Elemental Basics Ikebana

A very clean and modern arrangement for today. My initial plan was for a few flowers anchored in a fair bit of water, but then I found this beautiful dense white mum that I knew would fit perfectly in this glass cube.

The stone at the bottom helps ground everything but makes sure the focus remains on the bloom. I really like how uncluttered the whole piece is, and I realised as I was assembling it that I had nods to all the elements working in tandem. The water is self-evident, and the stone clearly echoes the earth. The glass is transformed by fire, and the flower is balanced between water and air. I don’t normally post so many photos but this arrangement looked neat and unique from different angles, and I couldn’t resist it.

As this is the last weekend of the month, August’s #monokimono outfit should have gone up today but I’ve had rather a long week, I’m having a bad pain day, and I don’t have the energy to wrestle with the mannequin. It will be posted tomorrow!

Climbing Clematis Ikebana

First things first, I’d like to apologise for the relative radio silence this week. There’s been an unfortunate confluence of events; injuries to both my hands combined with more insufferable heat and humidity make it very hard to do things like work with textiles or review tea. I’ve also been in a bit of a bad mood today, dealing with some tech issues. I decided it was time to slow down and focus on something that would improve my mental state and not exacerbate my hand injuries – time for ikebana!

I knew going into it that I wanted to feature this awesome Tawami aluminium vase by AlArt that I received recently, and I wanted to keep the arrangement very minimal so as not to compete with it. I knew our clematis was blooming, and then I remembered I still had some curly willow branches lying around that would work as an excellent structure to wrap them around. Clematis vines are very thin and fragile, and if I’d just put them in alone they would have flopped over and looked very sad indeed. It feels very organic and balances out the sharp, modern lines of the vase perfectly.

Putting this together was exactly what I needed. It made me stop and focus on something other than the issues that were frustrating me. For half an hour, all that mattered was the plant matter between my fingers. Ikebana can be  a wonderful form of meditation, where you have to slow down and “listen” to what the flowers have to say, and how they want to interact with each other and the vessel you’ve chosen. If you find yourself going at top speed constantly and find that traditional “sit down and think of nothing” mindfulness techniques don’t work well for you, I urge you to give something like this a try!

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Fudangi First Friday – Funky Punk Yukata

We’ve got a true first for this month’s Fudangi First Friday – I’ve actually never put a yukata on the mannequin until now! This coordination is actually something I had set out to wear to an event. On Wednesday, the lovely folks at Kimono Vintage Montreal organised an outing in yukata to the Montreal Jazz Festival, and what better place to wear something funky and non-traditional?

Unfortunately, the whole province was in the middle of a lethal heat wave (which has thankfully broken now).  Even when I was younger I never handled the heat well, and my chronic health problems only exacerbate the issue. I decided to be prudent and stay home, and thought it would be a good opportunity to feature the outfit on Friday instead.

I love this yukata so much, and I’ve worn it out to a street festival before. It’s got a really unusual pattern of flames, skulls, handcuffs and snakes, amongst other things. The obi came with it and from a distance looks like it’s just got butterflies on it, but up close you can see that there are skulls in their wings. It seemed like the perfect thing to wear to a big outdoor music festival.

Rather than fight against my figure and try to bind my chest in this heat, I’d already decided to use a coordinating cotton tank top underneath and wear the yukata in a loose, open fashion. I stuck with that choice on the mannequin, as well as hiking the hem up shorter than standard, and I love how it looks! I was also inspired by Nichole and her epic kimono style to use a belt in lieu of obijime, and I really love how it all looks together. I think I will make a point of finding somewhere to wear it out like this, because it seems a shame not to!

Items used in this coordination

MonoKimono Challenge – Misty Mint

Does anyone else love Misty Mint candies? If you’ve never had them, they’re these wonderful, creamy, melty mint candy drops in beautiful pastel colours. They don’t make them anymore, sadly, and even if they did I couldn’t eat them since I’m allergic to dairy now, alas. However, the colour of this iromuji makes me think so fondly of them!

This coordination is basically a revisit of this monochrome outfit, but I wanted to do something softer, and without the hakama. This one feels more wearable, overall. I used the same kimono and haneri, but switched up to this shiny fukuro obi and accessories that blend in with the kimono itself. I had fun doing a sort of bunko variation with the obi, I quite like how it looks and it was very quick to do.

It’s also very interesting to me how this colour family photographs. In the original outfit with the hakama, it looks much more blue, today’s photos look much more green, and the catalogue photos below feel somewhere in between. All due to ambient light, time of day, and other external factors.

We’re halfway through the #monokimono challenge! I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and already have plans for the second half of the year. Are you doing the challenge? If so, please share links in the comments, I would love to see!

Items used in this coordination

Pride Rainbow!

June, as you may know, is Pride month for the LGBT+ community. Here in Montreal we have a Pride festival of our own in August, but I wanted to do something for June. I don’t really own any rainbow-themed items, but I realised I could assemble a rainbow of solid-coloured pieces! My fabulous purple komon with silver lamé designs, complemented by a red haori, yellow haneri, orange obiage, green obijime and blue hanhaba obi. I love how bold and vibrant this outfit is! It would be fun to wear this to an event, but it’s all lined synthetic and incredibly hot and heavy, even just to dress the mannequin.

The finishing touch was a beaded rainbow choker I’ve had for eons. I know necklaces aren’t technically proper for kimono but this outfit is already all over the place formality-wise to suit the rainbow theme, so I just ran with it.

I do apologise for the photos, my flash batteries are close to dying and I didn’t realise how badly balanced they were until I got downstairs and started processing them. Unfortunately, it’s nearly 40 C (100+ F) in my living room right now and I can’t deal with the idea of going back upstairs and taking more photos.

The world is a scary place right now. Just know that I love you all, whatever your orientation and gender may be. Stand tall and never be ashamed of who you are inside, even if you’re in a place where being yourself openly puts you at risk.

Items used in this coordination