Ikenobo Arrangement #6

I honestly don’t remember this lesson (it’s from awhile ago). This week just enjoy the before and after. Maybe you can find the differences and the potential lesson in the arrangement.

Looking at my first attempt again, the big green leaf really bothers me now. It’s too tall.

I really taking pictures of arrangments from the side. It gives you a whole new perspective. From the front, the plum branches look like they are all tangled together. But from the side, you can see how they are angled and layered.

Arr 6 compare

That leaf though. I need more confidence to cut down those big long leaves. In the end, I found the lesson. Cut the leaf.

See you next week for the next arrangement!

A World in Pink: Sakura in Kyushu

It’s finally spring in Kyushu! I am excited to spend my first spring in Japan. I was lucky enough to snap a few pictures of the famous cherry blossoms before a rain storm washed them away.

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I was surprised to learn that there is night Hanami or night flower watching. Some of the pictures below were taken at Karatsu Castle at night. Many people were there having a nighttime picnic.

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Blooming Mondays: Springtime in Suess


Sorry this post is a bit late!



Pink Tulips, Dark Purple Dracaene (the leaves),  Yellow Acacia, Purple Ryukokorine/Glory of the Sun (Leucocoryne), and if anyone knows what the white flower is called please tell me.


First Attempt


I like my first attempt but I didn’t know what it do with the yellow  Acacia. I think if the vase was a bit smaller and maybe a lighter color it would look great. This is one of my better attempt. I remembered to keep the cool, dark colors low, spread the flowers evenly throughout the arrangement, and keep the forward vertical style of Ikenobo in place. I did have trouble trying to hide the kenzan from view, but that probably wouldn’t be an issue if I changed the vase.

Overall I liked my attempt but I had to ask the sensei to teach me how to use the Acacia. From there I learned a lot of new tricks.

Teacher’s Lesson

I learned was that when using the long thin branches like acacia you must not let them hang or droop. The best way to do this is by simply turning the branch 180°. This creates tension against the natural grow giving the flowers a playful bounce and a lively appearance.

The second lesson I learned was that you can turn tulips INSIDE OUT. Mind blown. It doesn’t even look like a tulip anymore. Now the tulip has a big presence full of like that draws eye to it.

Now the arrangement looks more alive and like something you might see in a Dr. Suess book. I was skeptical at first but the more I look at it the more I like. My first attempt was cool and elegant but it feels like it was frozen in time. The new arrangement is bursting with life and fits the vase nicely.




Blooming Mondays: Valentines


I was so excited for the warm weekend weather in Kyushu. It felt like spring! Then Monday rolled around and the weather dropped – typical. I hope everyone had a good Valentines Day/Singles Awareness Day. Here is my “after” valentines arrangement that reminds me of the coming spring.



So this week I used: pink cherry blossom (sakura) branches, blue iris, hypericum perforatum (i.e. St. John’s Wort), pine, and a branch of yellow-orange berries.


First Attempt

This was the first time using large sakura branches. The teacher came around and showed me how cut the first branches and where I might put them. She showed me how to make sharp angular cuts to groups of long leaves (featured on the right side of the arrangement). I still have trouble making those types of cuts.


My biggest trouble was balancing the back of the front of the arrangement. I wasn’t sure get more weight to the back. I ended up placing another sakura branch on the side, but gave up on filling the back.


I did get some praise from the teacher before she made her changes. 1. I had the right idea for the arrangement but it stood up too straight. 2. I placed the pine well along the bottom to block the view of the kenzan. 3. Though odd it was okay for my to place the irises closer together as it gave the sense of one big iris. 4. I made a decent cut on the leaning sakura branch.

I should have followed me gut and place the last sakura branch in the back of the arrangement.

Teacher’s Lesson