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. 

Slytherin Kitsuke

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

At last, we come to Slytherin. The kimono choice for this outfit was obvious; this green and silver yabane is the perfect colour combination. From there I decided to stick with a very vintage feel, which also suits the “old blood” mentality of many notable Slytherins. I’d never used this silvery-grey obi before, and I realised why as I was working with it. Not only is it frustratingly slippery, it’s a very strange size. Too wide to be a hanhaba obi, not wide enough to be full width, I had to fold it essentially in thirds. But because it’s stiff and slippery it fought me the entire time. I managed to get it to stay in place, but I don’t think it would last very long like this tied on an actual person. Thankfully the mannequin is good at holding still!

The haori is black, which isn’t a traditionally Slytherin colour, but it seems to me that when not in school robes, all the prominent members of the house tend to favour elegant black clothing. A long, sleek black silk haori with very subtle urushi crows on it seemed to fit the bill quite well.

The obijime is admittedly way too formal for the rest of the outfit, but the green shimmering beaded texture made me think of a beautiful snake when I first received it, so of course I had to use it to represent Slytherin house’s animal.

I’m also cheating a bit in that this outfit is doing double duty, it’s also entirely applicable for Fudangi First Friday. And with this, the Hogwarts House kitsuke project is complete! I had fun, but I’m looking forward to coordinating more “normal” outfits for a little bit. At least until another ridiculous theme project strikes my fancy.

Items used in this coordination

Ravenclaw Kitsuke

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;

Today, we’ve arrived at Ravenclaw; my house! Every single test I’ve ever taken, including the Pottermore one, puts me squarely into Ravenclaw. What can I say, I’m a proud and noble bookworm, like my parents before me. At least I come by it honestly.

Of course, since it’s my house, I knew I had to do the best job I could. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, odds are you’ve got an opinion on the bronze vs. silver debate when it comes to Ravenclaw’s house colours. I think both options have merit, and thankfully this obi has all sorts of metallic tones to it, so it feels like a solid acknowledgement of both options. The birds on it are hawks, not eagles, but I still think it suited the “sharp and intelligent bird of prey” feel better than any other option I had available to me.

A kimono with scrolls or books on it would have been completely fantastic here, but I was really trying to stick to a budget and use pieces I already owned, so I went with the most vibrant blue piece in my collection. I wish I could say that the flowers had particularly relevant symbolism, but really I just had to use this blue.

The obidome is a converted pendant that’s always reminded me of the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw, and the fact that it’s a feather makes me think of writing quills, which are also incredibly relevant for the most nerdy of houses. The accessories were chosen primarily for colour and emphasis, not so for motifs, but still this is an outfit I’d be glad to wear to show off my house pride. Also, this kimono actually still fits me, so there’s always a chance I might actually put it on sometime soon.

Only one more to go!

Items used in this coordination

Pretty Pastel Princess

I’ve been behind on mannequin coordinations lately! Hopefully this pretty pastel princess outfit will make up for it. I’ve wanted to do something sweet and girly with this furisode since I used it for Cinderella, and I finally decided to stop procrastinating and just do it.

I really wanted to play up the pink accents in the kimono, so I chose pink accessories and a silvery white obi with pink details and everything ties together so nicely. Despite all the pieces being relatively flashy and youthful-feeling, somehow the coordination still feels gentle. I’m not sure how I feel about the choice of obijime, since the blue doesn’t quite match the kimono, but I’ve been wanting to use this beaded one since I got it and couldn’t resist.

Since this was a dressy furisode outfit, I used the opportunity to practice my fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) musubi. I really do need to branch out and work on more interesting musubi in general, and I am going to try to make a habit of it in the future.

Overall, this coordination came together pretty much exactly how I’d been imagining it in my head and that makes me really happy. And while it’s certainly not as big as my new modern komon, this kimono nearly fits me properly so one day I’ll have to put this outfit on myself. Since the kiku is my birth month flower, maybe I’ll wear it for my birthday when next November rolls around.

Items used in this coordination

DIY Obi Remnant Purse

Eons ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a bunch of my friends and I went in on a huge obi bundle and separated it amongst ourselves. Mixed in with all the obi was this piece of lovely karabana fabric. It had a few small pleats in one end, and I suspect someone had grand plans to turn it into a pre-tied obi. However. there was just barely enough to make the otaiko and nothing that would have worked for the waist part. So for the longest time, it just sat in my to-do pile, while I pondered and waffled and tried to figure out what I could do with it.

As you can clearly see, I finally found the time and inclination to turn it into a very unique purse. The obi remnant was just about the perfect size to make a roomy satchel with a flap closure. My initial plan was to simply sew the back to the front and make a sort of a thin clutch-style bag. I searched for hardware at a few places here in town but wasn’t finding anything I liked. My next plan was to order parts online, but I figured before I did that I would hit up my favourite local thrift store and see if there were any bags I could cannibalise for parts. I found this absolutely perfect beige suede bag with soft gold trim and hardware that just happened to be an exact match to the soft gold in the obi fabric. The bag was under five dollars, which wouldn’t even have been enough to cover the shipping for buying parts online. It was meant to be!

Instead of just sewing the sides shut, I inserted panels from the exterior of the purse. This not only makes my bag look much more finished, it also makes it nice and roomy inside. There was also a rusty orange lining that matched the orange flowers on the obi fabric, so I carefully picked the inside apart and used the inside pockets to give myself a little extra storage and organisation. I also pulled the snap closure off the thrifted purse and inserted it into the fabric, adding a small filigree metal piece and a fabric flower to reinforce the snap closure a bit. The last touch was gluing on some ribbon trim along the top edge of the purse interior, because the fabric is quite old and I was worried about it fraying from the strain.

I couldn’t be happier with how this purse turned out. It’s a great size, my Surface even fits snugly into it for travel. My only concern is that since the obi fabric is quite old, I’m worried about snagging or staining it. If it weren’t for that, I’d be using this bag every day, I think.