Top Menu

Halloween Traditions

It started some time after we moved into this house. Growing up in a rural area where the houses were spread out, trick-or-treating was a luxury we had to enjoy out of town. Most of the property in Phelan, the small desert town I grew up in, is on 2.5 acre to 10 acre plots. We rarely got trick or treaters and the one time we did try to go trick or treating ourselves, we got candy from only 3 houses and walked many miles to get that. The shops in town, which consisted mostly of a couple strips malls centered around one grocery store, built right before I got into high school, started giving out candy in an effort to create some kind of community trick or treating experience.

We usually just got in the car and went to Wrightwood, a mountain town about 10 miles away but in the same school district, The houses were closer together and the town had a higher income than most of us in Phelan. The houses cost more but as a teenager, we didn’t care about that. We knew the getting was good when we got full size candy bars in our bags and sometimes, got a toothbrush set from a dentist if we stopped at their house.

Xaver and I both grew up in rural places. We often look at each other and wonder why we bought this home, in a tract home plot. We don’t like the noise, the trash, the lack of privacy or the crime that comes from living what feels like on top of our neighbors. Despite how close together everyone lives, no one saw whoever stole the tailgate off our truck earlier this month. In our rural hometowns, everyone saw what happened. But, despite all the crud that happens in cities, one of the things we really enjoy is Halloween.


We’re now the part of town where other people bring their kids to go trick or treating. Everyone decorates their house and stocks up on candy for the big night. A hundred bucks on candy – that’s NOTHING. We need several hundreds of dollars worth of candy to get the 1000+ pieces needed to make it from the 5pm hour, when the littlest kids come to our door, to 9pm, when the high schoolers are still wandering about. We developed a system somewhere along the way. I’m not bragging about how much money we spend on candy – I’m just pointing out the volume of trick or treating traffic we get. I enjoy the heck of out of trick or treater traffic!!!

Halloween and Christmas Ornaments 018

We kick off the night with a party and pumpkin carving for all the kids. I always carve the pumpkins on my front porch. I guess that is so I have to rush to clean off all the pumpkin guts before we start trick or treating?!? I seriously need to rethink this part of the system! I like being out front though, watching the neighborhood get ready all together… Katie really gets into the whole party planning aspect of the night. We put out orange and black and Halloweenish foods for everyone to snack on. The carrots go largely untouched since there’s so much candy around but we try to get somewhere near the healthy mark. Before we went paleo, we used to order pizza too. Katie loves playing the hostess and getting everyone fed and set up before the big action begins.

10-31-11 Halloween 2011 061

The grandparents and my sister usually come over with all of her kids. Before my grandma and aunt both passed, they used to come up to my house too. Last year a few of my cousins started coming up to join in on the fun as well.  I’d set them up on the front porch with hot tea, coffee, and hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and a BIG bucket of candy.

10-31-10 Halloween (1)

At some point, they each started bringing a bag or two of candy to contribute to the pot. A few years ago we ran out of candy and had to send someone to the store to get more. Now, we know better. To create an ambience around the front door, I open the window to my office and blast Halloween music from Pandora. Their Halloween channels have improved alot over the years! One year, Pandora stared playing this really crazy German Goth stuff…it was a little TOO freaky! 


Once the grandparents are all set up on the front porch, the parents (me, Xaver, and my sister and her husband) take the kids out for the night. Sometimes I stay behind to help man the fort. We’ve moved from the kids being pulled in wagons to now trying to run to keep up with them all.


My dad really loves seeing all the different costumes and talking to the kids about what charatcer they are, As we walk with the kids, we see what other costumes are out there and look at all the decorations around. It’s fun all the way around! Our first year at this house, it was just us so Xaver had to man the front door!


When we get home, we sort candy and the kids eat until they are ill, which isn’t much because we usually are eating paleo and any candy kinda makes us all sick. It happens every year, I won’t lie! LOL But it is a really good time. The grandparents go home, a few kids pass out on the floor and have to carried to beds and cars, and the night is another memorable success.


