Hinamatsuri 2019!

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Today is Hinamatsuri (雛祭, doll festival, girl’s day), a day for girls to celebrate, to set up an ornate display of dolls inspired by Heian emperor and empress, and to wish for love and health in the future. I don’t have a proper set of dolls, but I do like to do a small DIY every year and celebrate by making a sweet, girly coordination on the mannequin.

This year I wanted to feature this green obi with pastel designs, and thought this blush pink houmongi with sagara embroidery of a shifuku (silk pouch to protect tea ceremony tools) with a rabbit on it would be perfect. It’s adorable and feminine and the colours play off the obi so well. Rabbits are also commonly used to represent people in their hina-matsuri doll displays, representing a young girl’s wish for a large family when she grows up. The whole outfit feels sweet, girly, and spring-like, which is exactly what I was going for. The blue beaded obijime was chosen to echo the texture of the embroidery on the kimono, and I tied it in a wisteria knot just because I think it looks pretty.

And of course, I couldn’t let hinamatsuri pass without doing some sort of DIY display. I’ve done origami, perler beads, nanoblocks, and illustration. This year I decided to do some adorable sashiko!

Items used in this coordination

Think Pink Ikebana

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Very, very pink! I think I was inspired by the #monokimono challenge and ended up doing a #monoikebana without really intending to. I found the two different shades of alstroemeria and thought they’d make for some interesting texture and colour interplay, and then I stumbled across a gerbera daisy which just happened to match exactly. The pink vase seemed like the next logical step after that.

Typically when I buy flowers I choose my own greenery and avoid the fluff and frill of ferns (woo hello there alliteration!) but I was rushing to an appointment and there was a new girl behind the counter, so when I saw she’d taken the greens out I decided to just run with it. I do like that they add a good grounding base to the whole arrangement, and another layer of texture. However, the arrangement felt like it was missing height and balance, and I racked my brain to think of something I could add. The green bamboo-like bits are actually simply the stems of the alstroemeria flowers that I cut off. I love the idea of giving them a second life that also helps make the whole arrangement feel more harmonious. I might have to revisit this sometime, working with the entire stem, not just the bloom.

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!

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You know how I’m always joking about how I love every outfit I coordinate on the mannequin? Well, today I learnt that nobody can hit a home run every time!

I’ve been wanting to do an all-pink coordination on a Wednesday in honour of the iconic Mean Girls quote for a long time. It seemed like a good opportunity to use this gorgeous pink hakata obi I got in the huge obi bundle, and I tried to build the outfit around it using other pink items in my collection. While I don’t hate it, I’m not crazy about it either. Sometimes a theme or idea just isn’t a winner. I love all of these pieces independently, but together they feel like something is lacking. It even feels like the kimono isn’t hanging quite right on the mannequin. However, it’s been alarmingly hot here (over 40C/105F) for several days now, and I knew there was no way I’d have the energy to re-dress her. So I figured I would give you guys a small glimpse into what happens on the rare occasion that I’m not thrilled with how something turned out!

Hopefully once it cools down I’ll have more energy to do something a little more inspired 🙂 If not, I have a few book reviews to get done.

Soft and Feminine

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Today is going much smoother than yesterday did, so I thought I would attempt the soft, girly coordination I had in mind for Hina-matsuri. I chose this beautiful pink takara houmongi that my good friend (and Naomi’s charming husband!) Arian bought for me ages ago. It’s one of the softest, most demure kimono I own and it felt right for this outfit.

As much fun as I have been having lately with hime-style and non-traditional kitsuke, I was in the mood to make a very “normal” outfit this time, so I pulled out coordinating pastel accessories and this lovely but painfully soft gold fukuro obi. I attempted a tsunodashi musubi, but it’s so floppy it looks a little deflated, unfortunately. Overall though, I very much achieved the aesthetic I wanted!

Items used in this coordination

Outfit of the Whenever: Sugar & Spice

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I have accepted that calling this feature Outfit of the Week is unrealistic. I will try to continue posting at minimum once a month; we’ll see how that goes 😉

I’ve been wanting to do an outfit using a blouse in lieu of juban for quite some time now, but never really found inspiration until now. The other day I found this ruffled, high-necked, almost Victorian-inspired black blouse and everything fell right into place. I went with a very simple colour scheme, just using black and dusty pink. The kimono is an iromuji with a really lush, textured silk weave. The obi is actually my lobster tsuke obi wrapped backwards so it’s just solid black. I realised as I was dressing Tsukiko that it was coming across as a very pretty, demure, sort of outfit so I ramped that up with my pearls and an ume kanzashi from GirLinKimono on Etsy used as an obidome. It seemed very fitting for Valentine’s Day.

I love how soft and simple this coordination is, without being remotely boring. I also really like how the blouse-as-undergarment turned out, and I may end up having to try this out on myself sometime in the near future. It seems like it would be easier and more comfortable than worrying about juban and everything.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! May it be filled with love and chocolate or whatever else makes you happy.

Items used in this coordination