Life Update: A Hiatus

We were really excited about Christmas this year. After jumping through some pretty brutal hurdles, we were glad to have made it to the end and we were looking forward to spending time with our families. Christmas here with James’, and New Year’s in Hawaii with mine.

But now we find ourselves a week away from Christmas and all that relief we felt has crumbled. Without going into too much detail, I’ll say this: James’ dad is suffering from his second brain injury in four months. Each totally unrelated to the other. We’ve been on an emotional roller coaster–first finding out he had fallen and that his brain was bleeding, then seeing him unable to focus and speak, and then seeing him almost completely well again, to then finding out that he had suffered a small stroke as a result of not being able to take his blood thinners, and the suggestion that there will be more to come. And that’s where we are right now, with no answers, no reassurances, and no real options.

James calls it emotional whiplash, which is the perfect description. We are exhausted.

So I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off as we take things day by day. We will make Christmas dinner and exchange gifts, because, thankfully, we have a niece to hold us to those things. We may or may not go to Hawaii to see my family. We will try to count our blessings.

I’ll be back in the new year, when my hope is that the stars will shift and the planets will align and we’ll have a moment–many, many moments–to catch our breath. Until then, I hope that you have a very happy holiday season and that the new year brings you hope and light.

Love, Joy

12 Days of Handmade Christmas: DIY Emoji Onesies

Emoji Onesies: A simple DIY gift using iron transfer paper

Most people are into spring cleaning, but for some reason fall always puts me in the mood to attack my closets, cabinets, and pantry. Maybe it’s because I know we’ll be spending so much more time indoors, or maybe it’s because the thought of starting a new year makes me think of my grandma’s words: “The way you spend New Year’s Day is the way you’ll spend the rest of the year.” Yikes!

In cleaning out our closet, I found a bunch of things we had bought in Kona’s early days–well intentioned things that didn’t work out. Among them was a pile of onesies we had hoped would work in place of a cone following her spay. Since Lindsey’s youngest is six months old and the onesies are 6-9 months, I thought I’d send them her way–but plain white? Boring.

Although we live across the country from each other, Lindsey and I are constantly in contact. Ask either of our (poor, neglected) husbands and they’ll tell you that smoke practically comes out of our phones from all the furious texting we do. We can have long stretches of conversation just by emoji. So what could be more perfect than passing that pictoral dialogue on to the little ones? This is a great, inexpensive DIY gift for the littlest ones on the “nice” side of your list. Or the naughty side, depending on the emoji you use.

And you all know how I feel about iron on crafts. Oh. So. Easy.

Emoji Onesies: A simple DIY gift using iron transfer paper


Iron Transfer Paper


1. Search for the emoji that you want to use on your onesies and place them in a printable document (Word, Photoshop, InDesign). Print them out according to the transfer paper instructions.

Emoji Onesies: A simple DIY gift using iron transfer paper

2. Cut out the emoji leaving just a hint of a white border around the edge.

Emoji Onesies: A simple DIY gift using iron transfer paper

3. Pre-heat your iron on high (no steam) for five minutes. Lay your onesie down and smooth out any wrinkles. Place the printed design face down onto the onesie. If necessary, place a pillowcase between the paper and the iron (the transfer paper instructions will let you know if this is necessary). Apply pressure as you move the iron slowly over the transfer sheet/pillow case. Use the instructions that came with the heat transfer paper for guidance on timing.

Emoji Onesies: A simple DIY gift using iron transfer paper

4. Allow everything to cool completely, about 10 minutes. Carefully peel the paper backing off to reveal your design.

Iron Transfer Projects on Frock Files

P.S. Love iron transfers like I do? Check out my DIY Typographic Mouse Pad and DIY Confetti Pillowcases.


Don’t miss the other 12 Days of Handmade Christmas!

December 1 – Rustic Wood Chalkboard with Living on Love
December 2 – Fabric Candy Cane Ornaments with Crafty Mally
December 3 – Cookie Jar Snow Globes with Tag & Tibby
December 4 – DIY Bath Caddy with Down Home Inspiration
December 5 – “You Are Home” US Ornament with Natalie Creates
December 6 – Fat Quarter Cloth Napkins with That Moxie Girl
December 7 – Painted Decor Blocks with Classic Play
December 8 – Footprint Reindeer Aprons with The Caterpillar Years
December 9 – DIY Hostess Gift with Buzzmills
December 10 – Emoji Onesies with Frock Files
December 11 – Dried Fruit Ornaments & Garland with Maker Mama
December 12 – Salt Dough Frame Ornaments with Small + Friendly

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Favorite Food Gifts (That Aren’t Cookies)

Easy food gifts that aren't cookies!

