Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pandora and Chamilia, my Dream Bracelets

Finally, I have received my Pandora and Chamilia bracelets. Here, in Uzbekistan, we do not have these brands, and I had to ask my US cousin to buy the components and send them to me. It took a while, but at last I have them with me!

I am afraid I haven't been much of a purist with them. I wanted a bangle, but Pandora's bangle is perfectly round and I do not like it. I have had round bangles before and they were not comfortable. So, I opted for a Chamilia Brilliance bangle, as it is oval and thus more ergonomic. I bought several charms: Birds of a Feather (a pair), Tree of life, Moss and white Fascinating Murano, and complemented them by spacers.

As I really loved the retired Wine charm with peridot, I bought it, too, and it has a personal bracelet - khaki multi-cord Pandora. It is quite comfortable, and with just one charm, I do not expect it to stretch.

Just as I planned, these two look lovely together and go well with mist items from my closet.

As I have never seen these pieces in reality before, I was a bit surprised: a) how small they were (that is usual when you buy jewelry online) b) how heavy they were; c) how sparkly they were; and d) how beautiful they were! 

I must say that the Bracelet Builder feature at Pandora's website is very useful. This is the design of my bracelet; there is no option of a bangle, so I used the classic bracelet, but otherwise this gave a very good picture of what the bracelet will look like. I called the design 'Dark Garden', although it is not very dark. But I think there is a certain enigma in it.

I do not expect to buy many other charms. Frankly, I have never been interested in these bracelets before, and always thought that Pandora was something full of pink Swarovski, I have nothing against bling, this is just not my style. However, these are perfect for me... but there are not many charms left in the collection which I might want. Most of the remaining ones are Swarovski (just joking!).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Silk Ikat Scarves on Sale at Mulberry Whisper!

All our ikat silk scarves are on sale now! We want to sell the remains of 2014 stock and bring in new colors, sizes and shapes, with new photos. This is an excellent chance to buy an infinity scarf from real Uzbek mulberry silk at a bargain price: cheaper than yardage! You can use them for projects, if you like, as essentially they are huge pieces of lush genuine silk produced in accordance with the old traditions of silk weaving.

We have more colors available at our MulberryWhisper shop on Etsy. Get yours while they last; new arrivals will be more expensive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Landscape with a Fox by John Burningham

I am in love with this illustration. It has the impressionist spirit which I love, the instant glimpse, the momentary feeling of beauty of the world. I readily recognise the heavy sun of late winter afternoon and dry grasses covered in frost; they give a crackling sound as you walk. The coy looking fox is as familiar and casual as your neighbours' dog. The dear world of childhood where every animal is your friend, and every walk is an adventure.

It is by English illustrator John Burningham and comes from his book "Seasons" published in 1971, I found it here

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Summer Twilight: Perfection of a Classic Russian Shawl

This classic Russian shawl is called A Summer Twilight. A very appropriate name, as it does remind of a garden where fragrant flowers are glowing in the dark. The artists' name is Klara Zinovieva; she was one of the most significant and prolific designers at the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture.

Klara Zinovieva was famous for her wildflowers and grasses. Of course, her roses are gorgeous in their regal beauty, but it is the smaller flowers that make this shawl so charming, in my view. I especially love this small golden branches which look so fragile and lend a lot of elegance to the design. 

And then there are paisley, another very favorite element for me. They make the scarf more festive, giving it that very folk look that I treasure so much. This is not just any botanical scarf - this is a traditional Russian shawl, which is something larger. An array of many cultural influences and layers of history. 

This is the case when I cannot ramble much. What can you say about a very perfect piece of art? Any words are less expressive and true than the shawl itself. I can only hope you like it as much as I do. You can buy the shawl in our MulberryWhisper shop on Etsy; we only have one, There are more photos of it, too.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Our Friends Long Gone

These are my friends' Bull Terrier and Great Dane. Sadly, both dogs are gone now and only good memories remain. This was almost 9 years ago; we enjoyed spring weather, and the dogs played like crazy. They were just pups back then. About three years ago, the huge Great Dane died of heart attack, and two years ago the Bull Terrier died of kidney failure. It is so hard to accept that a beloved friend can die so early and all of a sudden. At least the memories remain...  

