Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Horse shows

I had no idea why (at first), but when I went outside this morning to get breakfast from the cafeteria, I felt like I should be at a horse show. It was early, cool, cloudy -- all things that tend to happen at horse shows. You are always up early (like 5 or 6 am) so you can get out, feed the horses, groom them for the show, and braid their manes, if needed. In eventing, you also need to get up to walk the courses, if you haven't already. Then, from the fact that it's early, you can assume that the weather is cool. And for some reason, it always seems to rain at horse shows. I just want to be at a horse show, or just the barn, so badly right now. Fortunately, my prelab tonight for hospital work tomorrow has been canceled (I guess because it's Ash Wednesday), so if it's not raining, I can go to my parent's house and ride my horses. I hope the weather clears!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kimono 101

I am doing this panel on kimono at the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC) on the first weekend in April, so I began trying to write out presentation and handouts. So far, I really only have my handouts. The things on them will probably not be discussed during the panel; instead, they will be take-home notes. So far I have basic kimono terms and definitions, types of common kimono and formality, and my personal tips on buying kimono. But I am still trying to figure out what I will EXACTLY say and how I will fit everything in. I have probably 55 minutes to present. I am going to present the very basics of kimono. I want to introduce some things about kimono, then do a demonstration, followed by a short Q&A session. I figure I need 10-20 minutes to present the opening material, 20-30 minutes to dress and discuss what I am doing and what pieces I am using and why, and then whatever time is left for the Q&A. I plan on doing my opening on types of kimono and obi, formal versus casual, and some basic etiquette. For the dressing demonstration, I plan on doing a full outfit that is not yukata or furisode (I want to demonstrate the otaiko musubi). I know a lot of people who are beginners will get a yukata first, but I really want to do a more full demonstration. I mean, you can "work down" to the yukata from the type of demonstration, but it would be much harder to do the other way around. So yeah, if there is anything that you would recommend, please tell me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peach Cloud Komon and Wine Red Nagoya

I took some pictures today of an ensemble I plan on wearing for a kimono presentation that I am doing in April. I finally got this kimono to have a flatter ohashori. Because it's shorter than my proper length, it tends to get poofy. But I found a trick that really helped: you fold the inner collar, and it cuts out some of the bulk. Why I didn't know this before, I have no idea. I feel dumb now for not knowing it. The only things I hate here are that my upper center seam is not centered in the back, and the obiage tying needs work. ANYWAY, here are the pics from the aforementioned ensemble.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mamechiyo is my muse! ;D

So like I said in the last post, I have been looking to Mamechiyo for inspiration. Their "Puzzle" line has been quite interesting, as I have been into simple geometrics lately. I think I have come up with an idea for a late spring/early summer ensemble this year. I want to make a juban with lavender polka dots and a kimono with wide buttery-yellow stripes. The picture on their juban page is my muse for this. I want to make it all hitoe for the warmer season. I am not ready to try to make a ro kimono as that type of fabric can be tricky to deal with, so I may not have anything to wear for July through August except yukata, but I'm not going to be doing anything fancy anyway. I think I will make a han eri of the a complementing color to the juban and obi. The reason I chose the yellow/purple combo is because they are my favorite colors. And, I don't own a yellow kimono. Also, I want to make instead of buy for several reasons: 1) I can't afford Mamechiyo, 2) I don't want to wait forever to find something like this on eBay or another site (which might also turn out to be too expensive), 3) I am tall and hard to fit in most kimono, 4) I want something modern, 5) I need hitoe, 6) I might make more to sell if it turns out well, 7) I want longer sleeves (but not furisode) because I love that retro feel. Retro-modern. I like it! :) So anyway, the pictures below represent my ideas for the patterns:

Of course, they will not be exactly like this. The obi/juban/haneri could be darker with light spots, for example. I just hope it still looks nice. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have been looking all week for new kimono kitsuke ideas. I had heard of Mamechiyo before, but because the site was in Japanese for the most part, I could not read enough to get interested. With the help of Google translate and my curiosity, I started looking through their webshop and blog. The ideas they have come up with for modern ways of wearing kimono are fascinating! They sometimes use more modern or Western things, such as lace, for their pieces, but they still have that traditional Japanese flair. The ideas that I am especially smitten with are the stripes and polka dots combos. But, unfortunately, I cannot order from them because I couldn't get through the order form if I tried (again, the Japanese), and I don't think that they ship to the US anyway. But, I thought that if I got the Folkwear pattern for kimono and some fabric similar to theirs, I could makes some neat items. The good news is, fabric like they use is easy to find at almost any fabric store because of its modernity. Since I probably will not be able to work on this project until spring break or even summer break, I have plenty of time to change my mind about the patterns, but I think it will be similar.

I am not crazy about everything Mamechiyo has though. There are some obi that have a sort-of fall fruit theme that to me looks like someone non-Japanese bought cheap closeout fabric without knowledge of traditional kimono patterns. Now, I know that the people who run Mamechiyo know all about kimono, but I simply dislike the look of that obi. They have a few others things that are not exactly my style, but I was DROOLING over most of their items! I am anxious to start my project, but being in nursing school right now is barely allowing me to do anything other than study, so I will just have to plan and wait.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February is ume!

I am so excited that February has finally arrived! It means beautiful ume are going to be in bloom soon! But of course, not in Memphis. I will fortunately get to see pretty pictures of those is Japan because of the lovely members of the Immortal Geisha forums who take a plenty of pictures each season and post them on Flickr. But as for me, I have just been enjoying the nice weather here. It's been in the upper 60's and 70's all week long - which is my favorite temperature range. So comfortable, you don't need a heavy jacket (if any), and you're not sweating either. It's so nice! We were supposed to have some bad storms last night through this morning, but it never happened. Not even a clap of thunder. Just rain and A LOT of wind. The university I attend even put out a high wind warning to all of the students. It was quite funny, actually, because we have "TigerTEXT" which is an alert system that texts you when something happens. I was sitting in my Health Assessment lecture class, and everyone checks their phone at the same time because of the text. 200 phones at once. LOL.

Anyway, I decided to get into the February spirit by doing an ume-inspired kitsuke yesterday. The kimono is one that my fiancé bought me for Christmas (at the time seasonally inappropriate), but now it is PERFECT! It is light and dark blue checkerboard with "bouncing" ume blossoms. I paired it with a multi-seasonal beige and multi-colored obi, an orange shibori obiage, an orange and gold obijime, and a big white ume kanzashi. According to the "rules", the obiage and obijime are too formal for a komon and nagoya obi, but, hey, I don't always follow the rules. :)