Saturday, November 30, 2013

Museum of Applied Arts, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Today my daughter and I felt like going to a museum and looking at some beautiful things. We did not have too much time, so we went to a smaller one close to our place - Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan. We went by metro and then walked for ten minutes, and here we are!

The Museum is located in this old beautiful building: this was a house built in the end of XIX century for a Russian diplomat Polovtsev who loved Asian culture. The museum is like a small palace or a jewelry box. Or both. Look at this lavishly decorated facade with carved wood columns and lots of hand painting.

Inside, there is a lot of carved alabaster and paintings. You can see the wall niches with vases and bowls: this is what they used as shelves and cabinets in Uzbekistan a hundred years before and earlier.

The ceiling in the hall is just amazing.

Collection of arts and crafts is not very large, but the items are beautiful. I especially love glass and china. The pieces below are from the last century, so they are quite modern, coming from our Tashkent glass and china factories. The faience dish with stylized cotton is by Alimov, 1970.  The cut glass decanter with glasses are called 'Uzbekistan' and made by Zabudskaya in 1985.

And this green glass set is called 'Dacha' (Country Home) and made by Dudin in 1983 in Tashkent.

Embroidery is of course an older and more traditional art for Uzbekistan, and this museum has beautiful samples. The all-embroidered boots are from Shakhrisabz, and the lovely Suzani is from Samarkand, end of 19th century.

And these are traditional embroidered hats. This one is of course for a woman and comes from Bukhara, 1940s.

 And this one is for a man. Chust or Marghilan, 1980s.

Of course there is also a room for clothing. Vintage dresses and gowns from silk and cotton fabrics with ikat patterns or stripes are beautiful and eye-catching.

The striped gown is for a man; it is from Ferghana, 1960s. This fabric is called 'bekasab'. The second gown is for a woman and it comes from Tashkent, second half of the last century.

There are also rugs and carpets, which are very important for the people here. Uzbek houses are full of rugs; a rug is the best gift, they believe, and will always find room for another rug. Many household items were made from rugs, for instance these saddlebags, as this is a strong and practical material.

Another favorite room of mine is the one with jewelry. It was mostly made from silver with corals, turquoise, carnelian, tourmalines and other semi-precious stones, often combined with colored glass.  The first photo shows 'tillyakosh' (Gold Brows) made from silver with turqiouse, glass, enamel and pearls.

And these are very classic Turkmen (or Turkoman) bracelets with carnelian. Very heavy and barbarian looking, they still retain some gold gilt.

We only spent there about an hour and a half, as Madina became tired quickly - there are too many things and colors.

There are two amazing persimmon trees in the yard. They look very ordinary in the summer, but I find them stunning late in the autumn after they shed their leaves but still retain the fruit.

 In my daughter's view, the place was great for running around, jumping and dancing.

...So we pranced around a bit and went home, discussing what we have seen and where we want to g next. It was a good beginning of a good day. 

(all photos from the inside of the museum come from

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Rare Find - a Mary Hoyer Composition Doll!

I always say that buying and researching vintage things is a very exciting thing to do. My cousin Gafa has recently bought this vintage doll with a trunk which we found to be a very old Mary Hoyer doll, dating to the period from 1937 to 1946. She is made from composition, jointed, with a short haircut which was very fashionable then, and with beautiful gray sleep eyes. I like her thoughtful look and retro make up - she is so different from what we see now. Unlike modern dolls with incredible legs and huge eyes, this one looks like a real person, even though of course her proportions are not realistic. And our doll is incredibly stylish! Look at her trunk, full of clothing and accessories. I think some of these were home made, which means that the doll was loved and cared for. I heartily congratulated Gafa with this amazing find.

You can see the marking on her back.

This is what Doll Reference says about her: "1937-1946 Mary Hoyer doll, 14" tall, all composition jointed doll, mohair wig (some have molded hair beneath the wig), sleep eyes usually blue but some root beer brown have been found, or painted eyes with painted lashes, real upper lashes, painted lower lashes, closed mouth, many different outfits were made for this doll, as well as patterns were sold, that could be knitted or sewn by the dolls owner.  Mary Hoyer made clothing will have a Mary Hoyer tag.  Doll marked: The Mary Hoyer Doll in raised print".

This composition Mary Hoyer doll is offered for sale at Mulberry Terrace,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Giveaway is Over!

And the winner of the giveaway is... Tandi C.! Thank you, Tandi, and please send me your address so that we can ship the goodies to you! Many thanks to all participants - pity we do not have enough prizes for everyone, but certainly there will be more giveaways!

(The lovely "card" is still life painting by Ambrosius Bosschaert, from

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Turning Vintage Russian Shawls into Infinity Scarves


If you love Russian shawls but do not want to have to manage a large shawl which always gets in the way, with a fringe which gets stuck in your zip fastener or caught with your buttons, our wool infinity scarves can be the perfect solution! We have invented them recently, and that is not much of an invention, of course: we just had some lovely vintage Russian shawls we wished to upcycle. Infinity seemed the most logical way to do it, as this is a very convenient shawl, without any ends you have to take care of.

