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New Scrunchies

Added on by the ikebana shop.

We've spent the long Labour Day weekend making new scrunchies!

Each scruchie is lovingly hand-made in-house using fabric and elastics from Japan.

Did you know that the Japanese name for scrunchie is "shu-shu"?  It derives from the French  chouchou., which could mean a teacher's pet, or ... a scrunchie!

Come by the shop and check out some of the new patterns!  Click here to shop online.

Cold Brew Sencha Green Tea

Added on by the ikebana shop.

In the heat of the summer, sometimes we just prefer a cold cup of tea.  So we tried cold-brewing some sencha green tea.  It's really easy.  It's basically just putting the tea in cold water and letting it sit in your refrigerator overnight!

We used 3 tablespoons (that's like 6 scoops of the wooden spoon you see in the photo) of sencha green tea leaves and 2 litres of water.  We used a large teabag so that it doesn't get messy in the pitcher later. 

The teabag has a flap that you can fold over so that the contents don't spill out later.  (They're good to use for spices in your soup or stew as well!)

Then we added water into the pitcher and left it in the refrigerator overnight (about 8 hours).  Unlike when brewing green tea with hot water where steeping time is important, you don't need to worry too much about an extra hour or so!  There is no precise recipe for a cold brew. :-)

One sleep later...volia!  

Extra tip: Using a pair of chopsticks, shake the teabag up a bit to release more flavour and colour!

The flavour of cold-brewed sencha green tea is a bit subtler and smoother.   Cold-brewing also results in less caffeine in your tea.  Very refreshing for hot days!

You can use gyokuro tea leaves too!

By the way, if you are wondering where you can get those teabags... We have them right here at the shop! :-)   Or purchase online here.

We also have premium grade Japanese green tea, of course!

Introducing The Resin Kenzan

Added on by the ikebana shop.

The kenzan of the 21st century is here!  Introducing the resin kenzan!

Hyperbole aside, this is a revolutionary kenzan.  The pins are brass but the base is made of a hard polyester resin.  It will take the usual heavy branches that a regular kenzan would.  It is translucent, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.  It contains no lead; therefore, it is quite lightweight.

So how does it stay stable?  It works with another revolutionary product, the double-suction kenzan mat!

The mat is made of silicone resin.  There are suction cups on both sides of the mat.  One side adheres to the container while the other side holds the kenzan steady.  It may look like a soap holder, but the suction quality is infinitely better.  The kenzan will stay in place!

The mat is available in two colours: black and clear.  Choose according to the colour of your container.

The black mat disappears in a black container.

The clear mat disappears in a white container...

...and it looks good in other colours as well.

Of course, you can also use it with the traditional kenzan.  The weight of the steel kenzan plus the suction cups will increase the stability.  It is the ultimate kenzan mat!

Whether you use it with traditional or resin kenzan, the mat will keep the kenzan solidly (but within limits of course!) in place.  To all of you who know the difficulty of moving a moribana arrangement, this now becomes easier to do!

Extra bonus: you can use these mats in the kitchen too.  Use it as a base for your mixing bowl while you're whipping up some cream, for example!  :-)

 

Made in Japan.

The resin kenzan and double-suction mats are available for purchase at our online shop.  Or, please visit the bricks-and-mortar shop to see the real thing!

Works By Heather Midori Yamada

Added on by the ikebana shop.

We are very happy to have here at the shop some works by Montreal-based artist, Heather Midori Yamada.

(Dimensions: 21 x 28 cm.)

Her work uses different textures and abstract shapes, employing among others, washi Japanese paper.  All the swatches of paper you see here have been painstakingly dyed by Heather herself.

(Dimesnions: 10 x 26 cm. each)

We can also see elements of shodo Japanese calligraphy.

(Dimensions: 21.5 x 28 cm.)

Heather's art exudes spontaneity and openness that pique our contemplative side.

(Dimensions: 13 x 21 cm.)

Artist profile taken from Heather's website:
Heather Midori Yamada is a Montreal visual artist and teacher who works with Japanese washi papers in paintings, collage and installations. Having begun in Toronto`s Open Studio during the 1980`s Heather primarily used washi papers in monotypes. These works explored  natural plants as imagery and actual plants imprinted.  These washi, etched &  embossed, monotype-print constructions were often marouflaged onto western paper supports. The work evolved into mixed media and collage paintings. 

Available for sale at the shop. 

The Blooming Gift Bag

Added on by the ikebana shop.

So there you are collecting tiny goodies to make into one fabulous gift...or maybe you are preparing a goody bag for your daughter's birthday party...or maybe you bought this pair of origami earrings and are wondering how best to present it.  Look no further.  Here is the blooming gift bag! :-)

It comes flat as a pancake but you can put quite a bit inside because it has a 7cm (2.8") bottom gusset.

Dimensions: L=16cm (6.3"); H=13.75cm (5.4") with a 7cm (2.8") bottom gusset.

Here we put 10 pcs of our favourite chocolate truffles.

Bottom gusset is 7 cm (2.8") wide.

Fill it up.  Then, just pull the drawstrings...and watch the flower "bloom"!  :-)  Tie the strings neatly in a bow.

