Life Update: Back and Forth

Frock Files | Life Update: Back and Forth

As you may have noticed, I took a little unexpected hiatus last week. Since school started and we’re still dealing with health issues in this family, I got a little overwhelmed and I needed to take a break. Thank you for understanding!

For the first time in six years, I’ve had back-to-school excitement, as the students came back to the university. The energy on the campus completely changes when they’re there. And while, yes, I do deal with a lot of eye roll worthy tweets about parking and cafeteria food, I also have the good fortune of being the first in line to see how excited everyone is to be back. It’s one of the best parts about my job.

And while it would be lovely for everything to continue chugging along with forward momentum, life doesn’t always work out that way. My father-in-law has now been in and out of rehab three times within a week, largely because of lack of decent care at the rehab facility we were using. On Saturday afternoon, we were all breathing a sigh of relief as he was settling back into his room in New Hampshire–at midnight, he was being taken by ambulance to the hospital again. My poor mother-in-law is the most exhausted of all, and tough as she is, even she is becoming wary.

But it is the loveliest time of year to live in New England. Every time I go outside, I get a little reminder to be in this moment because autumn is my favorite and it will go as quickly as it’s come. This past weekend, with its 50-degree mornings, I filled my drawers with sweaters again, pulled out my boots, and even bought a scarf. James and I got to have one dinner together–at a restaurant! outside!–with the knowledge that we have just a few weeks left for al fresco dining. It’s only a matter of time before I give into the giant pumpkins at the farm stand down the road!

So whatever you’re doing, whether you’re having a lovely time or a difficult one, I hope you’ll have a moment to stop and enjoy being alive this week. Treat yourself to a hot apple cider. Sit down and read a book. Laugh with all the air in your belly. There’s time.

Love, Joy

DIY Typographic Mouse Pad

DIY Custom Mouse Pad | Frock Files

It’s such an honor to be participating in this back-to-school DIY series with some of my favorite bloggers! Since kids are doing so much work on computers these days, I opted for a tech-friendly DIY with a customizable mouse pad.

When James saw the plain white mouse pad sitting on our kitchen table, his reaction was, “Woah, old school!” But even though I use a cordless mouse that works on any surface, I’ve found that my desk (both at work and at home) are getting terribly scratched up. After lots of searching without finding one that felt quite right, I finally decided that the only option was to make one of my own.

You’ll Need:
  • 1 Single Blank White Mouse Pad (for some reason this listing has a heart shaped, patterned mouse pad where the white one should appear. I took a leap of faith and ordered anyway. Lo and behold, a white one showed up.)
  • 1 sheet heat transfer paper
  • Iron
  • Computer/Printer
Instructions

DIY Custom Mouse Pad | Frock Files

1. Create a design of your own or use the one that I’ve created here. In a design program, flip the image so that it’s the mirror image of what you want to appear on your mouse pad. Print it out on the heat transfer paper.

DIY Custom Mouse Pad | Frock Files

2. Lay your design on your mouse pad to ensure that it ends up where you want it.

DIY Custom Mouse Pad | Frock Files

3. Pre-heat your iron on high (no steam) for five minutes. Lay your mouse pad face up on a table or ironing board. Put your design face down on the mouse pad. (Some heat transfer sheets require you to lay a pillow case over the mouse pad/design.) 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.

DIY Custom Mouse Pad | Frock Files

4. Allow everything to cool for at least 10 minutes. Trim the edges of the transfer paper. Slowly peel the backing off.

Your mouse pad is ready to use! I’m pretty sure I can already hear my desk thanking me for ending the mouse-scratching abuse.

Don’t miss all the other awesome back-to-school DIY posts this week, including MJ’s reusable lunchbox note board, which also goes live today! Here’s a complete listing for you:

Tan of Squirrelly Minds – Printable math game
Rachel of The Crafted Life – Color blocked pencils
Lidy of Hello Lidy – DIY sequin planter
Sara of Confetti Sunshine – Printable back-to-school poster
Lyndsay of Coco Cake LandApple pie donuts + apple toppers
MJ of Pars Caeli – DIY reusable lunchbox note board

Back to School Series

P.S. A special hello to Mrs. Oshiro, my second grade teacher, who I just learned is a Frock Files reader! Mrs. Oshiro, you taught me so much about kindness and creativity, and I am so thankful that you helped to shape my life.

Target Hits the Bullseye

Target Bullseye U Collection: Affordable Decor for College Budgets

When I was a kid, back-to-school shopping was one of the highlights of my summer. There’s just so much possibility in a new box of No. 2 pencils and all those pale blue lines of composition books just waiting to be filled. It reminds me of that line from You’ve Got Mail: “If I knew your name and address, I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.” Be still, my beating heart!

It only got better when I went to college because back-to-school shopping included things to add to my living spaces. I lived in four different places in the four years I was working toward my bachelor’s degree, each of them vastly different from the next. I loved starting fresh with a few new things each year, but I always spent vast amounts of time searching for the best deals.

If only Target’s Back to College décor were around back then! You know how Target has this gravity force field that pulls you in, so you go in for vitamins and end up falling in love with something all the way in home décor? That’s exactly what happened to me the other day. The home section is chock full of hip, high-quality, really inexpensive bedding, furniture, and décor at prices that even college students (and their parents) will find easy to swallow.

In fact, a lot of the pieces are things that I’d love to put in my guest room, so I began daydreaming about how they would fit together. I wanted to go for something that I call bohemian-elegant, mixing natural elements with jewel tones. The result: an understated but glam space well within my limited budget.

Want to daydream about your space? Whether you’re putting together a college dorm room or a grown-up bedroom, you can play around with your options with Target’s uStyler tool. Think of it as the digital paper doll of home décor – you can switch out bedding, accessories, and furniture to create your very own masterpiece.

What are you drooling over from the Back to College collection at Target?

Clockwise: Threshold Stamped Metal Table | Threshold Starburst Mirror | Owl Perch Lamp | Room Essentials Triangle Pixel Duvet Cover Set | Seville Rush Storage Cube | Carlisle Dining Chair | Xhiliration Flower Decorative Pillow | Xhiliration Velvet Euro Pillow

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This post is sponsored by Target. All opinions are my own.


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