Russian shawls from the famous Pavlovo Posad Shawl Factory

Read about the beauty of the famous Russian shawl, watch some scarf-tying videos, and learn why you want one.

Russian shawls are like no other. They are beautiful pieces of art that are made the same way they were made over 210 years ago. (You can’t say that about much anymore!)

It all happens in the same-name (Pavlovsky Posad) small town located a few dozen miles from Moscow.

The quality of these shawls just cannot be replicated!

100% wool with no chemical treatments from Pavlovo Posad Shawl Factory = the most cozy, warm, soft, and beautiful shawl EVER! Continue reading

About Porcelain Dolls

Porcelain is a ceramic material created from clay and water. The mixture is molded and then heated at temperature above 2,000 F. Usually in order to create a more realistic skin tone the color is added to porcelain. If there’s no color added and the doll is left unglazed it is called bisque doll. Bisque dolls are the most expensive and the most exquisite.

Porcelain dolls have always been in demand. Some are very rare and collectors have to pay a lot of money to get them. Others are relatively cheap and children love playing with them.

But first let’s talk a little about the history of dolls in general and porcelain dolls in particular. 

Did you know that the oldest doll is about 35,000 years of age? Continue reading

Be my Valentine!

St. Valentine’s Day is surely one of the most popular holidays in the Western world. The holiday became known in Russia after the fall of the Iron Curtain, when different cultural values and trends of the West entered the country and were absorbed by Russians, hungry for something new and fresh, and different from everything they had known before.

Russian amber heart

LOVE gifts

You probably know the history of the holiday. It is named after St. Valentine, a priest who supposedly lived in the third century and performed secret wedding ceremonies for Roman soldiers who weren’t allowed to get married. Another legend says that St. Valentine was a Roman priest who was arrested and later executed for helping persecuted Christians. He was interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II. The emperor liked Valentine and wanted him to accept Roman paganism in order to save his life. But the priest stayed true to his faith and was persecuted for that. Other sources say that his jailor had a blind daughter who was healed by St. Valentine before his execution. He wrote a message for her signing it as “Your Valentine,” thus starting the tradition of sending Valentine cards. But nobody knows the truth because the records of real St. Valentine were lost during the persecution of Christians by Roman emperor Diocletian. There are even more than one St. Valentine associated with the holiday. There are St. Valentine of Rome, and St. Valentine of Terni. The Catholic encyclopedia also speaks about a third St. Valentine martyred on the same day in Africa with a few companions, but nothing more than that is known about him.

“The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid.” (Wikipedia)

In some cultures, St. Valentine’s Day is also associated with the coming of spring. However, no matter how romantic and special this day might be, it hasn’t become as popular in Russia as it is in the US, or Great Britain for instance. And there’s a reason for that. Continue reading

Orenburg Shawls at The Russian Store

New, fabulous, romantic, and beautiful Orenburg shawls now available at The Russian Store!

What is an Orenburg shawl?

SH00102A01- Orenburg Shawl

An Orenburg shawl is a very thin, yet warm and strong, lacey shawl that originated in Orenburg, Russia in the 18th century. It is made from cashmere-like down fur of the Orenburg goat. It is commonly called “wedding ring shawls” because it can literally fit through a wedding ring band. Continue reading

TRS Facebook Favorites

This post highlights some of our most popular, fun, interesting, and unique shares that took place on The Russian Store’s Facebook page. Now you can see some of the greatest Russian things all in one little post, instead of scrolling through years of posts.

10 fantastic photos:

1. A magnificent hot air balloon shaped just like a traditional Red Roses matryoshka nesting doll from Russia! Everyone loves this photo! :)

nesting doll hot air balloon

And just for fun… since we showed you a hot air balloon shaped like a nesting doll, here’s a look at our (sold-out) nesting doll shaped like a hot air balloon! ha!

hot air balloon nesting doll

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

How to Fix a Nesting Doll

Uh-Oh! Your beloved Matryoshka isn’t perfect? Is it a bit too tight or a bit too loose? Perhaps it has a dreadful crack in the wood? Don’t worry, here is information on repairing a nesting doll…

Continue reading

Moscow Zoo Review

If you are planning a visit to Moscow (with your children), there are quite a few opportunities both for you and for your children. And Moscow Zoo is one of them.

The Moscow Zoological garden was founded by the All-Russia Emperor Society for Acclimatization of Plants and Animals in the middle of XIX century. Throughout its more than 100-year history the zoo experienced its ups and downs, it was almost destroyed after the Revolution, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic crisis of the 1990-es it was in need of major repairs, but the city authorities have been doing their best to support the zoo, so it has been doing pretty well recently, the whole territory has been renovated and when I was there last time I noticed that there were more renovations taking place and I see on the website that there are even more renovations planned in the near future.

Moscow zoo is involved in several scientific projects in order to preserve genetic diversity of the animals of Northern Eurasia. The zoo has a new territory in Volokolamsk and a new Rare Species Breeding Center is being built there now. Creating the Zoo Museum is also in the plans.

The main source for support of the Moscow zoo has been the Moscow City Budget. However, in the recent years the zoo has started the Animal Adoption Program, so that any animal lover can help the zoo in its work by paying for the food and care for the chosen animal. Quite a few people and organization are already involved in the program, but not all animals are adopted yet.

So what animals will you see there? A lot actually. There are more than 5000 animals.