There is something super powerful in making traditions and keeping them every year. Security… maybe stability? One thing I have learned in life is that traditions come and go. How we used to spend 4th of July 5 years ago is totally different from 10 years ago and completely different than when I was a kid,. And the same with Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and all of the other major holidays. I want the traditions to last as long as possible and to enjoy every minute of them. Keeping traditions is important to me and my kids. I want them to have incredibly fond memories of their childhoods and then create and carry-on new traditions when they start families. People move, people pass away, and situations change so for me, traditions are something that creates continuity. It’s sad to me when families stop traditions for lame, short-sighted reasons, like not getting along or taking a family member or traditions for granted, but it happens. And then one day that family member is no longer there – they moved, they passed, they … well, you get the picture.


Regardless of the people involved, we will keep our traditions going. And everyone is welcome to come on by, go trick or treating, pass out candy, and carve a pumpkin. Hey, I’m a scrapbooker and we’re always making memories!

What are your holiday traditions?

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014


How to Make a Dalek Halloween Costume Dress

Product used in this project was provided by Smoothfoam, Rowlux, Clearsnap, and Westcott. All opinions are 100% my own.

Doctor Who Inspired DALEK Costume by hydrangeahippo Jennifer Priest and Katie Priest hq

Do you ever have those moments when you see a craft supply in a whole new light? A few months back, I had an epiphany about Smoothfoam half balls: they’d be perfect on a Dalek Costume! Since Xaver and Katie love Doctor Who, I knew they’d be up for this challenge. I looked online at how to make a Dalek costume and many of them were based on dresses. I wanted something easy that anyone could make and I did not want to sew a dress from scratch Enter ROSS. I love going to Marhsall’s and Ross to find bases for costumes and other projects, like this paper and satin art dress created for a challenge sponsored by ClothPaperScissors Magazine. ROSS delivered on a $14.99 blue knit dress that fit Katie perfectly and was the exact shade of blue for the Blue Dalek (hey, I don’t know the proper name for the blue guy, please don’t hate on me! I know I am digging myself into a deeper hole so I will just stop talking about it…). Seriously, I find the BEST project clothes at ROSS!

So once we had the dress, we thought the hard part was over. The goal here was to not spend alot of money. I mean, a Homemade Dalek Halloween Costume should save me some dough, right? I guess that’s a misnomer about homemade Halloween costumes — they’re a little more costly but they’re better quality, custom fit, and they last alot longer. 

DIY Dalek Costume by Jennifer Priest and Katie Priest of hydrangeahippo 2

Gather up these supplies from a handy dandy place like Amazon. I made these links all clickable to the places where you can order these supplies online because I care about you, like, alot. And, if you click on some of thse links and make a purchase I get like a dime or something. But really, it is because I want to make sure you get the exact right stuff for the project *wink wink*….

Dress Supplies:

We spray painted the plunger to look like the Dalek suction arm thing – the handle is silver and the base is black. How the rest of the costume comes together, well, there’s a video for that…. later.

DIY Dalek Costume by Jennifer Priest and Katie Priest of hydrangeahippo 5

I also decided that Katie needed something in her hair. I thought about making a Dalek head with a Smoothfoam half ball because it is hollow inside once you get past a 6″ diameter ball but I thought that might look a little too “poindexter”, know what I mean? So I decided to go with a lightbulb themed fascinator, to mimic the bulbs on the Dalek’s head. Here’s what you’ll need for that:

Fascinator Supplies:

Now, the look doesn’t stop there. Here are some other things you’ll need to complete the Dalek Costume:

DIY Dalek Costume by Jennifer Priest and Katie Priest of hydrangeahippo

The easiest way to show you how this goes together is to do a video. This process is a bit long – it took us a few days to make this costume. But, it is totally worth it! The bulk of the time was spent on the Velcro. So let me explain what happened. I wanted to be able to wash the dress. And in order to do that, I could not just glue the Smoothfoam balls to the dress – they had to be detachable. We cut strips of Velcro, 4″ long for the center and 2″ long on each side, to mount the balls to the dress. Since the self-adhesive Velcro was not recommended for fabric, I used sew-on Velcro. We cut and sewed-on 60 pieces of Velcro on this dress – that’s 3 pieces per ball. That is what took so long in creating the costume. If I were to do this again, I might just say to heck with the dress, it was only $15 and who needs to wash it?! Lesson learned.

