, and, importantly - it is soft and silky to the touch. I have no use for it, and we decided to make pillow covers from it.

I am not sure what sizes are most popular, and would welcome your advice. For now, I am planning to make some 18x18 and 12x16 pillow cases. I bought strong metal zippers and hope that my pillow covers will be long-lasting and beautiful.

I love La grande odalisque by Ingres. She does not have any velour cushions in the picture, but I am somehow certain she would approve of my harem worthy silk rug pillows.
As soon as I make these carpet pillows, I will offer them in my Etsy shop. The rug is not very big, so there will not be many. Besides, there are just two of us - no factory, sorry.

And this photo of peacocks I made in a real harem - the one that belonged to the Emir of Bukhara, located in his summer palace called Sitorai Mokhi Khosa.

A beautiful place; I will write about it separately. In the meantime I will only say that I have been to the real harem, and I can assure you that they did have all sorts of rugs and pillows lying around.

Note: I mean that I have been to the harem as a tourist, and it was not functioning, anyway!

For the Season of Mists

This is another scarf I made for the upcoming season.

I went grocery shopping today and bought these vegetables with the photo shoot in mind. This scarf is all colors of autumn and harvest. You can see pumpkin, carrot, tomato and chili there - and a dozen of other names, only I did not have that much room. It is also redolent of spices, such as precious saffron or curcuma and red pepper. A perfect way to warm up your fall outfit - and it will certainly brighten the most rainy day with its bright orange, red and yellow and hints of violet. Besides, it has large paisley pattern which I adore.

I think the picture is not too bad. I am not good at composing still life arrangements; my grandmother or great aunt who were prominent fashion designers here in Uzbekistan would do it much better. They were responsible for displays at our National Fashion House, besides other things, and really could drop a silk scarf in the most elegant and effortless manner. My mother, while a very good fashion designer, is not as experienced at making such arrangements as they were. Unfortunately they are not with us anymore and I cannot even receive critique from them - back then I used to be hurt by them criticizing but now I would welcome even a good scolding for being so useless, silly, unable to arrange very simple items for a basic photo shoot (but they would support me too, of course, saying I am getting better but I must work hard, and would help and say - see, it is so much better now! you will learn).  I miss them and I am grateful to them...

You can find the scarf in my Etsy shop, if interested. I only have three. And please do not forget about the giveaway with lots of entries granted to my customers.You can have two scarves at the price of one, plus free shipping, if you are lucky.

Monday, August 27, 2012

For Elizabeth

I was browsing my music folder looking for something soothing and relaxing before I go to sleep (it is 9pm here), and found this folk song from Georgia  (the one in the Caucasus) by Ensemble Tbilisi, from their album "Celebrations for God and Love".

A Sad Rainy Day ( by Ensemble Tbilisi on Grooveshark

The Georgian people are famous for their singing. And this song is certainly one of the most beautiful ones I have ever heard.

I found a photo to go with the song, too. Even though there is no rain, it has the feel that I wanted. It looks so much like our own houses in the villages. I am groping for words... Never mind. I am not very good at talking, even though I tend to talk a lot. I will show pictures of Uzbekistan later. Not the way it looks in official news, and not the way it is shown by the opposition, no - the way I see it.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Silk Ikat Scarf Giveaway by Mulberry Whisper

We (my mother and me) are willing to give away this ikat scarf I hand made of natural silk last week. This silk is traditionally produced in Margilan, Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan. It is called 'shoyi'; it is very thin, like dry flower petals, but very strong. It is smooth and cool to the touch, and has a silvery sheen making it difficullt to photograph. Depending on the angle, it can look saturated like in the first picture, or lighter in color.

The size of scarf is 165 x 46 cm (65 x 18 inches) without fringe. You can read all about it in the listing in my Etsy shop.  I really like it and hope you like it, too.

(Of course you will understand that my great grandmother's bucket is for display only. I could not sell it, even if I wanted to, because my family would disown me, I am sure).

Giving is a great pleasure to us, and we hope that this scarf will go to someone who will really like it and who will use it or give it to a special person to love and use. It is natural mulberry silk, handwoven in Ferghana Valley, and as such - it is very alive and special to me.