This is part of the Black and White Sunday bloghop hosted by Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever. I found it on the wonderful blog of Sue Muir 'Greyhounds Can Sit'. It is very interesting and I hope to participate again.

Winter Tale of Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans ( is one of my favorite now living illustrators. The atmosphere she creates is like nothing else. I am looking at this print and memories are coming - memories of moonlit winter nights when I was looking out of the window to see that the whole world was covered in clean glistening snow and the huge benevolent moon was reigning above all, and my room would be almost as light as in the daytime. It felt like magic and gave me a chill in the stomach - expectation of something new, exciting and wonderful. The familiar things around me looked alive and different in this cold and even light.

As a rule, the moon looking into the window at night feels disturbing to me, but Lisa's moon here is so kind, even if a bit stern - like a loving grandmother - and there is no sense of alarm and fear. But this is no time to sleep, either, because everything around is so alight and alive. This might be the time to leave the bed, shake off the sleep, pull on your clothes and run out, to meet some adventures! The toys will follow you to help and protect.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Silk Ikat Infinity Scarf Giveaway

I think this silk ikat infinity scarf is a nice accessory for the coming spring. It was hand made by my mother in her studio at home. She used lush vintage Uzbek silk with luminous ikat prints to make this luxurious long circle scarf. You can take a closer look at the silk ikat infinity scarf here, at our MulberryWisper shop on Etsy. I hope you like it! 

All of our silk eternity scarves are either one of a kind or very limited edition, because we make them individually, from beautiful and rare Uzbek silks. We also sell rug pillows, wool Russian shawls, cotton Russian shawls (those are very rare as their production stopped more than 30 years ago); we upcycle damaged Russian shawls into wonderful scarves, and offer ready to ship clothing. We also take orders for individually designed clothing. We have some vintage silk scarves as well. We have recently started making a very fun accessory - a multi-purpose purse scarf which can also be used as a textile bracelet, hair wrap and many other things.

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 about the giveaway, sharing at Facebook, 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 5 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. (By the way, our ikat silk scarves are now on sale!)
And if you happen to win - we ship all items for free, including your purchase! (If you do buy something this time, please send to us at 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 5 entries! Claim them and indicate your Etsy user name in the form.

Ends: March 13, 2015. 
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.

Another current giveaway is HERE! Welcome!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is kindly supported by the International Giveaways Blog, Giveaway Monkey and Giveaway Promote - thank you! Also backlinked to

Another Book on My List of Favorites - The Mask of the Sorcerer

This photo reminded me of Darrell Schweitzer's novel, The Mask of the Sorcerer. I have just re-read if for the third time (actually, I read it for the second time two days ago and immediately started again, which I have never done before). I am not good at sharing my feelings about books - always groping for words and feeling awkward - hopeless. In order to be able to express my feelings about this amazing novel, I would have to be able to write as well as Schweitzer, and that is not going to happen. I can only say this is one of the best books I have ever read. It is beautiful, sad, touching, unpredictable, scary, kind... it makes me shiver, twitch, cry (yes, I am a nervous person, although not overly sentimental, so not every book makes me react like that). Sometimes it makes me smile. 

It is a very big book, in the sense that it has a lot of space inside it, like growing into itself; it is non-linear and unfolds in the ways I would not have guessed. It speaks of big things and of small things in the language that can be understood and related to oneself. I can relate to the pain, uncertainty, hope, fear... to the feeling of loss. I cannot say I fully understand it, but then, the main character does not understand what is going on, for a good part of the book, so I guess I am not that bad. 

I am very glad that I have discovered Darrell Schweitzer for myself. Now I need to find out where to buy all of his books, because I want them all. ...The photo, of course, is not an accurate depiction of the Great River, and it could not be. But it reminds me a bit about the book - this huge body of dark water, mist and reflections - so I decided to put it here. In order to make really good illustrations to Darrell Schweitzer's books, you would have to be in his head, think and see like he does, and also to be able to draw, and who on Earth can do that?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Your Purse Might Want a Scarf, Too!

