Culture

Sakura さくら Season in Japan: A Celebration of Life and Beauty

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

Trust me when I tell you that Spring is the best time to go to Japan.

Spring has sprung in Japan, and besides the warmer temperatures and change in wardrobe, nothing has made that more evident than the blooming of sakura さくら or cherry blossoms. In Japanese history, tradition and culture, sakura are an official marker of spring. Spring is the preferred season by many in Japan, as it is a happy medium between the cold winter, and the very humid summer.

Asakusa

Asakusa

Sakura are quite rampant in Japan, and this being my first spring in Japan, I was very excited to see the trees go from having bare, occasionally snow covered branches to having branches covered, with bright, and colorful sakura. The physical transformation is phenomenal, and so too is the change in atmosphere, as people leave the coldness of winter and enjoy the warmer, lighter temperatures of spring. Beginning as early as late-February, and ending in early May, it is somewhat of a magical season and marks the beginning of a new season and a celebration of life and nature’s beauty.

Asakusa

Asakusa

One cannot talk about sakura and without mentioning hanami はなみ. Hanami is a ritual that dates back to the 710-794 period in Japan, when the emergence of sakura coincided with the end of the rice planting season.  It is a period of celebrating life and feasting. As such, today, just as enjoyable as seeing the sakura is partaking in different hanami festivities. Hanami are outdoor parties, very similar to picnics which involve eating and drinking underneath the sakura trees. At night, sakura trees are covered with lanterns to decorate and provide light for the yozakwe (evening hanami) festivities. The atmosphere is merry, the air filled with talking, laughter and sometimes music. The parties often take place in city parks, gardens, along river banks, and anywhere that sakura grows.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

Seeing sakura in various settings has been nothing short of phenomenal. There is an entire street outside of the financial district of Nihonbashi, and after work, it is common to see business professionals eating and drinking after work, giving an entirely new meaning to happy hour.  I have often stopped mid-run to take pictures along the Sumida River. There is something about the combination of flowers and water that make you stop to admire the scenery. As sakura are in bloom suddenly and briefly, it has been a  reminder to stop every so often, observe and enjoy the beauty of life, and live in the moment.

Thank you for reading,

Rita.

 

Exotic Collections: Innovative Ways to Add African Ethnic Plate To Any Space

I came across Safari interiors while writing Exotic Collections’ series. Safari Interiors referring to exotic rooms make total sense. The word “Safari” in swahili means to take a trip or journey. I really beleive that ethnic spaces really make one travel. Travel in your home by hanging ethnic dishes, bowls, and plates. African plates are handmades and they look elegant, eclectic, country to some and contemporary to others. The ethnic plates add textures on walls. Here are some inpirations on where to put them in your home. The possibilities are endless.

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Play with sizes and mix different shades and tones,  it creates an interest in the space . From Decor4All

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This dinning space is stunning. You see how the plates and rug work so well together. I really love the look of beautifully arranged ethnic plates.From Decor 4 All.

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Create unique look in your space. Look how the plates are incorporated in this bedroom here.

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Add color in your space with ethnic plates. From Justbaustralia

Stay Fancy and come back again!

XOXO

Judith

 

Exotic Collections: 3 Unique African Stool for Any Stylish Space

I don’t know about you. Sometimes, I have the impression that when the word “exotic” is mentioned – The mind think of the brightest colors out there like red, bright yellow, “jungle green” unsure even if this color exists but you get the point I’m trying to make. The mind will not stop there, it will travel to identify animals like zebra, leopard, lion, and monkies. I realized that the mind fails to bring to my attentation African stools. These items captivate me. It is only when I see pictures of these items that I’m reminded that they are unique creations of the tropics. Be inspired with these beautiful African hand crafted stools.

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Each African tribes have their own way of carving their stools. The three stools, in the center, are known under the name of Tonga, Igbo or Dogan. You can notice that they are slightly different in details depending on the tribe that make them. I couldn’t help myself to mention the framed picture in the background, so unique and artistic! From Pinterest.

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Ashanti stools from Ghana are known as royalty stools. Most times, Ashanti stools have the same shape but come with different details or symbols. I think they make beautiful accent pieces for any room. From John Jacob Interiors.

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Senufo stools from Ivory Coast, they are simple and sculptural in shape. I love the textures of the bed sheets, the neutral palette, the  great wood headboard, the curtains, and the Senufo stools, every piece is working so well with one another in this space. From Better Homes & Gardens.

Have a great week-end!!

 

XOXO

– Judith

 

Exotic Collections: 3 Ways to Use African Baskets

I hope you enjoyed Mud Cloth’s inpiration. The second Exotic Collections in my list is – African baskets. African baskets is not just basketry, it is an Art. In North America/Europe, It came around as interiors’ trend. In Africa, It has been around the continent for centuries. Most African baskets are carefully  hand made with beautiful colorful patterns. It requires high level of craftsmanship to bring in some stunning patterns. Africans consider their baskets as commodities and not a trend. For this reason, it is mostly used to carry food from the open market/crops from the field and people like to store some of their valuable items in these baskets. In the west, we see these baskets more in home Decor. Be inspired with these pictures.

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How beautiful is this basket? I love everything about this Zulu basket. I can see this basket being used to store throws, extra pillows, and even kids’ toys. From Zanzibar.

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The beautiful yellow Senegalese basket has its place in this home office. It appears as if it is used as a trash basket. I am ashamed that I’m unable to remember the source of this picture.