So, without furhter ado, here’s how to make a Dalek Costume:

I knew the costume was a success when Katie came bounding down the hall in it, with a smile from ear to ear! That’s the ultimatemom success. Well, she helped make the costume too. But isn’t that the greatest feeling – when you made something you’re proud of?! 

DIY Dalek Costume by Jennifer Priest and Katie Priest of hydrangeahippo 3

Are you making costumes this year? Tell me about them in the comments! And if you see Katie at Comikaze or Comic-Con in this Dalek Costume, say “hello”!

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014





How to Make a Kids Art Crate – A Krylon Challenge

Krylon Contest - Jennifer Priest - Kids Art Crate Collage

I’m participating in a Krylon Mini Mystery Box promotion! Last month, Krylon had a giveaway where they sent 50 bloggers a mystery box of product to create a project voer the next few weeks. I love the adorable crate that we got from Walnut Hollow, included in the kit! It’s equally as adorable as these Krylon Short Cuts paint cans – seriously, perfect for small projects! Have I told you how many half used cans of spray paint are in my garage, in the most crazy colors?  I bet you have a collection just like mine… what we needed were smaller spray paint cans and Krylon has answered with Short Cuts.

Krylon Contest - Jennifer Priest - Kids Art Crate 1 

When I saw the crate, I thought cute, and well, my niece is cute so I thought this would be a great project to make for her. Look at her, here with Matthew!


She really knows how to work it, right? My niece loves to draw, and living in a house full of boys, she needs a way to differentiate her stuff from THEIRS. I knew the pink spray paint that I received from Krylon would be perfect for this project. This crate can be stored on a desk top or a bookcase and holds lots of great art supplies that my niece can use to draw, paint, and get creative with, all on her own. She can bring it out to the picnic table in the backyard, play on the living room floor, or paint at the kitchen table with it. I seriously want to make one for each of  the kids, though, I’ll change the colors and hearts for the boys.

Krylon Contest - Jennifer Priest - Kids Art Crate 3

I created a video showing how I made this project, start to finish:

After making the crate, you’ll want to fill it with all kinds of art supplies, such as a pad of paper, watercolor paints, and markers, depending on what your kids like to create with.


  • Krylon Short Cuts Hobby/Craft Paint in Hot Pink
  • Krylon Short Cuts Hobby/Craft Paint in Gloss White
  • Walnut Hollow Crate
  • Assorted Wood Buttons
  • Burlap Ribbon or Fabric
  • ColorBox Art Screens Heart Stencil
  • ColorBox Glitter
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • 3 Toilet Paper Tubes
  • Assorted Art Supplies, such as crayons, markers, and a watercolor set

A big thank you to Krylon for including me in this fun challenge — I know my niece will be so pleased when she gets this adorable kids art crate and I can’t wait to make another!

 Find Krylon + Walnut Hollow online at:

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014



Big Fall Kit Sale


It’s that time of year again — our big annual kit sale on etsy!! Save big on our past kits and stock up. Seriously, where else can you get kits like these for $10?!

Also, I ‘ve marked down the mystery boxes to just $35 for a limited time only — that’s only $7 a kit when you get a mystery box.

3000 fan giveaways 004

Want to hear about these deals early? Sign up for our email newsletter: Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014


Friendship Bracelets … for Grownups

Product used in this post was provided by a sponsor, Sullivans USA. All opinions and projects are 100% my own.

Kumihimo Adult Friendship Bracelet with Sullivans HEBE Cord by Jennifer Priest for hydrangeahippo

Do you love the look of friendship bracelets? They bring back lots of great childhood memories but having tied-on bracelets with strings hanging everywhere is not a look I think I can pull off well. That’s why I made this version of a “grownup” friendship bracelet. This bracelet combines a woven braid bracelet with beads for a more sophisticated take on the traditional friendship bracelet. 

