Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

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It’s alive (kinda sorta…)

I love my regulars!

Chris is always something dead… or something that probably makes things dead.

This year he wanted to the grossest zombie to ever walk the streets of Grande Prairie.  So I did a sketch of what I though would be good for this year – here is my sketch.


He liked it, so he bought a lot of prosthetics and I made a bunch of things (including the eye ball to hang out.)  Then I spent time building, painting and prepping everything ready to apply on Halloween morning.


Chris lives for Halloween.  This year he walked all over town dragging a blood and body part filled wagon behind him.  Dedicated I tell you.

I borrowed lighting from a photographer friend and she showed me how my new (I bought it almost four years ago!) camera worked and we got it set-up on a tripod.  I took photos all through the process and once I find out HOW, I will have a video of Chris’ transformation to share!  We are both really excited – but I need to learn how to do it first.  So for now here are photos of what we did today.

A before and after application photo comparison – Looks pretty darn disgusting if I do say so myself.


The rest below I took after Chris got into costume.

Studio shots to start with.  See the dangling eyeball?


This one I’m considering submitting to a modelling agency.  Decent head shot don’t you think?


Then it was time to hit the road for the day!

First, he had to pour three gallons of blood into his wagon… which really was disturbing.


And… this is what people were seeing on the streets of Grande Prairie today (and the mall, and BMO, and I have no idea how many other places he got to!)


Another modelling head shot!  I think I like my new camera.


We are already planning next year’s “look”… I love my job!


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It has begun…

My first Halloween clients of the year were tonight.


And I put my Mummy up in the window.


Another client dropped off his prosthetics so I can get them painted and prepped for Halloween Day.

Tomorrow my first appointment is at 7:15 a.m.

Saturday is fully booked at this moment.  That seems to be fluid though as Saturday has been fully booked about four different times since the end of September, then I’ll have a couple clients cancel, fill-up the spots, repeat… LOL.  A wait-list has now been started.

Skulls are the most popular request so far – both the Day of the Dead variety and the skeletal ones.

I acquired a great piece of artwork today – a friend is doing a drawing a day and this was her work from yesterday.  I loved it so I bought it!  Framed and hung it in my studio this afternoon so she is on the wall to supervise all the skulls I will be painting this weekend!


My studio is all set-up and  organized, including a photo backdrop. I am ready!  Bring it on Halloween!



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Halloween is Coming – part four


This weekend is going to busy, busy, busy!  The party night, which is when my services are in the most demand, is Saturday.  As Halloween is actually next Monday, the bookings on that day are kids on their way to school and my regular special effects client in the early morning.

This year I have appointments booked on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  As always, it is a tiring weekend, but I look forward to it every year.

I am booked solid on Saturday but there are always cancellations at the last minute – and unfortunately no-shows.  I keep a waitlist and will call people if a spot opens up, so you can still contact me (message me through my Facebook page which is linked to on the right.)  I just can’t guarantee you will get in.

Here are some of my favourite costumes and make-up design combinations.

JamieBecki2014RomneyskullblackMandy Schroeder BVampireFamily


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I love what I do!

Next week’s post will be all about what I did this year for Halloween, so stay tuned.

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Yay Me!

This week was a roller coaster ride with hospital emergency visits, tests, treatments, pain, etc. BUT… had my six-month follow-up with my doctor to review my tests and progress.

My blood sugar was great!  A1C is NORMAL at 5.2 and my Fasting Glucose is NORMAL at 5.6. My doctor agreed to let me reduce the  Metformin dose by half (after my surgery in a few weeks – said not to mess with things until that’s done.)   Yay!

My MIBI test (heart stress test with radioactive injections and scans) showed that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my heart. Yay!

My blood pressure on Thursday was 120/80 – that is textbook NORMAL. Yay!

Had another round of eye injections today – was told my right eye had “dried up nicely” so the next time I only get an injection in the left eye – if I’m lucky that may be the last one! Yay!

Looks like I am pretty close to being NORMAL… contrary to the rumours!  LOL

So I am very happy, which really goes without saying.

Last weekend I had a booth at LibriCon selling my Star Trek collection.  MAJ Photography was the official photographer and got some nice shots of us.

I am the one in the Superman t-shirt.  (In case you don’t recognize me!)



I was trying to convince her to buy my Conversational Klingon tape – even offered to throw in a Sony Walkman to play it on!  She didn’t go for it.


Battle of the Gallbladder

I am waiting for surgery to remove my gallbladder – Damn thing has been torturing me since January (maybe even earlier but I didn’t notice.)

At first I didn’t think too much of the occasional pains – I attributed it to the change in my diet and blamed some innocent vegetables for causing gas and discomfort.

But by the time my next doctor’s appointment rolled around I was having pretty frequent bouts of pain including back pain that made me whimper.  Including one bad attack with fever, vomiting and cold sweats.

So my doctor sent me for an ultrasound – but it was over a month’s wait for the appointment to have it done.

When I saw him for the results he informed me I had sludge in my gallbladder. Sludge?  I commented, assuming it wasn’t as bad as stones, but apparently it is the same net effect and indicates removal required.

So he referred me to a surgeon.  I was given a form from the surgeon’s office with instructions for me to call them in two weeks to get an appointment.

When I called two weeks later, I got lucky – they had just had someone cancel so could I come next week?  YES!  I took that appointment which was in June.

I saw the surgeon at his office – he examined me (I was on day three of an attack at the time,) he commented that he could actually feel it, it was that inflamed.  He gave me a prescription for antibiotics and for pain medication and said it would be “a few months” before I would probably get a surgery date.

He told me that if I had attacks that lasted more than 12 hours OR were severe to the point of vomiting again, that I should go to Emergency.  I said that wasn’t my idea of how to spend time but he pointed out that if it was severe often enough the surgery could be done sooner.

