Birthday Pastels

Today is my birthday! I’m now officially closer to 40 than I am to 30. Ack! My initial plan for today was to dress myself in the blue Cinderella furisode and take pictures, but this week has been a very long and exhausting one and I knew when I woke up I was not going to have the energy to do it. I might try on the weekend, but until then I decided I would at least redo the mannequin.

This obi was an entirely unexpected surprise; I was discussing my collection with a customer at work and she told me she had one of those “belt table runner things” and she’d bring it to show me one day. Imagine my shock when she showed up with this stunning springy green fukuro obi with flowers and foliage all over it and insisted I keep it. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s also got a really nice sage green fabric with gold pinstripes on the reverse, and I’m looking forward to using that side of it sometime soon. It felt like the ideal thing to do a birthday outfit with. It pairs so perfectly with the pink takara houmongi that Naomi’s husband Arian got for me years ago. They feel so classic and elegant together, and subtle pastel accessories finish things off. The obiage is kind of a mess but let’s all ignore that and focus on the beautiful kimono and obi instead.

I’m still holding out hope that I can put the furisode on this weekend but if that doesn’t happen at least I did something productive today!

Unseasonably Sunny Ikebana

Typically, ikebana should reflect the seasons and the natural world around you. I’d been meaning to make an arrangement inspired by falling leaves, but haven’t sourced nice enough foliage. It’s also been very cold and dreary here lately, the sun is setting by half past four in in the afternoon, and we had our first snow of the year today, which isn’t exactly inspiring to me. I still want to attempt an ikebana with fall foliage, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.

So when I found this bright, happy sunflower at the florist’s I decided to bring a little sunlight into my day. Vibrant purple irises and these little yellow pom-pom like craspedia blossoms balanced both shape and colour of the sunflower, and combined to form a nice tall standing arrangement. This shallow, bright yellow vessel seemed like the perfect container. It’s actually a serving bowl, but it worked out so well.

It may be entirely inappropriate for the season, but it makes me smile, and we all need a little more of that in our lives lately, don’t we?

Holiday Gift Guide for Kimono Lovers

If you know and love someone who collects kimono, you know how difficult shopping for them can be. I’ve created this holiday gift guide as an attempt to help you all out. Hopefully it will offer information on some reliable sellers and suggest some slightly out-of-the-box ideas that will be of interest to kimono collectors without breaking the bank. I have been working on it for quite some time now, and I hope you find it helpful! This post is quite long, so please click through to read the whole thing.

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Art Gallery – Inktober Compilation

 

Inktober is an interesting initiative to try to encourage people to get out the old traditional media and be creative. For every day during the month of October, the goal is to produce one ink drawing. There are lists of prompts, but you can also choose to work off your own designs if you wish. It’s been quite a while since I did any real-media work so I thought this year I would participate, but rather than use the official prompts, I’d draw one kimono motif a day. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I think I might make it a yearly tradition. Maybe next year I’ll pick one common motif and draw a different variation of it each day. I’m certain I could find thirty-one ways to interpret sakura or ume, for example.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen these already, but I really wanted to put them all together for posterity and reference. I really love the variety in these. Some of them were clearly done on days when I had more free time than others but when you put them all together I feel like they flow very nicely. I think forcing myself to stick to two widths of black ink pen and only gold accents helped make sure that they really do feel like one cohesive project instead of just a pile of unrelated doodles. They’re also all in the same sketchbook on the same paper, the variations in colour are due to lighting differences and instagram filters.

Fudangi First Friday

Hello! Welcome to Fudangi First Friday, a sort of new feature here on Kimono Tsuki. Naomi and Lyuba of Immortal Geisha were inspired by the recent Fudangi Fun event in NYC they were lucky enough to attend, to create a day where kimono-lovers can focus on relaxed, wearable, casual outfits. We all love the vibrant formality of furisode or the subdued elegance of kurotomesode, but it seems like fudangi, which includes things like wool and cotton kimono, simple komon, and other informal relaxed pieces, often get overlooked. So they decided to create Fudangi Fridays to encourage all us kimono lovers to appreciate these everyday pieces.

However, I know that committing to do something every single Friday is just a recipe for disaster, especially with the holidays coming up. For those of you who don’t know, I work in a specialty collectible toy store, so this time of year tends to be incredibly busy for me. So I’ve decided to combine Fudangi Friday with a phenomenon known as First Friday, an art/networking/entertainment community event that happens in a lot of big cities in North America on the first Friday of every month. People gather to share ideas, show off creative endeavours, etc. Forcing myself to do this once a month without fail is definitely more achievable for me. I may even manage to dress myself for these on occasion, since the majority of my wider kimono are casual pieces.

I purchased this haori on a whim from the same seller as the beautiful kurotomesode I got recently. In the auction photos, it looked like a creamy white with ume blossoms, so imagine my surprise when I opened the package and a leafy green haori with sakura on it fell out! I’m not complaining though, it’s even more adorable and charming than I was expecting it to be. I had no idea what I was going to pair it with, but I had it out while taking photos for my updated collection catalogue and saw it sitting next to the vintage-style blue komon Naomi gave me years ago and I realised how perfect they were for each other. The colours reflect each other perfectly, and they both have a young, spring feeling to them. I finished the outfit off with a hanhaba obi and cotton haneri in shades of cream and green, and a skinny orange obijime for a little pop of colour. This outfit is definitely fudangi, and it’s definitely fun!