Category Archives: behind the blog

Sewing adventures: Repairing rips in two favorite items

I don’t post sewing adventures all that often, but there’s a pattern to when I do — they occur during break times during the school year! Why? Because that’s when I have time, and the mental energy, to get caught up on sewing projects. 😉 So much of sewing is about the prep work.

For this sewing adventures post, I am detailing how I recently mended rips in two of my favorite clothing items. If I can save or extended clothing by simple repairs, I try it out; and if I don’t succeed, then at least I have made my best effort. And it was a timely post to remind myself how to do simple sewing repairs like mending tears in clothing.

Here’s a video that I found useful in illustrated how to mend tears by hand, using needle and thread:

Repairing my vintage Hawai’ian dress

The first item I repaired is this vintage Hawai’ian dress — the tag actually says “Made in Hawaii” — that my friend Stephanie fashion-swapped with me. I loooooove it, and was totally bummed when I accidentally ripped a bit in the right shoulder.

Librarian for Life + Style | Mixing old + new in a Hawaiian print dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Hawaiian label

Link to original outfit post:  Mixing old + new | Hawaiian print dress

The tricky part about this tear was that it was on both sides of the fabric, front and back, as you can see in the “before” pics below. Plus, the fabric had ripped across a side seam. If the tear had been on the back side of the dress, I wouldn’t have felt such trepidation in attempting a repair. So I went slowly and cautiously with the mending method illustrated in the video above, going through both sides of the fabric with matching red thread. (I was so nervous that I forgot to take photos of my stitches before I pulled everything tight!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my vintage Hawaiian dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my vintage Hawaiian dress

I was careful to choose thread that pretty much exactly matched the orangey-red background of the print. (Side note:  Isn’t this print the cutest?! You can understand why I wanted to save this vintage dress!)

Because the rip was on both sides, I did an extra layer of mending stitching on the back side of the rip, but I just used a simple whip-stitch for that back side and seam.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my vintage Hawaiian dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my vintage Hawaiian dress

The final step is ironing the edges of the mended repair, so that it is flatter and less noticeable. I am pleased with the final result! As you can see in the “after” pics below, the mended bit is not that noticeable (it’s low on the right shoulder).

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my vintage Hawaiian dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my red Hawaiian dress after repairing it

Repairing my denim jacket

Earlier this summer, I discovered halfway through the work day that I had ripped the left elbow of my beloved denim jacket, the lighter denim one with the seaming and shaping. I was extremely self-conscious the rest of the day, with my left elbow hanging out and the rip getting wider and wider. (And I had worn the denim jacket over a sports bra, so I couldn’t take off the jacket.)

I’ve had this denim jacket for years, and it’s a VIP in my closet. Here are different ways I’ve worn it:

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim jacket remix collage

Links to original posts:
top left  //  top middle  //  top right
bottom left  //  bottom middle  //  bottom right

Here is a closeup of the tear, which ripped in two spots, up and down AND across. The denim in the elbows is admittedly quite thin at this point, due to the frequency of which I wear this denim jacket.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

The first step was to iron down the rip so the edges fit together more neatly.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

Below is a closeup of the mending method illustrated in the video at the top of this post. I started out with the side rip, but honestly, looking back, I think I should have started with the vertical rip first. Live and learn!

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

I then slowly went back and forth on the vertical tear. It looks kinda cool at this stage, doesn’t it? 😉 I also used thicker thread for this repair, due to the thicker denim material.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

Above is a collage of “after” pics. Once again, you can tell what a difference ironing makes on the end result!

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing adventures: Repairing a tear in my denim jacket

I don’t know how much longer this mending attempt — or the other elbow — will hold up, so I have to stay realistic. However, if/when one or both elbows go out again, and if the jacket is still repairable, I have decided to try elbow patches. Won’t those look cute? This denim jacket is designed so well, with its structured seaming, that it’s worth saving at all possible costs!

Have you been able to save beloved clothing items by doing simple mending? Please leave a comment and share. 🙂


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion FilesThursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

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Everyday faves | Rocking chair

It’s time for a new entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Rocking chair

This month, I am shining the spotlight (literally, with my lamp!) on my wood rocking chair. This rocking chair was my mom’s, and I’ve never known my life without it. When I married and officially moved out of my parents’ house, my mom allowed me to take the rocking chair with me, as I was so attached to it. Thank you, Mom! ♥ This rocking chair has continued to fill a special place in my heart — and in our home — ever since. The wood is a lovely dark color, the design is classic, and it is built strong and sturdy. This rocking chair serves as the perfect space to read or simply rock back and forth to meditate and think about things.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, rocking chair

You’ve seen my rocking chair before, back in my post about my work area at home, a little niche off the stairs leading up to our master bedroom. It’s a cozy little reading corner, with my rocking chair, lamp, and my childhood piano stool serving as a side table for magazines and other reading material.

