Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Saturday Loot: Vintage Russian Shawls

Today's loot is plentiful: five large wool Russian shawls, one small Russian scarf, and two silk blend Russian shawls. I am overwhelmed by this bounty and will have to spend several hours to take photos and list the shawls in our Etsy shop. In the meantime, I will just share some general view photos of the wool shawls Enjoy!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wine Colored Russian Shawl

This burgundy coloured beauty is now for sale in our Etsy shop, Mulberry Whisper. This is a classic Russian shawl with a traditional design, full of roses and lilies, framed with garlands of smaller flowers. It is vintage from 1970s-1980s. This is a lovely shawl, I have a similar one in black here, also a beauty. Every find like this brings me lots of joy; looking at them, touching and draping them is a pleasure.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Coral Flowers of Japanese Quince

In the spring, Uzbekistan is full of flowers - whenever you look, you will see a tree in bloom. Cherry, apricot, almond, apple... All of these are lovely, and it is hard to choose a favorite, but Japanese quince certainly stands out. I adore these abundant coral flowers; it is a pity that they will disappear soon. I must enjoy their beauty while I can.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Portrait of a Girl with Suzani

V. Kovinin. Portrait of a Girl. 1971. State Museum of Art of Uzbekistan.

This is a beautiful portrait. I think the girl is not Uzbek, but Gypsy - they are called "luli" here.  She is rather dark, and the features are more typical of these Central Asian gypsies. Her coral dress perfectly suits her colors, and her headpiece is quite unusual. The girl's eyebrows are colored with the juice of arugula  or rugola sap which is the traditional treatment for eyebrows and eyelids in Uzbekistan.

...Note the gorgeous suzani in the background - I told you, they used to be everywhere. Not so much now, thought - they are being replaced by faceless acrylic rugs.

I love the picture, its rich colors and warm atmosphere. I hope that the girl has lived a happy life, and is still living somewhere with her family. I wonder if she knows about her portrait in the museum or has long forgotten about those sessions.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Surrounded by Suzani

It is easy to see why suzani are so much loved. People love them, because they are bright, intricate, exotic and different. They bear a flavour of faraway countries, gardens behind high walls in the middle of deserts, little spice shops and huge bazaars. However, to me they are no exotic at all, because I live in their country of origin. I am used to seeing them around, mostly in other people's houses. And my mother used to work as a designer for a Tashkent factory which produced national clothing and suzani, just like those that we used to make pillows below. I used to visit her work often and could not care less for these pieces of needlework which were in abundance there. To me, an equestrian silk scarf is exotic, because we do not have them here. A suzani is not! 

I really did not care for suzani when I was a child. I thought they were too bright and with too many details. I felt that they made my eyes tired. However, at some point I saw them in different eyes, when my mother told me about symbolical meanings of their elements. Yes, as in the case of most folk arts, all those details are not just to be beatiful. Some elements are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity, others - to protect your health and life. When you start realising how much love and care people gave when designing and making these things, you begin appreciating them more. 

And then, later, I stopped being so fixated on neutral colors and plain designs which I always used to prefer, and began really enjoying the burst of colors and the sophisticated curving lines of traditional Uzbek suzani. Why having plain green pillows in that green sofa? I would really feel like a frog sitting in a marsh. This is not to say that I do not love frogs - I do! - but something like a wonderful garden in bloom would also be nice, so there you go, suzani pillows! 

The light was not so great, but at least we can see them sitting pretty together. I think they are beautiful!  All of the suzani pillows or bags we are offering at Mulberry Whisper are one of a kind or limited edition. These vintage suzani are not easy to find, and they are not cheap, too. I buy them when I can. 

The square pillow, 18 x 18 inches, can be bought here

These suzani are embroidered in tambour stitch. This is hand-guided machine embroidery which is still considered handwork, because the machine is controlled by a person, not by a computer. Of course it is much faster than working with your hands and a needle, but this is still a hard and tedious work. And the result is beautiful.

