Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


Leave a comment

While we’re on the topic of butterflies

I was reviewing my photos of the butterflies I’ve painted and realized… I paint myself as a butterfly an awful lot!  LOL

Obviously my design of choice, as it is with all girls everywhere!  I blogged before about “the butterfly effect” in this post Not another butterfly.

Here are some examples of what I paint on myself  – I like to get into events without having to explain why I am there, and I get good parking usually too!

I actually painted a very cool one for my gig last Saturday but didn’t take a photo before we left.  Ten minutes into the gig I was wiping it off as I was sweating so bad the paint was running into my eyes (it was 29C) and I had to get it off.  I knew I should not have used the Wolfe black!!!


Leave a comment

Wash Day

Our washing machine died last Sunday.

I had put a load of whites in and came back up stairs to watch television with mom when the sounds of off-centre spinning reached us… you know what I mean?  The loud thumping of the tub having an off-centre load and of the machine walking itself across the laundry room floor!

I ran downstairs expecting to have to push the machine back against the wall and redistribute the load…. but…. it was still where it was supposed to be.  I opened the lid and everything was just sitting there in the bottom…  Not pressed up against the sides of the tub like it should be for having been on the spin cycle.  Strange.  So I closed the lid, the “spinning” started up again, and thumping loudly again.  I opened up the lid and the tub was barely moving.  I reached in to pull on the sheets I had in there and the whole interior tub rocked wildly.

Oh… crap.

It appeared the tub had “come off” whatever you call the thing you stick things on when you want them to turn… (that’s tech speak for “I have no idea what I am talking about”)

So I pulled out the wet whites and wrung them out by hand – sheets are very heavy and awkward when wet BTW – and put them in the dryer.

When it was empty the tub rocked even more when I pushed on it.

So I came upstairs and told mom the bad news.  We then had a discussion about whether it was 12 or 18 years old.  I thought it was 18, mom said 12.  When I phoned Sears about service costs on Monday they said we bought it in 2000.  Mom was right… I was (you may want to make a note of this as I don’t say it very often…) wrong.

As the life expectancy of large appliances is 10 years and we had never had to have this machine serviced, I asked what the potential repair costs could be – the agent told me if it was the tub it could be several hundred, if it was just a couple of springs considerably less.

Sears had a sale on washing machines –  $499.99 (reg $549.99).  So I ran over on my lunch hour on Monday and bought a new one.  Delivery would be Saturday (today) between 1-5 p.m. for $75, another $20 to take the old one away.

Thing was… I couldn’t find the same machine/style.  WTF happened to the agitator?  I have no interest in front loading high-efficiency models… I want a washing machine, you know, open the top, dump in soap, clothes, chug-chug chug goes the agitator, and the clothes get worked down and around on the blades… None of them had the square lid in the middle of the top anymore.  The lids were the width of the top… I was trotting through the aisle opening every lid trying to find an agitator when the sales guy approached me.

He showed me a couple that still had agitator looking things in them… but they were very much not the same as the old one.  No big blade, just some protrusions on the bottom and a big hole in the top of it for putting fabric softener.  Tub took up almost the whole frame too.  They also had some extra controls and lock.  You can’t start it without closing the lid and locking it.  Bummer… I liked to watch the agitator work the clothes, very soothing.

Luckily the closest one to what I was used to was the one on sale.

I really did not want to be spending over $600 right now (with delivery and taxes) but we are not living without a washing machine!

I have never dealt with disconnecting or connecting a washing machine – mom usually was the one who dealt with stuff like that.  So she was giving me instructions about getting buckets and undoing the hoses.  So this morning I went down to get the old one disconnected and drained… good thing I listened and got buckets!  We do have a drain right there in the floor but the hoses did not reach to it.

The hoses from the taps came off easily enough… however… the hot water tap was seized up and it was dripping!  We don’t even use hot water at all so I wasn’t expecting it to be running at all.  I could not move the tap so stuck the hose in the pipe drain for the washer.

Then I pulled the drain hose out of the pipe and carefully into the bucket to drain out the washing machine as much as possible.  I even tipped it over against my hip so the water would drain… wow, they hold a lot of water.

Some spilled which was fine as it wet all the dust bunnies that had been hiding under the machine and I washed them all up and got the spot ready for the new machine.

The delivery truck pulled up BEFORE 1 p.m. That was impressive.  They got the old machine up and the new one down really fast.  I asked the one large strapping lad if he could turn off the hot water tap for me.  They both asked if I was sure.  I said I was as we have never used the hot water – we assumed it was completely off, not trickling all these years.  So he was able to turn it completely off.

So now I had to get this machine connected so I could get a week’s worth of laundry done!

Hot and cold hoses connected and tightened with pliers – check.

Unwrap power cord and hang out-of-the-way while I do the rest – check.

