One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 1: Stylish and Subdued

The beginning of February marks the beginning of a new little experiment for me. I thought it would be really interesting to choose one kimono to work with all month, just to show how versatile they can be. I specifically picked this mint iromuji because I feel like these solid-coloured kimono are one of the most often overlooked types of kimono. To some, they may be drab or boring, but I think they’re the “little black dress” of the kimono world. They are incredibly versatile, depending on what sort of styling and accessories you decide to coordinate them with. I hope that if you own an iromuji or two and don’t know what to do with them, by the end of the month you’ll have lots of ideas on how to wear them to different events!

To start, I chose to do a quite traditional outfit in soft pastels. I feel like this would be appropriate for a variety of formal events where you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, such as a guest at tea ceremony, a wedding, or another formal reception. It also feels very much like it’s looking forward to spring, which is something I desperately need right now. I’ve always wanted to pair this obi and kimono together since the seafoam green colour in the roundels of the obi echoes the colour of the kimono so well, and I love how they look. An embroidered haneri isn’t entirely typical for this type of outfit, but I received this one (and several others) in the mail yesterday and they were too gorgeous not to use. I decided to echo the purple of the irises with the obiage and obijime.

Next week’s outfit will definitely be an unexpected departure from the tone of this one, so be sure to come back!

One Kimono Four Ways

Tea Time – Totem “Earl’s Pipe” blend

Totem Tea & Spice is a lovely little shop in Montreal that specialises in, you guessed it, teas and spices. The first time I went in I was overwhelmed with beautiful smells and sights. Aside from delicious custom tea blends, the store is full of interesting objects and artwork. They have tables where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a snack, or even have a little party. It’s an incredibly welcoming place with friendly, knowledgeable staff.

When you enter, you are greeted with a lovely table filed with samples of many varieties of tea for you to look at and smell. The first tea I was drawn to was Earl’s Pipe. One deep inhale and I was in love. I guessed what was in it without being told, but that’s no surprise as it blends two of my favourite teas. It’s a comforting, smoky blend of Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. In a way, it makes me think of Sherlock Holmes. It tastes a bit how I imagine 221B Baker Street would have smelled in the evening; a good strong but straightforward black tea, with an undertone of pipe tobacco and a hint gunpowder. If you like strong black tea with a lot of character, it’s excellent served pure. If you’re a little wary of the potent smoky notes of the Lapsang it also tastes lovely toned down with a bit of milk and sugar. However, if you know for a fact you don’t enjoy the smoked character of the Lapsang, you may want to give it a pass. My mother refers to it as “that stinky tea” and even counter-balanced with the lovely bergamote notes of the Earl Grey, she still finds it overpowering.

I picked up several other delicious teas that I will likely be reviewing in the future. I also picked up this pretty little art print from local artist Jackie Bassett.

If you’re in Montreal, I urge you to stop by Totem Tea & Spice on Notre-Dame West. In the meantime, you can follow them on Facebook.

Rebirth and Renewal

I have always tried to keep this blog apolitical. It’s a hobby, a place of beauty fun and a bit of a distraction from the “real” world. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in the modern political climate, remaining detached is essentially an impossibility. This is not to say that I’m suddenly going to change the focus of things here, but I am having a harder and harder time keeping my mouth shut about the state of things. Syria, Brexit, Trump… we are living in a world that is increasingly on the defensive; cold and closed and unwelcoming.

So with that in mind, I needed a subtle reminder that there is always hope in the world, always a chance for rebirth and renewal. I bought this obi along with the hawk obi from my last coordination, and had intended to pair it with my leaf-green iromuji from the get-go. The obidome and obijime were bought at the same time, and seem like the perfect little complement. I’ve always had a soft spot for pearls, and they draw the eye to the silvery buds on the obi that otherwise blend in and nearly disappear. This felt like the perfect time to tie everything together.

The outfit feels as though it’s looking forward to Spring, but also looking forward in general. In a time when everything seems uncertain, at least we know the leaves and grass and first buds of the flowers will be back soon enough. It may not be much, but at least every time I see it I will be reminded that after every hideous, frozen, deathly winter there will inevitably come a spring when everything is reborn.

Review: Foof Phone Sleeves

Over the summer, I came across Foof.Shop‘s amazing Japanese fabric phone sleeves, and contacted them about possibly reviewing one. They got back to me a while later, offering me a surprisingly vast selection of products with one special stipulation. More on that at the end of this post ;)

I received these before the vacation I mentioned in my last post, and figured that would be an excellent time to test one out. They’re made primarily for iPhones, and even the largest I received was a bit snug on my Samsung Galaxy 6S, but I made it work. Through security, customs, several long flights, a jaunt to Downtown Disney in Anaheim, amongst other things, and my phone felt secure and protected the entire time. Not only that, but the cover stayed clean and snug far beyond what I would originally have expected of a fabric cover. The fleece inner is soft and tight, providing a great protective fit and having the added benefit of polishing the screen every time I put my phone away. Overall, I am very impressed with the quality and finishing of these sleeves, and their wide selection of actual kimono fabric and kimono-inspired cotton patterns are an amazing bonus. If you’re looking for something to protect your mobile device that has a bit of flair to it and would look at home tucked into any sleeve or obi, I urge to you check them out!

So, what’s a girl to do with all these extra phone cases? Why, give them away, of course! With huge thanks to the generous and wonderful folks at Foof, many of these will be part of the giveaway I am planning when my Facebook page reaches 1000 fans. If you want a chance to win one of these and some other goodies, follow me there and keep an eye out for news. You can also follow Foof on their Facebook page for news about new fabrics and new releases.

I received this item from the manufacturer for review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me.

This One’s For the Birds

Thank you all for sticking with me during my unanticipated little hiatus! Life is finally calming down, and I wanted to celebrate the new year with a new outfit on the mannequin.

I got this hawk obi on eBay a few months ago for a whopping $9. I certainly didn’t need a new obi, but I loved how flashy it was and it was too much of a bargain to pass up. I love how it looks with my blue embroidered irotomesode and red accessories. I feel like this is a wonderfully bright and auspicious outfit to ring in the year. The obi is also brand new and very stiff, which makes it a pleasure to tie. It keeps its shape beautifully. I can’t wait to see what else I can pair it up with in the future.

I hope this year brings you all plenty of joy, health, luck, and fortune. Last year was a bit of a wreck for a lot of folks, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed for great things to come.

I will be going out of town this week and next but when I get back I am going to do my best to stick to a regular schedule. I have more coordinations planned as well as some reviews and a giveaway in the works! Please check back regularly and if you want a quick and efficient way to be notified of updates, follow me on Facebook or Twitter!