My first video tutorial

Believe it or not, my silence over the last few days hasn’t been the usual hermiting. I’ve been putting together a shaping tutorial for Bento mesh heads. It all started when I got obsessed with the Belle Époque and started creating avatars to represent famous women from that time period in history.

Here’s what I came up with. It’s long, and there’s no sound. But you might find some interesting tips and tricks here.

Style Card:
Bento Head: Catwa, Blueberry Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon applier in Tone 1 (All Lumae skins are on sale for 100L right now at the Lumae Main Store)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: Euphoric, Enigma Eyes
Hair (last photo) Exile, Haven

The Rainbow House in the Stained Glass Grove

I’m beginning to think this little Realm is really one of those list songs. You know, like, “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea,” or “The Rattlin’ Bog.” Because I swear there was no rainbow house in the Stained Glass Grove when I found myself there before.

What does a rainbow house look like?

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The Rainbow House

Obviously this is what a rainbow house looks like! There it was, right across what seemed like a decorative bridge over a snowbank. The first thing I noticed (after its rainbow-ness, of course) was the beautiful carving on the front doors. Someone must have put a lot of work into that. Even though our Fae artisans can put up a house in a matter of minutes, it still takes some skill, whether magical or physical, to create such a wonder. And look at that beautiful solstice star above the door. It felt homey already.

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Whimsical trees!

And here we go with the song again: There are trees on the porch of the rainbow house in the stained glass grove (it’s really hard not to add ‘at the bottom of the sea’, there; it would just scan better). Also, peeking in the windows was fun.

Now, I’d brought Clutie along this time, because you never know when you’re going to have to send her back with some kind of message or reply, and also because Bran told me off royally (pun intended!) when I got home after my first visit to the stained glass grove, both for not telling him where I was going and for not bringing an assistant with me. I told him he wasn’t my real dad and I didn’t have to listen to him, then flounced, but really I did listen to him, at least enough to know I didn’t want another lecture of that magnitude.

Clutie is one of those demifae who can move into a larger, more human-sized form when she wants to, so I assigned her to camera duty and told her to take a photograph of me by those lovely doors.

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I claim this house for Faerie!

I raised my arms and shouted, “I claim this house for En— I mean, Faerie!” Sometimes I still drop back into old habits, you know. Clutie rolled her eyes at me, but she did figure out how to focus my iPhone camera on the third try. I suspect there will be lots of shots of her little shoes in my camera roll.

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Should we go inside?

“Should we go inside?” I asked. It was a rhetorical question, but Clutie answered it anyway.

“Your Majesty, of course we all know that everything in Faerie is under your command and by your leave, but perhaps entering folks’ private homes is a little disrespectful,” she said. Mother of the Moon, she is a proper little thing, isn’t she?

I informed her that it was a rhetorical question and let myself in.

She followed me, swearing under her breath (OK, years serving me has made her a little less proper), but I think she was just as interested in looking inside as I was.

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Altar and shelf

“Oh, will you look at that alter,” I said. “such a well-placed little stone labyrinth. I approve.” Clutie, meanwhile, was fascinated by the shiny crystal on the shelf next to the altar. I thought she was going to be absorbed by it somehow, she was staring so hard.

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Purple Tree, Purple Me!

“This tree matches my dress!” I squealed.

“That tree is a fire hazard in a wooden house,” Clutie retorted.

“It’s Faerie, Clutie,” I said. “I don’t think the house is going to burn, not from plain fire, anyway.”

She sniffed.

“The Author has one very much like it in her little retreat, you know.”

“Well, aren’t you the hoity-toity one, hanging out with The Author and being all special and precious.”

My eyes narrowed. “And you need to watch your tongue, Miss demithang,” I replied.

“Why? Is it burning?”

I always forget what little literalists demifae are. “Come on; let’s get back to the castle,” I said. “We can come back and explore some more later.”

