A Kimono Birthday

Hi there! As promised, here I am with a Kimono-themed post. Scroll down to see plenty of decoration and gift ideas. I hope you find them inspiring!

Every year I come up with a few theme ideas for my partner’s birthday, and, after a long consideration, I decided that this year it would be Kimono.

Cameron has always been very interested in Japanese culture. With its breathtaking beauty and rich history and tradition, it is not surprising that Japan fascinates him so much. Its aesthetics, its praise of heritage, harmony, and shadows (referencing Tanizaki here), its graceful language (Koi no yokan, a Japanese concept “untranslatable” to English, is what I felt when I met him), art, and literature – all of this and so much more creates for him mysterious Japan. In the time that we’ve been together, he has introduced me to great Japanese films and literature, and this interest of his has spread to me. It was he who two years ago took me to the BFI screening of Yasuzo Masumura’s Aozora Musume (1957), which later inspired my artistic name, The Blue Sky Maiden.

I planned this birthday for at least three months, and I was happy with the result!

I decorated the walls with origami kimonos of different styles and sizes and hung clouds of paper lanterns throughout the room. Peggy, Cameron’s grandmother, was very kind to showcase her antique and extremely fragile Japanese doll clad in her original kimono. We too wore kimonos throughout the day.

The breakfast was not particularly Japanese, but rather full of Cameron’s favourite things, strawberry milk included; but I decorated the little bottles using lovely Japanese washi tapes.

The card from me was funny and very personal: long story short, it’s kimonos of three sizes for our little teddy friends – deer sisters of….three sizes! On the right is one of them, all dressed-up, holding a tiny fan.

Even the bottle of sparkling wine was dressed appropriately.

Now it’s time for the gifts: there were plenty (and the photos don’t even show all of them)! I was so happily busy this spring.

Each present was carefully wrapped to match the theme. I got a special set of wrapping paper inspired by kimono designs and a lot of pastel ribbons, and Peggy did a splendid job of decorating her wrapping with Japanese motifs such as a hand-drawn koi tag and incredibly Japanese-looking writing. Below you can also see the kimono-style wrapping, which looked beautiful with that floral paper.

Here are a few of the themed gifts, unwrapped.

Art books are always a welcome present in our family.

The beautiful close-ups in this Thames & Hudson book are simply stunning, while Breitner’s Girls in Kimonos were what made me come up with this whole theme in the first place.

Three of the gifts were handmade by me: a bookmark (it’s a tradition now – for me to make bookmarks for Cam), a book cover (the first one I ever made), and a tiny art book full of patterns and textures (this gift took me a very long time to make, but I was very happy with it in the end, and Cam was too). I will make a separate post about this little book.

Following some Japanese food, in the evening I made a Pavlova cake. I was very proud of my “kimonos on a washing line” cake decoration idea!

So there it is – a very long, but, hopefully, beautiful and inspiring, account of Cam’s birthday. Can’t wait until the next one!

P.S. Bella says Hi!

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