Modern Tulip Ikebana featuring FloraGUPPY

After last week’s relatively unsuccessful ikebana I was determined to redeem myself. I received this really neat little tool that I’d ordered called the FloraGUPPY and found three perfect red-orange tulips in the garden so I figured it was time.

One of the tulips had a bit of a bend in it, so I carefully emphasised that into an organic-feeling curve and then did the same to the other two, for a really nice shape and flow. I framed them with two lucky bamboo stems, and really like how sleek this feels. I’m definitely much happier with it than I am with last week’s!

The FloraGUPPY is a clear plastic two-part sphere that clips together with a number of different-sized holes. You can feed the flowers through the holes at different angles to achieve all sorts of cool arrangements. While not completely invisible, the clear plastic does look much more seamless than a heavy metal kenzan or other traditional tools. This makes it ideal for sparse modern arrangements in glass containers, exactly like this one. It’s also slightly flexible in its default state, which is ideal for putting in odd-shaped vessels. But the really cool part is that if you dunk it in hot water, it becomes even more malleable, making it suitable for pretty much any container! I can’t wait to find more uses for it.

 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. 

こどもの日 – Kodomo no Hi 2019

It’s become a tradition for me to use my koinobori obi on Children’s Day (こどもの日, Kodomo no Hi), because the motif is so unusual and so perfect. This year I chose to pair it up with this bamboo houmongi, which is vaguely representative of chimaki, a sort of traditional steamed mochi dumpling that is often wrapped in bamboo leaves. Admittedly mostly I just chose it because I liked how they looked together.

The obi has very faint hits of pale, icy blue so I used an obiage that coordinated there, and then some warm reddish accessories that match the kimono well. Thankfully the whole outfit came together quickly and easily, because I was fighting off the early stages of a migraine when I started. But I was determined to get the outfit up today, and I’m glad I did.

I may have no children of my own, but today is a day for me to appreciate all the kids in my life. My niece and nephew, my friends’ kids, the kids who hang out in the store where I work. They all bring me joy and humour in different ways, and I hope this year brings them all the best 💖

Items used in this coordination

Let’s Celebrate the New Era of Reiwa!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new era in Japan. Emperor Akihito abidcated the throne at the end of April, paving the way for his son Naruhito to ascend to the throne. This ushered in the end of the Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. There will be a week of celebrations of all sorts, but when I saw that they had announced a special colour palette for the event, I knew I had to do a coordination to celebrate. The three celebratory colours are ume (plum), sumire (violet), and sakura (pink).  They  were  chosen  because  they  are  all  traditional  spring  flowers,  and  also because  they  are  mentioned  in  the  Manyoshu,  Japan’s  oldest  recorded  poetry  that  served  as  inspiration  for  the  new era’s  name.

I knew right away that my beloved peony furisode would be absolutely perfect for this outfit, since it features all three colours already. A white-based obi with delicate pink accents gave the outfit a bit of visual rest, since the kimono itself is quite busy and bold. I chose more pink and purple accessories to reinforce the theme and went with a classically feminine but modern styling.

To me, this outfit is the perfect way to usher in what will hopefully be a new era of peace, cooperation, equality, and prosperity for Japan.

Items used in this coordination

Sho-Chiku-Bai Serendipity

As some of you may know, I’ve been wanting to do a sho-chiku-bai (歳寒三友. Three Friends of Winter) pretty much since I started learning and practicing ikebana. Unfortunately, plum branches are very difficult to find around here. They’re finicky, they’re expensive, they’re fragile, and most florists just don’t bother stocking them. So I shelved my plans and moved along.

Last week, my favourite local florist posted some photos of some, so of course I made a beeline for the shop. Unfortunately, they were put aside for a big contract project, but the owner said he’d keep any leftovers for me.

Today I made a detour to the walk-in clinic (nothing serious, just a weirdly swollen painful toe), but frustratingly, they weren’t accepting walk-ins anymore. However, the clinic is right next to the florist so I figured I’d duck in just to see. Lo and behold, he had a container full of freshly budding branches on the counter. It was meant to be! My trip to the clinic may have been a gigantic waste of time, but at least the trip wasn’t. I chose the one with the most appealing curve to it, and then three branches of lucky “bamboo” (it’s actually a variety of dracaena, but close enough…) to balance things out. I knew I could get pine branches from the park near my house. Funnily enough, when I got to the park, there was one large, perfect branch lying right in the middle of the path. I didn’t even need to cut anything, it was like it was waiting for me. Truly serendipitous!

The only thing that didn’t just click right into place was the actual photo, sadly. The lighting just wasn’t working out in this nook, and the arrangement is too big to fit unobstructed anywhere else. I might try again tomorrow before work, while the sun is higher. If it works out, I will update the picture. *Photo updated 02/23/2019

Mature Elegance

Isn’t it funny how the older I get, the more my tastes gravitate to the bright and youthful? I’m turning 37 tomorrow and somehow I keep finding myself accumulating boldly coloured furisode and things. When I was younger, I was drawn to more shibui styles, and now I guess I’m making up for lost time?

This gorgeous bamboo houmongi is a lovely exception, I think. It’s yet another of my purchases from the kimono bazaar last month and I thought it lent itself quite well to a more elegant coordination that would still allow me to express myself through pattern and colour. The bamboo leaves are in a lovely range of blues, reds, oranges, and purples, which gave me a lot of selection to work with.

My navy and gold tiger’s eye tsuke-obi is making yet another appearance here. For a silly impulse purchase I made, it’s turning out to be one of my most weirdly versatile and beloved items. It tied in very well with the kimono, and I decided to pull out the warm maroon for the rest of the accessories. The beautiful obidome from Pinto Pony Productions worked well against the ivory backdrop here too, rotated onto its side for a little more drama.

This definitely feels like a more traditional and elegant sort of outfit, appropriate for a woman my age. But it’s not boring or quiet, it’s still got some lovely impact and personality, which is exactly what I was aiming for!

Items used in this coordination