This silk always comes in limited quantities and there may be no other such scarves. My two silk scarves are made of the very last piece. And today it was featured at the blog of the Upcyclers' Team as part of the autumn collection - I am very happy and grateful for the Team's support! And once again I highly recommend this Team to everyone. Besides promoting upcycling, recycling and sustainable use of resources, they are amazingly friendly and supportive and make great things (out of nothing sometimes - of trash!)

I know I am not supposed to be talking too much here, but I want to say a few words about why we are doing this. Of course we want to promote our blog and our shop on Etsy and get more exposure and, possibly, sales. But it is also very important for us to meet people who would really like what we do, and who might enjoy reading my rambling and viewing my photos from time to time.  We want to have a good company. I enjoy reading a number of other blogs, and I only read what I really like, and comment posts I like - I do not leave uniform comments without reading, just to establish my presence. We would like to find people we could talk with - about fashion and design, our kids, nature, history, literature, dogs, cooking and anything. If this giveaway helps me find one such person, it will be a huge success. And my mother, who is the driving factor behind our Etsy shop, being the primary creator and designer, would be happy to know that someone is interested in what we can offer and share. (Her English is very basic but I translate for her).

The giveaway works as follows:

First you leave a comment and then sign in the form below to provide your name and to state that you have commented (please use the same name).  

After you indicate that you have left a comment on this blog post,  you will see options for additional entries such as blogging (3 additional entries), sharing at Facebook (2 entries more), etc.

Even if you are not interested in those additional options, you will need to register your comment using this form in order to enter, because the winner will be chosen automatically with the help of this software. If you do not do that, you will have no chances to win, sorry.

PS. I have just added another way to get more entries which I find very amusing (I saw it somewhere else yesterday). You will get 25 more entries if you buy something from us on Etsy. In that case, your chances are growing dramatically, and if you happen to win - I ship all items for free! (If you do buy, please send me a note to delay shipping until the end of the giveaway).

Of course I do not think that it will entice you  to buy if you did not want to initially; however if there is something in the shop that you fancy anyway, why not use the opportunity? This includes my past customers. If you have already bought from me, you qualify for the additional 25 entries! Claim them and indicate your Etsy user name in the form. 

This giveaway is open worldwide and comes with free shipping as long as you have a valid address (no P.O. boxes please). You should be 18 years old and above to qualify. All entries of the drawn winner will be verified.

UPDATE: The giveaway is over, and the winner is announced and congratulated here!

Thank you very much for your support - all of you! I plan more giveaways with more prizes; it is such fun! Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Economic Benefits of Having a Dog

(this picture of us was taken by Anton Kovalenko last summer - note the ikat collar!)

Certainly my dog helps me save a lot of money. How does he do that? In so many ways!

For instance, I just dropped an egg on the kitchen floor. Instead of simply wiping it, I called my Malinois and told him to eat it. He obliged, of course. Thus, the egg was not wasted - is not it a sustainable approach at its best? As for the indirect benefits, I was not upset by the waste, and when I am not upset - I am more productive, which means more money for the family budget, and I am nicer to my family, which means that my husband works more efficiently, too, and smokes less. Well, actually he quit smoking altogether... maybe I should give a credit for that to the dog, too. I must think about the reasoning.

Another way he helps me save money is that I spend a lot of time walking him, and my clothes for walking the dog are so much cheaper than clothes for walking myself to a theater or a restaurant. My camo pants last about two years  and I wear them every day, whereas for theaters I need new silk or lace dresses each time to feel beautiful and well-dressed. Besides, walking and playing and running with him is way healthier than eating out and drinking wine or beer (cheaper, too), and certainly helps cut my medical bills.

Ah, another thing I forgot to mention: I have no need for alarm systems or personal protection weapon. He has a very impressive voice. And as a KNPV-bred Malinois from the Netherlands, he is better than a gun, while looking so much nicer. He also licks me and wags his tail - no gun in the world be able to do that.