The drawstrings are on either side of the flower.

The drawstrings are on either side of the flower.

Pull tightly to close.

Then, tie neatly in a bow.

Et voila!  A super presentable gift!

Available in 4 different colours.  Material: non-woven, texture polypropylene. Re-usable.  Click here to purchase online.

Pink, green, orange, and light blue.

All photos by the ikebana shop.  All rights reserved.

Valentine Gift Idea: Crane Choco Boxes

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Here is a unique idea for a Valentine's Day gift: crane boxes with chocolate truffles inside! 

We know they are unique because the boxes are hand-made by us in-house! :-)  The box is covered with colourful Japanese fabric.

The lid comes off like this...and inside is a yummy assortment of 12 chocolate truffles.

The chocolate truffles are made by our good friends at Brockmann's Chocolate in Delta, B.C.

And of course, after the chocolates are gone, you re-can use the box for other things!

Available at the shop. 12.50 each plus HST. We don't have a lot so get yours while we still have them! 

 

All photos by the ikebana shop.  All rights reserved.

Our Little Sticky-Note Book

Added on by the ikebana shop.

We've got new books.  Tiny ones!  :-)

We used scrap Japanese fabric to make the cover.

The pages are actually sticky notes. 

Bring it with you everywhere. Now you'll look more elegant when making notes!  ;-)

Hand-made in-house right here in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Available for purchase at the shop or online.

 

All photos by the ikebana shop.  All rights reserved.

Gohonte: The Pale Pink Spots

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Have you noticed in some tea bowls pale pink spots showing up at random?

These spots are called "gohonte" (御本手).

They appear on the pottery due to the natural reactions from the iron found in the clay when being fired in the kiln.

The origin of the term "gohonte" dates back to the Azuchi-Momoyama period (late 1500's).  Tea masters ordered tea bowls to be made in Korea. Together with their order, they sent samples or diagrams of what they would like made. These  orders were called "gohon" or "gohonte".  When the ordered pottery were delivered, most of them came with the pale pink spots due to the clay used. Soon, this type of pattern came to be called "gohonte."

Originally thought of as imperfections of the glaze, gohonte came to be appreciated by tea masters.  They recognized the implicit beauty in the randomness, unevenness, and naturalness of the patterns.  Thus, the "flaw" was turned into another attractive aspect of the pottery!

Sometimes, we have some gohonte tea bowls available at the shop.  Please come and take a look!  Or see available tea bowls online here.

 

All photos by the ikebana shop.  Al rights reserved.

Daruma Dolls

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Why does this doll have no eyes?

Because it is waiting for you to fill it!  That's right, the daruma doll's eyes are left blank on purpose.  

When you have set a goal for yourself, you paint one eye. You are allowed to paint in the other eye only when you have achieved your goal.  This old tradition from Japan is a wonderful motivational tool!

The daruma doll is made of papier-mâché and is in the image of Bodhidarma, the founder of Zen Buddhism.  The dolls are designed not to tip over...a symbol of the never-give-up spirit.  "Nana korobi ya oki" is a Japanese proverb that says, "Fall down 7 times, get up 8 times."   That is how the roly-poly daruma inspires us not to give up on our goals and dreams.

In Japan, daruma dolls are commonly sold outside shrine grounds in the New Year.  People go to the shrine to pray for a good year and if they set certain goals for the year, they will pick up a daruma doll.  It could be for a politician running for election; a businessman with a sales target; a student studying for exams; an artist finishing a project; a child saving coins in a piggy bank to buy a toy... No goal or wish is too small!

So are you ready?

Step 1: Decide the goal you want to achieve.
Step 2: Paint in one eye of the daruma doll.  Now you are committed!
Step 3: Put the doll in a prominent place where you will see it everyday!
Step 4: Work, work, WORK...to accomplish the task you have embarked on.
Step 5: After successful completion, paint in the other eye.
Step 6: Give yourself a pat on the back. Congratulations! 
Step 7: Back to Step #1!

Try the daruma doll with your next New Year's resolution! :-)

Get your daruma doll from our shop!

 

All photos by the ikebana shop.  All rights reserved.

Hariko No Tora, The Papier-Mâché Tiger

Added on by the ikebana shop.
 

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

from The Tyger by William Blake, 1794.

Hariko no tora, the papier-mâché tiger, is a traditional Japanese craft.

In Japan, tigers are known for their bravery and also for having close-knit families. 

The papier-mâché tiger represents courage and family love.

The tigers are also there to help children grow strong and healthy.

Perhaps the more famous and interesting type of hariko no tora is the one with the bobbing head.  We have a big one in the shop to welcome you!

RAWR!  Don't be scared.  It doesn't bite.  :-)

We're not particularly big fans of GIFs but in this case, this GIF is probably appropriate to show you the bobbing head. :-)

Please visit the shop and pet our tigers!

If you are interested to learn about how the tigers are made, please visit this site.  It is in Japanese only but there are a lot of photos.  The paper they use is washi, Japanese paper.

 

All photos by the ikebana shop.  All rights reserved.