Opening tomorrow: Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table… in shades of grey

Does that title sound like a bit of a mash-up?

It isn’t really… literally (in the literal sense of the word) the entire show is shades of grey – and black and white.

Cards Scene

The sets, the costumes, the make-up, the hair… shades of grey.

The photos are from dress rehearsal as the show opens tomorrow night.  I still need to tweak a few things – it is a process to get the make-up right and a challenge to have total and complete coverage.

Particularly when one of the actors reacted to the make-up and we had to figure out an alternative which isn’t perfect.

And colouring the hair with make-up on those who we don’t have wigs on and trying to cover the scalp so the natural skin doesn’t show through in the stage lights and make the hair look pink.

I’ve got a great crew to work with and we’ll get it right!

Here are some shots I took backstage:

Cards Saitana Cards Major Cards Maid Cards girls Cards backstage

It is a little strange looking at the photos; they look photo-shopped.

Once we work out the kinks I’ll get more photos of the whole cast.

It’s a good show too!  Come and see it – tickets are available at GPLT 780-538-1616 or on the website.


Just some random thoughts

Spring is here… yeah, right.  First day of Spring usually means more snow around here.  And this year was no different.  Snowed pretty much all day yesterday and today we are under a “Heavy Snowfall Warning”… after such a nice warm spell too.  Forecast is to be back up to +11c by next Thursday so I am not even going to bother shoveling the driveway.

This was yesterday afternoon.  Spring started at about the time I took this photo.

Mar 20 (1)

This is this morning, first full day of Spring.

Mar 21 (2)


I’ve just been checking in on blogs I have bookmarked (I don’t “follow” or sign up, I just bookmark them to check in when I have time) and there are a lot that haven’t posted for months, and in some cases a year or more.  A couple haven’t posted for over two years.  I think I may remove them from my bookmarks.

Makes me wonder about why they’ve stopped posting… are they dead? They forgot they have a blog? Don’t care anymore?  Some are connected to businesses that are still in operation – why have they not been posting on their blog?  Did the person responsible leave and no one took over?

I know in some cases the bloggers are overwhelmed by feedback from their followers and take breaks from the whole thing.  While I don’t have that issue I can understand the need to back away.  People can be demanding and/or cruel and/or needy, etc.  Just look at how demanding some people can be on Facebook groups – magnify that and focus on one person who has a hugely popular blog with hundreds of thousands of followers.  Yeah.  That.

There are a few I really miss.  I keep checking to see if they’ve come back…

I try to make sure that I post at least once a month on my blog.  Sometimes it is hard to find the time to write something interesting.  That’s when you get to read posts like this!  LOL

In my last post I mentioned making scones… I did and here they are.  My new container of baking powder is a dud – nothing is rising, so these should be about three times higher but they are still very good!


I also made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing – a request from mom (she asked for cake but cupcakes were easier).  No photos as they weren’t that interesting.  Mom had them for lunch the last few days.

Next Saturday is a make-up test run for the next show at Grande Prairie Live Theatre, “Cards on the Table” which is an Agatha Christie murder mystery.  We are doing something very unique and interesting with the hair and make-up – and sets and costumes!  I will post photos after the show opens as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.  I did a test make-up on one of the cast – it is pretty neat.

And, as Easter is coming here is my bunny painting – which will be the featured design at the Easter Eggstravaganza at Muskoseepi Park on April 4th.  We will be there face painting from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

White Rabbit




Productive downtime

I have been enjoying my “break.” Aside from a make-up test last Saturday for a show in April and a couple of clients for an appointment early this morning, I’ve been relaxing after a very busy fall and winter.

I’ve managed to get my laundry/utility room back in order after getting everything dried out after my flood on Feb 18th.  And the hall carpeting is completely dry now too.  Now I have to start getting all my kit, wigs, beards, etc. cleaned and put away – we just piled up everything from Les Mis in the corner of my studio.  I had to do a rush tidy-up last night for this morning’s appointment but they are regulars here so were understanding of the reason for the mess.

This is what they had done (they were adjudicating an innovation challenge for students):


The collar on the Egyptian Queen is a big glitter tattoo that goes all around her neck.

I have been doing marketing and paperwork – got in touch with my repeat clients and confirmed dates, and got contracts and deposits back through to the end of the year.  Also getting my taxes ready to take to  my accountant as soon as I get all my receipts.

After not getting any Christmas candy making done due to being too busy, tired and then getting sick, I seem to have been hit with a baking bug!