This dog is making a lot of good for our budget, indeed. I firmly believe that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Song for Aleppo

I immensely enjoyed making this Treasury today. I was recalling my feelings about traveling in the East, and collected these items hoping to reflect my impressions, even if remotely.

I was not thinking specifically of Aleppo, but now I am. I loved the dryness of stone walls and paved roads, softened by colorful rugs and scarves, in the winding streets of the old city. Dark green leaves and bright round oranges were 'like golden lamps in a green night' against a wall of carved stone, darkened with time. Astringent smell of fig leaves. A voice of muezzin in the dawn.

I try not to read the news but stumble upon them now and then. Ancient Aleppo in danger as war engulfs northern Syria. I am choking over it. I had friends and colleagues there - wonderful people, kind and tolerant. I loved roaming the streets. People smiled at me; I never heard a rude word there...

Oh my beloved Aleppo. I hope you survive. I miss you so much, my caravanserai, my beautiful city full of wonders, smelling of spices and fragrant smoke, my treasury so far away...

I am hopelessly (blissfully) ignorant of politics. Please do not tell me about the reasons and factors. I just miss the city, and I am very sad for the people of Syria.

'My Caravanserai' by EugenieM

Pendant Boho natural gemstone blue turquoise with copper on suede casual necklace Israel art made in Israel - LenaMer
Pendant Boho natural ge...
1920s Hand-knotted Persian Kurdish Rug - abrshop
1920s Hand-knotted Pers...
Istanbul Photograph of Turkey - HeidiAdnum
Istanbul Photograph of ...
1905 Antique Dated Map of Inner or Central Asia - CabinetOfTreasures
1905 Antique Dated Map ...
Turkish - Anatolian wool kilim Pillow Cover - rug - mothersatelier
Turkish - Anatolian woo...
Beaded Bead earrings Turquoise  Minimalist  Gift under 20   rusteam   TT team - LeeMarina
Beaded Bead earrings Tu...
Vintage Belt Attachment Clock - vintagebuckle
Vintage Belt Attachment...
Handmade pottery bowl beautiful green pink grey glaze -  modern ceramics brown stoneware - thecupcakekid
Handmade pottery bowl b...
Temple Wall - StudioGoods
Temple Wall
100% Rustic wooden bracelet Summer must have - Grimme
100% Rustic wooden brac...
SALE...Vintage Fantastic Made in Morocco Silver Necklace - broochonmyback59
SALE...Vintage Fantasti...
S.A.L.E- handpainted MOROCCAN LANTERN, 28 cm high, outdoor, indoor use, alfresco dining - BinkyLovecat
S.A.L.E- handpainted MO...
Moroccan Inspiration - sweersphotography
Moroccan Inspiration
HadarVintage Bukharian Earrings 22K Yellow Gold With Salt water Pearls (eb225) - HadarVintage
HadarVintage Bukharian ...
Istanbul travel photography - 8''x12'' photo - 20x30 cm - trip vintage postcard home pub restaurant office decor decoration - MundanalRuido
Istanbul travel photogr...
light reflections, morocco - marrakesh lantern light reflections photo - fine art photo - wings of light reflections lantern photo - MariaHelenaPhoto
light reflections, moro...

Patsy Cline - Crazy

I am listening to Patsy Cline today. "She had an amazing vocal range and God bless her she knew how to use it..." - this is so true. Her voice is like honey from our mountains: it is flowing slowly but effortlessly, and its color is amber and light gold. It is full of sunlight and wild herbs, with a hint of bitterness.

"My sadness is light in color", said a great Russian poet, and these are the words which come to my mind when I hear Patsy Cline singing... I have nothing to add. What a loss that she died so early.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thank You, Etsy!

I always thought of myself as of someone who could not sell things and hated doing that. In fact, I probably could not sell them precisely for that reason - because I hated the process of selling. We buy a lot of things online, mostly from the US shops, and this bears a certain element of risk. A mistake with size or wrong color expectations can result in selling the item, and I do not like the process of selling through local classified ads and having people come to my place. I would often end up giving the item as a gift or selling it at a very low price.

