Autumn Rose Ikebana

I finally had the time and money to stop by the florist’s today to see if anything inspired me. After a bit of browsing I came across these gorgeous miniature roses that reminded me of autumn foliage. It’s actually been snowy here for nearly a week already, but I’m determined to ignore that for as long as possible, and I thought they’d make a beautiful farewell to the season.

Alex, the kind and friendly owner of the florist shop, suggested the stem of large, shiny green leaves as some contrast foliage, and they look great. I’ve sadly forgotten what they’re called. I also wanted to practice forcing a curve in a stem without breaking it, and I think I’ve finally got the hang of it! The branch was originally perfectly straight, but I managed to get a nice, natural-looking curve to frame out the roses perfectly. It was feeling a little bit empty so I picked up some of this fluffy yellow plant at the flower counter in the pharmacy to fill it in a little bit, and it feels much more balanced now.

I’ve missed practicing my ikebana, and I feel like things generally weren’t flowing as well as they used to because I was rusty. But this turned out very much how I’d envisioned it, and I think it features the flowers perfectly, so I’m quite happy.

Batman Day!

Today is Batman Day, a day set by DC Comics to celebrate all things Dark Knight. Ever since I watched Batman Ninja, I knew I wanted to do some Batman-themed coordinates but kept putting it off in favour of other things. I’m glad I waited, because today is the perfect day to start!

I went with the classic black and yellow colour combination, since it feels timeless. Batman’s costume has veered from blue and grey to entirely black, but keeps coming around to black with pops of yellow. The obidome is an antique menuki and feels like the perfect way to tie everything together. The motif on the kimono is fans, but from a distance it feels like it could be a swarm of bats taking off. I added some black enamel pyramid studs to a yellow haneri to add a bit of weapon-like edge and sharpness to the coordination. I would have loved to use more items with an actual bat motif, but they tend to be snatched up very quickly and cost a pretty penny, alas. Still though, I think I did a decent job of conveying a feeling without being too literal.

Stay tuned for more outfits inspired by beloved (and not so beloved) Batman characters!

Items used in this coordination

Hanakago Ikebana

Hanakago (花篭) means “flower basket”, and it’s a common motif in art and textiles. The baskets can be of any shape and size, and are filled with a profusion of beautiful seasonal flowers. I knew I really wanted to do a hanakago ikebana arrangement, but I’d been waiting for more inspiration than that.

Today was the first day of the year that genuinely felt like spring. I actually went and ran errands without even needing a jacket, and I wanted to celebrate that. I decided to go for a very loose, natural-feeling assemblage of springy flowers in the basket. A beautiful blue hydrangea forms the anchor of the piece, sunny forsythia bring in height and shape, and yellow daisies and a few white ranunculus fill it in and bring some much-needed softness.

It’s a much looser shape than I’m used to doing, but I feel like it’s still very effective. It feels happy and natural and bright. I’m quite happy with how it looks in this little nook, and it will make me smile when the sun and warmth inevitably vanish again in a day or two.

Hufflepuff Kitsuke

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Hufflepuff is probably the most misunderstood and misrepresented Hogwarts House, and that is a real shame. It’s also not my personal house, but their values of loyalty, honesty, love, and hard work are things we should all aspire to. Hufflepuff’s colours are yellow and black, and they’re often associated with Herbology, food, and gardening in general, so of course this yellow kimono with roses and black obi with karabana were perfect. I wanted to tie in the earthiness I associate with this house, so brown accessories did that well.

Again, like with the Gryffindor lions, I wanted something more subtle than just finding a badger-shaped brooch and slapping it on, and I realised this fake fur collar I have looked very much like badger fur. They’re usually depicted as black and white, but in reality they’re usually brown and beige. The collar also has the added bonus of emphasising the “cozy” vibe associated with Hufflepuff.

This turned out quite well, in my opinion. I do think there could be a bit more black, maybe a different kimono with black in the designs, but since I’m trying to be more prudent in my spending for a while and using items I already own, I’m very happy. There will be a little interruption in this project while I do a #monokimono outfit this weekend, but we’ll be back on track by next week.

Items used in this coordination

A Wild Diane Appears!

You guys! Look at this! Recently a friend drew my attention to the fact that Kimonomachi shop on Rakuten now carries a selection of modern poly komon in size 4TL. Even when I was thinner, it was nigh-impossible for me to find kimono that were actually long enough for me. Now that I’m also significantly overweight, I’d pretty much given up wearing a kimono comfortably as a lost cause, but this one borders on being too big for me. Isn’t that wild?

Sadly, I only noticed my obiage had slipped off my makura after I took the photos. Oops!

It feels so good to be able to dress myself again, and so easily and comfortably too. It’s amazing how much of a difference the proper fit makes. I’d love to buy myself another one, but these kimono are not inexpensive at ¥ 14,000. I managed to get this one for significantly less because I had Rakuten points a PayPal gift card that needed to be used. I may cave in and buy myself a different pattern if I get a large tax return this year. We’ll see.

For reference, I am 179cm (5’10”) tall with a 121cm (48″) bust and a 36K bra, a 91cm (36″) natural waist, and 120cm (47″) hips. I typically wear a size 18 or 1X in North American clothing sizes. This kimono wraps easily from hip to hip, a full one and a half times my widest measurement. So if you’re a similar size and looking for something that will actually fit you properly, I cannot suggest these enough!

I paired the kimono with this moorish arch nagoya obi that couldn’t match better if I’d bought them together. The rusty orange-red of the obi makes the red accents in the kimono pop, and the turquoise base colour of the obi is the exact same as the arches. Looking at the photos, it’s quite clear that a standard otaiko musubi done with an average-sized nagoya obi just looks disproportionately small and odd on my frame, so whenever I actually wear this kimono out to an event I will likely go with a hanhaba or chuuya obi tied in something I can control the size of better. Vibrant lemon yellow accessories made everything pop, and I couldn’t resist using my obidome with snails on it. It’s too cute for words, and ties in with the warm creme colour on the flowers of the kimono.

As a final note, a little reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I dressed myself in this outfit last Thursday and took photos, with the intention of posting it on Fudangi Friday. I transferred, edited, and uploaded the photos. And then on Friday morning I settled in at work, and during a quiet moment started drafting the entry. It was at that point I realised I had the kimono on backwards. Somehow I’d managed to dress myself and then take and edit photos without ever noticing! And as much as I encourage playing with rules when it comes to kimono, wrapping it backwards (right side over top of the left) is only ever done for a body being prepared for a funeral, and it is not a rule I would ever consider breaking unless it was for a very explicit purpose like a costume. So I scrapped my initial plan and re-dressed myself today. Honestly, I’m glad I did, because I managed to tie the obi much more neatly and the lighting was a lot better as well.

Items used in this coordination