It’s My Party…

And I’ll… uh… dress up the mannequin if I want to? My birthday is rapidly approaching so for the month of November, I’m just going to do coordinations and outfits based on what speaks to me at the moment. I decided it was time to feature some more of the stuff I got as early birthday gifts at the kimono bazaar last month and this furisode was crying out to be shown off, so here we go!

I honestly have no idea why I was so drawn to this particular furisode when I saw it. I tend to prefer cool-toned colours, don’t particularly like coral or orange, and think Heian-era cart motifs look a  bit like deformed marshmallows. And yet, as soon as I saw this piece, I knew it was coming home with me.

 

I figured I would lean in to the colour scheme, despite it being comprised of shades that aren’t particularly to my taste, so I used orange and coral accessories. Initially, I’d planned to use an obi with orange clouds and gold grasses, and while I still think it would look great with the kimono, I decided to veer off and use this gold one with hits of orange and seafoam green. I played up the green and gold with a kasane eri as well, which is something I should really do more frequently.

And of course, I thought I’d give the new sanjuhimo I made a try. It really does make things so much less of a hassle! I sort of improvised this musubi, and I think it turned out quite fun and pretty.

As much as I loved doing the Halloween Yokai project, I was really in the mood to just make an outfit based on what looked pretty, rather than having to focus on layers of meaning and symbolism. This absolutely fit the bill!

If by some ridiculous miracle you want to send me a birthday gift, I have wishlists on AmazonPinterest, and Tokyo Otaku Mode, or you can always PayPal me a few bucks. Any money received as gifts from here goes right back into the blog and maintaining my collection. Right now my two main priorities are a set of articulated arms for the mannequin, and more tatoushi for storage and organisation.

Items used in this coordination

Climbing Clematis Ikebana

First things first, I’d like to apologise for the relative radio silence this week. There’s been an unfortunate confluence of events; injuries to both my hands combined with more insufferable heat and humidity make it very hard to do things like work with textiles or review tea. I’ve also been in a bit of a bad mood today, dealing with some tech issues. I decided it was time to slow down and focus on something that would improve my mental state and not exacerbate my hand injuries – time for ikebana!

I knew going into it that I wanted to feature this awesome Tawami aluminium vase by AlArt that I received recently, and I wanted to keep the arrangement very minimal so as not to compete with it. I knew our clematis was blooming, and then I remembered I still had some curly willow branches lying around that would work as an excellent structure to wrap them around. Clematis vines are very thin and fragile, and if I’d just put them in alone they would have flopped over and looked very sad indeed. It feels very organic and balances out the sharp, modern lines of the vase perfectly.

Putting this together was exactly what I needed. It made me stop and focus on something other than the issues that were frustrating me. For half an hour, all that mattered was the plant matter between my fingers. Ikebana can be  a wonderful form of meditation, where you have to slow down and “listen” to what the flowers have to say, and how they want to interact with each other and the vessel you’ve chosen. If you find yourself going at top speed constantly and find that traditional “sit down and think of nothing” mindfulness techniques don’t work well for you, I urge you to give something like this a try!

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Fudangi First Friday – Funky Punk Yukata

We’ve got a true first for this month’s Fudangi First Friday – I’ve actually never put a yukata on the mannequin until now! This coordination is actually something I had set out to wear to an event. On Wednesday, the lovely folks at Kimono Vintage Montreal organised an outing in yukata to the Montreal Jazz Festival, and what better place to wear something funky and non-traditional?

Unfortunately, the whole province was in the middle of a lethal heat wave (which has thankfully broken now).  Even when I was younger I never handled the heat well, and my chronic health problems only exacerbate the issue. I decided to be prudent and stay home, and thought it would be a good opportunity to feature the outfit on Friday instead.

I love this yukata so much, and I’ve worn it out to a street festival before. It’s got a really unusual pattern of flames, skulls, handcuffs and snakes, amongst other things. The obi came with it and from a distance looks like it’s just got butterflies on it, but up close you can see that there are skulls in their wings. It seemed like the perfect thing to wear to a big outdoor music festival.

Rather than fight against my figure and try to bind my chest in this heat, I’d already decided to use a coordinating cotton tank top underneath and wear the yukata in a loose, open fashion. I stuck with that choice on the mannequin, as well as hiking the hem up shorter than standard, and I love how it looks! I was also inspired by Nichole and her epic kimono style to use a belt in lieu of obijime, and I really love how it all looks together. I think I will make a point of finding somewhere to wear it out like this, because it seems a shame not to!

Items used in this coordination

Nageire Crabapple Ikebana

As I mentioned a while back, the climate here in Montreal isn’t exactly ideal for sakura, but you can bet that as soon I saw a crabapple tree with these ruffly pink blooms on it on public land by the side of the road, I convinced my father to pull over so I could go cut some. Yes, I do keep a pair of pruning secaturs in the car for just this sort of situation. I have no shame at this point. Don’t worry though, I definitely don’t trespass or take flowers from private or manicured gardens!

These blooms are so lovely and have the perfect textural balance of rough bark and soft petals. I knew that I wasn’t going to include any other type of flower or vegetation to make sure they stayed the focus of the whole arrangement. I wanted to do a nageire (thrown-in) style ikebana, just relying on a tall vase and the natural inclination of the branches, rather than the more structural moribana style with a kenzan that I seem to gravitate towards most of the time. I was also thrilled to finally be able to use this vase; I received it as a surprise in the mail a while back. Whoever sent it (I’m going to take a guess that you read this blog), thank you so much. It’s so beautiful!

A couple of blossoms fell off as I was arranging the branches and they felt so pretty and natural and emblematic of the short-lived beauty of spring that I decided to leave them where they were. And yes, I used my new screen again. Sorry not sorry! I think it may become my default setup for my ikebana posts. I also couldn’t resist taking a couple of close-ups. Should I include detail shots of my arrangements more often? Let me know in the comments!

O-Hanami & Taiko at the Montreal Botanical Gardens

On Sunday, a few members of the Montreal kimono club got together at the Montreal Botanical Gardens to have our own little O-hanami. The climate here isn’t ideal for sakura, but we’ve got lots of crabapples which look almost as lovely and are almost as transient and ethereal.

I had a blast. We met lots of awesome people, posed for a bunch of photos, and generally had a great time. Although it was slightly marred by me tripping at one point and pulling the hanao out of my zori. I spent the bulk of the day walking in tiny awkward steps, gripping my shoe with my toes to prevent falling off. Eventually I just gave up and walked around in my tabi, since they’d gotten dirty when I tripped initially. A bit gauche, I know, but better than spraining something. Especially since I’m still recovering from falling down the stairs a few weeks back.

This post is going to be incredibly image-heavy, because everything was lovely and also we’re a bunch of silly people who like to ham things up. Click through for kimono, taiko drumming, and a lovely ikebana show!

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