(Now I know our post service works very well, and I can return things fairly easily, even though I live so far away; for instance, we have had our daughter's toy camera replaced under a guarantee. By the way, it is a Vtech Kidizoom, and the manufacturer was fantastic in honoring the guarantee and replacing the faulty toy, even though we did not have a receipt. The replacement camera is perfect, and very much loved and used every day).

The point is, I do not like selling things from home. However, when I was 18, I was selling books in a shop and was quite good at it. First, I knew everything about my books because I was reading whenever I had a free minute;  second, I viewed selling as sport. How do you find a perfect book for a person? How do you entice to buy and come again? This demanded efforts and insights.

Now I feel a bit like that, selling on Etsy, but it is even better. Now I never have to sell something I do not like. More than that, we only offer things we love. I take a great pleasure in looking for fabrics, bargaining, taking them home and then throwing them on my sofa to stand and stare in admiration. My mother enjoys making things she loves, at her own pace and in her own style, without a creative director other than her own ideas and concepts, and with much less limitations than those she faced when working for large enterprises. In those times she had to use whatever materials they had - sometimes quite unattractive - trying to make the best out of them. That was a great school for her, but now she has much more fun, toying with the best silk fabrics we can find here.

This is a very engaging process. We have always wanted to have a shop, but we could not afford a brick and mortar one. However, now we have 'our very own little boutique' on Etsy and enjoy it very much. We meet wonderful people, too, which is a very important part. I have new friends, and enjoy their company, and I am very grateful for their support.

Recently I have had some wonderful finds. For instance, the silk scarf in the picture above is made of lovely shoyi silk I have never encountered before. I love this combination of subtle colors and traditional ikat pattern. This fabric unites the best of two worlds and is perfect for those who like ikat, but prefer reserved color combinations which can be hard to find in Uzbek fabrics. It was a sheer pleasure for me to make a scarf from this amazing silk, and then to take photos, trying to show it the way I see it, and then to offer it in our shop. I hope the scarf will find a wonderful owner, and in the meantime I will continue my treasure hunt.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Silk Ikat Scarves Flying Away for the Autumn

These two beautiful scarves now belong to Vivian and are going to the UK! Fare you well, dear ones; it is unlikely that I will find such fabrics anymore, so you will be the only ones in the United Kingdom! May Vivian wear you in good health, love you and take good care of you.

Silk Ikats in the Colors of My Land

Uzbek silk ikats in natural colors may not be as striking as the brighter versions. Silk adras in the shades of earth, sand, autumn leaves, dry herbs and weathered wood does not carry the same air of eternal festival as the brighter Uzbek silk satin fabrics (khan atlas) do, with their stunning color combinations and smooth shine. However, these rustic matte fabrics seem to grow on you, just like our steppes and mountains do. You look at them and think - it is nothing special. But then you just keep watching, unwilling to leave. You keep standing there breathing the cold air smelling of aromatic herbs, dry soil and cold running water, and feeling totally and absurdly happy.

They still use natural vegetable dyes to produce natural color ikat fabrics here in Uzbekistan. And, of course, these fabrics are handwoven using primitive wooden looms. Those looms are narrow, and so are the resulting fabrics; you need many yards of Uzbek ikat for a simple dress or jacket. However, the result is worth the efforts; these fabrics feel so alive and nice to the touch, letting your skin breath, and of course they make beautiful and unique pieces. Their subdued colors look great with brighter accessories such as coral necklaces or carnelian bracelets. 

Besides, these ikat fabrics are perfect for ethnic style housewares, and especially for pillow cases such as ours shown below. You can instantly fill your home with the spirit of adventure and travels, adding some Uzbek ikat pieces to the interior.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Week of Gluttony: We Need It Now and Then

"Do you like to cook?
Do you like to try new recipes?
Sign up for our recipe exchange to learn how locals do it!"

The Russian Team on Etsy suggested a very fun thing to do: holding a week of recipe sharing. They call it, in a very polite way, a Week of National Cuisine, but I would rather call it a Week of Gluttony.

The thing is, the participants would need to share some recipes on their blogs, in the week starting from September 14. Then everyone will choose someone else's recipe, cook the dish and share her or his impressions, with pictures. So, this is going to be something like a cooking ring.