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

I’ve since switched out the cushion on the rocking chair, as you can compare in the pics above and below. You’ll also notice a new addition to this little corner — a tufted storage ottoman! Its light grey color fits in well with the overall color scheme of my little work space, grey and brown tones with accent touches of green and white.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, rocking chair

The past few months, I’ve realized that my cat Ibsen has totally claimed the rocking chair as HIS space. So, really, this post is about one of IBSEN’s “everyday faves.” This is how I usually find Ibsen, snoozing on the cushion:

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen's everyday fave, rocking chair

Below is how Ibsen looks when I dare to sit in the rocking chair. He climbs up on my lap and looks mournfully at me. When he makes this face, I totally replay this Puss ‘n’ Boots scene from Shrek in my head.

Isn’t Ibsen’s pinky nose the cutest? (And he knows it!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen's everyday fave, rocking chair

And recently when I was walking up the stairs to our master bedroom, I found Ibsen in the rocking chair, sitting up with paws out and an imperious expression on his face like he was a king waiting for his subjects to kneel and pet him. (I obliged, after I took pics!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen's everyday fave, rocking chair

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen's everyday fave, rocking chair

Ibsen’s expressions crack me up!

And below is an outtake from a couple of weeks ago that I was lucky to capture of Ibsen mid-yawn. Equal opportunity outtakes on this style blog! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen's everyday fave, rocking chair -- outtake

Explore more “everyday faves”

Want to explore more of my “everyday faves”? Past posts in the series include:


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion FilesThursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

What I wore to a local fashion show

A friend of mine had two VIP tickets to the 2017 Tacoma Cars & Couture Fashion Show, and I was able to tag along as her “plus one.” 😀 The show took place at LeMay – America’s Car Museum and showcased five couture designers from around the Pacific Northwest:

It was a fantastic show, and last week on my Facebook page, I put together a “Cars and Couture Fashion Show 2017” album of photos from the event, including my favorite designs from the show. So definitely browse that album, screenshot below, if you’d like to see some really cool looks from local designers — whose styles were all so different!

Librarian for Life + Style | Facebook album screenshot of Cars and Couture Fashion Show 2017

Below is a peek at the program from the show — plus my awesome yellow-and-black heels (4 inches!) and my peekaboo vintage book cover purse. My friend and I decided to put in an effort and bust out the heels for the show. We fit right in! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show, closeup of program

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show, closeup of killer heels

Below is a look at the whole outfit that I wore to the fashion show. I’ve worn my yellow-and-black heels with a cocktail dress, as seen here; with ankle pants, as seen here; and with black jeans, as seen here. This time, I decided to be a little bit different and pair them with my wide-leg black trousers. I knew we had front-row seats, so that when I sat down, my whole shoe would be visible. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show

And if that top looks vaguely familiar, but also a little different, that’s because I decided to take the attached front ties on the blouse, as you can see here, and wrap them around my neck to let the ends hang down the back.

But of course, when I took a photo on the balcony off the museum’s main level — a view overlooking downtown Tacoma and the harbor — the scarf ends decided to photo-bomb me! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show and close-up of my photo-bombing neck scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show

We took these pics during the intermission — thanks, Christina, for taking photos! — when most of the crowd had retreated to either end, the lobby or the balcony, of the museum’s main level. But there were quite a few style bloggers and Instagrammers there, taking photos of their outfits in front of the cars. I was no exception! So instead of cropping this photo below, I decided to keep it wide so you could see some more of the photo-taking action. (I also looooooved the green-and-black hi-lo top the lady to my left is wearing. I would pair that top with skinny pants or jeans and use every excuse to walk around so the back hem would flare out.) The people-watching at the fashion show was almost as good as the couture itself!

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wore to a local "Cars and Couture" fashion show

Also, a funny story to share with y’all:  I had a nice chat with one of the show’s sponsors, who happened to be seated next to us. He was very nice (and very stylish), and remarked at one time that it was obvious that I was interested in fashion. He gestured toward my heels as proof, and I grinned in agreement. Toward the end of our chat, he asked what I did for a living. His face fell into TOTAL SHOCK when I revealed to him that I was a librarian. After he picked his jaw up off the floor, he was then delighted to learn that I had a style blog. I definitely felt like I was helping represent my profession in a positive way in that moment — and perhaps expand expectations of a librarian’s sense of style and love of fashion? 😀


Can’t get enough of fashion shows? You can also read about my first experience walking in a fashion show earlier this spring

Have you attended a fashion show before? What would, or did, you wear to a fashion show? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion FilesThursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFriday FavoritesFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Anniversary selfies

It’s our anniversary, y’all! We are celebrating today 16 years of marriage and 20 1/2 years together… and counting! For previous anniversary posts, I’ve highlighted my wedding dress and our engagement photos.