Don’t get me wrong–I love cookies as much as the next person. But maybe your office has been inundated with cookies, or maybe your neighbor has confessed that she just doesn’t get excited about them. For those of you stuck in an anti-cookie quandry, look no further! Here are five really easy edible gifts:

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!):

Ah yes, my absolute favorite holiday snack: Chex mix! This is my mom’s recipe, which gets rave reviews from everyone we know. My stomach actually just growled thinking about it. This recipe makes A LOT of Chex mix, so you’ll have plenty to pass around.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Hot Chocolate

This decadent hot chocolate is so easy to make and share. Just combine the ingredients and put them in pretty jars! I’m sending mine with packets of gourmet marshmallows this year.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Cranberry Bars

These cranberry bars are hearty enough for breakfast but so craveable that I like them as a mid-afternoon treat too. Plus that, they’re really simple to make!

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Apple Butter

Chunky apple butter in a glass jar with some biscuits from the bakery? That’s my kind of Christmas delivery.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Butter Mochi

For gluten-free friends, butter mochi is a sweet treat that doesn’t allow for any flour-longings. Gluten-full friends won’t miss it either. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy this sticky butter “pound cake” of the islands.

There you have it. Now I’m really hungry, so I’m off to whip up an edible gift–for me!

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Life Update: I’m THAT GUY

Don't Be That Guy

Last week, right before Thanksgiving, we had our first snow storm of the year. The officials decided to shut the university down early, so my boss suggested that I work from home but asked that I post something about the students moving their cars into the garages so that the plows could come through. To get their attention, I posted a photo of a car encased in snow with the words, “Don’t be this guy. Garage your car!”

Then I sat inside, in my cozy little home, drinking tea and hot chocolate all day. Kona curled up by my feet and napped.

Don't Be That Guy

Then James came home at six, having braved the storm (because he’s a hearty New Englander) and said, “Did you know your car is parked outside?”

Don’t be this guy. I was that guy.

Suddenly it all came flooding back–I had come home the night before and parked outside the clubhouse where we have a gym. And then in the flurry of activity that comes with notifying people about the storm, I totally forgot to move it to my spot in the garage. Therefore: car covered in six inches of snow.

Don't Be That Guy

We’re dusting off those winter skills that we so quickly let go of after last year’s VERY. LONG. WINTER. Are you? Actually, only part of me is trying to remember. The other part of my mind has transplanted us in sunny San Diego, where I imagine we would have a little house with a yard for Kona and the electric blanket would collect cobwebs at the back of the closet.

Which is probably how I ended up forgetting about my car in the snow in the first place.

How’s your winter going?

Love, Joy

Schoolhouse Electric Giveaway!

Schoolhouse Electric Giveaway!

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m constantly wavering back and forth between staying in our condo or moving into a single-family home. But ever since we redecorated our bedroom, I’ve been leaning toward staying because I’m falling in love with our home again. Next on my list is the kitchen, which is fine but bland as anything, and I’ll be turning to the stylish accents of Schoolhouse Electric!

Funnily enough, I hadn’t known about Portland-based Schoolhouse Electric until I’d left the city. My friend Kirsten Neiman of Restored Style fame took over their PR awhile back, which got my attention because Kirsten has better taste than pretty much everyone I know.

Schoolhouse Electric Giveaway!

Since then, I’ve become a huge Schoolhouse Electric fan girl and I’m thrilled to be partnering with them for this 14 Days of Holiday Love giveaway! If you’ve got your eye on one of their fabulous pieces, you absolutely need to enter to win a $100 gift card. Here are five ways for you to enter:

1. Visit the 14 Days of LOVE giveaway Facebook page.
2. Follow @Schoolhouse on Instagram.
3. Follow @FrockFiles on instagram.
4. Share your favorite Schoolhouse Electric item on Instagram and be sure to mention the giveaway and @FrockFiles and @Schoolhouse.
5. Visit Schoolhouse Electric on Facebook.

And, since I couldn’t resist, I’ve created a roundup of the things I would love to see under my Christmas tree this year, for me or for James! Okay, so the chair would be pretty obvious all wrapped up. But a girl can dream, right?

Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

I’ll be announcing the winner on Sunday, December 7th at 10am EST on Instagram and contacting the winner directly. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t miss the rest of the 14 Days of Love giveaways!

Nov. 28 Melissa Creates is giving away a Shop Melissa Creates Gift Set
Nov. 29 Make+Haus is giving away a $150 gift Blurb gift card
Nov. 30 Design Improvised is giving away $150 Home Decorators Gift Card
Dec. 1   Handmade Mood is giving away a Kate Spade New Year’s Planning Pack
Dec. 2   Oleander and Palm is giving away a pair of Sven Clogs
Dec. 3   A Girl Named PJ is giving away a Nandi Necklace from Tulsi Project
Dec. 4   Frock Files is giving away a $100 gift card to Schoolhouse Electric
Dec. 5   Living on Love is giving away a luxury home throw and a toddler-to-teen blanket from Saranoni
Dec. 6   Everyday Reading is giving away a Lily Jade bag
Dec. 7   Lia Griffith is giving away a $100 Michaels gift card
Dec. 8   Melissa Creates is giving away 2x $50 gift cards to Sassy Steals
Dec. 9   Dream Green DIY is giving away a $250 Minted gift card
Dec. 10 The Caterpillar Years is giving away a $50 gift card and 2015 calendar from DLK.
Dec. 11 Oleander and Palm is giving away a Cricut Explore Machine
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