Undersea Adventure

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

The Finnish-Ing Touch

Recently, a friend posted that she was going to be de-cluttering her collection and generously giving some of her pieces away. I fell in love with the rich green colour and charming, almost naive design of this houmongi, and somehow managed to claim it before anyone else did. After nearly a month in transit (what is it with me and mail delays lately?!) it finally arrived safe and sound, and I couldn’t wait until I was able to do something with it.

I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, because of where I got it, but there’s something that genuinely feels very Finnish to me about it. It reminds me of some Marimekko designs, or possibly the background of something drawn by Tove Jansson, Can you not picture a Moomin hiding behind one of the trees?

While it will definitely look wonderful with a more classical, elegant coordination (I’m looking forward to pairing it with my gold Tokaido fukuro obi in the future), I knew that initially I really wanted to play up the fun and quirky quality of it. This tachibana obi seemed like a good choice, since it’s got an almost naive, storybook style to it. Pink accessories made the light pink trees in the hem pop, and a gold kasane-eri was the perfect finishing touch to break up all the heavy green up top. I really love how this all came together, and I hope Jenni thinks I did it justice!

Items used in this coordination

Armed & Dangerous

The mannequin, I mean. Not me! She’s still not perfect, but we managed to make her arms work for the time being. After all the fuss and bother on Saturday, I figured that since she had arms now, I should probably work on getting her dressed. I thought that to get myself out of the funk, I’d try to redo one of my favourite old outfits featuring one of my most prized kimono. Unfortunately, it’s basically unwearable now due to the sleeves detaching and a lot of the gold embroidery lifting off the silk, but gently draping it on the mannequin is safe enough.

Rather than use the same old hakata obi I used last time, I decided to see what I could do with the tsuke darari obi I got over the summer. I think I managed to disguise it quite well and I totally love how they tied together. This green and gold date-eri really looks like it belongs with this obi, doesn’t it? Red accessories finished things off and pulled out some of the warmer tones from the kimono. I had fun with the obijime too. I love playing with the multiple thin ends on some of these fancy furisode obijime.

It may have been a struggle, but I’m glad I pushed through because the end result is so beautiful. I will, however, be looking for someone to repair this kimono. At the very least, the sleeves need to be re-attached properly and the gold couching needs to be fixed where it’s coming off.

Items used in this coordination

Hope for the New Year

To say that 2018 has been a wreck would be a bit of an understatement. Ecological, financial, moral and political instability across the globe. And on a smaller, more personal scale, the loss of more beautiful lives than I wish to tally up. The one that hit me the hardest, by far, happened only yesterday and is still painful and raw.

A friend and bright shining light in the lives of so many people lost their life to incredibly aggressive cancer yesterday. The diagnosis was less than a month ago, and now only a few days before Christmas they’ve left behind a husband and two children. It happened way too fast, to someone way too young and vibrant.

Of course, I did my best to deal with it the way I usually do, by distracting myself with kitsuke. I thought it would be a good time to throw myself into something somewhat productive and decided to make a new year’s inspired outfit because I am more than ready for 2019 to get here and wash away all the pain 2018 brought with it.

This kimono was only the second or third I ever bought, and I don’t bring it out often enough. My initial plan was to do a proper kurotome-style kitsuke, featuring only white and metallic, but you all know I can’t leave well enough alone. I remembered this silver and white obi has tiny pink-peach accents that echo the peachy ume in the hem design, so I ran with it. Eagle-eyed readers might notice I’m using the exact same haneri and obiage as the last coordination, but they worked so perfectly I couldn’t resist. I do love that this has such wintery motifs of ume and pine, and despite clearly being a wedding rental piece it works quite well for the season. In retrospect, I should have found a way to include some bamboo so I would have the sho-chiku-bai (three friends of winter) motif often used at New Year’s. Oh well.

As the year comes to a close, I’d just like to take a moment to wish you all the best possible upcoming new year. And remind you that life is short and precious and beautiful, so please be sure to tell someone you love them and hug them tightly today because you may not get another chance. ❤️

Items used in this coordination

Never too old to play with dolls

Now we come to the last of my ridiculously indulgent birthday coordinations using items from last month’s kimono bazaar. I fell in love with this obi the moment I laid eyes on it – the dolls are just too cute for words.

The colours in it paired up perfectly with the colours in this vintage-feeling komon Naomi gave me several years back. I also happened to have a haneri and obiage that were a spot-on match for the olive green tones in the kimono. I was a little stumped when it came to the obijime until I remembered I have this one that is an exact match for the navy background and pink momiji leaves in the kimono. I couldn’t be happier by how well every item in this coordination calls back to at least one other item.

Quick note – I am in the process of changing how images are stored. I used to upload them all to my flickr account and then create linked galleries, but they are now confining free accounts and it’s a system I’ve always found a little inefficient anyway. I used to get traffic from there but I don’t any longer, so I’m going through the arduous task of downloading all my content, hosting it locally, and editing every single entry that contains images from flickr. If you’re browsing and see things broken or missing, please be patient! Thanks for understanding!

Items used in this coordination