Undersea Adventure

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Today is Gofuku no Hi (着物着ます, Wear Kimono Day), and even though I finally have some kimono that fit me well, I just wasn’t up to getting dressed myself. I’m still under the weather from allergy season and a few days ago I stepped on a very large chunk of glass and my foot hurts enormously. But I couldn’t let the day pass by without at least dressing the mannequin!

I’d been feeling sort of uninspired lately, trying to come up with interesting new coordinations with pieces I own and love but nothing was coming to mind. Suddenly, yesterday, it hit me. My beloved geisha hikizuri and octopus obi from 3Magpies Studio would come together perfectly to form an elegant. monochrome undersea outfit.

Dressing the hikizuri like a regular kimono was more of a challenge than I’d anticipated. There’s a ton of fabric folded up under the obi but I think I did a very good job of keeping it neat and tidy. I really love how the theme and colours came together, and this gorgeous octopus obidome with pearls and red synthetic coral pieces from PintoPonyProductions was the perfect crowning touch.

Back when I did the Disney Princess Project a lot of folks suggested I do villains. While it wasn’t my intention, between the purple tones and aquatic motifs this outfit has a definite Ursula vibe to it. Maybe I will do the villains after all!

Items used in this coordination

A Questionable Success

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Sometimes being really obstinately determined to accomplish something is the worst way to go about it. I’d been wanting to do something with the flowers from the trees in the park near my house since the forsythia started blooming about a week ago. However, the timing just never seemed to work out.

Last night, I was insistent. I’m still not feeling great and I’d had a long, painful, irritating day at work, but still I was convinced that stopping in the park and getting some branches was absolutely necessary. The forsythia are just beyond their prime and the crab-apples are about to burst open, so it was really the last time I’d be able to pick both of them and have them be workable at the same time.

As you can see though, I was not in the right state (either physically or emotionally) to try to do a decent arrangement. The branches fought me every step of the way and rather than pull back and take a moment to rethink my concept, I just pushed forward and made the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Not the best mindset to do ikebana in, really.

In the end I got an arrangement that feels balanced, at least, and I don’t hate it. But it certainly doesn’t feel as harmonious as it should, and I think honestly I’d have been better off just waiting it out and focusing on some other type of flowers when I was feeling better. Let this be a lesson to you all; sometimes pushing forward and forcing yourself is good but sometimes it’s the world’s way of telling you to take a break.

Taisho Turquoise, Take Two

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How’s that for some terrible alliteration? I know the last coordination I posted was with this kimono, but I just love it so much I couldn’t bear to take it off the mannequin yet. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I also had plans for a more subtle coordination with it, and since I’m feeling a little under the weather (this allergy season has been horrendous) simply changing up the accessories rather than re-dressing her from the ground up seemed like a good idea for today.

While the first outfit I did focused on bright contrast, this one is much more soft and harmonious. The white and silver obi echoes the white parts on the hem of the kimono, and I got to use the pink and turquoise obijime that matches so perfectly. Isn’t it interesting how changing up the obi and accessories can give such a drastically different mood to the same kimono?

Items used in this coordination

Vibrant Vintage

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For someone who keeps telling herself she doesn’t need more kimono, I sure do keep ending up with more kimono. But when I saw this gorgeous vibrant turquoise Taisho irotomesode on Ichiroya recently, I knew it had to come live with me. This piece is not in great shape, admittedly. It’s got sun damage that leads me to believe it was folded and then stored badly at some point in its life. But I was just so in love with the colour that I couldn’t pass it up, and it became my tax refund gift to myself. It’s also incredibly small, bordering on too small for the mannequin even, so I have no delusions of ever being able to wear it even if I lose weight. Alas. 🙁

I knew immediately that I wanted to pair it up with this bold orange nagoya obi that really pulls out all the gorgeous warm tones in the hem design of tachibana and kaioke. My initial instinct was to go for more muted accessories, including an obijime that has nearly the same shade of turquoise, but then I remembered I have this bold haneri with tachibana in the same colours as the obi and just ran with it. I love the emphasis the rich purple tones bring to the whole coordination. I will definitely be revisiting this kimono soon with a more gentle and subtle coordination, but I really do love how bold and vibrant this turned out.

Items used in this coordination

Tea Time – DIY Floral Tea Blend

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Today I have something a little different for you guys! You all know I love tea, and I love flowers, so this nifty DIY floral tea bag project on the FTD By Design blog was right up my alley. This is a great way to make a custom tea blend that’s perfectly suited to your tastes. With Mother’s Day coming up here in North America, these would make a really unique gift!

The post has some great selections of food-safe dried flowers to work with. I actually had a harder time finding some of them than I anticipated, oddly enough. I’d suggest hitting up bulk food stores and organic speciality stores.I chose to start with a base of the wonderful organic sencha tea the lovely folks over at Tea Forte sent me, and added dried rosebuds and hibiscus blossoms. I remembered we had some dried lavender from our garden and decided to add a little of that too.

The DIY includes incredibly thorough instructions on how to make your own tea bags using items you probably already have at home, and offers some super cute printable tags. Personally, I’m in favour of loose tea, and prefer not to create more single-use waste, so I chose to print one of the adorable tags and package the tea in a mason jar. However, if you’re taking it to the office or offering it as gifts, the DIY bags would be a fantastic idea.

The tea blend I made was really nice, the florals didn’t overpower the earthiness of the green tea but they were definitely noticeable. It also turned a really pretty pink colour. I’m glad I made a bunch of it, and I can’t wait to steep myself another cup.

Thank you to FTD for sharing this tutorial. I hope you check it out and have fun as well!