Sweet Creamsicle Ikebana

During the summer, I really do try to work with flowers from the great outdoors but when I saw this marked-down bouquet at the grocery store I felt an overwhelming urge to rescue it. I realise that the flowers were dyed by tinting the water orange, but come on, they look like a creamsicle!

The bouquet was a little past due and a fair number of the flowers were beyond salvaging, but I managed to rescue the large spider mum and the carnations which were what drew me to the bundle in the first place. I didn’t have a lot of length to play with so I focused on a small, tight, rounded shape with a little height for drama.

The oranges and creamy peach tones got a bit lost against the backdrop but then I remembered I had this awesome shibori-like fabric which provides great contrast.

Overall, this might not be the most dramatic or stylish arrangement I’ve put together, but there’s something undeniably charming and happy about it, and we could all use a little more happiness in our lives right now.

Kannon Ikebana

This ceramic figure of Kannon (観音,  Guanyin, Kwan Yin, more) belonged to my grandmother, who I’ve mentioned on this blog many times before. She was always an inspiration to me. I’ve never been a spiritual person of any ilk, but I can’t help admire and respect the bodhisattva of mercy and compassion. My grandmother and father always referred to her as Guanyin, which is her Chinese name. The Japanese refer to her as Kannon, so for the purposes of a Japanese-inspired arrangement that’s what I stuck with today.

A while back, Naomi sent me some great little vintage floral books, including one published by Coca-Cola, of all things. In it was a very pretty arrangement using a nearly-identical figure of her, so I knew I was determined to create one of my own at some point. My first thought was peonies, but I found these plush chrysanthemums and felt that I had to use them. The small pink ranunculus add a little touch of colour and the small rounded shape of them combined with the large ruffled kiku are reminiscent of peonies in the end, I think! To balance the soft organic qualities of both the flowers and the statuette I arranged them in repeating triangles, and then I anchored the whole piece in a shallow white vessel that also belonged to my grandmother to bring it all full circle.

Something I’ve had floating around in my head for months always has the possibility of going very awry and not turning out how I’d envisioned it. That would have been frustrating on a normal day, but while still dealing with a concussion it would likely have pushed me over the edge and resulted in a rather epic sulk.Thankfully, that was not the case this time. I’m really happy with how it pulled together.

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

Cinderella – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes 🎵

I started this project with a modern princess, so a classic one seemed like a good place to go next. Cinderella is pretty much the quintessential Disney Princess – she’s kind, clever, determined, and beautiful. Her castle is the centrepiece of several Disney parks and serves as the opening sting for their movies. So I knew I had to do her justice!

I bought this kimono last month at Kimono Vintage Montreal, and I didn’t specifically have Cinderella in mind when I did, I just fell in love it with. I realised after bringing it home that it was a very appropriate shade of blue and had a definite princess vibe to it. While there is no pink in her official outfit, her mother’s dress she plans to wear to the ball initially is pink, and I really liked the idea of calling back to that in a subtle way. The obi has heian noble carts, reminiscent of her pumpkin carriage. Admittedly they’re not one of my favourite motifs but this one was a steal at $5 and fit the theme so well I couldn’t say no after a friend suggested it. I tied it in an improvised bow reminiscent of a fukura suzume to keep the balance between feeling sweet and princess-ish while still showing off the carts.

In a perfect world, this coordination would be paired up with some of Robe Japonica’s incredible acrylic geta to emulate Cinderella’s infamous glass slippers. However, they’re only available in men’s styles and they’re very expensive, so for the time being silver zori and a slipper obidome I made will have to suffice. A bit of black ribbon finished things off nicely, echoing Cinderella’s black choker.

So far, things are turning out very well in this project, I think. I hope I keep up this momentum and success throughout the entire thing!

 

Winter to Spring Ikebana

Here is is, guys; my first attempt at a proper ikebana arrangement!  After spending the past week and a half poring over the books I’ve received. There’s two still in the mail, but the ones I’ve got already help a ton. There is so much to learn, and I suspect in a year or so I will look back on this one with embarrassment, but for now I’m very proud of myself.

For this first project I wanted to keep things simple, so I stuck with a moribana-style arrangement with three types of plant materials representing the shin, soe, and hikae elements. The pussy-willows were chosen to represent the upcoming spring, but also to remind me of my grandmother Lorraine, whose collections and passions for Japanese art have always inspired me. She had pussy-willows in a glass vase in her apartment at all times. The white spider chrysanthemums felt like an ideal way to represent Japan. The red berries represent the last of winter, and bring a bit of colour and rhythm into an otherwise very quiet arrangement.

This was very soothing for me to make, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing this project as I get more access to flowers and greenery.