Everyone cheer, Melons are here!

I am really making an effort not to buy new kimono, but sometimes I find things that just call to me. When I found this komon (for less than ten dollars, I might add) I knew I had to have it. In my mind, it looked just like a slab of malachite. However, when it arrived the general consensus was that it looked like watermelon, especially with the pink lining. I’m still very likely going to do a coordination around the green stone, but I had to go with the melon first.

A sweet pink hakata obi and pink haneri seemed like the way to go, and then I remembered I have this cute black spade obidome that sort of evokes the feel of a watermelon seed against the pink of the obi. It’s a very simple, very casual outfit but I think it really conveys the fresh, summery feeling of biting into a juicy slice of watermelon. Now, if only the warmer weather would hurry up and get here!

(If the title of this entry seems familiar to you, that’s because it is from a very silly (and not exactly work-safe) video by Mr. Weebl)

Something old, Something new…

Kimono, like any other garment out there, is subject to trends and changes in fashion. Usually, this just impacts the colours and patterns used, since the shape of a kimono is so fixed. Every so often, however, someone comes up with something really different and unique. Traditionally, brides in Japan will wear a special type of furisode called a kakeshita on their wedding day. The colours and styles and motifs of these can vary greatly, but they’ve always been the same basic garment. However, modern women are looking for ways to wear more modern dresses but still retaining a bit of that traditional feel. For a while now, there have been designers such as Aliansa who will convert a kimono into a western-style dress, but this requires irreversible changes to the kimono. This isn’t ideal for family heirlooms or treasured gifts. So what’s a bride to do?

Enter The Oriental Wasou, a bridal studio that’s figured out a fantastic way to temporarily convert a furisode simply by folding it carefully and draping it over a western-style ballgown! They claim it takes only ten minutes, and after the event all you’d need to do is give your furisode a good steaming, fold it carefully, and store it away. When I first saw these adaptations, I knew I wanted to give one a try. However, I am not the sort of person who has ballgowns or wedding gowns just lying around, so the idea went onto the back-burner until I was at the thrift store a few weeks ago and found this utterly beautiful mauvey pink gown with a sheer black overlay. I knew right away it would be the perfect complement to my favourite furisode.

This furisode and I have had a colourful history. I bought it years ago while visiting my best friend at the time, even though I knew I’d never have a valid or justifiable reason to wear it. It didn’t matter, I was in love with it. I dressed myself in it a few times for photos, I had a lot of fun with it, and then a few years ago my friend and I parted ways. There was a lot of silly emotional baggage whenever I looked at the kimono, and I stopped doing pretty much anything with it. Fast-forward to middle of last year, and not only have we reconciled, it feels like we’re closer than ever. I knew I had to pair this outfit with the pearl necklace he’d given me for my birthday one year. The other accessories were chosen to help emphasise some of the colours in the kimono. The obiage and obijime perfectly mirror the shading in the peonies, and the obi helps draw out the gold flecks in the background. Since this is such a non-standard outfit, I had fun making up a big flashy obi musubi. It also helped to hide the draping and folding in the back of the kimono.

Overall, I think this experiment was quite successful. It’s definitely a departure from what I’m used to, but everyone needs to step out of their comfortable rut now and again, right?

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 4: Cute and Casual

At last, we’re coming to the end of this month’s theme project. It’s been fun, but honestly I am glad it’s over. I’m getting a little tired of this iromuji! For the last outfit, I decided to try to accomplish the one thing this style of kimono can be very difficult to do; a simple, casual cooordinate. Typically, iromuji can be a lot of things, but relaxed town-wear is not one of them. To make it work, I stuck with otherwise casual pieces. A coloured haneri, a bright meisen haori, and one of my favourite nagoya obi all in shades of purple all pop against the cool mint tone of the kimono itself. The early-afternoon sunlight today helped to keep things soft and warm. I’m not sure this outfit was as successful as some of my other attempts during this experiment, but I do really love how the haori and kimono look together.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with his whole experiment. It’s been really interesting to work within the constraints of the one single kimono. I may do it again sometime later with something other than an iromuji, to make it more of a challenge. I’ve also got some fun craft projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

One Kimono Four Ways

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.

Washitsu Games!

As I’ve mentioned recently I love miniatures, and you guys know how much I love silly dress-up games. Somehow though, I never thought to combine the two until recently. I know there are things like Animal Crossing and Second Life that allow you to customise your own spaces, but those require a fair bit of investment of time and effort. I was looking for more casual alternatives so I went searching for online games to decorate traditional Japanese-style rooms and I was not disappointed!

sakuraSakura House Decoration Game - This is the most immersive of the ones I've found. You can decorate four rooms: living room, kitchen, bedroom, and an exterior courtyard. There's not a huge selection of furniture, but there's enough to make a cute little vignette in each room, or you can choose to do what I've done here and make a studio-style one-room house. There are also a few kimono-clad female figures you can put in the rooms, but their outfits are not particularly accurate and they don't interact with the room in any way. Personally, I think the empty rooms are much cuter.
tatamiJapanese Tatami Room - Pretty much what it says on the tin! There's one room with a fixed structural layout (door, window, cabinet nook, and tokonoma) and you can choose all the finishes and surfaces, and then add in accents of seating, tables, and accessories. Not a huge selection, but still fun and relaxing.
exterior-designer-japanese-gardenExterior Designer - Japanese Garden - This one actually an exterior-only game. You can choose from a set selection of backgrounds, middle-grounds, foregrounds, paths, and bridges to combine into a cohesive and beautiful garden. There's not a ton of options, but it's very relaxing to play with.
Home Sweet HomeHome Sweet Home by Big Blue Bubble - I debated whether or not to include this one, due to the difficulty installing and running it, but it's pretty enough that I decided to go for it. I mentioned popular sandbox/decor games like The Sims and Second Life already, but this game is a bit of a hidden gem. There's no social aspect, no interaction, it really is all about the decorating aspect. There's a thin semblance of plot, essentially you're a designer and have to renovate rooms for clients, meeting their needs and wants. For every success you have, you unlock items and rooms in your own house that you can decorate to your heart's desire. There's a wide selection of far east Asian-inspired items and essentially no rules. Unfortunately, this game is quite old, and can be finicky on newer machines. It's available for purchase in the above link, and can also be torrented. I don't usually condone that sort of thing, but the game is old, finicky to run, and no longer has any support system.

I do apologise for the lack of content lately – it’s just been so infernally hot here in Montreal that I haven’t had the energy to undress and redress the mannequin, or even to scan a few of the books I’ve got lined up for review. Things are finally starting to cool down and I’ve got a bunch of pretty new things to show you guys, so hopefully we’ll be back to normal soon!