Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!


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It is June… again

What happened to May? I don’t remember it happening. Time flies by so fast and it gets faster and faster as it goes by.

Remember when you were a kid and waiting three whole sleeps seemed like years and years? There will come a time when you really wish time would move that slowly again.

I’m sitting at home right now waiting for my eyes to clear (nice thing about computers is you can set the zoom to 200%.) Had injections in both this morning – they were leaking again.

I had originally been scheduled for an injection in my left eye for June 12 and lasers in my right on June 9.  I woke up Tuesday morning last week and had no focus ability in my right eye.  I had been at the eye doctor’s on the prior Thursday and everything was fine, by Tuesday had sprung a very bad leak.  So they bumped up my injection to the next available date, for both eyes.  No lasers now.

I asked the doctor about the prognosis – I was wondering if I needed to make long-term contingency plans for having minimal sight left or blindness at some point.  He assured me that as long as I am controlling my diabetes and blood pressure that eventually the treatments will eliminate the constant leaks and that in 80% of patients the injections stop and the sight is improved.  Just hope I am not one of the other 20%.

 

So, since I am keeping things under control everything should eventually stabilize.

It has been a nice Spring so far – warm and periodic rain.  Which means mowing the lawn every five to seven days.  Which is a pain.

My apple tree bloomed on ALL branches this year for the first time!  Each branch is a different variety.  It is called a 5-in-1 and all varieties are hardy to the climate up here. It is a dwarf stock so will stay small.  I pruned it quite well last Fall to keep it easy to reach.

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And lots of blossoms too. I did not see a single bee on it though, thankfully it was crawling with ants (and ladybugs) so they will have pollinated it. Should get lots of apples this year if the weather cooperates.

Plantings in the front are doing well too. I decided to cull out the Prairie Mallow as some of were massive and choking out other plants.  As I wanted to give the Hollyhocks a chance to colonize the west bed in front of the house I killed all but two of the Prairie Mallows. Yes, I am a horrible person.  But I let the Prairie Mallow keep the back corner of the backyard.

The perennials I planted last year (got from friends around town) are doing great!  Both clumps of day lilies started blooming this week, and two of the other things are growing well – still haven’t found out what they are called though.  My clematis plants are growing about a foot a day.

This was taken a week ago – the petunias are twice this size at least now. And I’ve been harvesting the herbs already; it is so nice to have a fresh herb omelette for breakfast!

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This is the final weekend of the last show of the season at Grande Prairie Live Theatre. It is the “family show” so the weekends are three matinees – two on Saturday and one on Sunday, and a Friday night show. “Robin Hood and the Heroes of Sherwood Forest” is the show.

Next weekend I will be face painting in Dawson Creek, and Summer season will officially be kicking into full gear. I was ordering supplies last night to restock the essentials. When I have a crew of 10 working we go through a lot of rainbow cakes!

 

 

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And Spamalot is a wrap!

Last night was closing night for Spamalot, a GPLT/GPRC co-production.16730162_10210365810035857_2774274503412802183_n

I was the Make-Up/Hair Designer (it says so on the poster!) and lead, and also built the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and the Holy Grail, as well as making costume pieces and accessorizing the Lady of the Lake.  I also provide other pieces of costume to some of the Knights (when one once wore a Knight’s costume in horse shows one has stuff in the tickle trunk!)

The show has three dress rehearsals and ten performances and I was there for over five hours for each one of them.  There were eight make-up/hair crew which rotated with usually five or six at each performance.

I made pox for the Not Dead Yet number out of latex – we used toupee tape for the cast to stick them on.  It worked VERY well!  For those with latex allergies we had red face paint and a sea sponge.

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These were actually very effective – and looked quite gross from the audience!

I have hundreds left over… all ready for Halloween – smallpox anyone?

I was asked to build props on very short notice – less than a week before dress rehearsal. I used cloth mache for both the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and the Holy Grail.  The hand grenade was thrown each time and had to stay together, so I used a wooden dowel right through the structure and wired plastic mesh and foam… it held up fantastically.  I can’t find a dent on it.

The Grail was a rush job as I only had four days to make it which really wasn’t enough time to make it pretty, but it did the job.

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I made headpieces for the Lady of the Lake – she had no accessories or jewellery with the costumes that she was given so I got creative.  I built crowns using pipe cleaners, ribbon, wire, beads, shells, etc.  She had seven costumes and I had different accessories for each (one of the costumes I provided – the first greek goddess one, and one was her own old grad dress – the royal blue with spaghetti straps.)  I raided my jewellery stash and outfitted her with my personal items, and created a bustle for one dress and arm drapes for another.

Here are some close-ups to show detail on the five crowns I made for the show:

Two headpieces were things I had on-hand – the beaded fringed cap I had bought in Paris years ago and the other was a simple beaded headband that matched the robe.

Here are King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake.

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The blushing brides – Lady of the Lake and Prince Herbert.

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And these are all taken during the performances:

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We all received a framed image with our role in the production on it which is pretty nice. The little Polaroid is when “I” found the grail and won the “Arthur” award as Best Peasant in Grande Prairie… long story… LOL.  In the group photo I am below the ‘n’ in Finland in the pink sweater.

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It was a fun show and very funny!  We spent a lot of time in the wings watching what we could as it was so good!  Most of the crew watched it from the front at least once (some more than once.)  The next big musical will be in 2019 – we do the “big ones” every two years.  We all need to rest up between them!


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Halloween is Coming – part four

HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

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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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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.

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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:

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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.


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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.

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This is this morning, first full day of Spring.

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[sigh]

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!

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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

 

 


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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.

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

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I cried here – Eponine died.  Sniff.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.


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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):

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And these were taken by Beauchamp Photography:

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

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Master of the House…

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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:

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

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

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

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

The show runs until February 21st!