Review – Pagoda Lantern kit from One Man One Garage

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Since we’re all trapped inside for the foreseeable future, it feels like a great time to share this fun little DIY project I found from a wonderful Etsy shop, One Man, One Garage! I purchased this back during the great bedroom flood debacle and assembled it when I needed a meditative little break; it was absolutely perfect.

One Man, One Garage creates laser-cut wood craft kits. All you have to do is carefully pop the pieces out of each board and assemble them, following the numbers etched into each piece. Instructions are provided online, but I honestly didn’t need them. This kit, despite looking incredibly intricate when complete, was very intuitive and smartly-designed. While not all the designs in this shop are Japanese in nature, this pagoda lantern caught my eye immediately and I knew I wanted to share it with you! Look how beautiful it is once it’s all lit up! The shop says it’s safe to use a tealight candle, but I’ve used an LED one here just in case.

It arrived tightly sealed, which helped keep all the pieces snug. This way there’s no risk of breakage. There was also a sweet little hand-signed postcard included, which is a personal touch that I really love when dealing with small artisan shops like this.

 

The only flaw I found in the kit was a very minor one, and I suspect a one-off issue. One of the laser cuts didn’t seem to have gone fully through the wood, which resulted in a bit of difficulty removing a piece. A tiny fragment broke off one end, but it wasn’t enough to impede assembly and it’s not even visible now that it’s all put together. I’m sure if I had contacted the shop they would have worked with me to sort it out, but it was such a tiny problem that I didn’t feel like it was worth bringing up. I just wanted to mention it here in the interest of being thorough.

Overall, this was a very fun, quick, and relaxing little craft. I love how it looks with the light in it, and I’m definitely going to be buying the Zen Garden kit (how utterly adorable is the little maneki neko?!) once I’m back at work and have some cash to spare. 🙂

 I purchased this item myself and chose to review it. 

Clear as Black and White

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I’ve been rolling the idea of an all black and white coordinate for quite a while now. I find myself with a surfeit of free time now, due to my sudden lack of employment due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so I figured I may as well really buckle down and start doing all the kimono-related things I’ve had loosely percolating in the back of my mind for months now.

Of course, I started with my all-white shiromuku bridal furisode. The black anchor came from the homsue-hem style juban I made last summer for the fashion show. I debated removing the ruffles afterwards but decided I liked it so much I wanted to use it in other ways. I’m very glad I kept it! To balance out the black at the cuffs and hem, I went with a black obi. For the haneri and obiage, I actually used some fabric I had left over from last year’s Halloween costume, where I went as a sort of celestial moon goddess. I really love how it works here and I’m seriously debating cutting and hemming some pieces properly, to use again in the future. The final finishing touch was a beaded silvery-white obijime that echoes the sparkle of the stars on the accessories as well as breaking up the solid black of the obi.

The fun thing about this outfit is that it allows me to use pieces that would traditionally never be used outside of specific circumstances; a wedding kimono and mourning obi and accessories! But since it’s such an out-there ensemble, and the addition of the very non-traditional ruffles on the juban, I think I got away with it just fine  😉

As I mentioned up top, I have indeed (temporarily) lost my job. The store where I work is a small, non-essential business, and we had no choice but to close indefinitely. I’m incredibly lucky to share a house with my folks which means that I’m not at risk for eviction or starvation. However, running this blog and bringing you guys new and exciting content on a regular basis isn’t exactly free. Whether it be new coordinations, book reviews, DIY projects, or even just covering the cost of hosting the blog, things might take a hit if I’m out of work for much longer. I know this crazy pandemic situation is affecting everyone, so I’m certainly not expecting anything, but if you are lucky enough to be working from home and have a steady income, I’m not too proud to add a link here to my donation & support page. Thank you for reading all this!

Items used in this coordination

Kitsuke à la Québecoise

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Last weekend, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I was supposed to give several presentations at Costume-Con 38. Unfortunately, in this era nothing is certain, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the con was cancelled.

Needless to say, I was gutted. I completely understand that the decision was out of the hands of the organisers, and it was the best thing for everyone involved, but it’s still upsetting to be so excited for something only to have it fall apart literally at the last minute. Aside from my own presentation, I was really looking forward to the Friday evening social. The theme was “traditional Québec” and I thought I’d have some fun with it by combining old-school Québecois Coureur Des Bois style with kimono.

Even though I wasn’t able to wear this in person, there’s nothing stopping me from subjecting the mannequin to it! I went with a wool kimono to evoke warm wool clothing, and this hanhaba obi has always reminded me a bit of a ceinture fléchée or traditional woven arrow belt. Over the top I put this weird dochugi-haori hybrid that looks like good old lumberjack buffalo plaid. Somehow, this particular coat has escaped my cataloguing efforts, along with the kimono it matches. I’ll fix that eventually.

This outfit may not make a lot of sense to anyone not from Québec, but that’s fine. Sometimes it’s good to do something that makes you happy. What are you doing to keep yourself happy in this panicky and uncertain time? Let me know!

I do plan to share the handouts and slideshow I created for the convention here when I can. Unfortunately, my Surface tablet PC (where the files were created and are stored) decided to bite the bullet yesterday. I don’t know if I can fix it, but if I can’t I’ll do my best to at least recover the files so I can upload them here soon!

Items used in this coordination

Bold, Bright, Beautiful

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Yesterday I got two obi in the mail that I wasn’t expecting until at least a few weeks from now. It was a lovely surprise! Of course, I knew I’d want to coordinate them soon, so I asked you guys on Facebook and Instagram which of the two I should coordinate. This bold black and red tsubaki nagoya won by a landslide, so here we go.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a very subdued kimono to really show off the obi, or something a bit more bright to try to balance it out visually. Then I remembered that this giant poly komon (one of two kimono I own that currently fit my fat butt) has accents of pretty much the exact same colours – red, cream, and yellow/gold. Loud and busy won the day, as it often does in my life lately!

Because the pattern on the obi is so large and graphic it almost reads as quiet next to the busy quality of the kimono. I think that rather than competing for attention they complement each other beautifully. I went with a solid yellow haneri because I figured there was enough going on with the two main pieces that I didn’t want to introduce yet another pattern or visual element. As for the obiage and obijime, I know I use these so often but they just work with so many of my things. I still don’t quite understand how such obnoxious, lemon-yellow accessories match basically everything, but they do. Kimono sorcery!

The finishing touch was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother. I’m not sure what the stone in the centre is, but it’s a perfect match to the kimono, and brings just the right pop of teal in to break up the obi slightly.

Items used in this coordination

Over Hills and Mountains

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One of the best ways to bring back flagging or missing motivation is a new piece. I saw this gorgeous 53 Stations of the Tokaido obi in the extra clearance section over at Ichiroya just over a month ago. It had been marked down to $16, and I couldn’t resist. It arrived earlier this week and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

I decided to combine the soft, painted quality of the obi with a bolder, woven design on the kimono. They’re both landscapes with mountains, but the different techniques complement each other wonderfully. The obi has gorgeous, soft dusty decoration and I pulled out the sort of raspberry/burgundy colours with the accessories. A green obijime echoes the kimono, and an agate obidome in the same reddish tones was the perfect finishing touch.

To prepare for my upcoming presentations at Costume-Con 38, I also used this as an occasion to practice doing kitsuke while explaining what I was doing. My poor father was subjected to my “lecture”, and he was a good sport about it.  😛

Since this obi is so new, I don’t have proper close-up photo of it yet, but that’s coming! I need to catalogue a lot of new stuff sometime soon. It’s just a bit overwhelming.

Items used in this coordination