I am not someone obsessed with purses. I do not have a huge collection - I would not have room for it, anyway - and just have several, to go with all my outfits. But, as there are a few of them, I cannot but think that some change would be nice. As I always liked the sight of beautiful scarves tied to stylish purses, I decided to take this route, and my mother made this silk purse scarf: 

This is a slim silk scarf made from real Uzbek silk with a tiger print. Not to be too boastful, I like how it goes with my Coach purse. I do not believe in synthetics, preferring natural materials, and here we have a very nice combination of luxurious silk and the famous pebbled leather by Coach. Both are heavenly to the touch.

If you like smaller scarves, neckerchiefs, neck bows and such, you can wear it that way, too. It has nice volume and comfortable length, to go twice around your neck.

We used to have very good textile designers here back in Soviet time. This fabric is vintage, many years old, but still looks very relevant. Big cat prints are always in fashion, and this is a fine way to show your admiration without actually hurting animals. Even more, when using vintage fabric, you do not impose any pressure on natural resources, such as soil or water, because this fabric is already there. 

So, this is our first purse scarf, which can also be used as a head band, bun cover, ponytail holder cover, wrist scarf or bracelet, belt... (now I am getting tired of writing... I am sure there are countless more uses), and which came out very nice, in our view. You can buy one in our Etsy shop, Mulberry Whisper, and there are more on the way! All of them will be limited editions as we do not have large supplies of those vintage fabrics.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two-Sided Russian Scarf, Warm and Beautiful

Double-sided two-colored wool scarves are a lot of fun to make - when we look at various vintage shawls, thinking of how best to combine them, and choose the most appealing combinations. This is a great way to give a second life to vintage Russian shawls which are damaged beyond repair through creating beautiful new pieces. The resulting Russian scarf, in our view, is very pretty: it is also thick, warm and sturdy. 

You can wear it so that it appears black with dreamy lilac and gold... 

...or dark burgundy with orange flowers... 

...or you can show both sides, as they look lovely together. 

This scarf and many others can be found in our Mulberry Whisper shop on Etsy. We will be happy to be of service to you! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Etsy Steampunk Finds

I love steampunk style, I must confess. I cannot say that I am a big fan of steampunk style literature and films - I mean, I do not try to see and read everything there is - but I love the style, the atmosphere and accessories. 

The mixture of modern and antique, the flair of Victorian style and the endless possibilities for recycling, upcycling and reusing have to appeal to me, as I love vintage things and the idea of re-using instead of wasting. And at times I feel a bit fed up with the glare and glitter of new things which are sold at clean glistening shops. I really long for something old, enigmatic, covered in patina and cobweb, and maybe bearing some unreadable inscriptions - secret scribbles - and where do I find that dark and dusty Old Curiosity Shop? Certainly not in my home city. But now, when we have Internet, we have more possibilities. Etsy Marketplace is one of them, and I love browsing it (yes, I am also a renowned window shopper; I try to buy less, but I enjoy browsing).

Here I have a small collection of steampunk items from Etsy sellers who make things themselves. These are all real people who work from home, and I find their items much more interesting than faceless mass produced goods.

Downloadable steampunk alphabet letters. You might use them for a banner if you are having a steampunk party or wedding, or for some crafting, like for your own packaging. They were drawn by a professional graphic designer. I like their aged appearance. 

A mechanical cat brooch. The cat is full of gears and I think it is cute and funny. It would probably drink luboil instead of milk. Yes, I do prefer real animals, but a robo-cat is an interesting concept and looks beautiful. Just think of all tiny elements inside a living cat - all that complex mechanism which makes it alive - any robot will seem crude and clumsy.

The combination of an old rusty skeleton key and smooth prehnite beads with their dreamy  glow is irresistible. A very fine example of steampunk. It makes me think of things which deteriorate - everything made by humans, like this key - and the eternal life and beauty of nature. 