Clutie tossed my phone at me and shrank to her normal size. “Make sure you bring me,” she said. “I’m sure I saw marshmallows over there.”

Style Card:
Items featured at the Winter’s Hollow event:
Rainbow House: Dragon Magick Wares, Elemental A Frame
Whimsical Trees: Raindale, Whimsical Topiary Tree
Solstice Star: Raindale, Yule Star
Lovely Purple Dress: Senzafine, Eirwyn Gown
Crown and Choker: SynCo, Ice Witch Choker, Ice Witch Tiara
Antlers: Spyralle, WinterGem Antlers, “Snow” Special Edition
Altar: The Roawenwood, Winter Solstice Altar
Shelf with mesmerising crystal: Velika Rituals, Winter Solstice Shelf
Purple Tree: [QE Home] Handcrafted Christmas Tree

Other stuff:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Noelle Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elvi, T1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store)
Eyeshadow: alaskametro, Astral Eyeshadow
Eyebrows: alaskametro, Glitter Eyebrows
Hair: Truth, Teila
Eyes: Euphoric, Enigma Eyes
Environment:
Skybox Environment: IrrISIStible, Never-ending Winter Mesh Skybox
Poses: SD, Ice Queen

 

 

My Well-Kept Secret

Yes, I have one. I know I frequently wax rhapsodic about ballgowns and the like, talk about beautiful venues, and explore exotic pocket universes.

But….

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Sometimes there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here

Sometimes there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here, Haven. Even though it’s my private home, and it’s not all that special, blah, blah, blah….

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Oh, who am I kidding? 

Oh, who am I kidding? This place is spectacular: that’s why I created it this way. I could sit on my outdoor tree daybed and just stare at the water for days. And then the stars. But seriously, sometimes all a girl needs is a comfy pair of pyjamas and a good book. This book is special, by the way: I’ll be telling you more about it in a couple of days.

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For now, I’ll just relax.

But for now, I’ll just relax, savour the feeling of flannel on skin, and not worry that I’m in a ponytail, have no idea which crown I’m wearing this evening, and indeed kind of want to ditch the whole runup-to-Yule craziness, stay in my PJs, drink a gallon of hot cocoa, and enjoy my beautiful interactive copy of Hansel and Gretl.

Style Card:
featured—
Comfy PJs: The Annex, Winter Jammies (This is new at The Annex Main Store)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Swoon (New at the Analog Dog Main Store)
everything else—
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Greer Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyebrows: Alaskametro, Glimmer Eyebrows
Eyes: Euphoric, Enigma Eyes
Environment—
Location: Awenia, Haven
Special Book: Albion ScriptWorks, Twice Upon a Time, Hansel and Gretl
Tree Bed: Trompe Loeil, Lysa Branch Bed

Finally, Awenia is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

The Stained Glass Grove

I love winter time. I know as a (mostly) Seelie Queen I may not be meant to say that. But it’s true. Being Queen in winter used to scare me: I spent my first winter as Queen asleep (I kid you not). Now that I’ve settled in to my role, or, I suppose, created it, I am more used to the changes that happen to me in the autumn and winter, particularly as the Wheel winds down after Samhain. In years past, the changes have mostly been to mood and attitude: this year my appearance and most notably my hair colour has changed with the seasons. I have been a dark brunette since sometime in November, and just today when I awoke, I noticed a few strands of grey. Who knows what will happen to me over the next few weeks?

Faerie, as you may already know, is made of magic. You may turn a corner one day and find yourself in a massive library; the same turned corner just hours later might bring you into a grove of dancing demifae who … may not have your best interests in mind. Particularly as the year grows old, it is wise to be cautious.

Yesterday I turned one of those corners and found a portal almost identical to the one that stood in the White Owl Island city park and served as a quick coming and going tool for those who could use it. I glanced around to make sure nobody was watching, and I simply stepped through.