Pull plug off drain hole in order to attach drain hose – CRAP… wasn’t expecting a NEW machine to have water in it!

Wipe up spill – check.

Attach drain hose and make sure clamp is in proper position – check.

Put drain hose in drain pipe and secure with zip-tie – check.

Push machine into position I want it in.  A bit of a struggle but – check.

Plug in – check.

Read instructions – check.  Oh goody, I did it right!

Read the other instructions on operation – check.

Hmm… you have to dilute fabric softener?  Who knew?  Stupid – means I have to get water from the other room in order to do that.  And clothes are to be piled loosely, not laid around the agitator, do not pack tightly, okay.  Hmm… will make strange noises (what they said is it will not sound like my old agitator machine)… okey dokey.

Now I am supposed to run a test/machine cleaning load to make sure everything works.  Don’t want to waste water since they say to put in soap too… so toss in mom’s mattress cover and sheets with the TIDE (hey, I have the right kind!  a label reader I am not) and close the lid.  Select load size, choose water temp (cold of course), select rinse (one rinse, two rinse, one rinse with fabric softener or two rinse with fabric softener), and the wash cycle (normal of course!)  Then close the lid and press the start button – the sound of the lock clicking and then nothing.

So I started to empty the dryer (yes, this load has been there all week… so what?!) and fold towels and sheets while observing this new fangled machine.

Well… they weren’t wrong about the noise.  Squeaking, grunting, popping, swishing, gurgling… um, well when the heck is it going to sound like it is washing?

I finished folding all the stuff from the dryer before it finally started to sound like water and clothes being smooshed around.  So I came back upstairs to put away things.

It takes a lot longer than the old machine… but it is completing ALL processes instead of me having to go and put the fabric softener in between rinse cycles.

I went back down an hour later to put the sheets in the dryer, and reset the controls to do a full load of coloured clothes, with fabric softener… it is still running.

I’m glad the laundry is downstairs… those noises are annoying.  And I hope it doesn’t smell – we’ve been told by people with high-efficiency machines that they really start to smell…  We were wondering why there are commercials for deodorizers for washing machines.  Now we know.


Leave a comment

Rain rain go away

Saturday I was painting in Wembley (that’s Wembley in Alberta, not the one in England) at the Fire Fighters’ Challenge/Community Day.

It was wet… How wet was it you ask?  Well, upon stepping out of the RAV onto the grass, my shoes were soaked and my cargo pants wicked up the water to my knee level… I think my new $180 New Balance shoes are now dead.  When we got home and I stripped off my shoes, socks and pants in the doorway as I wasn’t walking across my floor dripping dirty water… I was so wet my feet were wrinkled like I’d been in the bath for five hours.  They just now are back to normal.

I left a huge puddle in my car but I have good rubber mats that prevented the rugs from getting wet.

We got hit with torrential downpours about half a dozen times during the four-hour job.  They had set-up one of those tents that are for cars for us, against a chain link fence on one-side so we were relatively sheltered, but the water on the ground was pretty deep.

I set my A-frame sign on a plastic garbage bag as it is wood and would soak up moisture.  It worked… sort of.  The kids leaning on the sign knocked off my sliders and the panels were on the ground getting muddy and wet.

It was slow to start but stayed pretty steady.

I bought a t-shirt from the booth next to us which was the new Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum which is being built near Wembley.  Great dinosaur graphic, blue on blue.

We were in a bit of a rush this morning so I did a VERY quick design on myself:

And I still got asked if I painted myself… ?

This is what I wore a couple of weeks ago to a gig out near Valleyview:

And if you are wondering why I am wearing the same clothes in these photos (not that I think you are…) it is because I took the photos after I got home, changed into my jammies and ate… And remembered to take a couple of shots before washing it off!

Anyhow, back to the rain.  Friday night we had some spectacular thunder storms… which were the reason that the field we were in was so wet.  It was so bad that Friday evening they evacuated the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life out at Legion Field, and then cancelled the event at 11 p.m. that night as it was too dangerous with the lightning strikes.


2 Comments

New Nails!

Had my nails “filled” last Tuesday… this is my fourth time and I am really enjoying it.  I am getting used to wearing them, which means I am not picking at them, filing them, etc. so they are staying intact until my next appointment.  My first set was gone by the time my appointment came around.  Next set I lost three a couple of days prior, last time they were all still on with two that needed to be filed down as the nails had separated at the tips.

I absolutely love this set… Ashley had a photo of a paint drip design on a white background which was cool, but I don’t want to cover the whole nail as it looks better growing out clear… so this is what she did instead.  Isn’t it great?  And so perfect for face painting!


5 Comments

But the brushes were on sale…

I’m adicted to brushes.  I can’t go into any art supply or craft store without buying brushes, even though I only stopped to see if they had [insert any product here except brushes]… this time I was looking for Punchinella (the waste strips from sequins) without any luck.