I think that this is a very exciting idea. Actually, the Russian Team is not very Russian - it is quite multinational (and Russian is the language that unites the team), so there will be many various recipes from many countries of the world. Besides, non-team members are also welcome! The more recipes to share, the better! (and what you see in the picture is vareniki - dumplings filled with cottage cheese, potato puree or fruits - delicious!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Never Ending Festival of Bukhara

As often happens to me in the end of summer, I feel the urge to go somewhere. Even though I have had my three weeks of vacation in the mountains, that clearly was not enough to provide me with new impressions. Unfortunately this year was not very successful for us financially, and it is unlikely that we could afford going abroad.

However here within our country we always have a wonderful option - we can go to a place I am never tired of. We can go to Bukhara. To me, this is not an alternative, not a cheaper substitute for a more exciting trip, but a journey as fascinating as any other. 

My heart fills with joy as we are entering the city. The bells in a small shop at the entrance to the Jewellers' Dome are just like they were 12 years ago, when I saw them for the first time. Old and new, covered with patina or shiny, I smile at them as if they were old friends of mine.

The city is traditionally called 'the Golden Bukhara', for its wealth and beauty.  To me it is not golden, though. It is all shades of brown and red. Old weathered bricks and wood are softened and brightened by carpets of wool and silk, giving the ever-festive look to the city and making it so alive. Colorful silk scarves move with the wind, like flags of some unknown country.

The carpets in the picture below are hanging near the entrance to the Money Exchangers' Dome.

And the carpets and rugs in the next photo are just lying nearby, thrown carelessly on the pavement.

These ladies' hats - dupi - demonstrate bright handmade embroidery with tassels. Traditional embroidery uses lots of symbols believed to protect the wearer, ensure prosperity, bring good luck and health. The origins (and sometimes the meaning) of many of those is now lost, but the women still teach their trainees to use those patterns in their work, passing the craft and half-forgotten old-knowledge to the new generations.

This is the entrance to one of the converted mosques. Inside, there are plenty of small rooms which are used as craft workshops now. People make embroidery, sew, weave, carve wood, make dolls and engrave brass plates right there and sell their work on the spot.

The lady in the picture below was giving a dance lesson at Nodir Divan Begi madrassah. Tourists, including ourselves, were enchanted. In the background you can see a display with miniatures and colorful suzani bags.

In Bukhara, people are very industrious and crafty.  Everyone is doing something - even an elderly lady in the drugstore is embroidering a piece of fabric when there are no customers around. They keep producing things to sell to tourists, and teach their children, too.

Kids help their parents in shops, learn crafts and can speak several foreign languages - at least the key words necessary to trade, but sometimes they speak English or other languages quite fluently. They are very proud of their contribution to the family budget.

The little lady in picture below on the right was drawing diligently, seated close to her parent's shop and paying no attention to the loud music and tourists around.

It was late October, and the weather was blissful. The sun was warm and tender, and the nights were chilly, with bright stars and black silhouettes of domes and trees against the dark blue sky. And these are the last October roses from the inner yard of our hotel.

And what a lovely hotel it was! a very old converted house, full of small rooms and complicated corridors. The walls and floor in our room were decorated with rugs and suzani, and it was very quiet and cozy. The hotel was very inexpensive, too, despite its location in the very heart of the old city.

This was in 2009, and I have not been to Bukhara since then. In 2010 I bought a dog and was very busy with him, but now he is grown up and I think we could go. Actually I have been thinking of taking him with me - it would be nice to show the place to the former citizen of the Netherlands - but then I decided against it. Although he is very social and well trained, I could not take him inside all the madrassah and mosques (even thought they are converted), and it is better for him to stay at home.

I would love to go there again this autumn; I miss Bukhara very much. If I go, I will certainly bring back a lot of pictures and something to offer in our Etsy shop. And I would bring back some presents for my dog, too - a beautiful ceramic bowl or an embroidered collar (if they started producing those - I would not be surprised, for Bukhara craftsmen are very creative).