The long pillow, 13 x 26 inches, can be bought here

When I have a bit of time and inspiration, I will write about antique suzani and the meaning of the elements. I think this is a fascinating topic.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Authentic Russian Shawl Giveaway by Mulberry Whisper

As you might be aware, I sell vintage Russian shawls and scarves through my Etsy shop, Mulberry Whisper. Here in Uzbekistan I have a great opportunity to find some rare Russian shawls which have been stored in chests for many years, and I have had some terrific finds. When they are in good condition, we sell them as is, and if they are damaged, we upcycle them. We also offer cotton Russian shawls which are wonderful for a warmer time of the year and perfect for those who do not wear wool. We have been quite successull and we greatly enjoy this part of our activity. All of our shawls are authentic Russian shawls produced at the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture, and in most cases I can tell you about the artist who created them, the years of production, and other details. We know what we sell and will never offer fakes.

Now I want to share a piece of my luck with you by giving away this lovely medium sized Russian scarf worth 30$. This is a fine example of the classic Russian shawl: bright coral flowers (of course there are roses among then) and kelly green leaves, accompanied by bright decorative elements, on soft off-white background. You can see the details here.

By the way, my cousin who is based in Wisconsin, also has some vintage Russian shawls for sale at Mulberry Terrace, so if you are in the US and prefer local shopping, you can buy something from him.

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: April 4, 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is kindly supported by the International Giveaways Blog, Etsy GiveawaysGiveaway Monkey and Giveaway Promote - thank you!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Awful Donut Syndrome in Dogs

This is an old comic picture drawn by my friend Jasur Rakhimov ( a while ago for my dog website. We wrote about the Awful Donut Syndrome. We had a lot of fun, I know it is somewhat silly but thought I would share anyway. We are concerned about dog's health and breeding practices.

...Imagine that in your favorite breed now there is a terrible inheritable disease which affects dog's hearing, nerve conductibility, coordination and ability to understand commands (well if you do not train your dogs and do not give them any commands, the latter might not be a big issue). This disease manifests itself all of a sudden, without any initial signs and leads to full disability. Your dog curls into a donut, stops eating, rolls around the house and shits everywhere despite not eating anything (a real enigma of nature!). Then of course it will die a painful death.

The only way to be certain that your dog does not carry the Donut syndrome is to check if you can teach it to crawl under your bed following the command "Tara-Bara-Schmeps-Fuchs!" and then to crawl back. Please bear in mind that the bed must be of the relevant size so that the dog actually fits under it. This test was developed by certified specialists, biologists, veterinarians and ethologists. They chose that very combination of sounds and movement that allows to confirm whether the dog bears this awful genetic heritage. If the dog cannot pass this test, it will definitely have the Donut syndrome and will pass it to the progeny, in the autosomal dominant way.

Would you be interested in filtering these dogs out of your breeding program, assuming of course that you do not like such donuts? And if yes, would you agree to train and test your dogs, given that you know that the problem exists and three dogs of your friend have already turn donuts? However those who passed the test will not donut at all. So, how about testing?

And, if any of your breeding stock does not pass, will you avoid breeding the dog, despite all its champion titles? Let us say that is a stunning dog, a show star, but definitely a future donut?

And please do not tell me that dogs do not go donut in our country. They do. Especially as everyone now tries to import new modern breeding stock. Please do test and be fair with yourself, if you see that a dog is a potential donut - do not breed it! Even though the Donut Test is not mandatory, please test your dogs. Also please consider bringing in new lines and bloods fully free from Donut. Although... of course it is up to you. You are allowed to breed Donuts if you like.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bloglovin! Follow Me, and I Will Follow You!

I am connecting to the Bloglovin Network and they told me to paste this into a new blog post! Let's see what it does... ah, this! It is needed to "claim" my blog there.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I will also add a photo to make this more interesting. This is what grass looks like in the morning these days.

Giveaway Winner Announced: it is Erin P.!

I am thrilled to announce the winner of our Silk Ikat Scarf Giveaway - it is Erin P.!!! Congratulations!

Dear Erin and all participants, thank you very much for taking part in it: sharing, commenting, tweeting, blogging, etc. You have given me a tremendous support!

The next giveaway will be a vintage Russian shawl, and it will start very soon - tomorrow, most likely. I will be very happy if you decide to take a chance again!

