Friday, December 25, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 12

It's finally day 12 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! The obi and kimono for this Christmas day ensemble were chosen by Jo Marta Żukowska! Thank you helping to choose this coordination! I wanted this ensemble to be "shiny and bright" but also classic enough to be worn to more ceremonious events. The green crested iromuji is paired with a black and grey nagoya obi. Though the lighter parts are indeed grey, they give the appearance of silver. The obiage is a bright poinsettia red with a cute glittery heart pattern. In keeping with traditional Christmas symbols, the obidome resembles a poinsettia. The obijime is all silver thread. The haneri is a silver and black ichimatsu pattern. The small clutch is one I have had for years. While not originally meant for kimono, its small size and glittery red fabric are suitable for more formal occasions. The red patent zori are the finishing touch on this ensemble.

Thank you for keeping up with all 12 days! With having surgery and recovery during most of this time, it has been a real challenge to create these ensembles. Many thanks go out to those who have assisted, especially my dear husband who helped move all of the heavy things since I am on a weight lifting restriction during my recovery.

I hope you all have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Days 7 through 11

I was out for surgery and recovery from December 17th, and I realized that I did not schedule posts for the days 7 though 11 ensembles. I did schedule them on Facebook, however, so I will post the links below. Sorry about that!

Day 7 -
Day 8 -
Day 9 -
Day 10 -
Day 11 -

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 6

Day 6 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! I jokingly named this very casual ensemble "flannel pajamas" because it's very woodsy and cozy looking to me. To be honest, I was tempted to pair it with fuzzy slippers! With this coordination, I focused on two opposite colors - orange and blue.The brown lattice patterned komon is paired with a deep orange heko obi tied in a cute bow, with a blue beaded obikazari made by me. The haneri is navy with a pattern of sakura, momiji, sensu, and yukiwa - fit for most of the year. Since the ensemble is so casual, I chose wooden geta with blue polka dot hanao for the footwear.

Friday, December 18, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 5

Day 5 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! This ensemble is a very formal one with a red furisode featuring waves, carts, lucky motifs, and LOTS of flowers. The obi is a heavy black rokutsuu fukuro with a karabana design. For the obiage, I chose a deep blue-purple shibori one with gold flecks (it shows up more blue in the pictures). The round obijime is half gold and half silver. It personally reminds me of the garland on a Christmas tree. The zori follow suit in gold with red bottoms. For the final touches of formality, a black glittery date-eri and cream embroidered haneri were chosen.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 4

Day 4 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! Often with the cold weather, I like to choose darker tones for a feeling of warmth. This ensemble is the complete opposite! All of these pastel colors remind me of candy! A yukiwa covered lavender komon is paired with a green gingham nagoya obi. The obiage and sanbuhimo are a sweet baby pink. To replicate the pattern of the kimono, the obidome has faux pearls in the shape of a snowflake. Hanao with multicolor leaves have fluffy snow covers to keep the toes warm outside. For one more element of sweetness, I also included a pink handkerchief with a maneki neko and ume design.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 3

Day 3 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! The kimono and obi were selected by Sekita Schack Rubeksen - thank you for your lovely choices! This is a striped tsumugi kimono and a cream obi with multicolor geometric design. The simple kimono and obi promoted me to choose bright colored accessories to keep it from looking too plain. The obiage is a turquoise blue with an ichimatsu pattern. The obijime is a raspberry color. The zori are a deep purple, and to match this (and for fun!), I chose a purple kokeshi doll obikazari.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 2

Day 2 of the "12 Days of Kimono"! This ensemble is fit for the coldest winter days - particularly in January and February with this komon's ume pattern. The nagoya obi is cream and green hakata, with a red round obijime, and a grey-tan obiage. Brown zori have fuzzy snow covers to keep the toes warm. A deep orange scarf helps to also hold in the warmth. The obikazari was a small gift from my husband - a cute little turtle!

