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Posts Tagged ‘matryoshki’

Nested part deux

Posted on April 23rd, 2011 by annakjarzab

This is embarrassing, but I realized this morning, as I was filling my Brita filter (New York living–Glamo-R-US!), that I had forgotten to include one last (but not least) matryoshka item I own. Is it sad that I have so many that I forgot about one? It’s quite possibly one of the best ones, too, because it also filled a strange hole in my kitchenware. My friend Maggie visited around my birthday this year, and she brought me a pair of matryoshki salt and pepper shakers, which I love love LOVE. But since I wrote the last post in my room and I don’t usually keep my salt and pepper shakers in my room (although it has been known to happen on occasion), they weren’t right in front of my face and I forgot about them.

So, there. Now you know the depths of it. Nothing has been kept from you.


Posted on April 22nd, 2011 by annakjarzab

If you’ve ever been to this website (you have), or you’re a fan of my book (YOU ARE, RIGHT?), you know I have a little bit of a thing for matryoshka dolls (a.k.a. babushka dolls, a.k.a. Russian nested dolls). The funny thing is that I didn’t even care much about nested dolls until my parents came back from a Baltic (not to be confused with Balkan–good thing I fact-checked this post) cruise five years ago. They’d brought my sister–not even me!–a robin’s egg blue matryoshka and I was so taken with it that my sister gave it to me (or did I steal it? I don’t remember). I then wrote it in to All Unquiet Things, which started this whole matryoshka business in the first place.

For a long time, that little doll was the only matryoshka I owned. And then people started reading the book and I started to get matryoshki as gifts, and occasionally buying them for myself. At current count, I have:

  • Three real matryoshki–the original one from Russia (i.e. the one that started it all), one shaped like a Santa Claus that my friend Kim brought me from Denver, and one that I bought for myself in old town Sacramento (where, btw, there is an entire store of matryoshki run by a very friendly Russian woman). That Sacramento one is smaller than the rest of them but has ten dolls inside–the smallest one is about the size of a grain of rice.
  • One set of ceramic matryoshka measuring cups that are too fragile to actually use, so they sit on my shelf with the regular matryoshki. Perhaps I should invest in this plastic set as well. They were a gift from my friend Cambria, and I believe they came from Anthropologie.
  • One 8×12 print of a matryoshka family that is sort of hard to describe here, but will look great on the wall of my next apartment with the other 8×12 prints I’ve been acquiring (mostly from 20×200, although I think this particular one is from Etsy) which I fully intend to frame and hang French salon style.
  • Two matryoshka Christmas ornaments that are not at all Christmassy, and thus hang on my wall year-round. I got them a few years ago after Christmas from–I think?–Anthropologie. They originally retailed for something insane like $24 each (you know Anthropologie), but I got them post-holidays for $5 each. They’re really cute, though. They’re like little puzzles that have removable pieces. Again, hard to describe, but I adore them.
  • A cute fabric business card holder that my friend Jennifer (sister of Kim, who I sometimes mention here) gave me this past Christmas.
  • A matryoshka necklace (this one, but without that second charm hanging off).
  • Another matryoshka necklace, although this one is made of–I think?–papier mache and hangs on a ribbon. It was a free gift with purchase from that store in Old Sacramento, because I bought two dolls, one for my editor and one for myself. I don’t wear it because it’s so light that it hangs oddly, but I still love it.
  • A bunch of matryoshka buttons and magnets that I bought to use with AUT giveaways here on the website and then…never got around to it? Well, the book comes out in paperback May 10, so maybe I’ll do some prize pack giveaways on the AUT Facebook page I’ve been neglecting. They’re really cute, and were from Etsy.
  • A matryoshka doll throw pillow, again off Etsy.
  • A matryoshka doll tote bag, a gift from my good friend Mary Dubbs, the source of all the best blurbs I ever got for AUT.
  • A small matryoshka doll reporter-style notebook, gift from Kim.
  • Two–count ’em, TWO–pairs of matryoshka doll socks. The first pair was a gift from Mary Dubbs, and the second pair were a gift from my roommate, Eesha, just a few weeks ago. I may be the only person in the world who owns two pairs of matryoshka doll socks.

Okay, I’m sort of embarrassed, now that I’m cataloging all of this stuff for you. I knew I had a lot, but I had no idea I had this much. I’m not even counting the four little dolls I got after my grandmother passed away–they’re not real matryoshki because they don’t come apart, but they’re sort of shaped and painted the same and my aunt Kika insisted I have them because when she saw them she “thought of me”, so maybe we should throw that onto the pile, too. Oh, and I didn’t count the little matryoshka pin I bought at a Regina Spektor concert in 2007 that I just noticed was affixed to the strap of one of my tote bags. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

And, yet, I would buy more matryoshka stuff. For instance, this water carafe my friend Shannel just linked me to on Facebook, despite the fact that its very existence is a little bizarre. First of all, what? What’s wrong with just using a glass at bedtime? Do you need a carafe? Also, the picture of it with the head separated from the body: Gold. Not to mention the ad copy: “You’ll wonder how you used to sleep without this sweet little lady by your side” More like, “You’ll never get another night of sleep again with this creepy glass doll watching over you each night like a translucent Edward Cullen.” And yet, I added it to my cart. I mean, I still regret not buying one of those adorable matryoshka coin purses off Fredflare (there’s a lot of matryoshka stuff on Fredflare) when I had a chance, or the little dessert plates, and I know I’ll regret not buying the nested glasses or this matryoshka cosmetics case from Belgium. But I suppose you have to put a limit on your own crazy, especially when you finally recognize it after it’s been sneaking up on you for years. So maybe I don’t need the carafe; or the glasses; or the cosmetics case. Maybe, in the end, it’s best if the dolls find me.

