Lush Peony Ikebana

It’s been incredibly hot and muggy and rainy out here lately. While it’s not particularly fun for me it’s been fantastic for the garden! I managed to catch this vivid pink peony at the ideal time; it’s blousy and open without a hint of decay on it yet. I knew I wanted to balance it out with some foliage, and decided to keep it all to things I could get from the garden. The hosta leaves provide a sense of grounding, and the little white flowers feel sweet and fresh. I will be honest, I don’t know what they are. The vessel is one I found at a thrift shop a few weeks back, and felt cool and refreshing, perfect for a heady, humid arrangement.

Whisky-a-go-go

Well, would you look at that? I’m not actually dead! Summer here was insufferably hot and damp, intolerable kimono weather, and my health hasn’t been great lately. I’ve been less than motivated to do anything kimono-related recently, but I’d been kind of itching to wear this particular blue tsukesage since it arrived.

The perfect opportunity showed up when I bought tickets to the Montreal Pipes and Drums Whisky-Tasting fundraiser. At first, it might seem a bit incongruous to wear a kimono to a decidedly Scottish event, but the Quartermaster for the band is my friend Nick, who shares and encourages my silly kimono enthusiasm. He specifically requested I wear kimono, and who was I to say no? Initially I’d wanted to wear my tartan komon, figuring it would be much more appropriate, but it’s too narrow in the hips to comfortably wear out to an event, especially one where I’d be sitting in a western-style chair at a tiny bar table. So I finally got to bust out this blue beauty.

Inevitably, I got a few “what are you wearing?” and “I like your costume!” comments, but the response was overwhelmingly positive nonetheless. I think the best question I got was from the (very attractive) bouncer at the venue, who came up and said “Can I ask you a question?”. I cringed, expecting the usual “what is that?” or “geesha girl” type question, but instead, he said “Do they have a Japanese Whisky back there or something?” which made me smile.

Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. Here are the pictures! The angle of these ones is a bit funny, since my tripod attachment is MIA so my father kindly held the camera for me.

It wouldn’t be a Kimono Tsuki entry without a visit from my two favourite furry photobombers, now would it?

Royal blue tsukesage/houmongi with kiku and botan

I found this beauty on eBay, and was initially drawn to it because of its length – a whopping 69 inches or 175 centimetres. At my height, finding long kimono is always exciting. The thumbnail makes it look quite odd – almost unfinished, like there are just big white blobs on a blue surface, and I think this worked in my favour, because nobody else bid on it.

Up close, however, the white “blobs” are incredibly soft, delicate botan with gentle pearly grey shading and gold centres, and then these interesting solid white kiku. They are definitely hand-painted with white and grey dye, not unfinished. The contrast, though, gives the kimono a very bold, modern look while still being soft and girly.

I absolutely can’t wait to wear this, I am thinking of pairing it up with the gold and white obi from this bundle. It will be nice to have both a kimono and an obi that fit me very well and don’t require fussing and fidgeting all evening 😉

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

Art Gallery – Incredibly detailed vector art

This piece was actually done for a contest on Gaia, and it was definitely one of the most amazing entries I received. As you may know, this particular furisode is incredibly special to me so of course I’m going to be biased when it comes to artwork of it. But look at the sheer amount of detail in this piece. The artist, Elsa Lee, put in a painstaking amount of work to faithfully reproduce the pattern on the kimono. What’s more, can you believe she did it with a mouse?! My hand hurts just thinking about it.

If you want to see the incredibly high-resolution version of this (and believe me, you do!), you can check it out on Elsa’s DeviantArt account

Late Bloomer

So today is Seijin no Hi (成人の日), or Coming of Age Day in Japan. Traditionally, it’s a day for young adults who have acheived the age of maturity, twenty, to celebrate. It’s traditional for young women to wear their brightest, most fun furisode (long-sleeved kimono), sort of as a way of saying goodbye to childish things. Once women get older and marry, they no longer wear this type of kimono, so for a lot of girls it’s the last “appropriate” time they’ll have to wear one.

This year, I will be turning thirty – not twenty. However, I also currently live with my folks (who are incredibly awesome people, and I will get to that again shortly), I work in a toy store, and aside from kimono I collect toys and comic books. It would not be a stretch to say that mentally, I have not really reached any reasonable level of maturity XD. So I figured I may as well bust out one of my furisode, since I rarely have the opportunity to wear them anyway. I chose to wear my mauve peony and bamboo furisode, since it’s beautiful and has special meaning to me – I bought it the first time I went to visit my best friend. I paired it up with my irridescent blue-green paving stone obi, and hot pink accessories. Oh, and an eyepatch. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I managed to use my mad coordination skills a week ago to scratch my cornea with a fork. Yes, you did read that right. And yes, it was as painful as you’d imagine. Thankfully it is getting better!

Botan Furisode

“Arrrrrr!”
Botan Furisode

Now, to one of the many reasons I have awesome parents. I really wanted to try doing a furisode-appropriate musubi with this outfit, but I don’t own any tools to tie them on myself. My amazing dad offered to help me out, and using his magical engineer brain figured out how to tie a fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) knot in a few mere minutes. Unfortunately, this obi has no core and is incredibly floppy. The bow looked great as long as I stood perfectly still. As soon as I moved, it would just sort of collapse in on itself and look like it had melted. He tried several times, but through no fault of his it just wasn’t going to work. This obi is just too soft. In the end I decided to work with the floppiness and make a sort of a poofy bunko/chou-chou bow-style knot. I think all things considered, it turned out quite well.
Botan Furisode

Botan Furisode

I also decided to go a bit nuts with my footwear and layered some pinky-ivory lace tabi over some dark purple tabi. I really like how this looks.
Botan Furisode