So I’ve been waiting… and waiting… to be notified of a surgery date.  I’ve been having attacks pretty steadily, occasionally bad enough for the pain meds, but I avoided going to Emergency.  Even when I had ones that lasted several days – they flare, then ease off to bearable so I just took a pill and slept.

Last week I got the call from the hospital with a date for surgery!  YAY!  Second week of November.  Unless it gets cancelled. Which happens… a lot…

Then, on Monday this week I had the worst attack yet.  I was at work chatting with a co-worker when a spasm hit me so hard it knocked me down and I fell back onto the counter and started crying.  I had a couple more spasms within the next few minutes so my co-worker took me to Emergency.

I have to say I was processed and seen very quickly which was contrary to my expectations. So that was a relief.  I was given a shot for pain and another of a muscle relaxer, then they took blood.  I was left dozing in a recliner for a couple of hours while they waited for the blood results.  I actually was still having spasms but they weren’t as intense.

The doctor there prescribed a different pain drug and a muscle relaxer and told me to avoid fats until the surgery.

That was Monday…

Tuesday I had all-day tests at the hospital that required fasting so by the time I got home I hadn’t eaten for almost 20 hours, so I made some food, ate it and within 15 minutes I was having bad spasms again.  I took a couple of pain pills.

I’ve discovered if I stand up the spasms are really intense, if I stay seated not so bad – they are still bad, but I don’t fall or double over.

This morning I woke up… felt okay so went to the gym.  Yeah, that didn’t go so well. Spasms started again. So I got home and let the boss know I wouldn’t be in and took a couple of pain pills.

If it gets really bad I will try to get to Emergency again, I guess.

Twenty-one sleeps till my surgery date.  Please keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t get bumped.




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Halloween is Coming – part three

Oh oh oh… Halloween is getting closer!!

I work at a few Halloween themed events annually – I do up the haunters and staff at the Muskoseepi Park Haunted House every year; face paint at the Rotary Stompin’ Scarecrow Festival (will be there on Oct 23rd!) and have painted at the GP Museum’s Haunted Hayride for the last several years.

It is always fun to match the costumes people are wearing!  It is my favourite thing to do –   whether it is a Princess or a Death Eater!  And I love a challenge.

Here are photos of make-up/face painting done over the years for different events and Halloween.












They can drive!!!


Painted up for a night of clubbing!

I don’t always have an opportunity to take photos while I am working if it is busy, so it is nice when I can access those taken by the photographers from the newspaper or official event photographers.


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Halloween is Coming – part two

Here we are at the second week of my Halloween countdown in the form of some of my make-up and costume work.

I love Halloween and those clients who want to go all out with their ideas.  I’ve one particular client who comes every year, many years twice, who is the epitome of Halloween spirit.  He gets a full special effects make-up every Halloween day morning and goes out for the day, often completely decorating his truck as well.

He has the idea and gets his costume together, and I get the make-up figured out to his specifications – sometimes I make the pieces, sometimes he buys them, sometimes both are used.  Copious amounts of blood are usually involved.








I have such a lot of fun with my clients!



Halloween is coming!

The most wonderful time of the year!

I am going to do a weekly post featuring past make-ups and costumes I have done – for fun and possible inspiration.

I am still taking appointments for Halloween make-up for this year but am filling up fast so if you are my area and want to book I suggest contacting me ASAP!  You can message me through my Facebook Page – the link is on the right of this page.

These make-ups are from one of my favourite appointments – a group of friends would come regularly for special events (not just Halloween, but birthday pub crawls and theme nights.)  This particular event was a Dead Pirates theme.











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What the Fudge?

Last night I was having a craving for peanut butter cups.  I don’t often have cravings, and if I have one for something I usually just have one square of a Lindt 85% Cacao bar and that takes care of it.  But just smearing P.B. on the chocolate wasn’t doing it for me.

So I decided to see if I could make fudge.  I don’t use sweeteners and sugar substitutes by personal choice (no sugar due to my diabetes and no artificial sweeteners/replacements as I find them horrible – aftertastes, headaches, etc.)

I decided to use 85 & 88% chocolate bars, unsweetened peanut butter, butter and peanuts. Pretty simple.

I had Lindt and Purdy’s chocolate on-hand (a staple in my cupboard!) so broke them up into a microwave safe bowl, added 1/4 cup of butter and nuked on high for 35 seconds, then removed and stirred until the chocolate was almost completely melted.  I had to stick it back in for another 20 seconds to get the last of the lumps melted.  Then I stirred in 3/4 cup of peanut butter and stirred briskly until it was completely blended.  Then tossed in about a cup of roasted peanuts.

I poured in into a parchment lined square pan and put in the fridge overnight.

This morning I took it out and it sliced easily into small squares and tastes great!  I might increase the peanut butter ratio next time.


I can only eat one square at a time as a treat (to avoid blood sugar spikes) so I am storing in a sealed container in the cold part of my fridge.

Shannon’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

125 grams of dark chocolate (85-88% cacao – or whatever you prefer, any chocolate will work) broken up into small pieces

1/4 cup of butter

3/4 to 1 cup of unsweetened peanut butter

1 cup of roasted peanuts (optional, or use different nuts, or add dried cranberries!  There are lots of options)

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl on high for about 35 seconds, remove from microwave and stir until it is melted – may need to put back in microwave for a few more seconds if the chocolate isn’t completely melted.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter.  It needs to be completely blended in.
  3. Add the nuts, stir.
  4. Pour into a parchment or foil lined square pan, and refrigerate for a couple hours (overnight is good).
  5. Remove from pan by lifting out the parchment or foil, and cut into pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.