Right now we are offering this beauty which I think is absolutely gorgeous. Made from a very vintage Russian shawl, which is about as beautiful as the rare "High Born Girl" shawl I have shown earlier, this endless wool scarf is hard to part with. Even though I do not wear red and pink, I am fascinated with it and I simply wish to look at it and to touch it forever - funny, is not it? The scarf is light, soft, warm and beautiful: what else is to be desired? That shawl was a wonderful sample of its breed, with its bright glowing roses and modest field flowers. I am happy that my mother was able to lend a new life to it - otherwise it would be wasted.

When I touch it, I think that it is as precious as soft spun gold.  The noble fine wool is 30 years old or more, and it is still soft and supple. The print is simply amazing, in the best traditions of the famous Pavlovo Posad Manufacture: the lines are clean and precise, like in Japanese prints, but the colors absolutely Russian: they are bright enough to warm you on the darkest winter night in Siberia. It is funny I am so attached to this particular endless scarf, but it is one of the best scarves we have ever had, and my heart melts when I look at its beauty.

It is one of a kind, as the shawl was very old and I do not expect to find another one. There will be others, but not like this one - they will be different, though equally unique.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Handmade Ikat Infinity Scarf, Vintage Incense Burner and Autumn Wreath Giveaway!

The ikat infinity scarf, brass incense burner and autumn wreath, worth US $85 together, will be sent to the international winner. 

You can take a closer look at the silk ikat infinity scarf, incense burner and Thanksgiving wreath. I hope you like them! This is a perfect set for fall - something to warm your body and soul with.

The giveaway works as follows:
First you leave a comment under this post 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 (5 additional entries), sharing at Facebook (5 entries more), etc.
Even if you are not interested in those additional options, you will need to at least 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.
You can get 10 more entries if you buy something from us on Etsy. In that case, your chances are growing dramatically - actually the first giveaway was won by my customer! Past customers qualify for these additional entries; just give me your Etsy user name and claim your entries.
And if you happen to win - we ship all items for free, including your purchase! (If you do buy, please send to the respective shop owner (Mulberry Terrace, Mindie Lue Gifts or MulberryWhisper) a note to delay shipping until the end of the giveaway). This includes our past customers. If you have already bought from us, you qualify for the additional 10 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Rare and Beautiful Russian Shawl by Zlata Olshevskaya

Now and then I stumble upon a vintage Russian shawl while looking for something else. I usually just sell them through our Etsy store without trying to identify the artist. However, I recently decided to try attributing vintage shawls and found a wonderful resource - a big forum at the website of the Pavlovo Posad Manufactory (the most famous Russian shawl factory founded in 1795 as a small silk factory). A lot can be said about the factory, as well as the role of a Russian shawl in a woman's life, but today I just want to show a rare shawl we found yesterday. The shawl experts (or addicts - what a beautiful addiction!) from the forum helped me identify this beauty.

The shawl was designed in 1980 by Zlata Olshevskaya, one of the most interesting artists of Pavlovskiy Posad. It it called 'Boyarishnya' ('Young Boyar Lady' or 'A High Born Girl'). Just look at these brilliant colors and clean lines: a high class Russian shawl cannot be mistaken for anything else. There are lavish pink roses that seem to glow; elegant tulips and smaller flower accents with lovely twigs and branches, and everything is in perfect balance.

The shawl is large, 150x150 cm (60x60 inches). As it is made from wool, it is soft and light, and can protect really well both from cold and from immodest eyes. Of course you can hardly hope to be unnoticed when you wear a piece of art like this...

Zlata Olshevskaya designed a number of beautiful shawls and all of those are eagerly sought by collectors now.  My shawl is not the most rare one of her works, but we were very glad to discover it, anyway. And it will go to my friend in the US, to be loved and proudly worn.

Zlata Olshevskaya was born on 20th October 1920. The photo below is from 1949; Zlata is on the right.

This photo of Zlata was taken much later, but she is still beautiful. Or even more beautiful.

Zlata Olshevskaya lived a long life - 90 years - and left a wonderful heritage of warmth and beauty. I hope to be able to see more of her works in real life, and to be able to touch something she might have touched many years ago while moving along the factory and looking at ready shawls.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My New Uzbek Rug Pillow Case

During my last visit to the bazaar, I bought a stunning Uzbek rug. It was a vintage rug made in the city of Chust, Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan. The pile on the rug was quite high and had the typical silky sheen of high quality wool; it was also very soft to the touch. But it was the palette that attracted my attention first of all: rich raspberry pink with mustard yellow, taupe, indigo blue and grayish green. They are so much in tune with autumn - think harvest; orchards full of ripe fruits and piles of corn and pumpkins. The design is also unusual in its barbarian boldness, with large shapes and lots of sharp angles.

