Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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Goodbye and good riddance 2015

On one hand it has been a long and busy year, on the other it whizzed by so fast and was, as the Queen once said, an “annus horribilous” for my family.

I’ll be finishing off 2015 face painting at the New Year’s Eve celebration at Muskoseepi Park tomorrow night with my crew of six.  It is a nice way to cap off a very good business year – best yet.  Lots of face painting, make-up, theatre, a couple of different film shoots, weddings and Halloween, of course.

I’ve been at my new part-time day-job for five months now and am really enjoying it.  Great group of co-workers, nice place, excellent company with fantastic pay and benefits.  I am very grateful to be there.

Then there are the horrible parts – in April my uncle died (father’s only sibling); in June my mom died; in October my father died (they divorced in 1985.)  My two sisters and I are now orphans (our baby brother died in 2006.)

The week before Christmas I got hit with serious health/medical diagnoses (yes, more than one) – none require hospital or surgery but do involve medication and life changes.

Then there was the basement flood in February when the water line into the house blew.  And then repairs to the foundation in July and subsequent mandatory renovation to the basement to repair the aftermath.

I love my house but… The only thing that is still original to when we bought it just over 10 years ago are the studs and the siding.  Seriously.

So bring on 2016.  I’m more than ready.

 


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Candy is packaged!

This weekend I packaged up the candy ready to start gifting.

I have big tins to ship off to the sisters.  Had to really pack those in well with bubble wrap to help keep the contents from shifting too much.  Things get thrown around a lot during the shipping process.  I once received a box of baking that was just a box of fine crumbs; so I try to make sure that I’ve put cushioning in and packed any air pockets with something to absorb the impact shocks.

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Now I need to find boxed to ship them in – I find cereal boxes are a great size and easy to cut down to fit tightly.

The rest is all packed up in bags.

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I made some dried fruit and nut balls too, but they will be disbursed in a different manner – they can’t be packaged with the candy.

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They are pretty tasty – just chopped nuts and dried fruit finely chopped in the food processor.  These contain: peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, prunes, dried apple, craisins, dried blueberries, raisins, pineapple, papaya, mango and then rolled in ground almonds.  Easy – equal parts of each: nuts and fruit; mix well, roll into one inch balls.  That’s it.

Due to the prune content… I wouldn’t recommend eating a bunch at once, but they are good!

I’ve got more to do – all the leftover scraps and nuts will be used and some cookies to bake.  Nice thing about cookies is that they freeze well!

 


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I may be famous, maybe

I worked on a film in October for a local film challenge called the Frightening 48.  Teams of film makers signed up, then Friday night at 6 p.m. were given three specific things that HAD to be in the short (under seven minute) film:  a character, a prop and a line of dialogue.  Each team was given a different character but the prop and line were the same.

Then the teams had to write, plan, shoot, edit, and submit the finished film by 6 p.m. on Sunday night – in 48 hours.

The shooting took place starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday … in a graveyard (it was still the middle of the night here as dawn wasn’t until 8 a.m. or so).  Then we moved around town, on the streets, an old isolated farm house, a dive bar… etc.

Then the post-production crew pulled an all-nighter and through Sunday to get it done to drop off.

After the challenge, more scenes were shot to expand the film to a longer version which is being released for television.

It stars Gerald Auger (AMC’s Hell on Wheels) and lots of local talent.  Check the Facebook page of Bohemian Blood.

So, my point… the poster for the movie was just released… and they credited me ON THE POSTER!!

Bohemian Blood movie poster


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Smells great in here

If you typically are on my gift list … SPOILER ALERT!

I’ve been busy the whole weekend and the last two evenings and THESE are the results.

“Snicker” Caramels (soft caramel, peanuts and chocolate) new this year.  I was going to make the usual “turtles” but… after burning the first batch of pecans, running out to buy more, and burning them… I gave up.

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Peanut Brittle.

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Dark Chocolate Cashew Bark

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Milk Chocolate Almond Bark

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White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

 

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White Chocolate Cashew Bark

 

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Dark Chocolate Almond Bark

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Mixed Nut Brittle

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Pecan Bark (aka Praline)

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English Toffee (toffee, chocolate and chopped almonds)

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Due to the amount of left over nuts, and some other items, I am going to make a few more things – Dried Fruit & Nut Balls, some dipped Pretzel Sticks and depending on how much is left after those are done maybe something else. I was looking for a Spiced Nut recipe but couldn’t find one I think will work as the nuts are already roasted and I really don’t want to burn any more!  The last thing I make every year are the Chocolate Nut Clusters – which is ALL the crumbs from ALL the batches and any left over nuts dumped together with milk chocolate. They are my sister’s favourite.

The hardest thing about making all this is that every single batch has to be taste tested…. you know, for quality control.