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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Getting a Jump on the Holidays with

It’s official: I’ve become one of those people who gets ready for the holidays before Halloween! My goal is to get as prepared as possible so that we can enjoy the festivities; relish those cozy afternoons of gift wrapping and hot chocolate. But the days seem to be zipping by so quickly that I hardly have a moment to breathe, much less drive to the store.

This year, I’m preparing for the season early by putting together a gift-wrap supply station. Since our days have been so full lately, I’m saving time (and gas money) by ordering everything from That way, everything gets delivered to our door without a second thought! These are the items going in my kit: Getting Holiday Stress Out of the Way with Online Shopping!

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

Aside from wrapping, I plan on doing quite a bit of Christmas shopping at this year. While I can’t tell you who’s getting what—my very supportive friends and family peek in here frequently—here’s what’s on my list:


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

Right now, shipping is free on every order, so we’re saving time and money by shopping on It’s just one more way that Target is making my to do list shorter so there’s more time for the things that we really want to do. And this year, in particular, these celebrations are especially important.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Target. The opinions and text are all mine.

The Very Best Hot Chocolate

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files

I’ve always been more of a coffee/tea/apple cider fan than a hot chocolate fanatic, but my lovely friend Monica of Smart Creative Women introduced me to this recipe and I’ve since become a convert. It isn’t too sweet and has a depth that comes from all the different flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and just a hint of salt. I like to stir a teaspoon into my morning coffee with some cream for a perfect mocha au lait. It’s equally decadent in hot water or milk, for you purists out there.

Since I’m in love with this mix and it only takes five minutes to concoct, I’m whipping some up as last minute Christmas gifts and using these printable gift tags that Monica illustrated to fancy up the packaging!

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files
Adapted from Alton Brown’s hot chocolate recipe.


1.5 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 t salt
2 t cornstarch
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t cinnamon


Stir three tablespoons (or more!) into hot water or warm milk. Drift away into a chocolate-y land of bliss. (And they go perfectly with these meltaway cookies, if I do say so myself.)

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files

Thank you for introducing me to this recipe, Monica!


P.S. Still Christmas shopping? Here are five instant gifts that don’t require shipping or hitting the mall!

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes


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