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Don’t neglect the plants in your space. Style them with an African Basket, it is stylish. I beleive this picture is from West Elm. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

XOXO

– Judith

Exotic Collections: Awake Your Style With African Mud Cloth

I have a soft spot for many things. Most times, I keep this as my little secret. This secret gets me in “lala land”. Seriously, I know this may sound a bit cliche but when I see exotic things, I go  “oh la la!” I Love exotic things, not just because of my origins (side eyes). But really, I admire handmade things because of the labour of love that is put into them, their uniqueness, the hard work, and every little details that come out of it.  I want to present you a series of “My Exotic Collections” for interiors as inspiration posts. First in my list is Mud Cloth. Be inspired.

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The Mud Cloth is used as a throw. It is very unique and crisp in this space. The white lines/patterns are in harmony with the neutral palette in this room. From Elle Decor.

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The African fabric is used to upholster this chair. This space looks eclectic with the mixture of beautful patterns. From The Lovely Lifestyle.

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And there was a Mud Cloth Pillow. Bright hue chair with this pillow works so well together. From Pinterst.

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Mud cloth on floors. It adds a character. From Design Files

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Prettify your tables. The last two picture here, black and white Mud Cloth are used as table runners. Basically, there is no limitation when it comes to using the Mud Cloth. From Ruffle Blog.

XOXO

– Judith

 

And cue the last minute christmas presents

It’s the most wonderful time of the year but it can also be very stressful.

Where I grew up in Western Uganda, Christmas is all about large family gatherings and food – a seemingly endless supply of food and drinks, but never the exchange of presents.

But since I have called Regina home for almost a decade now, I have assimilated quite a bit into the Canadian tradition of exchanging presents at Christmas. When In Rome and all that. Mind you, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it.

I find it quite stressful guessing at what family and friends expect from me for presents. This is why I love kids. You can ask them what they want and they’ll tell you. And you can negotiate with them (No. That’s too expensive!)

Adults on the other hand aren’t always forthcoming. They tell you they’ve got everything they need but really they do expect something (Surprise me!)

If you are a procrastinator like myself and have yet to conquer that Christmas shopping list, here are a couple of suggestions for unusual holiday gifts from right here in Saskatchewan.

1. Give the gift of REST

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Float houses are rapidly becoming popular across Canada and in Saskatchewan as well. A quick google search turns up three Spas in Regina’s downtown alone.

REST, or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, works on the principle of sensory deprivation.

This is how it works. You get locked up in a pitch black tank filled with salty, body-temperature water, wearing nothing else (OK maybe a swim suit) but earplugs. Sounds terrifying, right? Wrong! From what I’ve heard from those that have floated, it is a deeply relaxing experience. And if you buy someone you love a gift certificate to one of these spas, they’ll tell you all about their floatation therapy experience. It’s a win win really.

2. Locally made one-of-a-kind jewelry

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Saskatchewan is an arts and crafts hub. We have some really wonderful artists making unique pieces. Some, like Regina jewelry artist Megan Hazel, will work with you to design something that can’t ever be replicated. Megan can also take your old jewelry rings that don’t fit anymore, and give them new life in the shape of another piece of jewelry like a necklace or earrings.

3. Give the gift of art

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Almost anyone can take a selfie these days, which has kind of ruined portrait photography in a way. But how cool would it be to have the likeness of your loved one captured on canvas? You can commission a local artist to paint a portrait of your loved one or something else symbolic like your favourite wedding photo. I know one Saskatchewan artist, Brandi Hofer, who can work off of photographs. But I think it would also be really amazing to sit for a painter, to get to be a muse for an hour or two, and see how the work turns out. It’s a timeless gift and experience, and there’s certainly no shortage of artists/painters in Saskatchewan to make this happen.

Image sources: 1/2/3

 

Thank you for reading,

Iryn Tushabe

My Prairie Life: Regina Afrofest

Hello lovelies,

Do you sit and reflect on past good times? I’m daydreaming about Regina’s Afrofest right now. It has been on my mind lately. Last year, I remember happy faces surrounded me as I applauded the sounds of the festival. Performers, from West Africa, brought Africa to the Prairies. It was so magical, the little poet in me is awakened when I reflect on it:

You know that moment when you realize that good music speaks to your bones, with a head shake.
I didn’t freak out when I saw the African in you coming to sight, with your own dance moves.
I was amused.
I guess you never know until you feel the rhythm of Africa.

Trust me, I am not judging. I am just telling it as it is. It was fun to look at the crowd. Not only was there music, but the food engaged all of my taste buds. This event really feeds my obsession with culture. It also highlighted the diversity within Africa through live music. You know how much I love good music, good food and good people.

In less than a month, on July 4th at 1:30PM, Afrofest will take place in Victoria Park again. Preserve the African swag and mark your calendar. This time around, performers will be from East Africa. The sounds of the continent on the Prairies simply excite me, so I started my countdown today. To get excited for this year’s festival, let’s take a look back at what I experienced at Afrofest 2014…

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This West African performer fascinated me. The drum sounds made her jumping moves flawless. She was so authentic!image

There she is again, I’m in love.

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Speaking of the African in you coming to sight, check the crowd showing off their moves. Come and dance to the sounds of Africa.

Thank you for reading, stay Fancy and come back again.

XOXO

Judith