A friend was looking for a Chocolate Fudge Torte with Chocolate Ganache icing.  He couldn’t find one anywhere so I baked one for him on Tuesday night – it was a four-hour process (make, bake, cool, chill, coat, chill again.)  I found a recipe online and it smelled divine while baking.  I heard it tasted awesome…


Then this morning I was seeing pie references everywhere (today is Pie Day 3-14-15) so I made an apple pie which mom and I had for lunch with vanilla bean ice cream.


Tomorrow morning I’m going to make scones and we will have a Cream Tea for brunch!  For those who don’t know what that is – fresh-baked scones, fresh whipped cream, jam and tea!  In England they have “double cream” and it is different from whipped cream but I’ll just whip the cream till thick, not fluffy.

I think the baking mood is because I am not so tired and have some energy.  Although, I haven’t seem to have found the energy to get cracking on the wig washing and kit cleaning yet.

Once we get to the end of March I will be busy again with theatre and bookings.  I really needed this break to get a chance to take care of household and business stuff, although I still need to vacuum.  Maybe next weekend.  It’s been so long since I used it I may not recognize it…




Dead French People, the Great Flood, and Ninja Turtles

Finally.  Some down-time to relax – Les Miserables is over and the big February multi-painter face painting jobs are done. I now have a couple of clear weekends to get the house sorted out after a water main break in the basement last week, clean all of the kit and equipment and hair goods used in the show, as well as do some housework which has been woefully neglected over the last three months.

Les Mis was AWESOME!!  I got a chance to watch the show myself the last Friday, which was, coincidentally, last Friday.  I listened to the whole show every night from the make-up room, loved the music but it didn’t make me cry.  Watching the performances… That made me cry.  Several times.  I used three… THREE… tissues.  Did you know… EVERYBODY DIES?!?!???  Well, except the evil Thenardiers.

The Wedding

There was a cast of 60 which made the big numbers quite spectacular.

Can you Hear left

I cried here – Eponine died.  Sniff.

Eponine dies

And here are my Lovely Ladies.  Such a lovely bunch they were – all of them got right into it and it was great to see how disgusting we could make them every night.  The last night one had the pox.  It was gross.

Lovely Ladies

The production broke all the theatre records for bums in seats and gross sales.  And had nothing but rave reviews.


While working on Les Mis I also had two large Face Painting jobs – Family Day at Muskoseepi Park with six painters and the Timbits Jamboree with four painters last Sunday.  I thought I had it all under control but had one person who had committed to do both of those events bail on me.  Then I was scrambling to replace her.  Luckily I was able to get all the spots filled.

Ninja Turtles were very very popular.  And Skulls.  And Tigers.  And the lines of people waiting to be painted were never-ending.  Both events required the line be cut-off and people turned away.  But we painted soooo many people.

Next big job is the Easter Eggstravaganza with eight painters – and one design!

And in other news… I woke up at 2 a.m. last Wednesday (Feb 18th), suddenly, not knowing why.  I don’t usually wake up at that time of night.  I actually felt nauseous as I had been deeply asleep.  I got up assuming I had to “go”… and as I stood up I heard, what can best be described as… Niagara Falls.

My stomach hit the floor…  NOT AGAIN! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY NOT AGAIN??????????!!!!

I opened the basement door to the site of a soaking wet carpet at the foot of the stairs and the roar of rushing water… I, carefully, as I was still groggy from sleep, went downstairs to see…. THIS!






I tried to turn off the water main… which, of course, was directly in the flow of the water… wasn’t able to budge it, got completely drenched.  So back upstairs to call 24/7  Emergency Plumber (I had the number for the one I called back in November!)  At least this time I didn’t run around screaming and wake mom up.  She did wake-up when the plumber called back though.  He was there in about 20 minutes… meanwhile the water kept spewing.

At least it was the main line in and CLEAN water.

What had happened is an old water softener coupling, which had been capped off, broke.  Part of the “control” valve broke off and blew out.  The plumber told me he had never seen one of those things break before.  He cut it off and replace with pipe.  By 3:30 he was done and gone, I’d thrown all my towels down, pushed what water I could into the floor drain, plugged in my dehumidifier and turned it on high, moved racks and things out of the laundry room into the dry part of the basement and went back to bed.  After sending an email to my boss – letting her know I might be “late.”

In the morning I called a restoration company to come and suck up the water from the carpet.  It hadn’t reached the interior walls on the opposite side of the hallway thank goodness, but soaked the same drywall as the November hot water tank flood did.  Way more carpet was way wetter than the last time too.  Nothing was damaged content wise, just wet carpet.  The carpet at the doorway/foot of the stairs was completely saturated.  Luckily the insulation on the outside wall was dry.