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I stepped through the portal

Now, I know I’ve just got done telling you to be cautious in Faerie in the wintertime, but there’s a certain lack of fear that comes with being Queen. Now that I am no longer pursued by him who was once the Unseelie King of the Wylds, I feel more confident about almost everything, and if I’m honest, not much surprises me any more.

The little pocket Realm I found myself in was completely bare of Fae, Mortals, magical creatures of any kind. I saw a horse and a couple of deer, but the moment I entered the Realm, I felt that unwavering sense of quiet that comes after a heavy snowfall. Have you ever been in a forest after a snowfall? It’s as if the whole world is covered with a blanket. Sound is muffled. What you do pick up on are details: your breath, water dripping, leaves shifting. Oh, it was wonderful to feel utterly and completely alone: I am rarely alone, particularly now that Awenia is coming alive with holiday tourists, Fae and mortal alike. Angharad does a good job, but she’s young and needs guidance. Luckily, I don’t have much to worry about, security-wise: Tac, Wulfrich, and Davey need no supervision, even if Tac still kind of hates reporting to me. But there are always questions and plans and events at which I must put in an appearance.

You see? I can’t even describe a quiet haven without thinking about all the things I have left behind in Awenia. But looking out into this simple and beautiful Realm made me want to forget it all, and it was all about the trees. I was glad that I’d worn a suitable winter gown: its high neck and fitted sleeves kept me comfortable even though it must have been cold. Even though I could warm myself with magic, I am reluctant to use too much energy changing the environment.

I love trees: we know that. Trees of all descriptions and sizes. But the copse of trees I saw when I came through that portal made me catch my breath.

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Stained Glass Trees

There were other trees in the tiny Realm, of course, but nothing I’ve ever seen compared to these. Their plain, straight trunks weave into twisted branches reminiscent of wrought iron. And the leaves. They were like perfect, translucent stained glass cutouts of leaves, even when some of them fell from the branches.

One wonderful thing about living in a Realm that’s not deathly afraid of technology is I always have my iPhone with me, and it’s got a great camera on it. (Bran would disagree, but he’s so far down the DSLR rabbit hole I have to pull him out forcibly to get my tea sometimes.) I did get some photographs of the trees, but I’m sure I did not do them justice.

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Look at those perfect leaves

Look at those perfect leaves: I’d never seen anything like it. Perhaps next time I come to this Realm (I marked it so I can make it back), I will ask the trees if they mind me taking just a little cutting from each of the different colour varieties, because I would love to have these in Awenia for the springtime—and all the other seasons as well.

And of course, you know by now that I can’t ever just stand back and watch anything: I have to go into it, experience it. So that’s exactly what I did.

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Magical Grove

This place brought new meaning to the term, “Magical Grove”, where we of the druidic persuasion worship the old gods and make new magic.

As I walked into the silver grass that filled the tree meadow, it began to snow softly. All I wanted to do was look up at those leaves against the nearly-white overcast sky, and even though I got a little snow on my eyelashes, it was all right. It was more than all right; it was bliss.

Next time I come here I’ll bring along a nice thermos of tea, and maybe one of our Fae horses so she can enjoy the meadow as well.

Style Card:
Beautiful Winter Gown: Antaya, The Lamia Gown (Now at the Winter’s Hollow event.)
Crazy Gorgeous Stained Glass Trees: Rivendale, Stained Glass Trees (in three colourways, also at Winter’s Hollow.)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Keme Bento Mesh Head
Crown and Antlers: Purple Moon, Ice Queen Crown and Antlers
Hair: Stealthic, Summer Haze
Skybox Environment: IrrISIStible, Never-ending Winter Mesh Skybox
Portal: Spell, Portals to other dimensions
Poses: An Lar

What’s the Best time of the Year for Gowns?

It’s a trick question! Every time of the year is the best time for gowns! I really do not know why we don’t all just traipse around our Second Lives in ballgowns, 24/7. But then, I’m probably one of the “gowniest” photographers/bloggers on the grid, and my idea of fun is to see how many crowns I have that actually match this dress….