Flamingos at the Moscow Zoo

The first thing you’ll see after you enter the zoo is a huge pond with lots of fish and birds coming from various geographical zones. There are special houses built for the birds during their nesting period. After their offsprings are born, the rare birds are moved to special enclosures where crows can’t hurt the little ones. Here you will see quite a few kinds of geese, ducks and swans. Flamingos a bit farther away in the shallow waters of the pond. The first flamingos came to the zoo back in 1980s, and most of those first birds are still alive!

Leopards

Wild cats are some of the most popular animals in Moscow Zoo. The exhibit shows white tigers and jaguars, snow leopards, the Amur leopards, lynxes, caracals and cheetahs, the fastest cats in the world. People often find white tigers and cheetahs especially fascinating. You will love white tigers. Most people think they are albinos, but they aren’t. It’s a color variation of the Bengal tigers. As for cheetahs, you can never get tired watching them. They are so elegant, so graceful, and so beautiful. Continue reading

Matryoshka Manicure

As nesting dolls continue to grow in popularity, so do the way they are represented. From the original carved wood, to (unfortunately) plastic, to felt, to prints, and more, the craft of making Russian dolls is obviously here to stay. This post is specifically about one fun nesting doll craft… the matryoshka manicure!

The “full-bodied” matryoshka

The matryoshka face

 

 

 

 

 

The matryoshka inspiration…

These nails look like they are modeled after this very nesting doll…

Khokhloma Ladybug Girl Nesting Doll from The Russian StoreKnown as the “Khokhloma Ladybug Girl,” this 5 piece nesting doll features the folk art painting known for it’s red berries and golden leaves.

 

 

 

 

The Easy Nesting Doll Nail design:

Russian Halloween

Its 2013, and a lot of Russians know that “Halloween” happens on October 31st, but many Russians don’t really know much about it, or care to know about it. Last year, there were only an estimated one in twenty Russians who planned on celebrating the holiday by dressing up. (http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/10/26/halloween_in_russia_19485.html)

But what about this year, and years to come? Do you think more and more Russians will fall in love with Halloween? I think yes. Why? Because Russians love celebrating! But, also because the warming up to Halloween that is happening in Russia, is among the young adult crowd.

There is no true Russian word for “Halloween,” but here are some Russian Halloween-y words:

  • ты́ква: pumpkin
  • ве́дьма: witch
  • вампи́р: vampire
  • не́чисть: evil spirits
  • костю́мы: сostumes

(http://ask.masterrussian.com/user/RussianTeacher)

Do you have any thoughts on Halloween in Russia? Are you a Russian American who celebrates Halloween? Comment with your thoughts or views on this subject!

By

A ‘Lil Glass Figurine Poem

gf00005a01 There once was a cute figurine.
It was smaller than an egg, but bigger than a bean.
It sat on a narrow windowsill,
but when the sun came out, it was not still…

gf00245a01It painted the room with rays of color,
But it felt as though it needed another.
So to The Russian Store I went,
to buy more figurines than I meant.

gf00905a01Now I have a big collection of these.
Cute little animal figurines.
They brighten the room and my day,
with the rainbow of colors they easily play.

gf00360a01Hand-blown glass with precision and detail
delivered straight to your door through the mail!
From fish to birds, to dogs to cows,
I say, “get as much as the bank allows!”

10 Nesting Dolls Made From Unusual Materials

As nesting dolls grow more popular every day, crafters, artists and even non-artists are starting to make matryoshki out of all sorts of things! I decided to compile some of the more interesting ones here, even though I am definitely partial to the traditional, wooden nesting dolls from Russia. Continue reading

How much is my nesting doll worth?

It is a popular question… but a hard one to answer specifically. Many people will ask something like, “well I have this really old nesting doll that I acquired through my Russian grandmother and it sort of looks like this…” Unfortunately, with just a description, and even with more information like a date range and signature, it is still an almost impossible question to answer easily. One must seek the advice of an art appraiser who specializes in Russian art and/or history. If you would like just a general idea of how much your nesting doll is worth, read on… Continue reading

The Russian Bear

There are many symbols for Russia. Perhaps because it is so big and so full of rich history. Nesting dolls, Ushanka hats, caviar, the ballet, etc… but this short blog post is about one symbol in particular - the Russian bear.

brown_bear_moscow_zoo

The bear has been associated with Russia for a long time, at least since the 17th century. It has been incorporated in cartoons, articles, dramatic plays, toys, and more. It has been seen in both positive and negative depictions about Russia, but today it is considered a positive symbol for Russia. For instance, there were times when the bear was viewed as big, slow, and clumsy… but now we look at it as powerful, intelligent, and noble.

With an optimistic view of Russian bears, you will see them everywhere… If you do an image search for “Russian bear” you will most likely get pictures of bears (cartoon depictions as well as real live bears) doing all sorts of things… riding a unicycle, dancing in the street, etc., but one of the most common images related to Russia and bears, is the balalaika playing bear.

bear_plays_balalaika

Bear Facts:

  • The most common species of the Russian bears is the brown bear. Brown bears can weigh between 220 and 1,400 lbs!
  • Misha” the bear was the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
  • It has been said that when U.S. President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear on a hunting trip, the iconic “teddy-bear” was manufactured.

Links:

Russian Beet Salad

Russian Beet SaladIn the Winter we warm up with a bowl full of Borscht… in the Summer we keep cool with delicious Russian Beet Salad! Continue reading

Mirrors of matrysohki

Check out these look-alike Russian dolls… and bookmark for your very own nesting doll Halloween costume or matryoshka themed party…

matryoshka dress up Continue reading