A very vintage looking lace cowl with decadent roses and ribbons, a perfect mix of pastel shades and textures. If I needed a steampunk costume, I would certainly want this cowl. In combination with a plunging neckline, it looks very edgy. 

This is a beautiful piece of jewelry which is actually forever. A timeless piece, it goes equally well with a suit or jeans and t-shirt. I love its wavy structure - an unexpected twist. It must be nice to wear it to the office, as something alive and different to complement that very formal attire. In the most boring meeting, he can look at his bracelet and think of you.  

A vintage pocket watch is a must for a true steampunk lover. This shabby looking watch is from the Soviet Union which makes it even more interesting. Oh, there is a huge potential for writing post-Apocalyptic stories set up in the post-Soviet environment. Please do not take me wrong, I am fond of our history, but all those huge factories (many of them dead now), and mines (also many dead), and a number of dead towns (I have seen some of them) present a great environment for writing, filming or just walking around and taking pictures in steampunk style... if you are not too afraid. So, vintage Soviet pocket watch is a great steampunk find! 

The bathyscaphe vase. This is probably one of my favorite items ever. I adore the contrast of rough surface, looking like rusty welded metal, and smooth glass. The round window provides insight into the depths of unknown, dark and secretive. And above these gloomy secrets, above the rusty metal and cold glass, we have those flowers, so alive and lovely, like a symbol of nature which survives the unreasonable humanity. 

Ah, the stunning bisque doll twins. They are so pretty and innocent, certainly there must be some mischief in them, and twins are always special, are not they? Sometimes they look quite eerie. These are vintage replicas of much more old mignonette dolls, and they are exquisitely beautiful. No, I do not expect them to turn into blood-sucking monsters, they are just artist hand made dolls, but unusual and with lots of character. The painted stockings do make them look a bit strange, in my view. All for the better. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Paper Laptop of Our Poor Girl

I guess our family could face charges of children abuse and neglect. Can you imagine, our 8 years' old daughter has no laptop, no tablet, no iPad, no iPhone, no smartphone, nor even the most basic mobile phone. The poor child has to read paper books, draw on paper, play real toys and go to a real Taekwondo club, where she exercises in real life, instead of making a computer character sweat for her. How cruel!

So, because she is so deprived of electronic toys, she made for herself this laptop, using an empty candy box as a basis. Are my readers crying already? Can I use this for a fund raising petition to get some money and buy her a real laptop? Look at all the painstakingly drawn details, from the floral wallpaper to the keyboard and folders on the desktop.

The folders are as follows: Work, Photos, Films, Internet and Other. I just had to admire this attention to details; she also has not missed a single letter in the alphabet, and she did everything on her own, without even asking advice. This paper gadget was shown to me with great pride and came as a surprise.

And this is the exterior of this unique paper laptop. By the way, very nice souffle sweets, these were. They are traditionally called "Bird's Milk" here. This is to indicate that they are amazingly, unreally delicious, like nothing in the real world. Back in Soviet times, we had souffle cakes under this name.

...But, seriously, I think it that limiting child's screen time is not a bad idea. We are doing that on purpose, because we are seeing too many computer- or phone-obsessed children around. We want Madina to live in the real world and to be able to use the gadgets when she needs, and not the other way round - living in the virtual space and only eating and going to the toilet and doing chores as necessary. She does not seem to suffer without electronic devices, though, and we read a lot and play table games. We have several - Spot it!, Sleeping Queens, Moose in the House, Rat-a-Tat-Cat, Quirkle and Sсrabble and some others, and enjoy them.

What do you think? Do you like her laptop? Would you limit your child's screen time?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring Flowers for Sister and Daughter

As is my custom, upon receiving from Etsy something that I like very much, I am writing this appreciation message. This time I have the pleasure of writing about a ring and a barrette that I bought for my daughter and sister. They are from Mariya, a Russian artist who lives in Kursk, who has a shop named Sweetpinkbox on Etsy.