It’s possible I have no life.

But really. There are some great gown makers in Second Life, and I’m pleased to show you an absolutely gorgeous fear this dress kind of ballgown, from the overflowing creative cup of Silvan Moon Designs, right now. And I do mean fear this dress as a compliment! This dress repels zombies. This dress will actually make the children of the night shut up. But be careful, because this dress also knows how to correctly pronounce Cthulhu. So roll your sanity check, and then check out this dress!

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Fills a whole portal!

The “Love’s Pure Light” Bridal Gown Set, from Silvan Moon Designs fills an entire portal with its voluminous skirt. It fears no evil. It takes no prisoners (although it would be happy to move refugees across formal borders).

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The “Love’s Pure Light” Bridal Gown Set from Silvan Moon Designs

The gown features a lovely fitted bodice, shoulders bedecked with roses, and a skirt into which one could successfully hide seventeen extra crowns, at least. Not that I checked or anything. Really, I didn’t: I promise. Nor did I try on seventeen crowns before settling on this one. It was more like twenty. OK, twenty-five, tops. The crown is actually an old favourite from Evie’s Closet.

As an aside, this dress also looks gorgeous (Well, really; when does it not look gorgeous? I’ll help you: the answer is never! This gown never looks less than gorgeous) in front of Rivendale‘s lovely Dreamy Castle, which a little royal birdie told me was on sale for 50% off at Winter’s Hollow…. just sayin’….

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Crown Cam!

Here’s a shot that shows the crown a little closer: it and the necklace are both from Evie’s Closet, the Alateriel II crown and collar. And of course there’s a gratuitous shot of Awenia Faerie, featuring the castle all decorated for Christmas and the twinkly fairy path to the ruined tower.

You can get the Love’s Pure Light gown at The Trunk Show, which opens later today, 17 December. Even if a winter wedding is not in store for you, I’m sure there are lots of end-of-year balls that really need to have someone wearing this dress present. You know. Just in case of zombies.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Original Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Juniper for Genus Project, T1 (All current Lumae skin lines are at the Lumae Main Store.)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Lips: Suicidal Unborn, Matte Lip Essentials, Genus
Hair: Truth, Makena
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Love’s Pure Light Bridal Gown Set (Available later today, 17 December, at The Trunk Show.)
Crown and Necklace: Evie’s Closet, Alateriel II Crown, Alateriel II Collar (Evie’s Closet has closed its main store for now, but you may be able to find some things on their Marketplace Store.)

 

 

 

Truth VIP Group “Class Photo” Contest

So, you know I’m always telling you guys that if you haven’t already, and you like and wear Truth Hair, you need to join the Truth VIP Group. Yes, it’s a L$350 join fee. But for that, you get 12 exclusive VIP fatpacks of hair every year, plus extra gifties from time to time. You get to do fun photo contests like this one, which are only open to the members of the VIP group. Best of all, you get to be part of what’s become a really lovely community of people, many of whom I’m happy to call friends.

The rules for this contest were pretty simple: Find your oldest Truth hair, meaning the one that was released the earliest, not the one you bought first. Wear the hair, and style your avatar according to the era the hair looks like it’s from. Put it in a frame as you would a class photo or a Polaroid, with your name and “Truth Hair Class Of ….” as photo caption text.

My oldest Truth hair (that’s still in my inventory: I occasionally purge, believe it or not!) is Lila, from 2010. Lila comes from when Truth often put both a plain and a streaked version of the hair, and you had the opportunity to add streaks of whatever colour you wanted.

The hair looked to me like it belonged on an 80s rock chick, so I styled this avatar accordingly. I’ll post a complete style card below the photo.

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Truth “Lila” Hair, from way back in 2010!

These contests are so much fun to enter, and more fun than the fact that prizes do actually get awarded is that you get to see what your fellow Truthies do when their creativity is unleashed. We’ve seen some gorgeous photographs over the past year or so.

