Welcome to Just JP!
Just JP is the online home of creativity evangelist Jennifer Priest. This blog is dedicated to smart DIY projects that help solve challenges in modern life. From clean recipes to energy saving home DIYs, our projects all have a “smart” angle to them by helping to save time and money, produce less waste, conserve energy and resources, and simplify daily life.
Smart, practical DIY is at the core of Jennifer Priest’s values and message as shared on her blog Just JP. Jennifer Priest is self-titled creativity evangelist who has embraced a movement for smarter, more purposeful living in this complex modern world. Jennifer shares that vision through craft tutorials, home and garden DIY projects, healthy and Latin recipes, travel stories and tips, and explorations of culture and family life. A craft industry professional for over 13 years, Jennifer’s work has been featured in books, major publications, and online at sites like Apartment Therapy. She creates approachable projects that anyone can do, but with a twist; every project, idea, and product shared at Just JP is measured against a high standard of practicality, purpose, and meaning. The ideas Jennifer shares on Just JP go beyond “being pretty” to solve problems and help people lead better lives by saving money, increasing efficiency, or making healthier choices easier.
About Me – the long story:
My crafting journey started with beading and jewelry when I was 9 years old. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, selling earrings at craft fairs and running a pony ride stand with our pet pony Charlie while I was still in elementary school and into high school. In a rural town, kids could do those kinds of things! In high school, I ran a music ‘zine for 3 years, working with big record companies and concert promoters while I took photos, wrote content, and managed a team of fellow young content creators (though we just called ourselves “writers” back on those days). I started scrapbooking in 1998 before the birth of my daughter, Katie. In 2003, my good friend Denise took me to a Scrapbook Expo and I dove head first into the craft industry, starting a business teaching classes through a multi-level marketing company. In 2005 I struck out on my own, traveling to local stores and then across the US to teach scrapbooking, mixed media, and crafting classes.
These days I share my love of creativity, DIY, and practical living here at Just JP, on the Hydrangea Hippo YouTube Channel, via social media, and through my online classes. On the business side, I run the consulting firm Rainmaker Media Works, providing social media management services and blogger outreach for craft product manufacturers as well as coaching services to artists and makers.
A few other facts about me:
- I’m a Latina – Mexican, Native American, Irish, English, and German descent
- I’m a veteran of the US Army – I was an Arabic Linguist and went to language school in the military
- I’m married to my ex-husband. It’s a long story but I’ve shared parts of it on my blog!
What Just JP is About:
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been “creative”. Making things came easy to me and I wanted to make creativity come as easily to other people. When I added a dual major of Mathematics to my English Literature major in college, it was because Math had finally clicked for me and I wanted to demystify the how and why of math for others through teaching. It is that same desire to remove the shroud of secrecy from creativity. After 12 years in the craft industry, I have made a ton of useless, but pretty, crap. Really. Now the core of my philosophy is to make things that matter. They can matter in a practical way, like a shelf is a practical solution for storing books. They can matter in an emotional way by making memories and strengthening bonds through a family adventure or by making a connection with others through heartfelt discussions on life’s lessons. How to work better, eat cleaner, live strategically, and create smarter are all at the core of what I work to do every day, in pursuit of happiness and the meaning of life. Yeah, it’s deep. But simple. That’s just JP for ya.
You’ll find most of what I write about fits in these five categories.
- Creative Living – DIY and crafts that are colorful and fun but solve a problem or add value to our lives
- Home & Garden – Home improvement, gardening, and lifestyle projects on a budget
- Health – our experiences in paleo eating and trying to find our way towards better health
- Adventures – places to see, things to do, and other ways to have a fun, memorable life affordably
- Family & Culture – blending cultures, teaching our kids about our mixed heritages of Latino + white + African American, and raising up beautiful children into responsible adults
This blog is the merging of several blogs I had been writing and wanted to write. Hydrangea Hippo was my craft blog since 2009, named jenniferppriest.blogspot.com prior to that. The name Hydrangea Hippo served me so well in the craft world and I still want there to be a place for Hydrangea Hippo in my future. But I am not and have never been “the Hydrangea Hippo”. People started calling me “the Hydrangea Hippo” and it always felt strange and weird. I was at a conference in early 2015 and it hit me: Hydrangea Hippo was not communicating all that I had become and all that I wanted to be. I was treading water until someone told me, “hey JP, you just gotta rebrand.” The other blog that has merged into this one is Paleo Priests. I started Paleo Priests after I caught myself sounding like an evangelist while telling others about my adventures and successes in paleo eating. Paleo Priests was a platform for us to share how we are trying to do paleo as a busy family, all together. I found myself writing about paleo on Hydrangea Hippo and, though I love talking and writing about paleo, I didn’t have the time to really develop Paleo Priests into it’s own blog (though it does exist as its own blog until I figure out what to do with it). And finally, I had wanted to start sharing more life stories and family adventures on my blog and Hydrangea Hippo had evolved into a hardcore craft place where I didn’t feel I could really share those stories that I was yearning to tell.
If you’ve read this far, I’m super excited and honored! Thank you! I hope to share more with you for years to come. Sit back with a cup of coffee or tea and be inspired. Let’s do this thing, together!