Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Book Review: Extreme Face Painting by Brian & Nick Wolfe

I received a surprise gift in the mail from my buddy Anne – a copy of Nick & Brian’s new book Extreme Face Painting: 50 Friendly & Fiendish Step-by-Step Demos.   So now I can review it for you.


I’ve admired the twins’ work for years and have been painted by, um, one of them, at the 2004 FABAIC in San Francisco – that painting appeared in a couple of magazines too!  I was a purple and green wookie…

My hair was actually really purple and green so it HAD to match!!

I’ve run into them at various conventions over the years too – they are excellent teachers and fun to hang out with.

The new book has a good first section covering supplies and techniques with lots of photos to accompany the text.  As well there is a DVD included which has two demonstrations on it.  I do not own a DVD player so haven’t watched it but have heard from many that they liked it.

The step-by-step designs are divided into 25 friendly faces and 25 fiendish faces typically with five to six step photos and a final photo for each design with written instructions for each photo.  The instructions are detailed and fairly specific – including the size/shape of brush used for example.

The designs are all typical Wolfe designs and cover a wide skill level.  Some will be easier for beginning painters than some of the others.  But all designs will inspire and provide excellent opportunities for practise.

This book is aimed at the mass market rather than specifically at face painters – the publisher also puts out drawing books (Manga, Fantasy, Dragons, etc.)  It is great that such excellent painters and teachers have had an opportunity to put out a book of really GOOD face painting for the general interest public market.

There is a BUT… if you are already a face painter AND already own the three Wolfe Cheat Books, the Nick & Brian books and Creative Face Painting you will already have MOST of the designs included in this book in your library.

Frankly, I have seen MOST  of the designs in this book in other places – the previously mentioned books, magazines, other books that feature different artists or at conventions.  There are only a couple of designs that I don’t remember seeing before (one is the Alien, my least favourite design in the book, er, no I think the Clown is my least favourite – that rainbow dripping is quite disturbing IMO.)  Most designs are either exactly the same or variations of existing designs.

This isn’t a negative except if you bought it expecting NEW stuff from them for inspiration…

I would highly recommend this book to a NEW face painter who is just starting to look at expanding their design repertoire.  And to experienced painters – if you collect face painting books it would be a nice addition to the library BUT be aware there really isn’t anything new in it.

The list price on the book is US$24.99/CAD$28.99 but it is widely available for less (just saw it on Amazon for US$16.49.)  It is a large format soft cover.

Nick, Brian and Me... no idea who is who!! LOL

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Winter… blech

We’ve hit the deep freeze… and the snow.  Although the snow isn’t too bad as we’ve only got a couple of actual inches –  but the wind makes it into hard to shift drifts in the driveway.

The cold is pretty harsh – we had a nice long Indian Summer and the cold hit fast and hard so we weren’t ready for it. 

Windchills in the -30s overnight so far… daytime is ALMOST -30…

Temperatures are getting around -28 to -30 (forecast for Tuesday!)  so time to bundle up!  When your daytime high is only -27 when the week before it was +7… that’s a shock to the system.

However, I am always prepared and had my car winterized in September!!  I love my snow tires.

The new workplace is cold – the warehouse is not heated so I have to wear long johns and layer with fleece!

That’s the neighbours truck… I park in a heated garage!!

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Started the Christmas baking

Today was a rare day … it was the second of two days off in a row!!  Got most of the cleaning done yesterday so today we made some cookies.

I had a bunch of stuff to use up so I call these “Cupboard Cookies” – all the bits of stuff in the cupboard thrown in.

What is in them you ask?  Well… the dough is the usual – 1.5  cups of butter creamed with 1 cup white and 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 eggs beaten in, 3.5 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla… all mixed to a smooth dough…

And the rest?  Well in this batch there are (4.5 to 5 cups combined total) chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts,) dried cranberries, raisins (sultana and regular), dried pineapple, dried cherries, dried strawberries, dried mango, dried kiwi fruit, dried apples, banana chips (broken up).  All of this was mixed up with a half cup of flour BEFORE being added to the dough, then mixed in well.

It should make about 10 dozen small cookies… yeah, but I only got maybe 5 dozen … mom was helping drop the cookies on the baking sheets and they got BIG… they are really YUMMY too.

I had all these little packages of chopped nuts and dried cranberries from those salad kits and some leftover fruit and nut snack mix… I almost added chocolate chips but changed my mind at the last-minute.

The next batch will use up all the toffee and nut crumbs from the candy making.

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Today I am super fast!  Speed of light fast!!

We’ve just had the telephone lines to our house replaced with fibre optic – new HD television service, upgraded phone and 15X faster internet!

The telephone guy was here for 4 hours – he took down the old lines to the power poles in the lane and replaced them, installed a router in our basement, ran new lines, hooked up the PVR (free with upgrade) and got us all hooked up and running.  He took all the old stuff – the router, the phone thingy, and 20+ year old whatchamacallits…

The new television service is great – you can search for your favs and it lists them all, the PVR thingy apparently can record 4 things at once while you’re watching a 5th… not sure we’ll use it much.  We kinda skipped the whole DVD thing and our VHS machine is in the basement in a plastic bag (I’m not getting rid of it while I still have my collected on STOS on VHS!!  Never know when I might want to watch them.)

The internet is MUCH quicker HOWEVER… my security service shut down yesterday – I called and they said it was in preparation for this upgrade, so I waited until the tech left (as instructed)…

I got the run-around… was put through to 4 different people… the last one set-up my account again and gave me a user name and password and then told me to wait 24 hours before re-installing the security… ahem… so I am then unprotected for 24 hours?????????  Huh?

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Got my money back

Had no problem getting a full refund for the ripped pants… they asked if I wanted to exchange for a new pair – I declined.  Did have another look around the store to see if there were any other brands/fabrics but nothing to fit me in a navy blue.

So ended up at Zellers and got a pair of men’s navy work pants for $19.99. They should hold me until the uniform arrives.

And at least I have something to wear to work tomorrow!!

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Crap pants!

My new day-job requires a uniform and since there is a wait for my company provided one to arrive (they have to order them and it apparently can take about a month) I went to Mark’s Work Wearhouse to buy a pair of Navy Cargo Pants to wear.  Since it is a dirty job I didn’t want to wear my usual slacks to work, and I don’t have any navy anyway.

On Oct 25th I went to the store and there was ONE pair of navy cargo type pants in my size.  They are the kind that have the zip-off leg and millions of pockets (and a belt.)  They, supposedly are a cotton/nylon blend and the receipt says “Rip-Stop Nylon Pant”…. guess what… it isn’t rip-top nylon.

WindRiver Cotton/Ripstop Nylon Zip-off Casual Pant $59.99 CAD

Today I used the washroom at work and as I was doing up my belt noticed in the mirror something white… I thought it was t.p.  No, it was a tear starting under the belt loop in the seam, tearing straight down…

I swore.  Pulled my fleece down (thankfully it was a longish top) and went back to work… every time I moved I could hear it tearing more… I told my boss who thought it was pretty funny and he said we’d need to find the duct tape.

The tear was basically running down my leg in the front… I couldn’t find the duct tape so used masking tape inside and out to try to stop the tear from getting below the hem of my fleece….

Long story short… er… it passed the hem and was hitting the top of my thigh by quitting time.  The tape didn’t help at all.

By the time I got home the tear, which got longer each time I sat or stood, was past the crease of my thigh and starting down my leg.

I went to look for the receipt as these are being returned TOMORROW and it was the first receipt I picked up from my bin!  And I still have the store bag.

I’m really pissed cause they were very comfortable and I loved all the pockets!  But no way do I want to replace with the same – because if these ripped so could another pair!

So wish me luck trying to find another pair of navy cargo pants tomorrow so I have something to wear to work on Friday!

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This Halloween’s fun

I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and blog!  It’s been a busy week.

My Halloween jobs started on Friday night with one appointment, then Saturday morning I painted the staff and cast of a haunted house at a park facility in town (took no photos), then back home to paint my appointments for the rest of the day/evening.  Then Sunday I had morning appointments, then a large birthday party in the afternoon and more appointments in the evening.

Then I was tired…. Still training at the new day job so lots on my mind… trying to get caught up on housework (which was COMPLETELY ignored over the weekend!) Then had my drawing class Tuesday night (BTW the instructor told me “You can draw, no doubt about that!) and then yesterday was mom’s bath day… so this is the first time I’ve been able to sit and relax and even THINK about blogging!

As usual when I take appointments there is usually a no-show or two but that has never been a problem as I have a lot of last-minute calls that I can then fit in on short notice.

For the first time ever I posted an ad on Kijiji.  I posted it mid-October and it generated several new customers.  I had three of them in the studio at the same time and they were chatting about how they had been lamenting there not being anyone in town to do the make-up they wanted when they saw my ad and called.

Three of the guys came to get their make-up done twice! 

My last appointment was a couple that were cheating, fighting and killed each other… she had her throat slashed and some bruising, he had scratches, a black eye, bruised knuckles and a butcher knife in the … ah… well, family jewels!  I stuck them in front of my black back drop and did high velocity blood splatter on them… fun, fun, fun!  Now have to wash the backdrop – I’m worried it won’t fit in my washing machine.

I did the usual skulls:

Pretty things:

Icky things:

Fairy tale meanies (‘Grandma, what big teeth you have!):

And the imaginative silly ones:

I did some really nice stuff that I did not get photos of… when I had people waiting I didn’t take the time to take photos of the ones I was finishing…

I did a very excellent Edward Scissorhands… I am kicking myself for not getting my own photos of him.  I made the scars ahead of time from latex on a glass plate and then glued them in position with spirit gum, then did the make-up.  He had his own hair done in an appropriate style and his costume was excellent!

He showed me some photos on his phone the next day and promised me some… but I still haven’t received them.

Also did a half-face sugar skull which was really pretty – my very first one – and completely forgot to take a photo. 

The rest of them were typical zombie, monsters, etc.

The birthday party on Sunday was 30+ 6/7 year olds.  The girls tended to be painted to suit their costumes.  The boys…  zombies… all of them.  And their costumes were Batman, Spider-man, Superman, Optimus Prime, some video game characters… oh wait, there was one who asked to be painted to match his costume… Avatar! 

There was also a girl Avatar who actually brought the packaging of her costume so I could see how to do her make-up for her.  She was very anxious that I do it right – although the photo on the package was a crappy job of face painting.  I, of course, did it much more effectively!  LOL

Numerous vampires (I am so done with Twilight) and princesses of course. 

It was a nice birthday party – it was for twin girls and the parents had rented a small hall and it was great!  They had the lights low (except over me where I was set-up on the stage), all adults were in costume (I think there were about 4-5 sets of parents helping) all the food was themed – finger cookies, jack-o’lantern shaped cakes, etc.

Really nice party.  I was booked for two hours and stayed an extra half hour to paint the last of the kids.  Paid time of course.  It was a beautiful day for a drive too.

Mom and I have a ton of leftovers – we had probably about 40-50 kids – and 148 full-sized chocolate bars.   They were walking right by our house without stopping.