kimono de jack

Birthday Cakes and Surgery

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog


A few days ago I had my gallbladder removed. I was fortunate enough to have it successfully done by laparoscopic surgery. The fact that it is possible to do it as keyhole surgery and the skill of the surgeon doing it really astounds me. All done on the wonderful NHS too.

The symptoms of the gallstones I had me howling, wailing and begging for relief, usually for 20 to 45 minutes at a time. It is great to know that, if the surgeon managed to remove all the stones, I will have no more of those excruciating attacks. I don’t seem to be recovering as quickly as expected but I daresay it will pick up a pace.

Here are some diagrams that show the gallbladder and likely positions of stones and how they are removed via laparoscopy.

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Some of my Japanese items were borrowed by Vogue magazine for a photo shoot in their Polish edition. They took them all the way to Japan for the shoot. Here are some of them…

Chanel leather jacket worn with a Nagoya obi from


Cotton spotted tabi with traditional kohaze fasteners

A golden chrysanthemum adorned Nagoya obi, from, worn with Jil Sander knitwear


It was my only grandchild’s first birthday in July and my daughter’s birthday shortly after, so I baked them birthday cakes. I saw cakes by thecakeandsweet on Instagram that I really loved, so pretty much copied those, although I covered mine in buttercream rather than in the fondant icing the professional had used. I decided to make them using my favourite recipe, a very reliable lemon drizzle cake. The cake is only 6 inches in diameter but, being three layers high, gives 12 to 14 slices.

This is the first one I did.

I put the gum paste icing decorations in the oven to speed up drying, as it was too humid to dry them naturally, but I got them a touch too warm and the hedgehogs, balloon and number 1 puffed a little but I wasn’t too bothered by that. I made Italian meringue buttercream to layer and coat the cake because I find American buttercream unbearably sweet, but it is impossible to make it white. I can never work out how Americans get meringue buttercream so very white. Do they have white butter? I can’t find even pale yellow butter here in the UK, it is all pretty strongly yellow and yields this cream colour of buttercream at best. \i actually shaded this cake from green up to the untinted cream colour but should have started at the bottom with darker green, the shading is too subtle to show much. I was quite happy with the colour for this cake but I would like to have the option of white for other cakes.

My grandson didn’t actually get to eat any of the cake, as he is not yet allowed any sugar or salt, but it was for a family party to celebrate his birthday and it all got eaten.

This next picture shows the one I made my daughter, who is a massive fan of the Peanuts cartoon characters, as am I.

I have no idea how but I totally miscalculated the sizes for Charlie, Linus and for Snoopy and his kennel, all of which I made before the cake. I managed to make those things twice the size I should have. Charlie and Linus should only be tall enough to reach the top edge of the cake, with the kennel and Snoopy suitably proportioned.

For some reason I had problems with the buttercream for this one. I mixed up each colour (the blue ending up too dark because I was trying to combat the fact that the buttercream’s yellowness made it rather green) then put it in icing bags and stored it in the fridge. The following day I let them soften in the warmth if the kitchen then piped them all around the cake. I’d applied it all, ready to be smoothed out, when I noticed some of the food colouring had separated, producing water droplets all over it. I had to try to mix it back together while still on the cake, which wasn’t altogether successful, so it subsequently didn’t smooth as well as I hoped. It still tasted fine but it was annoying because the buttercream on my grandson’s cake had led me to believe this cake’s coating would pose no problems and work out equally well. It didn’t.

The Snoopy kennel was blondie brownies stacked and cut to shape, then coated in rolled icing, with icing roof panels made separately, hardened and then attached. After that, the icing Snoopy was modelled and popped on the top. Charlie and Linus were just 2D and painted with food colouring.

Despite the appearance of the buttercream and the ridiculous size of the decorations on the cake, my daughter really loved it, so it was worth the effort.

Apart from a mirror glaze cake I made a couple of years ago, I think this is the first time I’ve tried making decorated cakes, so they could have been much worse.


This is a ro weave silk kimono, stencilled with a slightly sparkly golden moon. I recently put this on the website. Wouldn’t it be great for Halloween? However, in my opinion, it is great for wearing anytime.

I have been slowly but steadily stocking the new website. It seems to be working fine, although is slower to load the home page than I would like.

Other than that I am fairly happy with it. It now supports secure payment by bank cards as well as by PayPal and, so far, each method has been used equally, so I’m glad I am now able to offer payment options.

I still have so much stock from the previous site to put on the new one, I now realise what a vast amount I had available on that original version of the site, thousands and thousands of items, and it is a bit frustrating to not be able to add just new items but be having to redo ones I’d previously already done. I have an astounding amount of new things for the site too and am gnashing at the bit wanting to add more of those. I do add the occasional new thing, though, such as that stencilled kimono above. The web host (Wix) requires photos to be square in shape, in order to display them properly, and virtually none of my photos is square, so every one of the thousands of stock photos needs to be altered, making it a very, very slow process and it would have been great and a zillion times faster if I could have just used them as is, without spending time changing each one.

Here are a few pictures of some of the things I’ve added to the site since my last blog post. That post was ages ago because all my time is spent working on the site, trying to get all the stock back on it, plus regularly posting to social media, which is essential to ensure my site is ranked by Google when people search for kimono, haori, obi etc. This blog tends to drop to the bottom of the to do list.

Here’s a very elegant, black silk haori, with golden urushi coated silk thread creating the woven design.

A sumptuous silk kimono, with a gorgeous take on a diamond design.

An absolutely stunning, very long, pure silk, 1920s haori kimono jacket, with tree peonies and stripes. The upper lining has little flowers and haori are so beautifully made, with seams hidden even on the inside, that they can be reversible, so you can even wear it the other way to show off that beautiful silk lining.

When you photograph stripes you often get a moiré effect in the photo but, rather amusingly, this haori kimono jacket is actually cleverly printed with that moiré effect among the stripes as part of the pattern.


Here’s one last piece for now, the cream of the crop. I really love the colouring in the flowers on this kimono’s delicate shade of cream silk.

This and the garments I posted above are available at


You can check out my website, providing a wonderful range of vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables. Discover the joy of wearable textile art.


Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


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