Aquatic Green Ikebana

It’s been way too long since I’ve worked with flowers! I did one little arrangement during the April A to Z challenge, and before that it was last autumn.

To say I’m out of practice would be an understatement. But I’d been itching to do some ikebana for a while now, so today while I was out running errands I dropped by my favourite florist to see if anything inspired me. These funky green bells-of-ireland caught my attention and then I found the green ball dianthus that made me immediately think of marimo. And thus this inadvertently aquatic green arrangement was born. With the water and the green ball, the hydrangea mimics sea foam or  bubbles, and the bells-of-ireland give height to the arrangement and evoke some sort of underwater plant, or possibly the tentacles of some mysterious sea creature!

As ikebana, I’m not sure how successful this was. It’s very free-form, but still evocative and sleek. Considering how rusty I am, I’m quite happy with the end result.

In other news, my finger is almost healed now, so be on the lookout for some kimono coordination in the near future!

Tea Time – “Matchai” Latte

Hello everyone! I was all set to change the mannequin today to feature my adorable new obi with shrimp on it and then I went and drove a utility knife into the base of my finger. Whoops! It hurts like the dickens, and I’m afraid of getting blood everywhere, so no kitsuke for a while!

Instead, I thought I would share this “recipe” for a matcha-based drink I make and enjoy when it’s hot and muggy out. I hope you try it out and like it too; it’s a nice twist on a typical matcha latte. It’s a delicious combination of earthy matcha and sweet, spicy chai. I present to you the matchai latte!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp matcha of your choice (I’m using David’s Tea Matcha Matsu here)
  • 2 oz hot water
  • 2 cups chai (you can make your own, but I use Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai for this and it’s delicious and a lot easier)
  • Optional- If you’re not using a pre-mixed chai drink, a dash of honey or sugar can help balance out the earthiness of the matcha





Instructions

  • To make the matcha concentrate, whisk the tea and hot water vigorously or use a matcha shaker if you’re lazy like me (I like this one from David’s Teas) until your matcha and water are well-blended and form a thin paste. If you’re using a sweetener, add it here.
  • Pour your matcha concentrate into a tall glass, then add ice cubes if you like your drink really cold (personally I find the cold temperature of the chai enough to cool the drink down). If using ice, don’t pour the matcha concentrate over the ice, it tends to clump up and get stuck and not blend well.
  • Fill the glass with your chai beverage.
  • If you’re feeling fancy you can top the drink with a dollop of whipped cream or whipped coconut milk and a dusting of matcha. I think this adds a nice richness to the drink and makes it look elevated.

That’s it! You now have a delicious, refreshing, and unique drink that will rival the fanciest tea/coffee place.

(None of the links here are affiliate links, I just thought I’d share what I use!)

Tea Time – Tenmoku Tea Cup

Tenmoku (天目, also commonly referred to as Jian Zhan 建盏 in Chinese) is a stunning style of ceramic ware, created using high temperatures and glaze with a very high iron content. The end result is a variety of incredibly rich, deep, and iridescent finishes.

I received this beautiful “Jellyfish” teacup from Tenmokus.com, who provide a wide array of beautiful tenmoku cups and teapots. I was expecting it to be pretty, but nothing prepared me for how stunning it was in person. The glaze is so luxurious and layered, the shimmering rings peering through layers of translucent blues. This cup was undoubtedly named after the moon jelly, which just happens to be one of my favourite sea creatures ever.

It also feels perfect to hold. I have large hands (to go with the large rest of me, hah) and often small Asian tea cups are too small and I end up feeling clumsy and awkward holding them. This one is still delicate, but just large enough that it feels great to hold. It’s also a bit thick, which will also make it very comfortable when holding very hot tea, thicker walls mean less heat transfer.

Their cups are shipped in absolutely gorgeous presentation boxes that serve dual purpose; not only are they perfect for gifting but they’re so thick and well-padded that the cup was very well-protected during shipping.

My only “concern” with this cup, if you can even call it that, is that it’s so impossibly gorgeous that I almost don’t want to use it. But somehow just leaving it in the box or even on display feels disrespectful. This is a cup that cries out to be used and appreciated.

I highly recommend checking out Tenmokus.com if you’re in the market for a unique, stunning cup either for yourself or for a very special and unique gift.

 I purchased this item at a discounted price for honest review purposes. 

Thank you, Ichiroya!

If you’re active in the kimono communities online, odds are high that you’ve already heard the devastating news that Ichiroya, one of the oldest and most well-established online kimono stores, is closing. I’ve spoken about them at length here on this blog, even devoting an entire entry on how wonderful they are and how to use their services. Everyone there is so kind and helpful, and they’ve always been the first place I suggest when people want to dip their toes into buying vintage kimono online. While I am very sad,t this feels like the end of an era, I wish the owners all the best for their upcoming retirement!

I also used this as an opportunity to treat myself to some items I’d been watching for a while. One of the pieces I splurged on was this beautiful vintage houmongi with genjiko motif on an utterly lush purple background. When it arrived, I realised that an obi I’d bought from Ichiroya quite some time ago was the perfect complement to the pink and green accents of the kimono, and it all fell into place.

I wanted the kimono (and to a lesser extent, the obi) to shine so I went with subtle brown and beige accessories that tied into the kimono motif without drawing attention to themselves. I can’t remember where most of the accessories came from, they’re not from Ichiroya, but they worked very well with the outfit. I love how the brown obiage almost looks like shiny gold due to the gradations on it. I hope I did these pieces justice, as I wanted to honour and thank Ichiroya for twenty years of amazing service.

I bought one other kimono and two gorgeous obi at the same time as this one, so be prepared for lots of new stuff soon!

Items used in this coordination

A Punch of Pink!

What’s this? I’ve worn kimono twice in less than a month?! Apparently unemployment agrees with me…

I’ll be honest, I got dressed for part of a bigger group project that I’ll hopefully be able to share with you all soon. But I figured while I was all done up I should take advantage of it. Also, you get to see part of my bedroom for once, instead of the living room. It’s a fair bit more boring, but I wanted a more neutral background. So not only do you get to see my goofy face, you get to see a small part of my ridiculous pile of collectables. I’m sure you’re thrilled.

I really do love these giant kimono from Kimonomachi. Unfortunately, Rakuten Global has shut down so ordering from Canada is way more of a hassle now than it used to be. I decided to pair the pink one with this awesome red and black faux-shibori obi in a sort of cute improvised casual musubi. Black haneri and black zori (which got mostly cropped from the photos, alas) help anchor the outfit and echo the black of the obi. I kept my makeup soft and pink to suit the kimono, since my hair is already edgy enough at the moment. My moonblossom kamon kanzashi earrings were the perfect finishing touch, I think.

Items used in this coordination