成人の日Seijin no Hi 2019

Today is 成人の日 (Seijin no Hi, coming of age day), so of course it’s time for a 成人式 (Seijin Shiki, coming of age ceremony) outfit! It seems like the further away I get from my 20th birthday the more fun I have with these. Go figure!

I’ve been meaning to pair my newest furisode with this black-based obi to make the hanaguruma stand out more, and this seemed like the best time to do it. Since there’s already a lot going on with the kimono and obi, I went with a relatively neutral haneri that’s still bright and bold enough to feel youthful.

I used my handmade sanjuhimo and had fun improvising a big, bold obi musubi. My original plan was to use this round salmon-coloured obijime to hold everything in place, but it got a bit lost against the obi. Then I realised I could use it as a decorative accent in the obi musubi, and I love how it looks! I used a punchier lime-green and metallic obijime instead, and balanced that colour out in the obiage and kasane-eri.

The white fur collar is a very common addition to seijin shiki ensembles; since they take place in early January it’s a great way to add both warmth and elegance to the furisode. In previous years, I’ve used a brown and grey fur stole, but this year I really wanted to go with the more traditional bright white. You’ve got no idea how hard it is to find one though. I hit up a bunch of boutiques and thrift stores and even went looking in fabric and craft stores, and had no luck at all. I was about to give up when I remembered I had this sheepskin from Ikea, of all things! A few straight cuts with a very sharp blade and voila, a beautiful, fluffy white stole.

I think this is probably the most successful seijin no hi outfit I’ve put together so far.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit Generator Experiment

A few months back, I coded up a little script to generate some kimono coordination ideas. If you click that link you can play with it as well! I thought it would be fun to use it myself, since I was feeling motivated to play with kimono but wasn’t getting that strike of inspiration I usually start with.

This is the combination I got, so I got to work. Purple iromuji was straightforward enough, since I only have the one. It’s not quite Taisho but it is lined with red and has elegantly long sleeves, so it felt sufficiently vintage to me. All I had to do after that was work on creating an outfit around it.

My original plan was to use this bright turquoise nagoya obi, but against the purple it definitely felt more bold and youthful than “Elegant”. But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about how gingko are one of my favourite ornamental trees ever and yet I only have one item with them as a motif, and even then it’s a very small, subtle part.

It seemed like the universe was telling me to use that particular obi. It’s fairly modern, but something about the designs and colour palette feel timeless, and the hints of purple in it play very well with the purple kimono. I pulled accessories out of the obi’s colour selection and finally found an opportunity to use this new haneri.

Everything really came together well, I think. I managed to stick quite close to the suggestions the generator threw at me, and the outfit still feels totally wearable, not costumey or ridiculous. I think whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I’ll use the generator again and see what happens. If you use it, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Items used in this coordination

Daruma Colouring Page

Here we are in the first day of a new year. Twenty-eighteen was rough for a lot of people, and I think we’re all hoping for a happy, healthy, rewarding twenty-nineteen.

To start the year with focus and intention, I’ve created this Daruma colouring page. Daruma are traditional representations of a monk named Bodhidharma. When you purchase one, usually from a temple, there are no eyes painted on it. When you set a goal or wish for yourself, you paint in the first eye. When you’ve accomplished it, you can paint in the second eye.

Daruma can be painted in many different colours, based on your goals, but red is the most traditional and versatile, There are often characters painted on the front, again varying depending on your goal, but like the red colour, 福 (fuku, good fortune) is the most common. 

Here’s my daruma. I have set a few goals and dreams for myself this year. I’m no good with resolutions, but maybe this will encourage me to focus better. If and when I manage to accomplish any of them I will complete it and share again!

Here are a couple of blank versions, with and without kanji, for you to colour. Feel free to colour it digitally like I did or print it out and use more traditional methods.

If you colour it in, I would love to see! And I wish you all the best for this upcoming new year.

#MonoKimono Challenge – Bold Red

Can you believe the year is finally over? I knew I wanted to end the #monokimono challenge with a bang, so I went with a really festive-feeling bold red coordination.

I know I use this kimono a lot, but I do love it to bits. It was my first kimono and it’s still one of the easiest to work with. This whole outfit fell into place very easily and dressing the mannequin took no effort at all. Which is a good thing, because I slipped on the ice getting into the car last night and pulled my entire right side out of alignment. Nothing serious, but it’s uncomfortable and annoying! So I’m very glad this outfit cooperated so well.

Once I had the red kimono sorted, this red and white hakata obi was a no-brainer. The reds are nearly identical, and the white geometric plays off the flowing white kiku of the kimono. I don’t have a red haneri so I went with white, also with kiku motif, and a gold kasane-eri for a little bit of punch. The obijime is one I bought at that big kimono bazaar in the autumn and I’m so happy to have found a way to feature it.

This is such a bright, vibrant outfit. It feels perfect for that liminal time between Christmas and New Year’s day. It also brought me a lot of joy to coordinate it, and that’s something I sorely needed in my life right now.

I don’t know if I’ll do this monthly challenge again in 2019, but I know I will still be making monochrome outfits now and again because it’s a lot of fun and encourages me to step out of the “typical kimono comfort zone”.

Items used in this coordination

Silk Peony Ikebana

Last year, I made an origami ikebana arrangement as a gift for a friend. This year, I wanted to make something for my aunt that would coordinate with her decor and last a long time.

Everything here came from Michaels. I started with the gorgeous, bold red peony that I knew would be the focal point of the whole arrangement. Typically I’m not a huge fan of faux greenery, but these monstera leaves had way more substance and punch than most fake foliage, and since real monstera leaves are quite shiny and waxy anyway, these look much more realistic than most. All I needed after that was a something with height and airiness to balance the earthy, heavy quality of the flower and leaves. My father actually found these very thin branches with pretty silver beads on them that work as the perfect finishing touch.

Of course, I needed some sort of vessel, and I spent a fair bit of time rummaging around in a few different aisles until I found this one and fell in love with it. It’s an almost-perfect match for my aunt’s wall colours so I knew it would coordinate well and while it’s simple enough not to compete with the flower, the bit of texture makes it very earthy and interesting.

Typically, ikebana needs to be done with live, fresh, seasonal flowers. However, there are always acceptable reasons to deviate from the norm. Overall, I think for a silk flower arrangement this was very successful. And my aunt seemed to like it, which is the important part!