It might be a bit early to write about autumn now, but maybe you would like to come and see the city? You would still have time to make the reservations to spend the most beautiful autumn days in one of the most fascinating places of Central Asia.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Mother's Magic Closet

Have you ever felt as a child that your parent's rooms and things are wondrous and magic? Since I am a woman, I do not know how boys feel about their fathers' suits or perfume, but I certainly remember my feelings towards my mother's room.

It was a place full of beautiful things and secrets. Silk dresses in her dark closet were whispering softly as I touched them. Her tiny jewelry box of carved wood stored earrings with gleaming pearls and several rings, one of them with a pink ruby. Her perfume was the most enchanting thing in the world, because it smelt of her. I remember spilling it once (I opened the bottle and dropped it). Our flat was imbued with the fragrance of 'Femme' by Rochas...

When my mother was getting dressed to go out, it was a magic rite, too. Brushing her hair, applying mascara and lipstick and powder, putting on her earrings... She was (and still is) the most beautiful woman in the world, ever, with her bright eyes, happy smile and gentle voice.

I tried to express my feelings in this Treasury, full of wonderful pieces. You know, we are from the Soviet Union: we did not have many belongings. My mother's jewelry box only stored one pair of gold earrings and two rings. She treasured her shoes and mended her tights because they were hard to find. But you do not know these things when you are a child, and your mother's gold ring with a tiny ruby seems the most precious thing in the world - better than a dragon's cave full of gold.

'Her Mother's Magic Room' by EugenieM

I have made purchases from some of the shops presented here and this is another way to say thank you to them for the beautiful things and excellent services and communication.

Anna Sui LBD - TripleGemini
Anna Sui LBD
Art Deco Silver Rhodium plate rhinestone ring with Peridot Color Center size 5.75-6 - prettyinprague
Art Deco Silver Rhodium...
Girls grey dress black with flowers /hmet/eco friendly/rusteam / team madcap/unusual design/ crazyadsteam - Maliposhaclothes
Girls grey dress black ...
Vtg 1960s Joseph Magnin Black Sexy Slingback Pin-up Shoes 8A - LoulousVintage
Vtg 1960s Joseph Magnin...
Winter Lights 8x8 Photograph - christmas lights holiday decor magical holiday photography - ellemoss
Winter Lights 8x8 Photo...
Evening Purse. Little Black Velvet Festive Wristlet. Made to order. - OseArt
Evening Purse. Little B...
Modern Earrings Rainbow Mystic Quartz Argentium Sterling silver Rainbow Green Emerald Minimalist Jewelry - daimblond
Modern Earrings Rainbow...
Vintage 1950's Black Strapless Couture Formal Wedding Circle-Skirt Rockabilly Bombshell Evening Cocktail Party Dress - KMalinka
Vintage 1950's Blac...
Hair  Bobby Pin. Hair Clips. Red grapes. Girl accessories amethyst purple white berry children - MelashaCat
Hair Bobby Pin. Hair C...
Art Deco 1920's Fleur de Lis Rhinestone Clip on Sterling Silver Chain Bridal Pendant OOAK Silver Screen Dreams - prettyinprague2
Art Deco 1920's Fle...
Vintage wine decanter bottle KY DR8-230 plum - AGardenCottage
Vintage wine decanter b...
Artisan Perfume Oils Pick Any Ten Sample Vials Set - BlackBaccara
Artisan Perfume Oils Pi...
Vintage Print of Floral Envelope w Bird Small Cushion - Maisonvogue
Vintage Print of Floral...
Original long black and gold earrings with tassels. Party Fashion evening jewelry Sale Christmas in july CIJ. oht rusteam ukrteam - ArsiArt
Original long black and...
Botanical Bleeding Hearts 8 x 8 Pink Green Black White Scanography Visual Poetry Romance Love - brigettamargarietta
Botanical Bleeding Hear...
Dark Fairy Tale Dress Vintage 80s Black Strapless Dress Full Skirt w/ Lace Crinoline Ruched Bodice Coffin 5/6 XS S - walkbymoonlight
Dark Fairy Tale Dress V...
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