Monday, December 14, 2015

"12 Days of Kimono" - Day 1

The first coordination is fairly simple, but it leaves a lot of room for accessorizing - especially with Western accessories like boots, hats, and scarves! The kimono is red denim with a cute polka dot interior. The navy hanhaba obi has a design of sparkly bells that feel festive, even though this ensemble is quite casual. The sanbuhimo is purple ribbon and white lace with a clear oval gem obidome. The zori have a black base with blue and brown gingham hanao.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

12 Days of Kimono Christmas Challenge

With Christmas coming, I'd like to do a "12 Days of Kimono" - but I want you to help me choose the ensembles! They can be anything you choose as long as the obi and kimono are both of the same season. Please check my Flickr albums and then post your choices. You can also suggest accessories! I can't wait to see what you choose!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

KimoNovember ending early?

 Do to unforeseen medical circumstances, it is unlikely that I will be able to continue KimoNovember  this year.  If I am able to do so, I will post the coordination ideas that I had. However, I am currently on bedrest, so I make no guarantees. All that being said, if you would like to share your ensembles with me, please post in the comments. I would still love to be able to see everyone else's!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

KimoNovember 2015 - Week 1

This is my week 1 kitsuke for KimoNovember. Usually, the premise of KimoNovember to wear kimono every day this month (or as many days as possible), but with a hectic schedule, I can only do weekly ensembles.

For the first ensemble, I went with a "casual and cozy" theme. Teal komon with ginkgo, yukiwa, and sakura, deep purple ichimatsu hanhaba obi tied in karuta musubi (not pictured), salmon and lavender obijime tied in fuji musubi, pale blue haneri with white lace overlay, pale yellow shigoki obi, silver leaves necklace used as obi kazari, tabi with black cats, and multi-color leaves zori. This komon is plenty long for my height, so the shigoki is not to cover the lack of ohashori, but just a stylistic choice.

This is honestly not my neatest kitsuke because I wasn't feeling quite myself yesterday. Kudos to my husband who got me to smile and take a picture with the cat to cheer me up a little. I'm hoping the upcoming ensemble will be a little neater (and I'll be in a better mood)!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Coordination for Halloween Tea Ceremony Class

In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to wear kimono with the traditional colors to tea ceremony class. I didn't want it to look too out of place, so I wore my orange iromuji, the black and grey bokashi nagoya obi, a deep purple obiage, and a bright green obijime.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

End of Summer Review

With today being the first day of autumn, I thought I'd look back and talk about my two favorite purchases this past summer.

In the early half of the summer, I finally found a shibori yukata that was large enough for me. It was even better that it was purple! I often find that I only wear an item once per season - if at all - but I wore this three times (which is saying something when you don't wear kimono every day)! The color is just fabulous, and the comfort level is incomparable. Though I spent more than I probably should have on a single piece, it will probably pay for itself just by the number of times I will wear it.

Image and product from Ichiroya
My other favorite purchase is probably a little unlikely. While I found many beautiful things over the summer, this is not one of them! In fact, you wouldn't see it at all when worn. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Giving Life to Old Obi

For years, I have had these two tsukuri obi just sitting in my house. I bought them both for very little. The first is a rough brown one - likely cotton - and the other is a synthetic one with printed kanoko dots. They are plain and versatile, but pretty boring... I had an idea quite a long time ago to add appliqués, but I truly kept forgetting about it. While moving thing around the other day, I finally remember that idea. I found several cute designs, but the little orange and yellow owls were my favorite. I also picked up some flower appliqués of varying designs. These appliqués are iron-on type,

And these are the results!

Brown cotton obi with owl and flower appliqués

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kitsuke Practice with Sha Hikizuri

My newest hikizuri arrived in the mail this past week. I suspect it to be one that was used for dance/stage performance, and by the incredibly large dimensions (235cm long and 150cm wingspan!), it might even have been used by an onnagata.

Not only its size is intriguing, but the lining is also a bit of a mystery. It's sha-awase for the most part, but it is unlined at the top of the shoulder area.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Photos from Special Tea Ceremony

As a member of our local chado (tea ceremony) group, The Way of Tea in Tennessee, we usually do practice and demonstrations, with only one formal tea gathering in January. Another member built her own chashitsu (tea room) and held a smaller private gathering - a rare treat for us! The occasion was not only to celebrate the chashitsu but also to welcome a special guest - our sensei's mother. Please read my other post about the weekend we spent with her.