Thinking of Easter: A Moodboard

Even if these pieces were not designed specifically with Easter in mind, they still remind me of this celebration of Love and Peace. That mobile by Cherry Garden Dolls is the cutest thing you can imagine - I would definitely want it for my own baby! The crochet pillow by katrinshine is a very nostalgic thing for me as it reminds me of my great grandmother who was a master of crocheting. The clothespin bag by Duni Studio is full of shabby chic; those roses are irresistible! And, of course, our floral blouse from vintage silk... just a nice blouse, lovely to the touch, that can be dressed up or down. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Antique Turkmen Bracelets, Silver with Carnelian

These are my antique Turkmen bracelets, silver with gold plate (almost gone now) and carnelian stones, and I also promised to my friends that there will be a story about them. If I start writing a large blog post, it will take me hours, so I will try to write here and make it short.

...So, when I was about 23 years old, I came to Bukhara for three says, to do some sightseeing. It was a lovely time in April, I enjoyed roaming the city, breathing the spring air and looking at all the bright and beautiful items offered for sale, without actually wanting anything... and then I saw these bracelets. And I realised that I had to have them.

(this is me sitting at the back door of the Kalyan Mosque, and me trying on a massive 4-raw Turkmen bracelet)

Unfortunately the seller, a beautiful Tajik lady, asked 120$ for them, which was a lot of money for me. So I kept coming to her shop about three times per day, to chat with her and to nag about the discount for the bracelets. The shop was in the Jeweller's Dome and it was very convenient for me to visit it several times per day, because this place is in the middle of the Old City, and I was hanging out in the Old City, anyway. Finally on the third day of my nagging she just had to give up and sell them to me for 80$.

At the same time, she told me a story about Turkmen silver. She said: "In the nomadic Teke tribe in Turkmenistan, each married woman still wears 10-15 kg (22-33 lbs) of silver jewelry day and night. The reason is, whenever her husband says to her: "Talak! I do not need you anymore, go!" - she must go away as she was, without taking anything else with her, besides what she was wearing at that time. Then she will be living off her jewelry".

It was almost 15 years ago but I still remember her fine features, black eyes and the soft voice telling me this story as if all that was the most natural thing to do. On the other hand, I guess for the Teke tribe it was indeed the most natural thing, so there were no reasons to be shocked or surprised.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Life Saving Carb Bomb: The Easiest Chocolate Banana Recipe Ever

...I have just saved my own life. 

No, seriously. Here I am sitting at home, working on a very boring report - and I cannot even complain about its content because it is so secret - and suddenly realising that I am starving. And I need not just any food, but a large amount of hydrocarbons. I had a couple of rather nervous meetings today, and it is cold outside, and I haven't slept well at night, and obviously all that combined led me to the feeling "I am going to die right now if I do not eat something sweet!". 

I contemplated bananas but realised they would not be enough. Cheese would be slightly better but it is not sweet. Chocolate would be perfect but that means I would have to get dressed and go out, and I do not want that. I am dying, remember? And certainly no energy and time to bake a cake (remember, there is also the report).

So, I was thinking for several minutes and had this brilliant idea - Chocolate Bananas! I know this is nothing new, but I haven't done this before. I remembered a recipe of chocolate icing which I knew for ages, and here you are! the Life Saving Carb Bomb! I consumed it in a moment and immediately felt better. Please bear in mind that I am nothing as a food photographer, so it might look terrible, but it tasted delicious.

The recipe is extremely simple, I guess everyone knows it, but I will share it just in case you do not.

Cooking Time: 5 minutes


Cocoa Powder - 4 tbsp
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Butter, Melted - 4 tbsp
Milk - 6 tbsp


Put sugar and cocoa in a deep bowl and mix well, otherwise you will get clumps in your icing. You need to add 2 or 3 tbsp of milk into this mix (taking them from the total amount of 6 tbsp). Mix this well into a uniform paste.

In the meantime, put the remaining milk and butter into another bowl which can be heated, and heat them until the butter melts.

After that, add your chocolate and sugar paste into that bowl with milk and butter. The fire should be very low. Mix that until you get uniform chocolate cream.

Take a banana, peel it, slice it with trembling hands. You can put the slices in the bowl and pour the icing on top. You can put the banana slices on plate, and then have the icing in a deep bowl, and dip your banana slices into that bowl. You can... you can even eat the banana and drink the icing! Whatever you feel comfortable with. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Our Walk in Botanical Gardens

We have had a wonderful walk in the Botanical Garden today. It is still almost bare, but beautiful nonetheless, with plenty of new fresh grass, violets and some trees in bloom. Those trees stand out against the dark brown and gray background and it is a lovely view.