Although, if you’re interested in becoming a weird doll lady yourself, by all means consult this helpful six-step guide on how to collect matryoshka dolls. Or you could give my one-step method a whirl: write a book with a matryoshka doll as a plot device. You’ll acquire more of them than you ever dreamed.

(No offense to anyone who’s ever given me a matryoshka item. I LOVE THEM! Seriously! And I also give matryoshka dolls as gifts, most notably to my editor and agent. Actually, I bought Joanna’s matryoshka from a nun at the Union Square holiday market a few years ago, which is oddly apropos considering the premise of The Opposite of Hallelujah.)

Matryoshka Monday!

Posted on August 10th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey guys! It’s Monday, and according to the precedent I set two weeks ago, it’s time for your weekly matryoshka fix. This one comes from the comments of the last Matryoshka Monday post, actually, so thank you Jody for gifting me with this link to GadgetHer’s “25 NOT Your Traditional Grandma’s Russian Nesting Dolls”, which, aside from the sort of weird title there, is a collection of some freakin’ awesome matryoshki. You can find my favorite below, and MORE! MORE! MORE! by visiting the article.


Penguins! Apparently these are Linux penguins, but I don’t know what that means. To me they are just cute.


Live long and prosper! Oh, wait, that’s Star Trek right?


I grew up watching Yellow Submarine, so this struck a chord of nostalgia in my heart.


This is LOL my favorite, I think. Not only do I appreciate the REALLY non-traditional interpretation, I just think it’s clever.

My friends are total enablers

Posted on July 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab


Kate: I saw this and thought of you.

Me: I’m going to become one of those crazy ladies that collects things that other people find vaguely creepy, aren’t I?

Related: Dubbs brought me a matryoshka bottle opener from the Czech Republic (I think? Somewhere in Central Europe, at any rate). It’s also a fridge magnet. Gorgeous.

Matryoshka love

Posted on June 7th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Just in case you missed this in the comments, Amy posted the link to this crazy hilarious video featuring my favorite thing: matryoshka dolls! Enjoy:

Save the matryoshki!

Posted on June 2nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

So, according to a link Kim sent me, apparently matryoshka dolls are in danger of disappearing! Now, I mean, let’s not front–I love a good matryoshka doll. They’re all over this very site, and one figures as a very important turning point in All Unquiet Things. I own two legitimate matryoshki and one set of ceramic measuring cups made to look like a matryoshka doll, plus I own a pillow covered in matryoshki, and two matryoshka ornaments that I’ve hung on my wall as decoration. I plan on collecting more in the future, because I love them and because I think they’re a really apt metaphor for a whole bunch of things as I have previously mentioned.

According to the story on Jezebel, the Russian government is organizing a bailout of sorts, but it’s hard to see if that will translate into availability of the dolls in the US. Which is a real damn shame, because I’ve never found any here. My editor told me recently that she’d been looking for a nice matryoshka doll even before she acquired my book, and has yet to find one not online. I told her to check outside the Met, because I’ve seen a guy there selling matryoshka dolls in the past, although I couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t be painted to look like Mike Ditka or whatever (is that even a relevant sports reference anymore? If I made it, my guess is not).

I love my matryoshki. The first one I got actually wasn’t given to me–it was given to my sister, who didn’t feel any particular attachment to it, whereas I ADORED it. My parents brought it back for her from St. Petersburg, when they went on a Baltic cruise for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I asked if I could have it, and she generously gave it to me, and that’s the doll that inspired one part of All Unquiet Things. You can see it on the About the Site page: it’s the blue one with the strawberries.

That one on the left in the photo is the ceramic measuring cup set my friend Briz gave me for Christmas last year. The matryoshka doll on the right was given to me by Kim, the one who told me about the article on Jezebel in the first place. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but this is my favorite matryoshka, even though Kim was worried I wouldn’t like it because it’s seasonal. First of all, there’s no reason not to have a little Christmas cheer all year round. Second of all, this is such a great set of dolls. They get SO SMALL, and I love miniatures. I mean, this set gets down to a little snowman the size of a Tic-Tac (it might be a painted Tic-Tac, to be honest). My favorite doll is the one right before the snowman, an adorable tiny penguin. I think Kim told me she got it at a craft fair in Denver (??–Kim, comment to confirm).


Despite the title of this post, I don’t really know how to save the matryoshki. I guess I’m going to have to depend on the Russian government for that, which, yeesh.