I was finally able to get some pictures from the event. There are only a few, but here is what I have to share.

As our normal practice space does not have a tea garden, we never get to practice this part. Here, sensei's mother is showing me how to use the tsukubai.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Your First Kimono

When I do presentations, people often ask me about what they should be looking for when they are looking into buying their first kimono. Now after doing the last reflective post, I'd like to offer my advice on purchasing your first kimono. Please note that this is only my opinion on these matters, and there are many schools of thought here. Whatever you decide to do, my biggest piece of advice is to do your research on everything possible before you buy. Most experienced kimono enthusiasts will tell you that they have an early purchase that they regret! Hopefully, this advice will help you feel more comfortable in making your first purchase.

1. What type should I buy?
I know that people are often drawn to kimono because of the bright, bold patterns they see, but what I find most frequently is that they are looking at furisode (the long-sleeved young woman's kimono). Furisode are easily one of the most complicated kimono to tie, and I strongly recommend that you do not make it your first purchase. There also seems to be a pattern of people wanting kurotomesode (ceremonial black kimono with pattern below hem only) for a first kimono (I actually wanted one for my first as well!). This type of kimono is ultra-formal for married women. While lovely, it's hard to tie and also difficult to find appropriate occasions for. I strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with the types of kimono out there before you buy.

Truly, I think the best kimono to start with is the yukata. It's one layer, usually cotton, and often washable. They also won't break the bank (usually) and come in a variety of patterns that will suit almost anyone's taste. The obi types used with the yukata are more simple to tie than those that will be used with other types of kimono. It is also needs fewer accessories (see question #4).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Kimono Evolution

2015 is the 8th year I've been practicing kitsuke. At the end of 2007, I bought my first yukata, and then this thing we affectionately call the "kimono bug" bit me, and I've been hooked ever since! My reflection started as the result of a recent post on the IG Facebook page asking for us to show our early kitsuke and describe our improvements. This prompted me to take a look back at all 8 years and see what has changed. I'd like to share my journey with you.

END OF 2007

My first kitsuke ever. This was taken shortly after buying this yukata. Unfortunately, I have no full shots of this particular kitsuke attempt. I did research before buying the yukata on the old IG forums, and I remember using a shoe string to act as a koshi himo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Positivity PSA

I wanted to make a post related to positivity in the kimono community, especially regarding those that are just getting into the hobby. As a nurse, we often hear of other nurses “eating their young”, and I have sadly seen it happen quite a bit with kimono fans as well. Not everyone is this way of course. I have seen some people being wonderful ambassadors. We are not going to get and keep people interested in kimono if we are bringing them down for not knowing all of the intricate rules and not having a vast collection with tons of coordination possibilities; these things take a long time. I am not saying that we should abandon educating newcomers. They often are seeking knowledge, but they don’t know the questions to ask. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When we do educate them, we need to be tactful and encouraging. We need to watch over our beginners, offer constructive criticisms when warranted, and let them know that we have been in their shoes. I’m sure everyone reading this has had a point in their lives where someone told them that they cannot do something, that they are not good enough, or that they failed. Remember how that felt? Do you really want someone else to feel that way? We need to remind ourselves of their skill level and accommodate for that. We all were beginners once. Let’s try to offer more compliments than criticisms, and most of all, let’s be kind to one another. In the age of the Internet, supposed anonymity has turned more than a few people into cruel creatures. Don’t let yourself become that person. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Weekend of Chanoyu

This past weekend, I was entirely immersed in chanoyu! On Saturday, our sensei was in town for a day of lessons, and to my surprise, his parents were visiting as well. His mother is an Urasenke master, and she personally gave me a lesson in preparing koicha. It was quite an interesting lesson, as my Japanese is very poor, and her English is minimal. Surprisingly, I did pick up on quite a bit of what she was saying, but I believe all of the pantomiming helped!