Right after the entrance, we were greeted by the arrow-wood. I have never seen it in bloom before, because I do not go to the Garden that early in the spring. Next year I will. The arrow-wood has the most wonderful fragrance.

My daughter and sister skated around. Madina (daughter) is still getting used to these after the child's model she used before (with wheels in two rows) and falls from time to time. But overall she is doing well. Has not hurt herself, and enjoyed the ride.

I spent several minutes with the violets, still covered in raindrops after the night rain...

...and then ran to catch up with the others.

Then I was delayed by this lovely tree. I am not even sure what it is. Looks a bit like cherry tree...

This... I do not know what this is, either. The white ones are lady's purse, and what about the blue ones? We have a lot of these in the cemetery, they always seem gloomy to me, but here in the meadow they appeared more cheerful.

We played frisbee, and then I took a break to take a couple of photos.

Madina's emotions are priceless! She is 8 years old now.

Katherine is always cool, calm and collected. With her Black Belt in Taekwondo, she has stunning muscles. She was awarded the belt just recently. Katherine is 14 now.

...And after play the family decided to have a rest on the grass.

I think Madina does look quite like her Papa, especially with this grumpy look.

Why buy a pillow when the Papa is there?

...And then it was time to go home. These several hours were very well spent, and we agreed to visit the Gardens again in a couple of weeks to see new flowers that will be there by then.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Flowers Growing from Manure

I have been reading "Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life" by Anthony Burgess for the last two days. I am not sure if I am enjoying it, but I cannot put it down. 

It is not easy to read, not because of the language, but rather because of the empathy I have for the protagonist, and the heavy atmosphere. Fears, hopes, self-consciousness, love, jealousy, regrets; old age and diseases approaching; more fears... And I feel stinking of the great city, full of unbathed people and plague during the hot summer months. I know this is how it had to be, but it is not easy to struggle through this huge cloud of stench. 

Yes, it is a hard read for me. I have read reviews by others saying it was an easy read, and they enjoyed it greatly, but I feel like I am contemplating a beautiful flower growing on the pile of manure (and it is human manure, let me clarify, for it is the stinkiest one). It is neither strange or unnatural, though. Pasternak, the great Russian poet, wrote: "If only you could know from what dirt the poems are growing without any shame...". He was right, of course (and he made the most beautiful translations of Shakespeare into Russian), but it is sometimes easier and more pleasant not to know how the flowers grow.  

I wonder what are the impressions of my friends; please tell me what you think of this book, if you have read it. I will also give it to my mother for her expert opinion. I still have about half of the book to read. If I liked it more, it would go faster.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Czech Porcelain Cup that I Found Today

Yes, I literally found it in the street and took home with me. I was coming back after taking my daughter to school, and the cup was standing at the side of the pavement. I had to come closer, and then to take it my hands to see better.

I think it is quite beautiful, even though it has some small damage at the bottom. It has a marking at the bottom saying Epiag Czechoslovakia and I think it is vintage. Sadly, it is not hand painted, but you cannot demand too much from something that you found, right? 

I am still thinking of what can be done with it. Maybe I will fill it with dry flowers and put on my dresser. I could also use it to make a candle. 

What do you think? What would you do with it? (please please do not give the most obvious answer - "would leave it there" or "would thrash it"... this is so cruel... but if this is your opinion, by all means say so). 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lovisetto Butterfly Bib Necklace and Peter Pan Collar in One Piece Giveaway!

We are having another giveaway! It is a gorgeous necklace generously donated by Lovisetto on Etsy.

Necklaces by Lovisetto were featured on Vogue UK December 2011 Christmas issue,Vogue UK April 2012 wedding issue, and appeared on the Etsy Facebook page. 

...My dear friends! My name is Anastasia and I am a fashion accessories' designer. I have been making necklaces for the last five years and those of you who are familiar with Etsy community may recognize me by my Butterfly Necklaces. You might have seen them in fashion magazines, too.

I am starting my first giveaway to promote the fundraising campaign we are running together with Anya Hayiev (my friend and a very talented photographer). We have created a Gofundme campaign SaveUkraineCivil to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

Our most important goal is to raise money to support activities of certain trustworthy volunteer groups working in that region. Those are the only people nowadays who are helping civilians - mostly unfortunate mothers with children trapped in the war zone in Ukraine.

