Halloween ’17 Costume Forecast


A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Pumpkin spice-scented thank yous to Rhonda Cowan, co-owner of Etoile Costumes and Gift Shop in Tarzana, CA. She has once again come through with her picks for the top costumes for Halloween ’17. Rhonda and her sister Sue work with movie studios and customers seeking mid-to-high-end costume sales and rentals.

If you thought the creepy clown scares last year were entertaining, you probably won’t be surprised that this year’s top costume is the shape-shifting homicidal clown from Stephen King’s book “IT.” Also known as “Pennywise,”  the clown takes the number one spot for teens and adults.  (I’ve never read King and am not a fan of the genre so the only thing I know about it is what I’ve gathered from reviews. Sorry Moms.)

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But the prognosis gets somewhat better as the list goes on. According to Rhonda;

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“…For boys Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Ironman, Captain America, Thor and scary clowns in general. Teen boys are not so much into the superheroes, except Ironman, Thor and Loki + pirates and inflatable costumes like T-Rex & Godzilla.

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For girls, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Cat Woman, the new Belle, Harley Quinn. Teen girls like Cat Woman, Wonder Woman & Harley Quinn. Witches seem to be trending again this year for younger girls and ladies.

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Men are always sort all over the place, though I think Pennywise and Thor and Loki will do well. They prefer higher quality rentals so a lot go with pirates and cowboys and Game of Thrones or 20’s gangsters/Gatsby. The older teen girls and adult ladies are looking at Harley Quinn, the new Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Game of Thrones, 20’s Flappers/Gatsby and Pirate wenches. Then we have a group that are into Steampunk and the Goths go with vampires, but they want to be beautiful vamps.

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With rentals it’s really all over the place, but vamps, pirates, cowboys and Indians, 20’s, 50’s, Renaissance, French Revolution and I’m thinking Hamilton will be popular with the adults again this year…it’s a great look. Romans and Cleopatra are always favorites too. Men usually want something easy, or the other end, totally off the edge elaborate. Women just want to look beautiful and sexy without being sleazy. The sexy costumes we used to do great business with have really died down. Hope this helps.”

Yes it does, thank you! So depending on your sensibilities and taste, hit the costumers or sewing patterns early to get your top picks for your little pumpkins. And don’t forget to download your copy of Amazon.com’s “Hot New Picks in Design” award winning A Harvest and Halloween Handbook for party plans and recipes for your happy Halloween. As the Bard said, “All the world’s a stage” (on Halloween ; that’s my take on it.}

For more whimsy and fun, check out my Pinterest costume board!

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook


Just the thing for your autumn and Halloween festivities! A Harvest and Halloween Handbook has recipes, games, costumes, the history of Halloween, carnival plans and all the ideas you need for fun this autumn.

Its downloadable from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com



At $9.99 its a great value, buy it today – you’ll be glad you did!

I’m stirring  up some new ideas for Halloween 2017 but until then, here are a few favorite looks from Halloweens past…

Cool and creative decor

Halloween carnival!

Greetings from the 5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate

Curiouser and curiouser, a Halloween tea in Wonderland

Glow-in-the-dark punchbowl

Penny toss carnival game

Pumpkin golf


The family tree

Oh no I waited to long to buy Halloween candy!


Fine Art

Irish Castle – watercolor

Old Ugly – charcoal drawing

Skull study – charcoal drawing

Light of the World  – drypoint etching

Shepherdess after Bouguereau – watercolor

Nutcracker – charcoal drawing

American Kitchen inspired by Cezanne – oil

Tulips and Daffodils – watercolor on Yupo

Warts and All – Oil on canvas


5 Little Pumpkins

This is one of my very first posts from 2010 and one of my favorite word plays with children.




5 Little Pumpkins

5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate

The first one says, “Oh my its getting late!”

The second one says, “There are screeches in the air!”

The third one says, “We don’t care!”

The fourth one says, “Lets run and run and run!”

The fifth one says, “I’m ready for some fun!”

“Ooooo” went the wind and out went the lights, five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.


I’m back!

Thank you for your patience while I switch from Blogger to WordPress. I want to interact with you better and hope this can help us become closer and that I can be of more assistance to you. Love, P

Prairie Princesses and Pioneers

    Happy birthday to my beautiful mama! My Mom who is a member of the DAR and descendant of pilgrims, kings, queens, knights and all kinds of interesting people from history; her great…great-grandfather William Tracy was the governor of the Berkeley Colony in Virginia the year before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. To me she’s the mom who loved me and taught me manners, style and hospitality. Here’s to you Nikki! 

