Tea Time – Caesar’s Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose

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Caesar’s Tea is a local company that has displays of all sorts of amazing loose-leaf teas in higher-end supermarkets here in Quebec. I’d been curious about them for a while but never found myself picking anything up, for some reason. At least, that was true until I found their Caesar’s Tea Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose at a store near me and decided to take the plunge. I love green teas and sakura flavour, so I figured even if it wasn’t fantastic it would still be enjoyable at the very least.

Thankfully, I had no reason to be concerned. The tea is delicious. It’s a delicate green tea with actual flower petals and a very light floral scent from the cherry blossoms and roses. It’s subtle, and not remotely artificial or overly sugary – definitely a hint of sakura but it’s delicate enough that it never risks overpowering or overwhelming the tea flavour in the least. It’s delicious alone, or with a bit of honey if you like your teas sweet. It’s even pretty to look at, with the soft pink flower petals. And since it’s been such a hot summer, you’ll be thrilled to know that it’s also great iced, or mixed with coconut milk

The only thing I would caution you about is that like any true green tea, it does tend to get a little bitter if you use boiling water or steep it too long. Just be sure you stop your kettle before it reaches a rolling boil, and don’t steep it for more than a couple of minutes and it will be great. I would even say it’s almost over-steeped in the photos below, but it didn’t bring out any noticeable bitter taste.

I am very much looking forward to trying some more of their teas. They have pre-measured cans of loose tea available in most large supermarkets, and are even adding loose tea dispensers in some locations, so you can measure out as little or as much as you want. I’ve got my fingers crossed my local supermarket will expand their selection sometime soon!

I purchased this item myself and chose to review it.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me.

Vintage style with modern convenience

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After Gofuku no Hi, I realised owning at least one other hakama would greatly expand my kimono wardrobe. Even though I’m still far too chunky to fit into most of my kimono properly, they do a great job of hiding a less-than-ideal hip wrap. I found a lovely modern teal polyester hakama from ebay seller Yoshihori and snatched it up. The seller had embroidered ones too, which were utterly lovely, but significantly more expensive. So I decided to be reasonable and buy the plain one. So imagine my surprise when the seller contacted me, incredibly apologetic, telling me the plain one was sold out and would I like the embroidered one instead, for no extra charge? Of course I said yes!

A few days after I bought it, but before it had arrived in the mail, a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was selling off a large chunk of her collection, including a gorgeous mauve kofurisode that was clearly meant to be worn with hakama. The colours were gorgeous, and it had a wonderful sort of large-scale Taisho-inspired feel to it. I knew it had to come live with me, and be paired up with the new hakama as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Initially, I’d planned to wear the ensemble to Otakuthon, Montreal’s big anime convention. However, it’s in the middle of August and we’re already regularly breaking the high 30s temperature-wise. Even in a heavily air-conditioned convention centre, there’s no way I could wear synthetic awase and not die. So I decided to put the outfit together to see how it looks. Everything is very heavily decorated with sakura, so of course I chose a coordinating haneri. I waffled a bit between yellow and purple obi, but decided to use the purple so it sort of disappeared. The kimono and hakama are busy enough, the outfit didn’t need another level of contrast.

I know I say this a lot, but I love love love how this turned out. I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear it. Maybe for my birthday, in November?

Summer Breeze

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Summer may officially start tomorrow, but it’s here with a vengeance already. It’s blisteringly hot and humid out, and even looking at the heavy, layered outfit that I’d left on the mannequin was making me hot! I got this adorable ro komon with bells a few years ago but never had a chance to wear it. It’s very long, which is great, but it’s also very narrow. Even at my thinnest, it never fit. It’s just too cute to get rid of, and I figured it was high time it had a moment in the (blistering) sun.

The obi is not usumono, but it’s a thin hanhaba, and the yellow colour really draws the eye to the yellow-gold bells on the kimono itself. I used my pink seashell summer-weight obiage and obijime to add an accent colour. I went with the ubiquitous pink set because it’s actually the only summer set I have. I’ll eventually invest in more sets, but as I currently don’t own a single usumono kimono that fits me, it’s not really a priority right now. I tied the obiage in a bow to echo the obi in back, to add a bit more softness and girliness to an otherwise very simple outfit. It feels light and airy, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Items used in this coordination

Review: Origami crafts from Tori Creations

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As you probably know, I am always looking for unique ways to incorporate a bit of traditional Japanese aesthetic into my daily life. At my current size and health level, wearing kimono with any regularity just isn’t practical. Housewares and accessories, however, are an excellent way to accomplish this. Anne-Claire of Tori Creations makes incredible, beautiful works of art using traditional washi paper and various origami techniques. She was kind enough to send me a wonderful assortment of her products for me to review and share.

First up was this wonderful lamp. The lamp itself is very clean-lined and simple, which ensures that all the focus is on the beautiful paper she’s chosen to decorate the shade. The workmanship in this lamp, like all her other products, is impeccable. There is one seam line where the paper edges meet but it’s very clean and easily hidden. All the inside edges are very well-finished and securely adhered. It makes an excellent bedside lamp!

 

She also sent along this charming light string. Each balloon-style shade is a different pattern or colour, and they’re very fun and playful-feeling. The lights themselves are LEDs, which means there’s no risk of overheating and damaging the paper. So not only are these beautiful, you can tell Anne-Claire has put a lot of thought into the functionality of them as well.

Last, but not least, are these completely adorable ornaments. There is a blue crane, a sweet little fish, and a tiny horse. They’re very safely and carefully nestled into delicate glass ornaments, complete with a little bit of “snow” in the bottom. The snow makes these ideal for Christmas, but honestly they’re too cute to keep hidden away the rest of the year. I think I will hang them in one of my windows.

Anne-Claire was a complete pleasure to interact with. These are all very well-made, and were incredibly well-packed. The lights were in one box, surrounded by protective packing peanuts. The ornaments were in a separate box, very safely nestled in cotton wool. The lamp was disassembled (though it was very easy to put together) and all of them were bundled carefully with bubble wrap in another box. She even included lightbulbs! Canada Post is notorious for mangling things, but aside from having to re-inflate a few of the balloon-style lamp shades, everything was pristine.

If you would like to get one (or more!) of these beautiful and practical works of art, Anne-Claire has graciously offered a 25% discount to my readers through her Etsy shop. Simply use the code MOONBLOSSOM at checkout and the discount will be automatically applied.

I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me.

Lovely Layers

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Go figure, as soon as I change the blog’s colour scheme to summer, the real summer vanishes. It’s cold and damp and dreary out, and I was inspired to play with layers. I wanted to replicate the look of a vintage dounuki (under-layer kimono that usually coordinates or contrasts with the layer above it), but using modern pieces. I love the lush look of something very patterned beneath something simpler so I paired up my yagasuri komon and rich blue flowered tsukesage. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to use an awesome tsuke-obi I hadn’t yet coordinated with anything. Yellow accessories contrasted nicely but tied everything together, since there are yellow accents in the obi, and yellow centres on some of the flowers of the kimono.

One thing I learnt is that dressing a wobbly mannequin in multiple layers is even more difficult than dressing yourself in multiple layers. Thankfully my poor, long-suffering father was happy to help by holding her in place and holding layers together while I tied things up. I do think it was worth the hassle though. It looks rich and sumptuous, and all the colours tie together quite harmoniously. I don’t think this outfit is something I would wear out (way too hot and bulky), but I’m glad I put it all together nonetheless.

Items used in this coordination