Unfortunately Michaels has American Painter brushes on for 40% off… oh dear.  I really didn’t NEED more brushes right now, but, well, they were on SALE!!

I bought two of each of #8, #6, #4, #2 rounds, #2 small liners (actually four of them), #2 script liners…

Seriously though, I need to cull my working kit’s brushes.  I have a bunch of #6 and 4s that are not performing properly anymore so to keep my aggravation levels down I need to switch them out for new brushes… but the kicker is that I already have a supply of new brushes on hand, I didn’t need more…

But they were on SALE!

BTW… does anyone have any copper punchinella????


1 Comment

Having a lovely time, glad I’m not there

We are almost finished our UK vacation… Having a great time seeing Cornwall and Devon, cream teas, fish & chips, face painting jams, lunches, presents and lots of visiting.  It is now Friday and we fly home on Sunday.  We’re going to drive up to Heathrow and stay at a hotel tomorrow night as traffic can be horrendous and we have to allow for the horrid wheelchair assistance (it took them almost an hour and a half to get us off the plane and through customs when we arrived!)

Here’s a photo from my birthday lunch in Par, Cornwall, this week

I’m in the middle in the purple top with the blue cheese sauce dripped all over it, mom is in the hat holding fresh made Cornish pasties in her lap  that were made by Sarah (the blonde standing on the right), my buddy Anne is standing on the left holding Bella, then Jenny and Mel, and Anne’s mom Jill is sitting beside me on the right.  It was a nice lunch visit with the Cornish face painters!!

On Tuesday Anne drove us to Port Issac which is the setting for the show Doc Martin… we drove through typical English country roads, then didn’t get out as there was no parking up top, so, Anne decided to drive DOWN the hill to the beach (the sign said that beach parking was closed so she interpreted that as there was access…) OMG, that was steep!  Then we were trapped on these teeny tiny streets full of tourists who would not get out of the way… well, they couldn’t as there wasn’t anywhere for them to go!  They were pressing up against buildings to allow us by!  We met other vehicles who had come down the opposite side so we were able to get around each other on the boat slip, and continue on up the hill on the other side!!

We decided to try to find an inn we had passed on the way there but the sat nav was trying to make us go the other way… I’ll post more about this when I can post the photos with it!!


Leave a comment

I’m touched

I was surprised at work yesterday with a nice thing.

I’ve face painted at the local MS Walk for… I really don’t remember as it has been for so many years. I think maybe eight years…but it could even be ten.  I do the event every year so I would have to go back through my records to see when the I first invoiced them.

I am paid to work at this event – I give them a generous discount off my regular rate – so haven’t actually volunteered for them.  So this was an unexpected tribute.

They even included a photo of a couple of the kids I painted this year on the certificate which is way cool!  And it is framed and mounted ready to hang.

And they even spelled my name right!!


Leave a comment

Not fun

I mentioned in an earlier post that I injured my shoulder/rotator cuff… hurt it at work on March 23… I am now in considerable constant pain.  Appears the muscle that runs down the back of my bicep is torn or something.

The doctor has ordered an MRI (the hospital phoned to say that they will phone sometime this month to provide the appointment time) and I’m supposed to go for Physio too, but the clinic couldn’t even fit me in for an “assessment appointment” until May 17.  And, the doctor also ordered massage therapy but the clinic’s massage therapist is on mat leave so they don’t have one.

Welcome to health care in Grande Prairie.

To top it off I don’t get paid for the time I’m away from work for all these appointments, but I can’t blow them off as it is WCB.  I called WCB about it and they do have a form for missed wages due to appointments so I can put them through.

Last Saturday I did my first multi-hour face painting gig since the injury… OMG that hurt.  Up till then it was bearable, but holding up my left arm for hours to steady kids’ heads while I painted them was not the right thing to do. 

Since then I’ve been in constant pain.  Then, lifting mom, lifting her wheelchair in and out of the car, and generally just doing anything, really hurts.  I had to make mom’s bed this evening and I was practically crying from the pain.

I have had to alter how I drive as I can’t stretch out my arm to turn the wheel to make a right turn, I have to feed the wheel to my right hand.  Luckily it is doable – just a different style of driving.

Today was rough at work too… I ended up on a phone call with a co-worker and had to shuffle through a file while talking to her, I was trying to hold the phone on my left shoulder while using my hands… not a good idea.

I have some a prescription for NSAIDs which work but if I take them steady I get real cranky – and I mean bitch on wheels cranky – which I don’t want to do.  So I’m trying to get by on Tylenol for body aches.

Sleep is difficult as there is no position that the arm doesn’t ache in.  The doctor said to use ice or heat but not sure how to apply it as it isn’t an easy spot.  And frankly, I don’t have time to sit and try to ice it… have to help mom, get the housework done, etc.

Oh well… hopefully it will stop hurting soon.