Hanakago Ikebana

Hanakago (花篭) means “flower basket”, and it’s a common motif in art and textiles. The baskets can be of any shape and size, and are filled with a profusion of beautiful seasonal flowers. I knew I really wanted to do a hanakago ikebana arrangement, but I’d been waiting for more inspiration than that.

Today was the first day of the year that genuinely felt like spring. I actually went and ran errands without even needing a jacket, and I wanted to celebrate that. I decided to go for a very loose, natural-feeling assemblage of springy flowers in the basket. A beautiful blue hydrangea forms the anchor of the piece, sunny forsythia bring in height and shape, and yellow daisies and a few white ranunculus fill it in and bring some much-needed softness.

It’s a much looser shape than I’m used to doing, but I feel like it’s still very effective. It feels happy and natural and bright. I’m quite happy with how it looks in this little nook, and it will make me smile when the sun and warmth inevitably vanish again in a day or two.

Ravenclaw Kitsuke

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;

Today, we’ve arrived at Ravenclaw; my house! Every single test I’ve ever taken, including the Pottermore one, puts me squarely into Ravenclaw. What can I say, I’m a proud and noble bookworm, like my parents before me. At least I come by it honestly.

Of course, since it’s my house, I knew I had to do the best job I could. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, odds are you’ve got an opinion on the bronze vs. silver debate when it comes to Ravenclaw’s house colours. I think both options have merit, and thankfully this obi has all sorts of metallic tones to it, so it feels like a solid acknowledgement of both options. The birds on it are hawks, not eagles, but I still think it suited the “sharp and intelligent bird of prey” feel better than any other option I had available to me.

A kimono with scrolls or books on it would have been completely fantastic here, but I was really trying to stick to a budget and use pieces I already owned, so I went with the most vibrant blue piece in my collection. I wish I could say that the flowers had particularly relevant symbolism, but really I just had to use this blue.

The obidome is a converted pendant that’s always reminded me of the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw, and the fact that it’s a feather makes me think of writing quills, which are also incredibly relevant for the most nerdy of houses. The accessories were chosen primarily for colour and emphasis, not so for motifs, but still this is an outfit I’d be glad to wear to show off my house pride. Also, this kimono actually still fits me, so there’s always a chance I might actually put it on sometime soon.

Only one more to go!

Items used in this coordination

Pretty Pastel Princess

I’ve been behind on mannequin coordinations lately! Hopefully this pretty pastel princess outfit will make up for it. I’ve wanted to do something sweet and girly with this furisode since I used it for Cinderella, and I finally decided to stop procrastinating and just do it.

I really wanted to play up the pink accents in the kimono, so I chose pink accessories and a silvery white obi with pink details and everything ties together so nicely. Despite all the pieces being relatively flashy and youthful-feeling, somehow the coordination still feels gentle. I’m not sure how I feel about the choice of obijime, since the blue doesn’t quite match the kimono, but I’ve been wanting to use this beaded one since I got it and couldn’t resist.

Since this was a dressy furisode outfit, I used the opportunity to practice my fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) musubi. I really do need to branch out and work on more interesting musubi in general, and I am going to try to make a habit of it in the future.

Overall, this coordination came together pretty much exactly how I’d been imagining it in my head and that makes me really happy. And while it’s certainly not as big as my new modern komon, this kimono nearly fits me properly so one day I’ll have to put this outfit on myself. Since the kiku is my birth month flower, maybe I’ll wear it for my birthday when next November rolls around.

Items used in this coordination

Tropical Fire Ikebana

Tropical Fire Ikebana

I suspect you’re all probably quite tired of me complaining about winter, but I’m not done yet! Still cold and damp, still sick, and now they’re predicting half an inch of freezing rain overnight! I was very much in the mood for something reminiscent of the sweltering humidity of the tropics. The little flower counter at my local drugstore is not the place I’d expect to find birds of paradise or bright red waxy anthuriums, but lo and behold, they found me and called out to me.

The flowers are so bold and dramatic that I knew I wanted to do something big and sparse and sculptural. The beautiful blue vessel was a Christmas gift from my cousin and I love how it anchors everything, is reminiscent of water, and pulls out the hint of blue in the bird of paradise flower. I tried to arrange the anthurium to almost look like steps leading up to the stark angles of the bird of paradise, and attempted some fancy weaving of the palm leaves. It didn’t hold quite as well as I’d like, I clearly need more practice! The whole arrangement was perched dramatically onto this carved wooden stand that was my grandmother’s. I love the way it raises the whole piece up and elevates it to a work of art.

Spring can’t come soon enough! Aside from all my complaints about flu season and the cold and snow, I’m also eager to go back to working with seasonal flowers from my own garden and the great outdoors. There’s a forsythia bush in our yard that I never got the opportunity to work with last year, and I’ll be damned if I miss its blooms again this year!

Kits-Mas Day 12 – The Grand Finale

Okay, maybe not such a grand finale after all, but a finale nonetheless! Today’s outfit serves two purposes – the last day of this project as well as Fudangi First Friday.

This kimono, despite being quite casual, has always looked somewhat festive to me. Something about tartans and plaids just feel like Christmas. It’s a common pattern on wrapping paper, and (as you can see in my photos) tree skirts and decorations. So using this kimono in an outfit was a given, clearly.

Pairing it up with red to make it punchier might be a fairly straightforward and expected coordination but it just works so well! I love how the faint stripes in the obi echo the other colours of green and navy. Initially I had no plans to take a picture of the back of the mannequin without the red haori, but I realised as I was tying the obi that the karuta musubi looks like a present, so I had to capture that too.

Okay, so this is certainly not the most dramatic or exciting coordination of the project, it’s comfortable and cute and worked out quite well. It was also easy to put on after a frustratingly long day that started with me slipping on ice and smashing my elbow and ended up with me nearly being trapped at work because the lock on the front door froze. I honestly didn’t have the energy for anything more complicated.

While this has been a mostly enjoyable project, if I’ve learnt one thing from it, it’s to never commit to twelve consecutive days of anything, no matter how much you enjoy it. Between holiday stress, work, family stuff, etc, I am burnt the heck out right now . I think I will be taking a little hiatus from blogging for a bit, maybe a week or ten days. I’ve got lots of stuff in the works though, so I promise I’ll be back in full force very soon! <3