Nikki Lawrence 

    With the celebration of the 4th now a pleasant memory, I’m starting to work on Pioneer Day for my daughter Heather and her littles. She will be staying with us while her brave and faithful husband finishes up his training at the Highway Patrol Academy.

    On July 24th, we will celebrate Pioneer Day here in Utah. It’s hot and crowded in Salt Lake City, so we will plan a pioneer picnic and games in our grassy yard. 

You can download and print this digital file for your own Pioneer Scavenger Hunt on Etsy: 

Pioneer games: horse races with squirt guns to put out wildfires and bag buffalo.

A prairie princess Pioneer Day party - if I had been a pioneer, I would have tied a wreath on my wagon.

    Here are a few photos of favorite Pioneer Day activities with a link to a collection of great photos on my Pinterest Pioneer board: 

Here’s a recipe for beef jerky for the trail ahead

Beef Jerky

Cut into ¼” strips with the grain and remove ALL fat

1 1/2 lbs steak; round, flank or brisket

                Stir together and marinate the meat overnight in

1 tsp seasoned salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 C soy sauce

1/4 C Worcestershire sauce

Remove from liquid, pat meat dry. Line two 10″ x 15″ pans with crinkled foil, leave oven door ajar, bake 8 hours at 150° or use  dehydrator and follow directions. Turn off oven, let dry for 6 hours. Store airtight.

Pioneer scavenger hunt and family reunion activities

Thank you to KSL.com for publishing 2 of my stories this week: 

A biography of the highly-talented artist L. Aerin Collett:

And a invitation to enjoy Kaysville’s Downtown Stroll on Thursday July 20th

More Pioneers and Prairie Princesses to come…

Pilgrims, Patriots and Pioneers

A story of patriotism and heroism from the archives. This transcript is from The Kim Power Stilson BYU SiriusXM 143 Radio show celebrating “Pilgrims, Pioneers and Patriots: The Builders of our Nation” (25 June 2014.)

Kim, Thank you for inviting me here today to have a little chat about the “Builders of our Nation” – Our heroes the Pilgrims, Patriots and Pioneers.
We’re getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July next week and Pioneer Day on July 24th. I thought it might be nice to share stories about these epic people who changed the world.  We usually think about Pilgrims in the fall, but their contributions and part of the story of the rise of America might be considered around the birthday of our great country.

The dictionary defines a Pilgrim as “ one who journeys in foreign lands :  wayfarer
 one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
capitalized :  one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