Kumihimo Friendship Bracelet with Sullivans HEBE Cord by Jennifer Priest for hydrangeahippo

Last year I got a Kumihimo board. I was super intrigued by Kumihimo when I saw a lady come into a Michael’s that I was demoing at with this crazy board with strings and beads hanging all over!!! So when I saw this new HEBE Cord from Sullivans USA, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with it in the Kumihimo Board.   I found an online tutorial for creating a flat Chervon pattern with the square Kumihimo board. I’m still a bit of a novice at Kumihimo so YouTube was a great resource for finding some amazing tutorials. 

I created the braid with two colors and 4 pieces of each color cord. I made the braid extra long, about 14″, so that I could make a double wrapped bracelet with it. I secured the ends with super glue, allowed that to dry, and then cut the ends. I used terminators to close off the ends of the braid. I then added chain to the ends to make the bracelet fit around my wrist twice. I added a clasp and then strung a wire with beads to match, attaching that to the clasp with jump rings. The bracelet went together in about one evening and is super easy to wear.


HEBE Cord from Sullivans USA is perfect for friendship bracelets, knotting, crocheting, and even Kumihimo! Check out more projects by visiting the blogs in the Designer Crafts Connection, using the widegt on the lower right side of this page to advance to the next blog in the list. 

What would you create with this new HEBE Cord?

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014


3 Super Easy Cards

 quick easy cards hydrangea hippo Collage

Fall means things start getting busy and days get shorter. One way to make a day brighter in the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season is to share a happy little card. I made these cards in bright springy and summery colors as a pop of happy on darker, colder fall days. This set of 3 cards is super easy to make, as all of them are a variation on one basic design.

3 quick and easy cards - Jennifer Priest

The blue card on the right has the basic design. I used a pre-printed card with a cutout shape in the middle as the base. Then I added a punched circle of patterned paper inside the window if the card, so it looks sort of like a hill or setting sun. Next, I stamped a sentiment on the front of the card and added a cute brad. Here’s how:

If you don’t have cards that have a window in them you can punch a window with a paper punch, use a craft knife and ruler to cut a window, or use a moveable die to cut a windo into a card base.


  • Pre-printed Window Card Bases
  • 3″ Circle Punch or Circle Die
  • Scrap Patterned Paper
  • Glitter, Felt Flower (optional)
  • Brads
  • Sentiment Stamp
  • Black Ink
  • Metal Rim Tag (optional)
  • Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue Pen

I hope you enjoyed these bright, happy cards! Would receiving one of these brighten your day?

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014


DIY Pom Pom Coffee Filter Garland

This DIY pom pom garland is so easy to make you will want to do one for every occasion! These would look great for a summer luau, Halloween party, or even at Christmas or New Year’s! Just change the colors to match any celebration. Or leave them white for a wahite party or wedding. I used tie dye to apply color to my coffee filter garland but you can use spray ink if you like. Tie Dye gives a really great vibrant color to the coffee filters while spray ink would give a totally different effect. Our Girl Scout troop made these for a camping trip they went on over the summer but they’re also great for a party.

DIY Coffee Filter Garland for LUAU by Jennifer Priest Collage

I didn’t get any photos of the garland displayed at the campground – they went beach camping but I hear the luau was awesome! Here’s what you’ll need to make a coffee filter garland of your own:


  • Standard Old School Coffee Filters
  • Stapler
  • Heavy Twine
  • Hot Glue
  • Tie Dye or Spray Ink (optional)

DIY Coffee Filter Pom Pom Garland by Jennifer Priest - Finished Poms 2

I made a slideshow of how to make these. They’re incredibly simple. Each pom is made of 20 coffee filters. Fold each filter into quarters. Stack 10 of the quarters on top of one another and staple the corner. Fluff by gently unfolding the coffee fitlers. Repeat for a second pom half. Hot glue the poms together, sandwiching the twine in the middle. 

Keep up with our crafty adventures by subscribing to the Hydrangea Hippo Crafty Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-Fall 2014