As usual, I wore kimono to practice, so here is my ensemble: a yellow-beige sha komon with tsubaki pattern, raspberry color ro nagoya obi with tsuyu-shiba design, white ro obiage with yellow shibori dots, and yellow summer obijime.

On Sunday, my dear friend held a private gathering in her personal tea room. She was the host for the first part of the gathering, and then my sensei's mother hosted the second half. It was such an honor to be able to attend! The ensemble I chose to wear was a sky blue ro iromuj, pale lavender fukuro obi with uroko design, navy tate-ro obiage, and mint summer obijime.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

KdJ Memphis, June 2015: Jun Kaneko Exhibit

This past Thursday, my husband, my friend Shay, and I went to see the work of Jun Kaneko at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens for our Kimono de Jack Memphis outing. Shay and I both work kimono, of course!

She wore her lovely vintage hitoe komon and borrowed an obi and komono from my collection. If that kimono were larger, I'd definitely steal it! The pictures don't do it justice. 

My ensemble was a black ro komon with a whirlpool and zakuro (pomegranate) design. The obi is cream colored ro with a lantern (or a case could be made for moon) design. Both of us opted for cool blue accessories. Shay was much more modern with her styling, and as usual, I stuck to a more classical kitsuke.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June Kitsuke - Blue Cotton Komon

I had to help my sister run her booth at a comic book expo today, so I decided to wear this cotton komon that has been sitting in storage for some time. When I purchased it, the seller advertised it as a yukata. It is likely cotton, but much softer than any yukata. It also has hiro eri (wide collar that must be folded for wear). It is not sheer like sha or ro, but not as opaque as regular hitoe. Since the traditional calendar says that you don't switch to ro and sha until at least June 15, it really is the perfect "in-between" kimono.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

First Yukata Kitsuke of 2015

My new yukata arrived yesterday, so I did a quick coordination with it. I used a black hanhaba obi with a shibori tatewaku pattern on it. It's rather short so the musubi is kind of small. I added a little dragonfly obi kazari and posed with my new woven bag. (Please ignore my hair and makeup, because it's just what I had on from work that day.)

 I'm so glad that warm weather is finally here, and I can do more kitsuke such as this!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Bag and Ombré Hanhaba Obi

I keep adding more things to my summer collection! I blame The New Kimono for this; if you haven't read it, skim the section on summer accessories and you'll know why I have issues... Anyway, I finally found a hemp ombré obi that I like. Too many of them have multiple colors, which is fine except that it makes it much harder to coordinate, and they're often quite costly. On top of that, I really wanted a one in green as my other is kind of a pain in the butt... 

I am honestly quite happy that there's a yellow tone to this obi because it contrasts with the colors of my summer kimono and yukata better than blue tones. 

I also had a lucky find! Kururi had a new woven bag up this year that I completely adore but it was a little pricey for me at almost 20,000 yen. At the same shop where I found the ombré obi, I saw this bag and didn't hesitate to purchase it! 

It's almost exactly the same as the Kururi one, and it was only one-fourth of the cost! It was the last they had in this style, so I'm assuming the price was dropped for that reason since no damage was noted (they had an original list price closer to the Kururi bag). 

Several weeks ago, I also purchased a new ro juban. This one is semi-custom sized, so I will finally have a summer juban that isn't too small. I hope it will arrive in time for my first summer kitsuke opportunity!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hitoe Season Comes Early in Memphis

As often is the case in the Southern USA, warm temperatures come quite early here in Memphis. This weekend, it was over 80 degrees F, and wearing awase in that kind of heat (and with rampant humidity!) can be torture. Outside of Japan, it's a little easier to not follow the traditional rules of awase, hitoe, and usamono. By Japanese standards, I shouldn't switch until mid-May to hitoe. But with it being as hot as it was, I went ahead and wore hitoe this past Saturday.

This hitoe komon has a geometric design, and I paired it with a simple green and cream hakata nagoya obi. The accessories are a purple and orange obiage with wisteria embroidery and a lighter purple obijime.

Thanks for looking!