Affordable and Accessible Display Rack

Yesterday evening, yours truly managed to get her finger caught in the exterior door while it was closing. Thankfully nothing is broken, and it was my most useless finger (left hand, pinky) but it’s taped up and quite painful at the moment so unfortunately the Princess Project will be on a short hiatus until likely sometime next week. Thanks for understanding!

Since I can’t dress the mannequin, I figured it would be a good time to share something a little simpler, how I display and photograph my collection. Naomi recently asked me what the rig I used to display my kimono was, so here’s a simple breakdown of what all went into it for those of us who may not have the funds or access to a traditional ikou.

I started with the Honey Can Do expandable garment rack. It has a maximum adjustable width of 60″, and the interior measurement not including the extendable rods was nowhere near wide enough to put a kimono on, so rather than using the included cross-bars, I picked up some 1 1/4″ diameter solid (not extendable) closet rods and cut them to 60″ length. You can do this using a hacksaw but it will take hours, so I recommend a power tool. Ask someone for help if you need to, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I also picked up a couple of narrow black tension rods to stabilise the base. I can’t find similar ones online, and these aren’t entirely necessary, they just help the unit look a little more balanced and keep the feet from rotating.

The last step was to make a pair of decorative clips to hold the kimono open during display/photography. I used a pair of inexpensive alligator clips and glued some cute rose cabochons to them to make them a little nicer to look at. You can really be creative here. Fans are a very traditional motif for these clips, but go wild and use anything you like! Once you’re happy with your clips, use some sturdy elastic or nylon thread to attach them to the uprights of the rack. Don’t tie them on too tightly so you can slide them up or down as needed. The top half of the rack can be slid down for storage, and if you make the clips too snug they can get in the way.

To take the photos I’m using in my new visual catalogue, I start by setting up my tripod. I actually use the exact same spot in the house as I use to take the mannequin photos. My backdrop is simply a plain white flat sheet with the top hem carefully sliced open at the ends so I can thread it onto the curtain rod. From there, I just put the rack in place, take my photos, and pack it all up until I need it again.

I hope you found this post helpful if you’re looking for an affordable and accessible solution for display or catalogue purposes! If you make a similar stand, I’d love to see it 🙂

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Belle – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 Tale as old as time 🎵

Beauty & the Beast has always been one of my favourite classic fairy tales. From very traditional to a middle-eastern interpretation told from the Beast’s perspective, to cheesy steampunk romance novels, it’s just always called to me. Disney’s version is no exception. Belle was a heroine for all of us awkward book-worms, she was stubborn all while being courageous and devoted.

I found this kimono on eBay back in June, and all I could see was Belle’s famous golden ball gown. Even the heavy kinkoma embroidery roses on it seemed too good to be true. I threw out a fairly high bid on it just to be safe and was shocked when I won it uncontested. That was the catalyst for this entire project. I figured if I was going to do Belle I may as well try all the Princesses. While waiting eagerly for this one to arrive, I scoured my collection and began plotting out the other outfits, trying to use as many things I already owned as possible.

Weeks passed with no sign of this kimono. I’d already started the project and I couldn’t very well just leave my favourite princess out, so I scouted out a few other viable alternatives and eventually settled on one. It was pretty, and suitable, just nowhere near as perfect as this one. The seller was kind enough to refund my purchase and I accepted that this one was lost for good. I began working my way through the other outfits, but I hadn’t yet found my motivation to do Belle. I knew what accessories I was going to use, and even made an obidome with roses and the magic mirror on it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually dress the mannequin.

So imagine my shock when the kimono arrived in the mail yesterday, three months after I won it! I was so excited to coordinate it that I scrapped my other plans for today to put the outfit together. To emphasise the rose motif, the obi is tied in bara musubi with a red silk rose tucked in as an accent. Two rosebuds tucked into the front pull in a tiny pop of red, while yellow and gold accessories round the outfit out. Of course, I had to include Lumiere (who was purchased at Disneyland in California earlier this year) and the Enchanted Rose (which I made myself using craft supplies and the dome from an old clock), and even managed to catch a cameo from my very own beast.

I am so happy I waited, everything turned out exactly as I’d pictured it in my head. 💖

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Modern Monstera Ikebana

What first drew me to ikebana was the clean-lined simplicity of it all, the focus on a few sparse blooms without all the fluff and clutter that tends to be found in western-style flower deisgn. I’ve been experimenting a fair bit lately but I was itching to do a very sleek and low moribana-style arrangement, and when I found this gorgeous monstera leaf at the florist I knew it would be the perfect anchor for my next project. This interesting flower was all by its lonesome in a bucket in the flower fridge, and the texture and shape of it felt like a wonderful counterpoint to the glossy green foliage. I’m afraid I don’t remember what the flower is, but if anyone recognises it I’d love to know. The arrangement feels very heady and tropical to me, well-suited for to the oppressively muggy weather we’ve been having lately. I chose a very simple container to anchor them, in keeping with the clean and modernist vibe. I’m also quite pleased by how well the whole arrangement pops against the warm brown backdrop. This one might be incredibly simple, but it’s also incredibly effective.

Jasmine – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 Now I’m in a whole new world with you 🎵

She may not have been the titular protagonist of her movie, but there’s no denying that Aladdin‘s Princess Jasmine is a feisty, independent heroine. Nobody’s going to marry her off to someone she doesn’t love, and she craves adventure outside the sheltered palace walls.

I knew right away that I had the perfect kimono for her. While the design on this houmongi is a real place, the Shah Mosque in Iran, there’s no denying that traditional Islamic architecture had a huge impact on the art direction of the movie, and the beautiful design of the fictional city of Agrabah. The gold obi with blue and turquoise arabesque designs was the perfect complement. I knew I had to incorporate her charming tiger companion Rajah, and I found a sweet little charm with a gold tiger inside of it, but it was transparent and would have been completely disappeared against the busy gold pattern of the obi, so I set out to turn it into an obidome. Backing it with a blue-green enamel helped call back to the gem in her hairpiece, and I love how it turned out in the end.

Of course, the finishing touch was the lamp. If anyone knows how I can get a Genie out of there, please let me know.

We’re so close to finishing this project now! I hope you’re all as excited as I am.

Snow White – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 With a Smile and a Song 🎵

Snow White – the one who started it all, the OG Disney Princess. She’s kind and sweet and beautiful, and I wanted to make sure I captured all that in an outfit that still felt classic and simple. Her costume is very straightforward, and thankfully that converted quite well to kimono.

A simple creamy yellow iromuji serves at the base, echoing the skirt of her outfit. The blue obi has birds on it, but it’s in terrible shape and has really awkward pattern placement, so they’re not terribly visible. The outfit felt like it was missing something though, until I remembered the charming red capelet Snow wears for part of the movie. The red haori is a lovely call back to the capelet, and it ties everything together. For accessories, I absolutely needed a poison apple, and tying the bright red obiage into a bow reminded me of her adorable hair bow. The finishing touches were a sweet little bluebird keeping her company and a haori chain with seven sparkling stones on it to represent her the seven dwarves.

This is probably one of the simplest outfits so far, but I think it pulled together perfectly. It’s sweet and straightforward, much like Snow White herself. And with this, we’re now more than halfway through the project! Only five more to go. I hope you’ll keep coming back to see them. 🙂