Mariya makes lovely items from artistic clay, sculpting all by hand. I know a bit about how she works from her Facebook page, where she shares photos of the process sometimes. I am amazed at the fineness of the detail, beauty and subtlety of these pieces. I have been watching them for a while, and finally decided we needed to buy something and see it in real life, touch and use it.

First I chose a ring for my 14 years' old sister. I know she will love it (will give it to her today). These tiny flowers in spring shades have to be loved. By the way, the grass-like substance is packaging, which is a nice detail, and also the ring has its own organza bag. And the size is adjustable. The shank is of good quality, sturdy and well-made.

Second, because I have a 8 years' old daughter, of course I had to buy something for her, too. I chose a barrette with dogwood flowers. They are larger in size but just as lovely. I adore dogwood and have a vintage sterling brooch with it. Now Madina will have something to match. The clasp works well and I think it will last.

As for the clay elements themselves, they feel quite sturdy and strong - not like dry dough, but rather like somewhat stiff leather. I inquired about their longevity before purchase and Mariya explained that this clay is quite durable and "is easier to cut with scissors than to break". It certainly feels like that. Of course we still need to be careful with these items - keep them dry, not to leave in direct sunlight for a long time, not to hit hard against things - but "real" jewelry also requires precautions, so this is only normal. Let the girls train with something not so expensive (but very pretty and well-made) first. 

It is a dark rainy morning here, so the photos are quite dark, too. I even like it, as this light lends that special early spring atmosphere to the lovely flowers, as if I was walking in the garden after the rain, and they were there, still wet and cool to the touch. (By the way, I want to mention that the seller's photos are true to life and show the products very accurately), I like these little works of art, and I like the fact that I bought them directly from the artist, a very nice young woman who has a small son, who works a lot and continues her artistic education. This makes things feel more alive and personal, much better than in case of a mass made product. In the end, jewelry is a very special thing for women - even for little ones.

I hope that Katherine and Madina love these little presents and take good care of them and enjoy them a lot. Thank you, dear Mariya of the Sweetpinkbox! I guess we will be back for more!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sadko, the Russian Shawl for a Sea Fairy

As a rule, when Russian shawl is mentioned, we imagine a black or, less often, a white wool shawl, full of abundant flowers and leaves, very bright - many people even think they are too bright to be worn in everyday life. This is my first association, too. Russian shawl? - winter, snow, sleds with horses, churches with golden domes, nesting dolls, samovar and bright flowers on black background. Oh, so banal, but also quite true.

However, not all Russian shawls are black or white, just like life is not black or white. And not all of them are full of rich red or hot pink roses (again, like real life). For instance, this one is a very organic mix of blues, greens, browns and lots of small pieces of colors which jointly form a beautiful peaceful picture. A very unusual and beautiful accessory, it is one of my favorites. It was designed by Elena Jukova for the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture, the oldest and most famous Russian shawl production factory.

This shawl is called Sadko, after the main character of a Russian medieval epic story. It is made to resemble sea waves, in accordance to the plot where the Sea King plays a very important role. In the legend, the Sea King (or Tsar, to make it more authentic) heard Sadko (a merchant) play his gusli (type of a smaller harp) and loved his music so much that he offered his help and protection. With the help of the Sea Tsar, Sadko won a fantastically difficult bet (he betted with other merchants that he would catch a specific fish in the lake, and succeeded, due to the Tsar's help), and became rich. Then there were several versions of the epic, but, according to the most, Sadko forgot to pay due respect to the Sea Tsar when travelling by the sea with his caravan of ships, there was a huge storm, and Sadko had to go into the depth of the sea to save other people. Then he made peace with the Tsar by playing beautiful music, and, finally, married his daughter (or, alternatively, went back to his human wife). In any case, the ending was good.

In the tale, there were sea fairies, beautiful and powerful. I imagine that this shawl would be perfect for a sea fairy, should she fancy to turn human and have a walk at the sea side.

I like the quiet and rhythmic movement in the shawl's print, It does look very much like waves.  I also love the fact that the waves are made from small flowers and branches. You can look into this shawl forever, like into the depth of the sea. 