When we talk about America, we might consider that some of the first “Pilgrims” were the English settlers in Virginia. Jamestown was established in Virginia and was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. William Kelso says Jamestown “is where the British Empire began,…Established by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort” on May 4, 1607.  This was an exciting time in world history. The Virginia Colony was named for Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII, who was called the “Virgin Queen” because she never married. At this time in England, there was a lot of religious conflict. You might remember that Elizabeth belonged to the Anglican Church that her father started, and had her cousin Mary Queen of Scots executed after a failed coup involving Spain and the Catholic Church. In 1603 as she lay dying, Elizabeth named James, the son of Mary and King of Scotland as her heir. So James came to England to inherit the throne and Elizabeth’s favorite entertainers, one of which you may have heard of: William Shakespeare who began writing for his new patron works like King Lear and Macbeth which included a reference to King James’s ancestor, Fleance the son of Banquo for you Macbeth fans. In addition to enjoying the literary works of Shakespeare, King James had another project going on, he was continuing the  commission Elizabeth had started on  an English translation of the Bible, which we know of as the King James Bible. 
Back in America, several attempts to establish colonies had failed, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Another Colony upriver, the Berkley Colony was growing and was actually the site of the first Thanksgiving in 1619, the year before the Pilgrims arrived. But Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
The settlement was located within the country of the Powhatan Confederacy. The natives initially welcomed and provided crucial provisions and support for the colonists, who were not very agriculturally savvy. Unfortunately their relations went bad and wars between the settlers and native Americans began .and this unfortunate situation will come into play again during the Revolutionary War. The mortality rate at Jamestown was very high due to disease and starvation, with over 80% of the colonists perishing in 1609-1610 in what became known as the “Starving Time“. About half of the Pilgrims died that first winter at Plymouth.
In 1608, the Virginia Company brought Polish and German colonists to help improve the settlement, as well as the first women. In 1619, the first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown. The following year, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.
Shakespeare retired in 1611 and died in 1616.James Fort in Virginia became James towne in1619. In 1699, the capital was relocated from Jamestown to what is today Williamsburg, after which Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, and today is an archaeological site.
KIM, Have you ever visited Colonial Williamsburg? American history buffs really need to go see the finesse and culture exhibited by the early colonists. So you have the British colonies established. Let’s jump ahead to 1750 to tell the story of one American Patriot. When we visited on St.Patrick’s Day, I told the story of one Irish-American family and their experience during the Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth Duncan was born in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1750 to Scottish parents who had emigrated from Ireland. When she was six years old her father died and her help was needed to keep the family alive. She grew up a hard worker and when she was 25, she fell in love and married Samuel Porter who had recently come from Ireland to America with his five or six brothers. Samuel had joined the Virginia Militia where he was assigned to protect settlers from Indian attacks. They moved to the Kentucky region which was then part of Virginia to build a homestead with several friends and relatives.
While there, the entire community was captured by Indians and it is thought British soldiers because they were not scalped. All of their livestock was taken and they were marched as prisoners of war to Detroit. Elizabeth was expecting their third child at the time. During the 600+ mile march, Samuel was forced to carry their little daughter Margaret and Elizabeth tried to keep their toddler son form making noise “lest their captors dash out his brains in front of his mother.” Although she was permitted to ride much of the way, she often spent hours with her feet in water. They endured abuse by their captors and nearly starved to death.
When they arrived at the prison camp, they were placed in stockades and pens like animals. Samuel was sentenced to be executed.
Elizabeth was assigned to cook for the British officers, which turned out to be a blessing. She was able to collected scraps of bread and meat and hide them in the “dishwater” tub which she placed near the building where Samuel was imprisoned so he could reach through the boards and get the food, probably saving his life.
Elizabeth and others were then taken over 700 miles from Detroit to Quebec, Canada where they remained prisoners of the British and Shawnee Indians. During the winter of 1780, which has been called a “little Ice Age” because it was so cold that the New York harbor froze and people could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, Elizabeth and her children were north of New York approximately parallel to Vermont. It was there that her third baby was born.
Can you imagine living in those conditions? In all of the world’s history, the concept of freedom has been enjoyed by a relative few. The fight for a democratic government was so dear to the hearts of the people and so hard won, we don’t even know most of the sacrifices that were made by early Americans.
When the war ended, Elizabeth carried her youngest child and took the two others back to Virginia, about 1200 miles. If you can imagine a young mother, probably in rags with no money and three small children trying to get home, you wonder how they survived. You can see why it is imperative that we help the poor and struggling, as I’m sure people did for Elizabeth. Her home and all of her possessions were taken and she didn’t know if Samuel was still alive.
For a moment, fortune favored Samuel. The British commanding officer had taken a liking to Samuel and had stayed his execution. When the war ended he was free to return to Virginia to try to find out what had become ohis family. But his luck didn’t last long. Because an American officer didn’t like him, Samuel was tried for treason by the Americans. Poor guy, he couldn’t win either way. He was acquitted and finally reunited with his Elizabeth and their three children. They started to rebuild their lives, a home and went on to have three or four more children.
While Samuel and his then four sons were building a house, they were once again attacked by Indians, but a band of wild dogs appeared and drove the attackers away. Another time Margaret and her sister Tabitha were going after water when they passed a group of braves hiding near a stream. For some reason, they left the girls alone. Samuel died and Elizabeth joined her sons in Jackson County Missouri where she died and was buried in 1845.
One of the interesting things about this story is that in Elizabeth’s day, she saw the rise of America and the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Joseph Smith was born on a farm in Vermont, the Church of Jesus Christ and priesthood power were restored to the earth and Joseph died, all within one lifespan. Elizabeth’s participation in the Revolutionary War, her sacrifice and courage have been honored by the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.  

God bless America and thanks to each of you who have sacrificed to make this freedom a reality.

My grandmother Vada Webb Layton used to make this incredible dill potato salad, here it is for your celebration!

Dill Potato Salad

8 large potatoes, cooked, cooled and diced
2 – 2 1/2 whole Claussen dill pickles, finely diced
3 stalks celery, chopped


1 C. low fat mayonnaise
1 C. low fat sour cream
1/3 C. pickle brine
3 TBSP. prepared mustard
2 tsp. dried dill weed + extra for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes, celery and pickles in a large bowl. Blend dressing and gently fold into vegetables. Refrigerate; the taste improves if allowed to blend overnight. Just before serving, adjust seasonings and sprinkle with additional dill weed. Garnish with tomato roses and greens.
 Makes 10 – 12 servings.

Splish splash, its A Mermade’s Tale!

Shell and Pearl are waiting for you to come play and share their summer adventures! Whether riding sea horses, swimming in the Finnler’s tide pool or visiting with friends Coral and Foam, they have all sorts of lovely activities ready to do with you. You can find Shell and Pearl at BN.com; the nice lady that sells their books just reduced the price to $2.99, so you can enjoy their fun summer adventures too!