Bebe Taian: November 2011

November 17, 2011

Artfire Announcement

Hi everyone!

I had so many items listed on Artfire- cool things, like the Satsuma and Kutani dishes, piles of silks and fabric remnants, so much awesome stuff... but the sales are lacking too sorely to pay the monthly fees, something like $12/month. That means if I sell one kimono, the entirety of the payment goes towards fees and maybe three or four months of simply hosting the items! One of the reasons I joined Artfire was their explicit promise that they would never charge Basic seller accounts monthly fees or listing fees; instead, we would pay a percentage of the final sale value of each item when it sold. This has obviously changed.

I will be hosting on Zibbet as soon as I work out the kinks in listings. I also hope to have a website built soon as a permanent home to shop through, similar to the one I built for Perthro's Pagan Supplies. The cart system is not as streamlined as I'd hope it to be, but I can accept Paypal through that site and adjust shipping rates before refunding accordingly.

Of course, the Bebe Taian website is still being planned out. I want to make it more than just a sales site. I want to fill it with useful information, fashion examples, all kinds of stuff! And of course, I'll link it back to here... or perhaps import my blog to there as well. ^_^ I'm still deciding. It's on my list of things to do with the New Year! Please be patient. I'll be back up and running soon!

November 11, 2011

Private Collection: Asa no Ha Komon

Fittingly, this asa no ha (stylized hemp leaf pattern) hitoe komon is made from hemp. It's ultra-durable, and about as soft as thickly-woven cotton, if not smoother. It's *wonderful* fabric! In fact, I may attempt to collect many more made of hemp for precisely this reason. It's like the best cross between denim and linen that could possibly exist. It's awesome. <3

Actually, this would be something I'd wear today. Even though it is now awase season, and the weather is certainly much cooler today (down to 50F at night! YAY!), it's thick enough to where the layers underneath keep  me plenty warm. You can't see through it, so maybe no one will notice the lack of lining.

It might be one of the last few days this year that I can wear something like this. The rest of the year, maybe it's all silks or synthetics.

My only issue now is getting a workable obi. I had one that I wore with it previously, but I really didn't care for the combination. I don't have anything that really fits this right now. Perhaps I should look into a hakata obi- but in what colours? Red and white, maybe?

November 8, 2011

SOLD: Pink Wool Hitoe Komon

UPDATE: Sold on 2/12/12

Yellow walls are not kind to photographs. Especially not photos of kimono. Although, this one came out better than most others...
Up for sale is a pink/black woven wool kimono. It is unlined (hitoe), except for plain white cotton lining on the collar and the upper body. It is a very sturdy fabric. Even though wool is rough and stiff, because kimono are worn over juban, little if any of the fabric should directly touch your skin!

Komon like these are the informal jeans and t-shirt of traditional Japan. A simple kimono like this can be dressed down with a super-casual hanhaba obi, or dressed up with a pretty Nagoya obi! With the right accessories, the same kimono can look radically different from one day to the next.

This one came from my private collection, but I've since decided that I favoured asa fabric (hemp fabric) over wool. And in Florida, I don't need anything to make me warmer than I am! Even though it is unlined, wool can be oppressive. I prefer thin, gauzy silks if I'm going to wear hitoe! But it would be perfect for someone who lives further north- all the warmth without the weight, great for those days that can't make up their minds as to whether they're going to be hot or cold. Wear it with a padded juban, or with another layer of kimono on colder days. The fibers are actually pink and black woven together, so you get horizontal thin streaks of black all throughout the piece. Play it up with a black and metallic obi!

Age is most likely Heisei, although without patterns or distinctions, it may be as old as Showa.

This Week in BebeTaian News

So, instead of posting on Halloween, I ended up working as much as humanly possible on housework, Perthro's Pagan Supplies, and Bebe Taian's upcoming Japanese Culture Festival! The entire week was about folding, sorting, checking, repairing, sewing, and working out fine details about the booth and logistics, on top of working two out of three nights that I was scheduled at Ichibans'. There are some photos to post, though! I just have to unpack the camera and edit them. By Saturday night, I felt like I still had things to do, but I'd done enough to fill my section of the booth and then some.

Sunday the 6th was the Orlando Japanese Festival. It was a loooong ride! But fortunately, a friend was driving me there and back, being far more familiar with the area than I am! There was great food (sushi!), join-in dance sessions to 50s Japanese songs, and lots of vendors.

My booth was shared with a few other people with all kinds of stuff: obento and ohachi sets, Hello Kitty merchandise, CDs, books, magazines, and lots of shirts and wristbands for charity! I mostly sold very cheap accessories, $5 or less. Plenty of kimono items up for grabs, but it's a tough year. I made just under the booth fee, so actually, the day was a loss, but it was still very enjoyable. I got to show someone how to tie a yukata, and met a very cool couple who had an interest in kimono and Japanese antiques just as I do! G and E were kimono/20s-30s porcelain collectors. SO AWESOME. E has a very different kimono style than I do, but it works so well with her colouring! I'm more of a subdued, "old lady" person, more likely to be decked out in dark blues and greys. >D She's so bright and vibrant! Her buttery yellow kimono and bright purple obi worked really well together! And their daughter was awfully cute. I think maybe she was shy because there were so many people around.

Another vendor was so kind, they translated the name of some of my dishes! The ronin set is a Kutani work from the mid-80s or so, and to have a full set, each signed, is fairly rare. Kutani is a very famous, very expensive brand! The other name, Matsumise, means "pine peak", and is likely the artists' name or the house he works for. For this reason, I have raised the price on the porcelain set. Even so, it is well worth the cost.

Afterwards, it was packing up (with the help of some of the other booth members- thanks, guys! You really saved my back! <3 <3 <3) and heading out around 5PM as the festival was winding down. And then... more FOOD! OMG. I can eat quite a bit when left to my own devices. I tend to forget to eat, but when I do... dinner was SO American. >D Give me a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and onions any day of the week. And then, the rest of the long drive home.

Today and tomorrow, unpacking. And today, I paid for a rather large shipment of items from Osaka, far away from any nuclear fallout that I've heard of being reported so far, so please don't worry about radiation. They gave me what I think is a very fair price on shipping. I checked by weighing similar items and ran the weight past Japan Post (the official website of Japan's post office) to calculate shipping costs. My estimate and their price were within a few dollars of each other, with my estimate being slightly more expensive. I will report again when I see my items, which can take up to 2-3 months to arrive. 6-8 weeks is standard, but sometimes SAL shows up here as much as 3 months after initial shipping date!

I can't wait to show everyone what is coming, and to list what is already here. I'm working out details locally to have a better photo location, as my apartment is very dark indoors, even with the lights on.

As well...

I'd like to give a public shout-out to fuel tanker TRL30 on I-4 towards Tampa. You wove in and out of lanes, rode up on people's bumpers, and otherwise engaged in highly risky driving behaviour. You were going about 10mph over the speed limit, judging by how fast you outstripped us, and I will be looking up your companys' phone number, as I didn't see it on your truck. It's bad enough that some people have no driving skills and yet choose to use major highways going speeds in excess of 60mph. You were driving a FUEL TANKER. You know, the kind that EXPLODES, sending burning wreckage and shrapnel everywhere. You have no business being on the highway if you're going to be doing this. I understand that you have a schedule to keep, and that companies are increasingly demanding of tighter and tighter shipping times which can sometimes be impossible (literally, impossible) to make, but don't risk people's LIVES over a whopping half hour off of your trip! /end rant