This Russian shawl reminds me of this beautiful illustration to Pushkin's Tale of Tsar Saltan. Of course the artist is well acquainted with Russian classics (and Pushkin also wrote a poem on Sadko), and may be partially her inspiration comes from the classic and famous illustrations by Ivan Bilibin.  

Several photos more, and I am done. I just love looking at this sea fairy shawl with its mingle of turquoise, emerald, gold and copper brown.

You can buy this lovely shawl at our Mulberry Whisper shop on Etsy. We also have many other Russian shawls for sale there, and we do our best to provide good descriptions and photos.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Totoros Safe and Comfortable in their Flower Pots

I guess I have difficulties growing up. I still love toys, almost like 30 years ago. Not sure whether it is good or bad - it is just like that. Often, when choosing toys for my daughter, I feel that I actually buy them for myself. I guess that is quite infantile, and just have to laugh.

The set of small Totoro toys was definitely for myself, and they ended up in my flower pots. Yesterday I was cleaning house and watering the plants, so I had to remove the toys. I took this photo of very lonely Totoros and then felt such pity for them that I just had to follow up by making more photos with them comfortable at home.

This is where these Totoros usually live. It is a quiet and shady place with fast growing Oxalis in two colors - green and purple. Oxalis is one of the most sturdy plants that I have, and actually I did not plant or buy it - they grew on themselves, obviously from seeds which somehow were in the soil. My daughter loves this plant, mostly because it folds the leaves in the evening and it looks like magic.

These Totoros live with the small Pteris and Adiantum ferns. I love ferns, they are so modest and undemanding, and at the same time very beautiful, in the healthy wild way. When these grow bigger, they will be a lovely sight.

Totoro with umbrella and  Catbus are in the pot with a Ficus bennendijkii 'alii' which is a beautiful little tree. It deserves to have good photos taken, but this story is about toys, not about plants. I think I will need to give a photo session to plants, too.

The last one lives in the pot with fragrant juniper. The leaves you can see are those of basil which is placed nest to the juniper, It is nice to grow juniper and basil on your windows; when in need, you can always borrow a couple of leaves.

So, as we can see, all Totoros are comfortable in their flower pots. There are several other figures, but my daughter has hidden them in some secret place, I think. Now I will go and do some adult's business, specifically I will finish re-reading "The Masc of Sorcerer" and then will bake cheese cookies. Have a nice weekend! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Russian Shawl That Has to Be Loved: Black Eyes

Everyone knows the saying "You cannot be liked by everyone!". Well, this Russian shawl definitely disproves the statement. I have yet to see the person who does not love this shawl from the first sight. As a rule, everyone who sees it, says "Ah!" and "Oh!" and "Where did you get it?" and "May I touch it?"

This stunning shawl, designed by a very talented Valeriya Fadeeva of the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture (the famous old Russian shawl production center) just has to be loved. You cannot help it.  I start taking pictures for the shop and spend an hour, staring at this shawl; I take fifty photos even though fifteen is usually enough; and then I just cannot put it away. I have to look at it just a bit longer.

The lavish flowers, that seem to be glowing from inside; the coral berries which are so ripe and smooth; the lacy leaves, some green and some in autumnal yellows and oranges; and even Queen Ann's lace or some similar wild flowers - all of them just grow on you. This exquisite shawl is rich in patterns and meanings like a medieval book on Botanic; start looking and you cannot stop, you just keep turning pages. 

This fine and supple wool drapes nicely. It is lightweight and seasonless, and very nice to the touch. As you can imagine, the shawl can be worn with a variety of outfits, and it will always be noticed and admired.

There are many ways to wear Russian shawls.  I wear mine as scarves, headscarves, stoles, wraps - whatever I fancy. You can also use pins and shawl rings to make your shawl wearing experience more comfortable. This one is particularly easy to wear, being lightweight and not oversized.

We offer this beauty for sale in our Mulberry Whisper shop on Etsy.  We also have other Russian shawls and scarves there, if you are interested, and will have new vintage arrivals soon!
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