You can take a look at the contest pool on Flickr if you like: all the photos that have been entered so far are there, but the contest is open for several more days, and loads of people wait ’til the last minute.

Anyway, there’s my 80s rock chick, and here are your credits:

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Pink Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Truth, Lila
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Neoma skin applier in T1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store)
Ramones Tank: Fused Designs, Ladies Ramones Tank
Ankh: Maxi Gossamer, Ankh
All the makeup is straight off the Catwa head HUD, and the nails are straight from the Maitreya Body HUD, as well. Sometimes, simplest is easiest!

Backdrop: I made this myself, after a photo of some schoolyard graffiti I saw. If you want the whole quote, IM me in world (I promise it’s not obscene!)
Pose: An Lar

Out of Legend

You think we come from some fairy story?

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You think we trip down the pages?

You think we trip down the pages, as if they were steps from one of your fantasy castles? I assure you, we are there. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stories?

But the stories! you say. You think we are the stories? Oh, of course, we are in your stories. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stuff of legend?

Are we the stuff of legend? You think we are elements of your myths. We are in your myths and legends. But that is not where we come from.

It is easy to blur the borders: we are in a forest made of books, after all. A forest made of stories, legends, myths.

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You will find us in the shallow forest.

You will find us in the shallow forest, to be sure. On the edges, in the stories, in the tales handed down from your grandma and her grandma before her; you will find us there. But that is not where we come from.

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But what happens in the deeper forest?

But what happens in the deeper forest, beyond your simple paths, the house too small to live in but perfectly decorated with the plates set out for tea? What happens when you go so far in that stories begin to tell themselves? Well, we say. Well, then—you are closer.

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And what’s that behind you?

And what’s that behind you? Surely it’s only a shadow. Light filtering through cut paper, light bleeding out from twinkle trees, obscured by a solid object. You tell yourself that’s what shadow is. That’s what shadows do. Isn’t it?

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You think we are tragic creatures? 

You think we are tragic creatures? You think we are sad? No, no: we are watching. We are waiting. We are thinking.

We are waiting for those words that echo all throughout the forest, all throughout legend and myth and fairy tale.

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Oh! Here they are.

Oh! Here they are. Those words that bring our souls out into the moonlight, that let us give you just enough of us to want more, and more always.

Listen: in the stillness of the snow, the words whisper from every tree, every book, every bough, every light:

Once upon a time.

That is where you will find us.

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And here is the secret.

And here is the secret. Listen: I will only tell it once. You may revisit it in a hundred stories, but this is the only time you will hear it from my, from our, lips.

There is no difference between the copse of trees at the bottom of your garden and the ancient forests you wander when you can. It is only that in those ancient forests we rise wilder, and you can take a journey on foot to a place where you can believe in us.

There is no difference between the oldest story ever told and the story that springs into your mind now, fully formed. They are the same, and we are in both of them.

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All forests are one forest.

All forests are one forest. All legends are one legend. Each forest is new. Each story is new.

But I did not tell you where we come from, you will say. I have been telling you all along. We come from the breath between the lifting of the pen and the word on the paper. We come from the shoot of green that struggles up through the snow. We come from the deepest forest, the oldest story, and we are as present in the three trees in the schoolyard and the library book as we are, as we ever were, there.

Don’t fight it. Come in. I have more stories to tell you. So many more.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Noelle Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elvi (All current skin lines are in the Lumae Main Store)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Sassafras
Eyes: ADD Andel, The Three Forest Eyes
Gown: Senzafine, Emmeline Gown (Available now at We Love Roleplay)
Necklace and Earrings: Empyrean Forge, Fortuna
Circlet: A&A, Winter’s Malice Circlet
Antlers: Attic, Long Antler White
Nails: Cazimi, Winter Ombre Nails

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things in the book forest that I cannot begin to list them all. But Awenia is open to the public throughout the month of December: Please come and experience it for yourself!