The rug was somewhat damaged at the edges. I considered mending it and just using on the floor but then decided to make beautiful rug pillows from it. You can see the first one here (and you can buy it in our Etsy shop), and I just love how it turned out! There will be six altogether, and all of them will be lovely, although slightly  different - coming from different parts of the rug.

How do you like it? To me, this is a wonderful example of self-taught artists' freedom in using colors and shapes. The true ethnic spirit is present in every line and streak of color. I know little about carpets coming from that part of Uzbekistan, but I certainly loved this one, and these rug pillow cases seem to be the best we have had so far.

I am still not sure if the decision to make pillows from the rug was good, but now it is too late to regret. However I might keep a rug cushion, or maybe two... they are so unique and beautiful - it will be too hard not to keep a piece of this beauty to myself.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Holiday Wreaths by Mindie Lue Gifts

There is one tradition in the West that I regret we do not have. Actually there might be many more than one, but this time I am thinking about decorative wreaths. They are so beautiful! I guess they are more for private houses than for apartments - I do not know where I could hang one in our flat - so my interest in them is purely abstract now. Still, I look at them now and then, admiring their rustic feel and richness of colors. I love both autumn and Christmas wreaths - they all have their own charm.

For instance, this autumn beauty with leaves, flowers, berries and even a lovely embroidered pumpkin. A feast for the eyes! I love everything about harvest, autumn woodland and fields...

This Christmas wreath with bright decorations and an elegant organza bow is very elegant and sophisticated. I always love green and gold together. The large poinsettia flower adds even more festive mood to the already bright

And now my favorite -green with red and white. Ideal harmony of colors and shapes, this is the one I would like to own! The striped balls - do they represent candies? They are candy-like.

After looking at these, I think I could make a small wreath for us - it will be an interesting project... I will see if we have tiny pumpkins and corn here. Leaves we do have, that is for sure!

The wreaths are from MindieLueGifts.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We are Back in Town!

I have not written here for ages; in June I had too much work to do, and it was too hot, and I did not feel like writing, and then we left for vacation in the mountains and I did not feel like writing again.

We rent a small cottage in the mountains; in the photo above you can see the view from our veranda. The place is called Charvak and it is at the river Ugam. When it is 110F in Tashkent, our little place in the mountains is much cooler. Besides, we have two swimming pools there, and our kids literally live in the water while we are there.

This is my sister, 23 years younger than myself. She is a strong, healthy and brave girl; talk of late children being weak and prone to illnesses!

And this is my daughter who turned 7 in June. She is the funniest girl, with a fantastic sense of humor and many other merits. She is not as strong and brave as our Katherine, but she is learning.

Jager, my Malinois, enjoyed vacation with us. In the photo below, I kick water with my right leg, standing on the left one; my left hand is grabbing a fence so that I do not fall in the water, and right hand is taking photos. Even though my Nikon D70 is 8 years old, I would not like to drop in the pool with it. But it was fun, and Jager looks like... my friend called him "an awful prehistoric fish", but I think he is an awesome prehistoric fish!

These are all of the kids: my  sister, my daughter, our dog and my sister's friend who we took with us. They are a great team: you would not believe the level of noise they can produce together!

And this is just a bush of wild blackberry close to our place. It is delicious but very difficult to pick, alas. Its thorns are like fishing hooks: you get your hand into the bush easily, but then it is quite difficult to take it out undamaged.

We have had a great vacation, and it is great to be back in town after four weeks of leisure. We have been missing our Etsy shop and our other assignments. Now we are back with new ideas and tons of new ikat silk and rugs for scarves and pillows!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Silk Ikat Backless Top from Uzbek Silk

We have a saying in Russian: "A shoemaker is always without shoes". I can relate only too well as we often have no time to make things for ourselves. However, I found this beautiful piece of Uzbek ikat silk and we loved it so much that my mother designed and made this top for me within two days. Is not it wonderful to have your own in-house fashion designer?

It is quite simple, with an empire waist, draped surplice top and an overall relaxed silhouette - just what I wanted for our hot summer. The bust is lined with vintage cotton and I wear it without a bra.

Since we have successfully piloted this design, we are also offering it in our MulberryWhisper shop - you can order a similar top here. We have lots of beautiful fabrics and hope you can choose something to your liking.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Silk Ikat Top - A Splash of Summer Colors

Silk ikat top with bare back is something we have been wanting to make for a while. This is a piece of clothing perfect for summer, being pure mulberry silk, buttery soft and cool to the touch. Madina just loves it, calling it "my so sooooft top", and refuses to take it off. This silk ikat top can be made to order in any size and in oh so many colors - you can see available fabrics here.

I am going to have one for myself as well. These ethnic Uzbek ikat designs are so beautiful - even though I have been living here for all my life, I still marvel at them.We have some other ikat silk blouses, shirts and tops in our Clothing Section at Mulberry Whisper - you might want to check them out if you like ethnic silk made in Uzbekistan.
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