Unseasonably Sunny Ikebana

Typically, ikebana should reflect the seasons and the natural world around you. I’d been meaning to make an arrangement inspired by falling leaves, but haven’t sourced nice enough foliage. It’s also been very cold and dreary here lately, the sun is setting by half past four in in the afternoon, and we had our first snow of the year today, which isn’t exactly inspiring to me. I still want to attempt an ikebana with fall foliage, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.

So when I found this bright, happy sunflower at the florist’s I decided to bring a little sunlight into my day. Vibrant purple irises and these little yellow pom-pom like craspedia blossoms balanced both shape and colour of the sunflower, and combined to form a nice tall standing arrangement. This shallow, bright yellow vessel seemed like the perfect container. It’s actually a serving bowl, but it worked out so well.

It may be entirely inappropriate for the season, but it makes me smile, and we all need a little more of that in our lives lately, don’t we?

Subtly Spooky

Happy Halloween, everyone! I had tons of fun last year doing a month’s worth of various Halloween coordinations but this month was too busy to devote myself to anything like that. I knew I had to do something though, and that’s where this suitably subtly spooky outfit came from!

The starting point was unsurprisingly the obi. Obi with seasonal, spooky, or gothic motifs tend to be quite popular, and as such, also quite expensive. This one cost me nearly nothing, since it’s the reverse side of an obi I already owned! I found this gorgeous iridescent gemstone skull sticker at a craft store. It’s actually a Martha Stewart brand product, of all things. Once I had the skull, I knew I wanted to decorate an obi with it but I was worried it would be too plain, but then I found a spool of adhesive ribbons and trims and I was all set.

I knew I wanted a fairly plain kimono so that the focus would be on the bling-tastic obi. I waffled over a few choices, debated buying something, and then I remembered I had this little beauty, a gift from the same dear friend who sent me the vintage kakeshita a while back. This piece is quite old, and quite fragile. The silk itself is very clearly sun-damaged, faded in spots, and has several tears and frays where the seams are coming apart. It’s also one of those odd hybrid kimono that we hardly ever see anymore. From a distance, it is (or was, before the fading) a solid uniform purple shade with a single crest, which would place is straight in iromuji territory. But up close, it’s shot through with gold stripes, which is not something you’d generally see in a modern iromuji. Whatever you want to call it, I’m so glad I finally found a way to use it!

The finishing touch for this outfit is a brooch I made a while back with supplies from the very same craft store. It wasn’t made with kimono or any particular event in mind, I was just feeling creative. But it works so well with this outfit, you’d think I’d done it on purpose! I tied everything together with black, red, and dark raspberry pink accessories and came up with what I think is a very spooky but also very wearable coordination!

Are you dressing in kimono this halloween? If so, please share photos!

Rapunzel – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵 Flower gleam and glow 🎵

Rapunzel is definitely one of the more “fun” princesses. She’s got a chameleon for a best friend, she can fight with a frying pan, and she undeniably has the best hair of anyone. I wanted to find a way to acknowledge that amazing, magical hair without using a wig.

How better to emulate a long gold cascade than a gorgeous gold obi tied darari-style? This style is typically worn by maiko, but I feel like it was the best way to capture Rapunzel’s hair in a way that still felt true to the project. The addition of some silk flowers really kicked it up a notch. Of course I had to use a pink and purple kimono to echo her pink and purple dress. I purchased the obijime on a whim a while back, and I realised it would be a great reinforcement of not only the colour scheme but also her braided hair. Not only that, but the pearls on them form sweet little flowers that call back to the golden flower that granted Rapunzel’s healing powers. After that, braiding a few obiage together really pulled everything together, I think. And of course, Pascal the chameleon had to make an appearance.

And with that, all of the brave, brilliant, beautiful Disney Princesses are done! I’ve assembled a master post for the entire project, and I’m so happy with how they all look together!

Ariel – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?🎵

Six weeks ago, I found a kimono on ebay that was perfectly reminiscent of Belle’s yellow ballgown from Beauty & The Beast. I snatched it up, and thus the ridiculous Disney Princess Kitsuke Project was born. I spent the following weeks plotting out coordinations for every single one of the official princesses. Made a few purchases, but mostly tried to use my existing collection. However, six weeks in, that gorgeous gold kimono still hasn’t arrived. I felt my frustration setting in and my motivation up and running away. I knew the only way to keep myself on track was to work on some of the other princesses in the interim.

Ariel seemed like a good starting point, as she was the first “new” princess of my youth. I definitely identify the most with Belle (nerdy idealistic brunette? come on!) but had very strong memories of Ariel too so she seemed like logical next best thing. I chose my teal green hakama to mimic her tail, a sparkly purple komon to match her purple shell bra, and my shell haneri. It’s not very visible, but of course I had to use my whale hanhaba obi under the hakama, right? Last time I was at the craft store, I kept an eye out for charms and decorative items I could use in this project, and the first thing I found was a cute little shell charm. I figured I could work with that, and then I stumbled across the dinglehopper and couldn’t have been happier! I assembled them together with some silver chain, and some pearly beads and starfish charms finished it off perfectly.

Overall, I think this first outfit in the project came out exactly how I wanted it to. Which is a good thing, because now my motivation is back on track for the rest of them! I’ll likely be aiming to doing one a week, and then a big collective entry when they’re all complete. I hope you come back to see the others.

 

Pretty Pastels

It’s hot out there, you guys. It’s so hot! I really needed to make an outfit that felt summery and breezy to counteract the oppressive weather. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this adorable card-suit obi that followed me home from California. It seemed like a good place to start. Even before I’d brought it home, I was thinking it would work well with this hydrangea hitoe komon I’ve had for years that never gets enough love. It’s way too tiny for me to ever wear, and I admittedly only bought it because it was bundled with an obi I wanted, but the light colour palette and seasonality of motif fit perfectly with the breezy summer concept I was aiming for.

This adorable shell haneri from Kansai_Gal seemed like the ideal finishing touch for the outfit. Rather than default to my usual standbys for a hanhaba obi (chocho musubi or karuta musubi) I thought I might try to be inspired by Choko and her amazing ability to improvise soft and relaxed-looking obi musubi that would also fit with the airy and relaxed style I was aiming for. I would like to think I’ve succeeded.

A few of us here in Montreal are having a kimono meet-up  this coming weekend and I do wish there was some way I could get this kimono to fit me, but even if I were to lose a huge amount of weight it would still be too narrow across the back and too short, sadly. It would look so cute with pink lace tabi and my card-suit geta, but that’s a coordination for another person on another day. I will likely end up wearing my bunny komon and teal hakama, and you can be sure I will take tons of photos so check back early next week for that.