Keep It Strict, Keep It Small: Limiting Collections

I love matryoshkas, with their rosy cheeks, darling headscarves, and cheerful apron-wearing can-do attitude. But how to avoid receiving only matryoshka-themed gifts for the rest of my life and having an apartment cluttered with them?

A quick look through Etsy reveals 2,854 handmade results for "matryoshka", and Ebay boasts 3,784 results for "nesting doll". It could get so out of hand, so quickly. When I decided I would like to bring matryoshkas back into my life (I had a gorgeous set as a child, still packed away at my parents house), I quickly laid down some parameters:


  • Orphaned matryoshkas only! No full sets or mostly-complete sets, just independent little ladies in need of a good home.

  • Traditional hand-painted folk-style is a must. No cats or Chicago Bulls. Classic, simple, Russian, flowers, headscarves- you get the idea.

  • Cost is definitely a concern. I don't think I've paid more than $10 including shipping for any of mine, and would like to keep it that way. It's tough with such tempting ones out there, but I can't drop $18 on matryoshkas! I will definitely be keeping an eye on this cutie, though.

So far I've only found 3 matryoshkas that fit these parameters, acquiring a new one about every nine months. But I must confess that there have been, of course, some exceptions to these rules: the chocolate nesting doll from my friend Sarah, the silver matryoshka necklace made by my friend Holly, the holiday cards I sent last winter, and probably a few others as well. There's no point in being too strict, right?

Image: Tess Wilson

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After many happy years living in tiny apartments in big cities, Tess has found herself in a little house on the prairie. For real.