Kits-Mas Day 2 – Oh Christmas Tree!

Yesterday I went with a classic holiday-inspired colour scheme, so today I wanted to do something a little more fun and modern. I bought this hanhaba obi a few weeks back and while it was listed as “geometrical trick art” but it totally made me think of pine needles, which of course made me think of a Christmas tree!

I realise purple is a bit of an unexpected accent colour, but it was already in the obi and coordinates so nicely with the warm green so I decided to run for it. I also added some little sparkly gems to the haneri to make it feel more festive and improvised an obi musubi to look like a tree! I’m not sure how well I succeeded there, but I think it’s cute enough. A few more sparkly gems to emulate ornaments on a tree, and this outfit just came together perfectly.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, those of you that celebrate. Did you receive any awesome kimono or related things as gifts? If so, I would love to see! As for me, I got some great books I’d been wanting; the 25th Anniversary update of Liza Dalby’s Geisha and a lovely little reference called Kimono Design  and I’ll be posting reviews of both when my life settles down a bit.

Vaguely Reminiscent of a Turkey

Today is Thanksgiving in that big weird nation just south of me. Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and it’s more of a generalised harvest festival than a celebration of any specific event involving settlers. It’s still a bit fraught, but it doesn’t have quite the same baggage attached to it. Last month, I posted a harvest-themed ikebana in honour of our celebration, but since the bulk of my readers and many of my friends and family are from the good ol’ US of A I thought it would be fun to do a thanksgiving themed outfit today.

I don’t really have anything with appropriate motifs, but then I remembered this gorgeous purple tsukesage with peacocks on it. The peacocks are quite abstracted, and if you squint, they totally look like turkeys, right? Humour me here.

Last time I coordinated this particular kimono I went for a very sleek monochrome look, so this time I wanted to do something a little more traditional. This orange and gold obi is an enormous nuisance to tie because it’s incredibly stiff, but it had a sort of festive harvest vibe to it which went well with the theme I was going for. The orange also pops very well against the rich plum of the kimono, I think. I kept the accessories in the same warm-toned range, leaning a bit more towards dark pink but still cohesive.

Unfortunately the weather is garbage today and the light in the living room was quite terrible, so these photos are overexposed in places and underexposed in others, but they still convey the mood I was going for.

If you are observing thanksgiving today, I hope you have a wonderful one. Spend time with your loved ones, eat far too much food, and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got. Have a good long weekend!

Belated Birthday Ikebana

Last Thursday, my cousin sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. I enjoyed them as-is for a week, but like all flowers, they eventually started looking a little limp. Some of them, however, were still great and fresh so I thought I would try to give them a bit of a second life, since I’m not quite ready to part with them yet.

There were some freshly opened lilies and beautiful lisianthus in shades of purple that were still looking quite lovely. I used the same lucky bamboo from the really architectural-style arrangement I made a few months back to add structure to the soft-stemmed lisianthus and anchored the whole arrangement with the pale pink lilies. I chose a green vessel so it would kind of fade into the background.

Overall I really like how this one turned out, but I’ve come to realise that I am definitely falling into a rut. I’ve been doing an awfully large amount of sparse upright arrangements featuring purple flower of some sort or another. I need to start diversifying, working on more modern shapes, and more low wide natural-feeling ones. Unfortunately now that winter’s nipping at our heels I don’t have as much access to interesting flowers. However, I know I will be splurging a couple of times and doing something for Christmas and something for New Year’s, at the very least.

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!