those shrivelled bits in your bedroom, its spring, so say
bye-bye to pot-pourri. With a bit of imagination but
not much cash it is possible to transform the drab hovel chic of
your apartment into something bright and breezy. KS takes you by
the hand and to the ¥100 shop to show you how.
Be inspired by the flowers nodding their heads
at your window (or in the park three stations from your apartment)
and roll up your sleeves, snap on some rubber gloves, get down on
your knees and get dirty, Christina Aguilera style all well
and good if you are happy to sacrifice the bathtub and turn it into
a very restricted plot of land.
On the other hand, if ploughing isnt a viable
option, there are ways to coax Mother Nature into your apartment
even if burdened with a limited budget and a limited imagination.
Firstly, let us not tell others you are in fact
limited. Secondly, let us not give others hints as to your limited
nature by using nature of the green and colourful kind to simply
screen the boring spots in your home that are obvious to everybody
else. Finally, let us open our minds, our windows, our doors, and
our change purses (or man-bags).
Surprisingly, small change makes big changes possible,
thanks to a newer breed of style-friendly ¥100 stores that have
appeared across the land. The garden variety ¥100 store consists
of mountains of plastic baskets and buckets in lurid shades of grossness,
makeup for kids, and Christmas stocking-stuffers. Dont give
up hope. Scattered quite liberally and accessibly about are shops
catering for those in need of home-wares and basic interior design
goods. Kitchen Kitchen, Natural Kitchen, Natural Plenty and Bana
Bana stock bits and bobs ranging from ¥100 to ¥500.
By utilising these resources, its amazing what can be achieved
with a spark of imagination and the lovely hints on display in-store,
and the staffs super-speedy wrapping skills are worth appreciating
too, if youre into that kind of thing.
After buying up big, the problem to avoid is transforming
your place into a generic Kitchen Kitchen showroom.
Thats where personal flair, taste, and style come into play.
You have the tools. Now, how to use them? Time
to tap into the green and colourful side of being creative. Cut
flowers and smaller plants are wonderfully versatile. Dont
just pass them by in the supermarket if the arrangement fails to
catch your eye. The key to a bouquets versatility is that
it can, and usually should be, pulled apart. Unbind the individual
flowers and open up a world of choice .
Try placing single stems in separate containers to accentuate the
individual beauty of each bloom. For a light and airy feel, use
simple, unaccented glass with long stems. For an Asian feel, try
pottery, painted or natural, with interesting textures. Group the
containers in a cluster for a brilliant display, or space them along
a window ledge for rhythmic simplicity.
Shot-glasses and tea-light candle holders work
particularly well for displaying short stemmed flowers. Place glass
near a good source of light to effect luminous points of light,
cool and crystalline. Perfect for inspiring chilled thoughts in
hot weather. Mix and match containers for an antique feel. Use matching
containers and materials for uniformity and order.
Another great use for candle holders is to fill
them with water and float flower heads or petals on the surface.
In the kitchen, introduce some childhood science and grow carrot
tops in shallow candle holders for a bushy little veggie-garden.
Larger flowers can be plunged underwater for a bubbly, submerged
effect. For containers that you adore, such as baskets or woven
materials which cant hold water alone, insert a glass jar
or another smaller container which you can fill instead, with admirers
being none the wiser. Tall container, short flowers? Pop another
container upside down inside to give the arrangement a boost.
Flowers arent for everybody, apparently,
so try a hydro-garden. Most big home-stores such as Co-op Living
and Konan have extensive plant sections, as do a lot of florists.
Look for the plants that have been raised to survive in a centimetre
or two of water. As thats their only requirement, they are
incredibly flexible. Plants such as these are also to be found in
the more expensive boutiques, though are obviously more costly.
On average they cost ¥300 each.
Floppy flowers lolling dangerously close to falling
out of containers due to sheer length or top-heaviness can obviously
be cut shorter, or you can place a frog in the base.
Frogs are those curiously shaped glass, plastic, or
metal gadgets, sometimes spiky, sometimes loopy, found in florists
and plant-sections. They look like massage tools, or tools of other
fleshy trades, but are actually great at holding lengthier plants
and flowers in place, such as bamboo stems.
us in summer, cut flowers are happiest with cool, fresh water, a
cool place to rest, and having their stems cut a little every other
day (unlike us). A packet of flower-food will keep them genki for
an extra few days, though a teaspoon of sugar in their water tends
to work just as well. Again, just like us.
Knowing when to dispose of cut flowers is also
a plus, when they are brown, drooping beyond relief, or in a state
of rapid decay, thats a good time to chuck them in the gomi.
Before they decline this far, replace them. Remember that flowers
arent only for special occasions, like buying them for yourself
on White Day. By adding flowers to the weekly grocery list your
mood and the mood of your place will brighten considerably.
1F 1-5-10 Sannomiya-cho Kobe-city
(across from Yuzawaya)
Call or see in-store for complete location list.
Natural Kitchen/Natural Plenty/
Numerous locations in Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Tokyo. Check the web