I got two fans going, the dehumidifier emptied, and space heaters on to get the carpet dried out.  Got laundry going (trying to be careful not to overload my breakers!)  I discovered all my appliances have grounded plugs and my extension cords don’t… had to get my heavy-duty outdoor -40 rated 1000 foot (okay, that is an exaggeration, it isn’t a 1000 feet) cord from the garage just to plug-in the fan – it only had ONE plug of course.  Then made a run to Canadian Tire for more extension cords.

My space heater wasn’t on when I went down so I picked it up to check, turned it on and off a couple of times… wouldn’t turn on.  Then I dropped it!  Argh.  When I picked it up it rattled.  Sigh.  It was garbage day so off it went.  While at Canadian Tire I bought two new space heaters.  One super-duper one for drying out the carpet. It works really well!  Makes the carpet all nice and toasty.

The carpet seems to have dried out pretty well but I am leaving everything on until at least the end of the weekend to make sure it is dry as possible.

All the bins from Les Mis are stacked in a corner of the basement, and all the gear from the face painting jobs is sitting in my dining room awaiting cleaning… I have to sort, clean, and put away everything.  I have about 30 wigs and 20 sets of beards/mustaches to clean… and I really can’t start until I get the flood mess cleared away.

So you can understand why I am looking forward to a some “free” weekends over the next little while.


Les Miserables

First week of Les Miserables is now history here in Grande Prairie… FOUR standing ovations!

This is an amazing production full of stunning talent and absolutely phenomenal performances.  If you are local, and enjoy music, you do NOT want to miss seeing this show.  Tickets are still available for some performances through Grande Prairie Live Theatre.

I am the Make-Up and Hair Coordinator/Designer for the production and with my crew of nine we are doing the hair and make-up for 60 cast members.  Cast members are also helping out when necessary – and I thank them all!

With a production of this size there are many changes throughout the show – chorus members play multiple roles that require make-up, hair and costume changes.  Beards on, dirty, then beards off, clean them up, then pretty them up, put on a wig, take off a wig, etc.  We have to keep some hair and make-up crew members available right to the end, and wait to get all the wigs back before we can leave.  Once the initial rush is over some of the make-up crew leaves and others take turns staying to the end (except me, I’m always there and Marg who takes care of hair and wigs.)

Here are some photos from the show taken by the producer at dress rehearsal (not in any particular order):








And these were taken by Beauchamp Photography:

This one is the set as viewed from the balcony – way, way up.


Master of the House…


And these are my shots of make-up as we’ve been working – I have charts so the crew can follow what each actor needs done, so I take photos of each time so I can choose the best looks.

This is my initial make-up for Javert – I’ve since darkened up the aging to read better on stage (the lighting is “atmospheric” and we need more contrast for it to show):

javert progression

One of the convicts from the opening number… he has to quick change to be the Factory Foreman:


Madame Thenardier – she doesn’t like having her teeth stained, that’s what that expression is about!


Madame Thenardier all dolled up for the Wedding.  Her moles move about, never the same place twice.


Some “lovely” ladies (I have to admit this is loads of fun…):







Someone made a comment that the Lovely Ladies could be zombies too.  Yeah, I can see that.

The show runs until February 21st!


Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too!

This is the final weekend for The House at Pooh Corner at Grande Prairie Live Theatre.  The show is really excellent – great set, great actors, great costumes, and ahem, great make-up, of course.



Piglet, Pooh, Kanga, Tigger, Eeyore and Owl.



Kanga, Roo and Tigger.

Still time to get tickets for the three remaining matinees!

Monday night is first dress rehearsal for Les Miserables… stay tuned for photos!


So tragic

I just realized… if Target is closing all their Canadian stores and slinking off with its tail between its legs… where the hell am I going to get the white chocolate peppermint M&Ms next Christmas?  They are, apparently, a Target exclusive.  Damn.

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Shannon Fennell

Shannon Fennell

International Award Winnning Make-Up Artist, Face & Body Painter

I am a professional make-up artist with credits in film, television, theatre and editorial.  My face painting book YOUR FACE OR MINE was published in 2007 by Snazaroo USA Inc. is widely available worldwide and I offer a multitude of make-up related services and retail instructional products for face painters.

Some of my awards include 2005 International Face Painter of the Year, 2006 Winner of Fantasy Worldwide Face Painting Contest in Putte, Belgium, Second Place at the 2007 US Body Painting Festival, as well as over 50 other awards and prizes. 

I love creative projects and can do everything from wedding make-up to custom SFX appliances, large scale international sporting events to individual appointments at Halloween, birthday parties to trade shows.  No job too big or too small.


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