This year, I’m highlighting a collection of selfies we’ve taken over the years. Since my sweetie Sam is the one who takes a majority of the photos on this blog — he’s as much a part of the style blog as I am! — this felt like an appropriate way to celebrate our anniversary on the blog.

Side note:  Is there an official term for a “couples selfie”? Is the term “usie” a thing?

Commence cuteness overload!

Around town..

Librarian for Life + Style | Selfie alert

Portland, OR, May 2012

Librarian for Life + Style | Anniversary floral

Chinese Garden, Portland, OR, Aug. 2014

Librarian for Life + Style | Selfie in front of the Venetian Wall, along the Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Tacoma Museum of Glass bridge, Tacoma, WA, 2016

On the water…

Librarian for Life + Style | Selfie on the waterfront

Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 2016

Librarian for Life + Style | Thailand trip, Fall 2010

Phuket beach, Thailand, 2010

Librarian for Life + Style | Visiting Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2014

Librarian for Life & Style | PEI, Summer 2006

Prince Edward Island waterway, Canada, 2006

With animals…

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat selfie

Portland Art Museum, OR, 2016

Librarian for Life + Style | Just a selfie... with a huge rubber ducky!

Tacoma waterfront, WA, 2017

On the train…

Librarian for Life + Style | Visiting Vancouver, BC

On Amtrak to Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2014

Librarian for Life + Style | Amsterdam trip, Spring 2010

On the train to Hoorn, The Netherlands, 2010

On holiday…

Librarian for Life + Style | Travel flashback: Scotland, Spring 2008

Aberdeen, Scotland, 2008

Librarian for Life + Style | Vienna trip, Winter 2009

Vienna, Austria, 2009

Librarian for Life + Style | Amsterdam trip, Spring 2010

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2010

Librarian for Life + Style | Holiday card behind-the-scenes selfie

Holiday card selfie, Portland, OR, 2014

Wearing cute shoes…

Librarian for Life + Style | Shoes selfie

Gig Harbor, WA, 2017

Librarian for Life + Style | His and hers, shoe closeups

Downtown Tacoma, WA, 2017

Wearing cute hats…

Librarian for Life + Style | Garden party selfie

Gresham, OR, 2015

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing our fedoras at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Tacoma, WA, 2016

Yep, we’re fedora-ble! 😀 ♥ 😀 ♥ 😀

Early birthday present | Audrey Hepburn hoop earrings

The poll is open to vote for your favorite outfit of mine from June — thanks in advance!

My birthday’s in August, but my mom recently gifted me an early birthday present:  Smithsonian Museum Store’s reproductions of the classic ’50s hoop earrings in Audrey Hepburn’s personal collection. Audrey Hepburn wore these earrings in the classic 1954 film Sabrina — and frequently in real life, too.

And if you follow me via Pinterest, then this will explain my new Pinterest board filled with style inspiration for this classic style of hoop earrings. This was a popular style in the 1950s, worn by not only Hepburn but also by Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Brigitte Bardot, among others. The first Barbie dolls also had this same style of hoop earrings!

Librarian for Life + Style | Audrey Hepburn earrings, Smithsonian collection

And how beautiful is this pink leatherette gift box?! It also comes with an additional card explaining the Smithsonian’s collection of reproducing classic pieces of Audrey Hepburn’s jewelry, as well as a little card, seen below, with an inspirational Audrey Hepburn quote. They made these earring replications with the help of Hepburn’s two sons. Amazing!

Librarian for Life + Style | Audrey Hepburn earrings, Smithsonian collection

Librarian for Life + Style | Audrey Hepburn earrings, Smithsonian collection

The pierced versions of these earrings were sold out, so my mom went ahead and got the clip-on versions. The gold pair is lighter than the silver pair, even though it’s slightly larger in size. I will most likely get the clip-on earrings converted to pierced versions, but for the meantime, I’m trying them out as is.

Librarian for Life + Style | Audrey Hepburn earrings, Smithsonian collection

So beautiful! And I think you will be seeing more Audrey Hepburn-inspired outfits this summer… stay tuned! 😀

You can also revisit an Audrey Hepburn-inspired casual summer outfit here and also here. Her style — both clothes AND jewelry — is so timeless and classic!

Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp