Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

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Winter is fun…. right?

Looking out my dining room window onto our deck and backyard – there has been more snow since I took this photo – including a week at -30ish… yesterday we were -34C for most of the day…

However, we are supposed to get up around -2C over the weekend – which just means a big slushy mess that will freeze up every night.

I think I mentioned that this year I hired a guy to shovel our driveway and sidewalks.  The deal was he comes when there is a couple of inches of fresh and I pay him $20 per time.  There was also a monthly option of $125 per month and he’d come as many times as needed…. I chose the pay as you go as I gambled that it wouldn’t snow THAT many times in a month… [sigh] Ten times in December… oh well.  Hopefully in January it snows fewer times so it averages out.  I never have been much good at gambling.

I have three days off… THREE WHOLE DAYS!!!!  I don’t have any gigs, rehearsals, shopping to do or anything else!!  I have some housework to do but I don’t have to get out of my jammies to do that.  🙂

I may also start getting my books in order for the accountant.

And take down the Christmas tree.  I took some photos of some of the ornaments I made many years ago.  I’ve never seen anyone else make them   Satin balls with fabric paint.

And this ornament I received in a gift exchange this year – I was thrilled to receive this MAJOR AWARD!!!  I love it!   I only wish I had one the size of the original!  🙂

We are still working on the Christmas turkey… tomorrow is turkey pot pie which should be the last of it (except for the soup stock) for this year.

Dinner was delicious, if I do say so myself.  I always make the same meal and have been the designated cook for the last, hmm, almost 30 years… and it is gratifying to have people going back for thirds!

The cookies and candy were hits again… got calls from the relatives to say how good they were.  I’m glad cause I generally don’t make the type of cookies I sent – that was mom’s job.  So they were a bit different than she used to make.  Weird how the same recipe turns out so different when different people make it?

January is pretty quiet this year… which is nice as I need a break. 

Chicago opens the first weekend in February and runs for four weeks.  I’m only doing the make-up – for some reason they’ve said I’m not needed for hair but they haven’t told me what they are doing instead.  I was originally booked for both hair and make-up… oh well, less stress, less logistics and less stuff to deal with.  And… I won’t have to stay to the end to get the wigs off!  That is a bonus.  Musicals usually run really late.

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Coming up for air

Season’s Greetings!

It has been hectic around here. 

Tonight is closing night for Jack & The Beanstalk – and we are AMAZING!! Every show has been a full-house and the audiences are participating – I LOVE the interaction I get with the kids.  I love ad-libbing and am having a whale of a time!

Last night was crazy – my wand keeps coming apart which is fun as I can work it and I fell off my stool, accidentally, and could NOT get up by myself… cracked up half the cast as well as the audience.

My make-up changes each night as I am trying to get a “sweeter” face on the Fairy Godmother – the dress rehearsal I sort of slipped while doing the first eyebrow and looked more like Snow White’s step-mother than a good fairy!  None of the kids would come near me!

Photos from dress rehearsal appeared in the local paper – note the evil arch to the eyebrows?

Opening night was this – a softer look:

Last night was a bit different – I decided not to use black at all and I think it worked well:

My costume is big – I feel like I attract small planetary bodies into orbit!  The skirt is a bunch of panels and it is HEAVY… I have to wear suspenders to keep it up and the waist-band sits above my chest!

This dress was found in a large orange garbage bag in the storage area – it was about a size 12 or so and appeared to be a wedding dress.  We think – it may have been a design project instead because surely NO ONE would wear something this ugly for a wedding???? It is beautifully finished, well-made and quite amazing.

The costume lady, Arlene, who is a wizard and very creative took the “octo-dress” and cut it up and re-built it to fit me, created sleeves from scraps from the deconstruction… it should get a credit in the program!

I used face paint to add the purple and blue accents on the dress so it would match my wings – and break-up the white satin of the dress.

I used up about eight bottles of glitter fabric paint on my wings to glitter-ize them!  I sparkle… blindingly I’ve heard!

I was planning to wear my blond bob wig but the wings kept hitting it so I am simply spraying my own hair into a “troll” do and adding a lot of glitter.

Did I mention the glitter?

I did the Dame’s wig – “her” make-up is being done by one of my make-up crew.  Stewart is doing a great job acting in a dress and wig!

For those that don’t know, in traditional British Panto, the Dame is a man in drag – usually the role is the mother often called “the Widow Twankey” and often there may be more than one in a show.  The Ugly Sisters in Cinderella are usually Dames, sometimes the Good Fairy is a Dame… my part of a comedy fairy could be a Dame.

I cooked Christmas Dinner on Saturday for us and my uncle and aunt and our friends and their two-year old daughter.  Yummy as usual – it is always the same because, well, it is Christmas dinner!  Turkey and all the fixings.  Lots of leftovers – which makes it easy while I have to be at the theatre – don’t have to think about cooking.

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I’m still here!

It has been hectic here… I’ve taken a bunch of photos of the SNOW etc. to post but haven’t had a chance to download them from my camera…

Just thought I’d pop in to say “hi”…. Hi!  And say I’m still here.

Been at rehearsal three nights a week (dress rehearsal is next week) for Jack and the Bean Stalk, working, trying to get everything else done that is typical for December – I STILL have some baking to finish so we can ship out presents… a week before Christmas!  Nothing like cutting it close.  But we will be shipping on Greyhound which is so much more dependable than the Post Office or a courier!

I hope to get some photos up over the weekend to show how our winter is progressing… and of my Fairy Godmother costume!  I’ve used about eight bottles of glitter fabric paint on my wings!

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More Christmas stuff

Well, I am slowly getting things done… not sure if I’m in the “spirit” yet but at least I am ticking things off the list.

I follow a blog called Cakewrecks which is hilarious and followed a link on there to Bakerella… very cute stuff.  She makes “cake pops” which is a cake turned to crumbs, mixed up with icing, shaped and decorated.  The pops are on sticks but they are done without too.

I thought the little cupcake bites were do-able.  So on Friday night before I went to bed I baked a devil’s food cake (started at 11 p.m. – who says I’m not a night person!) and left it out to cool.

Then on Saturday morning I crumbled the whole thing!  And then mixed in a whole container of milk chocolate frosting (sorry, scratch is too labour intensive for me…) and stuck it in the fridge to cool while I did other things… like laundry, a fitting for my fairy godmother costume, got the Christmas tree out of the basement…

I got the lights up on the window and put the tree together, then got mom seated on her walker so she could put on some of the decorations.  That’s all we are doing this year… I think I will Freecycle all the other stuff we have.

Since we no longer have the shelves upstairs there is no place to set all the bits we used to use.  So… I’ll get rid of them – stuff like fabric flowers, garlands, music boxes, berries and picks, etc.

Here’s the tree:

Then once that was done I went back to the cake mash and started making small balls of it.  I wore vinyl gloves to roll them as it didn’t stick to them and made it really easy to do.  I got 88 balls out of the one cake.

I stuck them back in the fridge and took a break as I has extreme pain in my right wrist… took a pill, made us some dinner and turned on the tree lights.  The flashing ones are hypnotic…

Once the pill kicked in I went and nuked the milk chocolate candy coating and using my candy mould for peanut butter cups I started to finish my cupcake bites.

I filled the cups about half full of the melted chocolate and then pressed one of the balls into it until the chocolate came up the sides to the top, then filled the tray and put it in the freezer to set-up.  I did that eight times to get all the balls done, then put them back in the fridge.

Then I melted white chocolate candy coating and dipped the “cupcakes” into it to ice them, and then sprinkled decorations on top of each of them.  In the background I was listening to “Kelly’s Heroes” on TV with descriptive video on TAC – The Accessibility Channel.  Mom was watching it in the living room.

Descriptive video is actually quite neat – the voices were naming the make and model of the jeeps and guns and mortar sizes, etc.

So… after about five hours of work I ended up with this:

Here’s another shot… (of the prettier ones!)

And, of course, a gratuitous extreme close-up

I also made some nut clusters with the left over milk chocolate to go with my sister’s gift as she really likes them.

I still have to make peanut brittle, english toffee, oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter cookies and church window cookies for our gift giving (it is tradition).

Today I painted at another corporate Christmas Party – here’s me ready to go to work.

After the job I went to rehearsal for the Panto – arrived while they were having “intermission” so got in on the second half, then headed over to get some groceries and made it home right on time.   The clerk at the grocery store asked if “they were stickers” on my face… [sigh]