You can win one of my Butterfly Necklaces worth $59 (for more details, please see the listing on Etsyby doing the following: 
  • 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 that you will see options for additional entries such as sharing on Facebook, blogging about the giveaway, sharing at Google+, etc.

Even if you are not interested in those additional options, you will need to at least register your comment. 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 Lovisetto on Etsy. In that case, your chances are growing dramatically. Claim the entries and indicate your Etsy user name in the form.

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 Lovisetto a note to delay shipping until the end of the giveaway).

Ends: March 24, 2015.

The donations starting from $ 1 to our SaveUkraineCivil fundraising page are very welcomed! 

If you would like to order a necklace from my Etsy shop you can do so. 100% of the money you pay will be donated to Evgeny Kaplin's charity in Donbass -

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

Lampwork Bead Set for Pandora

This is a traditional post of thanks - this time to Aimée Milan of PolychromeBeads on Etsy,  for the lovely set of handmade lampwork beads. I put them on my multi-cord khaki Pandora bracelet and I believe they look perfect there. They are like a tiny garden on my wrist. Aimée  is a self-representing artist and makes the beads in her studio, herself, which makes them much more interesting to me than mass-produced components.

Thank you, dear Aimée! I will be back, as, of course, I need many more beads! Best of luck to you and your shop!

Backinked to http://www.internationalbloggersassociation.com

Monday, March 2, 2015

Misty Forest Moodboard

It gives me a lot of pleasure to browse beautiful handmade and vintage items on Etsy. Many of them induce interesting associations. Today I saw these beautiful felted flowers by Roltinica and thought of enchanted forest, full of milky mist and soft shadows, in the dim light coming from the white clouded sky. 

I had the irresistible urge to find a picture of forest to suit the description, and found just what I needed - a dreamy forest, where you cannot tell reality from illusions (

...After uniting the two images in a collage, I realised they needed something else. Something to gleam softly - a lost treasure - maybe a strand of pearls lost by a princess who travelled here or a nymph living somewhere deeper in the forest. However, no explanations are really needed; the pearls just needed to be there, and the lovely keshi pearl necklace by Arctida was perfect in its organic beauty. 

This is what they call "moodboard" - a funny name. To me, this is a more sophisticated stage of window shopping. I play with the items, put them close to each other and think about associations. I try to make a beautiful combination. Then maybe I will buy something (I know I can always find a use for a pearl necklace with great luster, and the flowers are lovely), or maybe not, it does not matter. It is the process that gives pleasure.

Our Sunday Morning in the Park

We have had a wonderful Sunday! In the morning, I went to the bazaar and bought some lovely vintage silk with ikat pattern, several beautiful vintage rugs to make pillows and two new old stock dresses from ikat silk. I am very happy with my finds! All of them and "the items thereof" will soon be listed in our Etsy shop, Mulberry Whisper.

Then we went to the park all together - my husband, Madina and myself. Madina tried the inline skates for the first time; before, she only used the four wheelers. She adapted fast, and soon was circling around us.

Madina and Jahongir are racing. Surprisingly, my husband can run quite fast and I was very impressed.

I envy her stamina, it is very hard to wear her down. She can play actively for hours.

After some playing at the ground, we played frisbee, and I have no photos because I was playing, too. It is a lot of fun! Two little boys ran over to join us, and they were hilarious to play and communicate with. The larger one (about 6 years' old) kept punching, pushing and beating the smaller one (probably about 5). The small one would yell and cry, and the larger one would then respond in a very business-like way: "Okay I am sorry". Then everything repeated again within a couple of minutes. It looked like a well established pattern and was very funny. I did try pacifying them but to no avail, and that is none of my business, anyway.

They also invented their own scoring system and kept proclaiming themselves the winning team called The Awful Ghost, which greatly appaled our daughter ("They can't throw well! They can't catch! What does it mean - "we are the winners"?).

Finally we thought that the three kids needed some drill to learn to handle frisbee better, and asked them to stand in line and catch the disc, and we would be keeping the score. The boys did not like the idea, as it seemed too difficult to them, and the smaller one said: "We do not intend to take part in this ridiculous activity!" (zic!). Without further discussion, they turned their backs at us simultaneously and retreated to the playgound. We just had to laugh again.

When leaving the park, I discovered a patch of violets and hung on there for a couple of minutes, enjoying their sweet fragrance mixed with the scents of moist warm earth, dead leaves, new grass... spring is in the air.

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