#MonoKimono Challenge – Cool Blue

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It’s the last weekend of the month, and you know what that means! It’s #monokimono weekend, and for this one I decided to go blue to suit the rainy mood outside. I also knew I had to go with something easy, so a poly komon and hanhaba obi fit the bill. If you’re not a fan of Kimono Tsuki on Facebook you won’t have seen my post, but Friday afternoon I lost an argument with the staircase at work and came out of it a little worse for wear. I’ve got a mild concussion, a sprained knee, and two cuts across my forehead that required surgical glue and a tetanus shot. That’s not counting all the varied aches, pains, and bruises scattered all over the rest of my body. Because of this, I knew I had no energy to wrestle with a bigger obi or a more fussy or fragile kimono. I didn’t want to skip this month completely, so I found the solution with these easy, modern blue pieces.

Initially, the outfit looked a bit too dark and heavy, and the obi wasn’t really jiving. Thankfully, using my blue cotton striped haneri in place of a kasane-eri helped lighten things up around the top. The kimono is also very big; I’d forgotten how big, so getting it onto the mannequin was a bit more fuss than I’d hoped for. But I think I made it work. This certainly isn’t the tidiest or best kitsuke I’ve done recently, but I’m proud of myself for managing to get something out despite my battered state!

I’ve also just noticed this outfit bears more than a passing resemblance to my little kimmidoll mascot over there on the sidebar. That was entirely accidental but it pleases me greatly.

Items used in this coordination

Vintage Temari

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Spring is still in the air, and I’m finally feeling up to dressing the mannequin! I’ve been trying to make coordinations using pieces I’ve never worked with before, and decided it was high time I use this vintage temari chuuya obi. It’s actually the reverse side of the amazing crustacean obi Naomi sent me a while back, this side is just a lovely bonus.

As gorgeous as this side is, it’s a bit difficult to work with. There are two sets of designs on an otherwise solid black base, but no matter how I tried tying it I could not get one on the front and one on the otaiko at the same time. I decided to keep the front plain and use a fun obijime so I could focus on getting the design centred on the back and make it the focal point. Maybe next time I’ll use an obidome to add a bit more interest.

My beloved purple cotton yabane kimono made a wonderful base for the obi, and I pulled the accent colours of salmon red and aqua out of the obi motif in the accessories so everything feels cohesive. I do wish I’d been able to get some sort of design on the front, but I still think that overall this was a successful outfit.

And yes, that is yesterday’s ikebana peeping out from behind the mannequin! I was going to move it for the photos but I thought it added a cute touch and I love how the yellow flowers match the yellow accents in the kimono.

Items used in this coordination

Hanakago Ikebana

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Hanakago (花篭) means “flower basket”, and it’s a common motif in art and textiles. The baskets can be of any shape and size, and are filled with a profusion of beautiful seasonal flowers. I knew I really wanted to do a hanakago ikebana arrangement, but I’d been waiting for more inspiration than that.

Today was the first day of the year that genuinely felt like spring. I actually went and ran errands without even needing a jacket, and I wanted to celebrate that. I decided to go for a very loose, natural-feeling assemblage of springy flowers in the basket. A beautiful blue hydrangea forms the anchor of the piece, sunny forsythia bring in height and shape, and yellow daisies and a few white ranunculus fill it in and bring some much-needed softness.

It’s a much looser shape than I’m used to doing, but I feel like it’s still very effective. It feels happy and natural and bright. I’m quite happy with how it looks in this little nook, and it will make me smile when the sun and warmth inevitably vanish again in a day or two.

Tea Time – Sakura Matsuri Tea

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With a shop name like Tiaras ‘n Teakettles and years of experience organising tea parties, dinner parties, and formal balls, you know Jess has to be serious about tea. Nowhere is this more evident than in this custom blended Sakura Matsuri tea. I’ve been fighting off some kind of sinus/throat crud for just over a week now, so a nice cup of tea seemed like the perfect treat today.

Sakura Matsuri is Japanese for Cherry Blossom Festival, which makes it a perfect name for this tea. It’s a blend of quality. long-leaf green tea with cherry essence and dried rose petals that give the green base a fresh, spring-like flavour.  Even though the cherry and rose of this tea are subtle and well-balanced, I would still recommend it more as an afternoon treat or a dessert accompaniment – the flavours likely wouldn’t mesh well with hearty main course foods, if you’re the type to enjoy tea with your dinner.

The risk of incorporating florals into tea blends is that they can often end up tasting soapy but the rose aspect of this tea is perfectly complemented by the green tea and the cherry notes. It’s definitely there, but it’s subtle enough that the focus remains on the tea itself. When I made the first pot of this to try out, everyone in the household was a fan, which is rare. This is a light, lovely tea for the transitional springtime. And of course, with a sakura-themed tea, I had to use this sakura cup from Ceramic Ai that I love to bits. It snowed here in Montreal this morning, but this combination of tea and cup brings a little bit of brightness into my life.

The packet sold is a very generous amount, good for several large pots. I also love the added detail of including the steeping directions on the label. Lighter teas often require cooler water and shorter steep times, and having them right at hand is very useful. It’s a small touch, but very much appreciated.

If and when spring ever arrives here, this tea would be perfect for a dessert picnic under the flowering trees. Something to look forward to, I suppose!

 I purchased this item myself and chose to review it.This post contains affiliate link(s). If you choose to purchase, I receive a small rebate or commission which goes to the continued maintenance of this site. 

Art Gallery – Rilakkuma & Friends

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There are a number of Rilakkuma cafés spreading across parts of Asia, and on their coasters is this absolutely charming little drawing of Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori in furisode-style kimono. The first time I saw it, I knew I wanted to make a little drawing based off of it, because it was just too cute. I ended up making this sort of quilted-style illustration and I think it turned out really well.

Now, I realise Rilakkuma is supposedly a boy bear, and putting him in a pink furisode seems a bit odd, but I figured since the original illustration had all three of them in furisode with female-type dressing and accessories, I’d just run with it. I’m glad I did, because this is so adorable it’s kind of making my teeth hurt. I’m quite happy with the end result.

If you’d like a print of this goofy little drawing, you can always click here to buy one from my Society6 shop. You get art, I get a few dollars to help defray the costs of this blog. Everyone wins!

Lastly, a quick note; for the next week or two, I will likely not be changing the mannequin. I’m in the throes of a nasty sciatica flare-up and it’s making it difficult to stand, let alone do something like wrestle with kimono. I’ve got lots of other fun things to share with you all in the meantime, and I appreciate your patience and understanding in advance.