Sunday, October 19, 2014

Walking with a Little Fox

Today we went for a walk in the park. The morning was not sunny, but we enjoyed it nonetheless -  it was a beautiful autumn weather. 

My daughter recently became very interested in making her own toys. I understand her - it can be difficult to find exactly what you want. What if you need a tiny fox which easily fits in your pocket and can be hidden in your hand? Where do you find a fox exactly that tiny and with the big beautiful eyes and thick tail? So, we bought some Sculpey clay on Amazon... and Madina made the fox.

It does not really matter that the little creature is somewhat awkward. She sees something in it and gives her own meaning to the tiny sculpture; she polishes and refines it in her mind. Such a primitive toy might be even better, in my opinion, because it leaves something to the imagination of the child. 

So, we baked the fox in the oven early in the morning, to make her durable, and then took her to the park with us and played there. 

We brought a bowl for the fox and fed her with some vegetarian food (had no meat with us). 

...and then we made a cosy home for the fox. You can see that she feels very comfortable there.

So we played and walked for a while, until it started raining, And then we had to go home, because, unfortunately, the fox's house was too small for us. She was inviting us, but we would not fit in.

The next task would be to make a wolf and some other animals to keep company. I share my daughter's happiness and excitement about making her own toys - making something with her own hands!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Looking for Totoro

I have never been good at giving presents. I have always had difficulties with choosing - fretting that I might be buying a wrong thing and it will not be appreciated - and besides, I have never felt that I could handle the process of gift giving graciously. This is despite the fact that I love giving presents. I just do it in a very simple manner, as a rule - just hand the things over, and this is it.

While my somewhat awkward manner might be acceptable for adults, I decided that it must be different with my child: I wanted her to feel that her birthday was a very special day.

We watched the wonderful film, My Neighbor Totoro, shortly before her birthday. I knew she would love it, and secretly ordered the toy well in advance. Of course, Madina loved Totoro and kept saying how much she would like a plush toy like that, to sleep with. It was wise to plan ahead as these toys could not be found in Tashkent.

In the morning on Madina' birthday, while she slept, I made a set of cards with Tororos big and small  and instructions; they were leading from one room to another. I have been drawing very little in the recent years and my hand is not as steady as it used to be, but I did my best.

They lead from her pillow to the sofa in the living room, then to the bathroom, and to the basket with apples in the balcony; to the bedroom, to the cupboard, and, finally - to the big antique bucket!

And there he was, the Big Gray Totoro, sitting patiently inside the bucket and waiting to be found!

I cannot tell you how happy and excited my daughter was throughout the whole process of searching, and how fascinated she was with the Totoro who appeared in our home in such a magical fashion.

Since then, she has made several sets of similar instruction cards for me: they usually end in the most touching love letters. She is a very good learner. And I keep learning with her, too.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Russian Shawl Called Prayer

There is a Russian photographer, Dmitry Chernoff (, who is among my favorites because of his lovely photographs of girls and women wearing traditional shawls. Dmitry is very good at feeling the spirit of the Russian shawl and sharing it with the viewer. Just look at these photos!

All these pictures show the same shawl made at Pavlovo Posad, Russia. This shawl is called Prayer, and this is a very old design. The circles of flowers symbolize repetition of a prayer. It was first designed by Constantin Abolikhin in 1930-ies, and then restored by Galina Sotskova several decades later. 

This is a somewhat dark shawl in subdued colors. I love its quiet beauty; perfect for those days when you do not want attention. When you want to be left alone.

However it can look very striking, too - for instance, if paired with a black dress, like here. This shawl is majestic!

This is just a general photo for you; you see that the shawl's design consists of circles. They symbolize repetition of a prayer. The shawl is very balanced and would look great as a chair throw, too.

I do not have one for sale at the moment. However, you can find other vintage Russian shawls and scarves in our Etsy shop. We also carry upcycled Russian shawls which we turned into scarves.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bukhara Waking Up

I just came from a very short business trip to Bukhara. I only had half an hour in the morning before work to walk around a bit and see some of my favorite places.

Bukhara is especially beautiful when it is almost empty, waking up early in the morning, cleaning herself and preparing for another day with thousands of tourists.

This is one of the many beautiful domes where dozens of little shops are situated.

Shop owners are displaying their goods. 

 Traditional brass vessels. I am not a fan, but they do look amazing.

These are fragments of a crypt which was only recently uncovered. It has not been restored yet and I believe it looks really good the way it is now. Although of course restoration is necessary to make sure the building does not deteriorate further. 

And this is just an old door with a covered hole which looks almost like a pet door. But I think this was a window to see who is knocking.

The photos are nothing special, really - I was in a hurry, and I am not good at photographing architecture, anyway. But I hope to go to Bukhara with my family later this year and take more photos, hopefully better ones. Anyway, what is important is that I have seen the beautiful city and remember what it looks, smells and feels like...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Silk Caftan Tunic, a Simple Beauty of Uzbek Ikat

My mother has developed another simple and nice design. It is nothing special, really, and nothing new - a very classic caftan tunic made from lush Uzbek ikat silk. What is important is how it sits and how he fabric moves with the wearer. And it is very minimal, so that not to cut the lovely silk too much.

I love to see her work; it is amusing to watch her thinking, sketching, talking to herself, patting the fabric as if it were a cat... The tunic is nice, voluminous and free flowing - a perfect design to show off the wild beauty of Uzbek silk.  

I love to look at these strange and barbaric ikat prints; many of these elements are inheritance of the dark pagan times when they had certain meaning. Some were for protection, others - for good fortune, fertility or longevity.

I certainly hope that this ikat silk dress will bring good fortune and longevity and all the best to the new owner. It can be found in our Etsy shop.
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