Merida – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 Chase the Wind
and Touch The Sky 🎵

We’ve done a Renaissance-era princess and a Silver-era princess so it felt like it was time for one of the modern revival princesses. Merida is one of my favourite princesses. She’s snarky, she’s witty, she’s tough but still vulnerable, and she’s determined to be the architect of her own fate. I found a few kimono online that were close in colour to her dress, but nothing really jumped out at me until I found this utterly perfect vintage piece. Not only is the base of it nearly the identical colour to Merida’s dress, but the yabane, or arrow fletching, motif could not have been more appropriate.

I debated using a brown obi to echo her brown belt but it made the whole outfit feel too heavy and overly mature. Instead, I went with a plain white hakata tied in a very practical karuta musubi, and amped up the warm brown tones in the obijime and dusty embroidered haneri. The bow was my grandmother’s, and I have fond memories of learning to shoot with it as a kid. Using it was pretty much a given. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that it’s actually a bright candy-apple red, but that’s nothing a little bit of photoshop couldn’t fix.

I really feel like this project is just continuing to build momentum, and I couldn’t be happier! It’s really satisfying to watch these come together. Maybe one day I’ll try to coordinate a fashion show or something and see them all at once.

Day lily Ikebana

The Japanese concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ), or the sense of beauty that comes from the awareness of the transience of all things, is most often exemplified by the beautiful but short-lived cherry blossom season. However, while I was going through our garden looking for inspiration recently, it struck me that these gorgeous fire-like day lily blooms are another flower that is perfectly suited the concept, having as short and vivid a lifespan as they do.

I wanted to balance the modern, sharp, nearly abstract shapes of the lilies with something much softer and more delicate, and the gentle sweeping lines of our grapevine seemed like the perfect contrast. I then chose a very organic and vintage-feeling container and paired it in turn with a clean-lined and almost harsh pedestal. I aimed to create an arrangement that seemed as timeless as it was fleeting, things with a sense of age framed against things that have existed only for a moment. I love how they come together to form both visual and emotional balance, something I am working on as I continue my journey into ikebana.

Cinderella – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes 🎵

I started this project with a modern princess, so a classic one seemed like a good place to go next. Cinderella is pretty much the quintessential Disney Princess – she’s kind, clever, determined, and beautiful. Her castle is the centrepiece of several Disney parks and serves as the opening sting for their movies. So I knew I had to do her justice!

I bought this kimono last month at Kimono Vintage Montreal, and I didn’t specifically have Cinderella in mind when I did, I just fell in love it with. I realised after bringing it home that it was a very appropriate shade of blue and had a definite princess vibe to it. While there is no pink in her official outfit, her mother’s dress she plans to wear to the ball initially is pink, and I really liked the idea of calling back to that in a subtle way. The obi has heian noble carts, reminiscent of her pumpkin carriage. Admittedly they’re not one of my favourite motifs but this one was a steal at $5 and fit the theme so well I couldn’t say no after a friend suggested it. I tied it in an improvised bow reminiscent of a fukura suzume to keep the balance between feeling sweet and princess-ish while still showing off the carts.

In a perfect world, this coordination would be paired up with some of Robe Japonica’s incredible acrylic geta to emulate Cinderella’s infamous glass slippers. However, they’re only available in men’s styles and they’re very expensive, so for the time being silver zori and a slipper obidome I made will have to suffice. A bit of black ribbon finished things off nicely, echoing Cinderella’s black choker.

So far, things are turning out very well in this project, I think. I hope I keep up this momentum and success throughout the entire thing!

 

Art Gallery – Maiko by Charlotte Royal

Sometimes you find the most beautiful things in the most unexpected places. While browsing Kickstarter last year, I came across the Postcards from Japan project by Charlotte Royal. Her goal was simple and straightforward – travel across Japan while creating beautiful and unique works of art for people who helped back her financially.

The painting I received is an absolutely stunning watercolour painting of a maiko, done in Kyoto. I love the rich, warm colours and the thoughtful expression on her face. There’s so much personality and talent in this piece, and the fact that it’s an original, one-of-a-kind artwork makes it all the more special to me. It is large postcard-sized, more than enough room for lush detail but small enough to feel like a little jewel in my growing art collection

I have a bunch of new pieces I need to hang, and this one will definitely be front and centre once I figure out where everything is going.

I received this item as a backer perk for a project or product that was crowd-funded (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc)

Festival Yatai MTL! and yukata outing

 

 

What’s this? Another outing for yours truly?! It feels good getting back into the swing of things.

This weekend a friend was in town, and the first Yatai MTL! street food festival was happening, so we decided to go in yukata. Since she was visiting from a ways away, I lent her one of my yukata and obi, and I’m glad to see it getting some use.

One of the awesome things about Montreal is the sheer number of awesome events and festivals that happen during this summer. This year is no exception, because the city is celebrating her 375th birthday. This weekend alone, aside from the festival we went to, had the Formula E electric car races, Just For Laughs!, the International Fireworks competition, and quite possibly other small ones I’m not even aware of. Because of all this, all the public transit in the city was free. However, because of this, the public transit in the city was also the busiest I’ve ever seen it. We were delayed getting out, and the metro was a horrible swamp of humanity. However, we made it to our first stop without too much drama. We began the afternoon by fortifying ourselves with lovely microbrew beers from Dieu Du Ciel, an awesome local brewery. My friend’s brother came with us and was kind enough to act as photographer for the day.

Thus fortified, we headed to the festival on foot. It was a gorgeous day, and yukata were perfectly comfortable and breezy. The walk to the park where the festival was being held was short, and we got there uneventfully. That’s when things went sideways. This was the festival’s first year, and they were clearly massively unprepared for the volume of people attending. We got there less than an hour after opening, and the lineups for food were over two hours long, and they had already run out of several dishes. We worked in shifts, taking turns in the line, and eventually got our okonomiyaki, which was the only dish available at the kiosk we got to. It was absolutely delicious, I will give them that! I also found a vegan mocha popsicle, which warmed my shrivelled little dairy-intolerant heart. However, considering how long we’d been waiting it wasn’t nearly enough food, and none of us were willing to wait another two hours we decided to find a restaurant to fill us up.

After another quick jaunt on uncomfortably crowded public transit we found our way to Kurobuta Izekaya & Ramen-Ya, an awesome homey Japanese pub-style eatery. I got two of my standby favourites, agedashi tofu and takoyaki, and they were both delicious. My dinner companions both got ramen, and I tried a bit, it was delicious too. If you’re looking for a comfortable, entirely unpretentious Japanese eatery in the Mount Royal area of Montreal, I highly recommend a stop here.

The day may have been waaaaay longer than we’d anticipated, and there was an awful lot of frustrated, cramped, waiting around but in the end good food with good company in adorable outfits made it all worthwhile!