A Month Of Hair With Gwen! Or: Why my SL Partner hates the word “fatpack”

It may have come to the attention of some people that I am into SL hair. OK, it may have come to the attention to some people that I might well one day find myself on a virtual street corner with a sign reading Will Work For Hair. I mean, it’s not like, an addiction or anything. I can quit any time! I mean, it’s not like I spent all my money at the annual Truth sale (mostly because I already had everything I could ever want up to that point) and I really don’t mind if Queue Marlowe sends more than one reminder that she has new styles at the Analog Dog Main Store, because it’s a super good thing when I can just go there the minute I log in and not be spending the next X hours wondering when I’ll be free of Y obligation so I can go and shop! And so what if I can tell many brands of SL hair from a distance, just because I know the textures/style/whathaveyou.

So, yeah. I am, in the vernacular, a hair ho. I blog Hair Fair. I blog Hairology. I blog for Analog Dog even when I buy the hair myself. I blog a lot of hair I buy myself, to be honest. I won’t list hair creators I love in any kind of order, because there’s always something new, and hair creators like everybody else go through different style phases: what I like one month might not be the same as what I like the next month either, so I don’t let it worry me too much.

So, because I just got back from Germany and I’m way backed up on a lot of things, here is a run-down of all the hair I acquired in the last 30 days or so….

First, a trio of hair you can get for yourself at Hairology, which opens on the 10th of October!

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Kokolores, “Toril”

Here’s a quick updo from KokoloresToril, which I imagine is one of those hairstyles we’re all familiar with. You have to go out, you’re in a hurry, and there’s nothing more pleasing than a little messy bun action!

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Tukinowaguma, “Kist”

Tukinowaguma has for Hairology this fun ponytail, Kist. Because everybody needs a ponytail. Or five. Or a dozen… yeah, you know how that goes.

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No Match, “No Return”

Finally, No Match has this great long style that looks almost wet, No Return. I’m always impressed by their textures, but this is one of those styles I predict Gwyneth will be wearing a lot over the next couple of months: it’s dressy enough to look a little glamours and casual enough not to have caused those poor little demifae servants of hers too much trouble.

Obviously, there’s a lot more hair coming to Hairology this month: I will be showing you some of it in the weeks to come!

Second on the list: there’s no way you can write a hair roundup without mentioning TruthTruth Hawks has been making SL hair for mumble years, and when it comes to sheer variety of style and number of releases that still look good, nobody does it better.

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Truth ,”Apple”

This is Apple, which you can still pick up at Uber until the 23rd of October. As often of late, this style includes a Hairstyle HUD that lets you show the long hair in the front or back, changes the fringe (bangs, Americans!), or get rid of the long hair altogether and just make it into a neat bun.

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Truth, Pollila

Polilla isn’t a new Truth hair; you can buy it at the Truth Main Store, and the moths are optional and colour-change with a HUD. I like this style on Gwyneth, because it’s both fairly dressy and (with the moths) shows a bit of her whimsical side as well.

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Truth, Ophelia

Ophelia. Wow. I love this hair. It comes in a windblown and plain version, changeable with the hairstyle HUD, and you can also have it fall completely to the back, to either side, or with both sides in front. Because it is an October release for the Salem event, you can turn each side of the hair a different colour, which is kinda fun if you’re into all that Gothy witchy supernatural stuff. 😉

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Truth, Athena

Finally, here’s Athena, which was the Truth VIP Group gift for October. If you love hair and you’re not a member of the Truth VIP Group, you really ought to be. Yes, there is a L$300 charge to join the group. But you get a new fatpack of hair every month, which you might pay just a little more than L$300 for if you bought it in the store, and you also get to interact with a great group of people if you enjoy meeting tons of strangers who are great conversationalists and probably just as addicted to hair as you are. Athena can be worn with or without the wavy wisps in front (yes, I know Truth spells it “whisp”, but I just can’t), changeable via the hairstyle HUD.

Third, you also can’t have a SL hair roundup post without spending generous amounts of time (and money) on Analog Dog. Well, or I couldn’t. Queue Marlowe is a genius with curls, and she knows just how to add a bit of Flexi to mesh hair to make it look real and wonderful and alive. My first proto-fashion-blog post was made in something like 2009 or 2010, on my old LiveJournal, about Analog Dog Hair, and it was entitled, “Hairgasm”. Need I say more?

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Analog Dog, “Kaye”

Kaye is an easy ponytail with that characteristic Analog Dog Flexi swing. It’s not over the top (though Queue would certainly argue that there is nothing wrong with over the top if you know how to do it!), and although it’s a simple style, the ease of the front makes it look so classy. It’s new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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Analog Dog, “Radius”

Also new at the Analog Dog Main Store is Radius, a straight-chopped wavy style that, while it’s blunt on the ends, has a lot of wavy-curly swing to it. It’s just long enough to warm your shoulders without getting caught underneath your coat collar!

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Analog Dog, “Ulna”

 

Ulna is self described by Queue as a messy bun, and that’s exactly what you get here. It’s lovely and high, so you can wear it with a variety of different styles. Also new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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Analog Dog, “Sigma”

Now, not everybody is a genius with braids, but Queue Marlowe definitely is. This is Sigma, created for the Lootbox event, and it’s a gacha. This style is actually one of the commons, and it’s perfect for Faerie Queens whose demifae helpers love to braid their hair and cause all sorts of crown-like havoc on top of their heads. The Lootbox event is open until the 20th of October, so you still have eleven days to go and play for this hair (L$75/pull).

The rest of this post is hair I’ve picked up at various events or bought at main stores over the last 30 days. I did buy more hair than this, but the rest of it was for The Amazing Catwoman, and she refuses to be part of a hair roundup because she is independent and fierce and stuff.

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Limerance, “Mermaid”

Limerance‘s Mermaid is so long you can see my shoes! I love super long hairs, and I’m so glad they seem to be coming back into style: I’ve seen a number of them around the grid lately and it makes me so happy! This is once again a gacha hair from Lootboxit’s $L75/pull, and you can play for it until the 20th of October. This is the common style; the rare has a pulled-back front.

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Foxy, “Bella”

Foxy‘s Bella hair was at Kustom9 last month, but I suspect it’ll be up in their main store soon. This is another super-long hair, and it has a hairstyle HUD so you can put bits of it to the front, also. You can’t ever have too many long, straight styles. Can you?

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Monso, “Daenarys”

A few years ago, there were a million Game of Thrones hairs out there, but this one from Monso is one of my favourites: Daenarys does a good job with both the front and the back (I should have photographed the back!), and the front wisps add quite a lot to the look. It was released for the October round of FaMeshed, so you can still get it easily.

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Exile, “Just Another Night”

Exile‘s Just Another Night is again not a new hairstyle. But I wanted it in their great greyscale colours because we are heading into winter now and Gwyneth will need to silver herself up at some point. You can get it at the Exile Main Store, which has recently had the first store refurbishment I can remember, and this is a Bento hair: it come in both a gently waving Bento version and a plain (non-moving) one.

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Mina, “Harper”

Also available at the October round of FaMeshed is Mina‘s Harper, a long, loose braid with a lot of wispy extra hair poking out around it. It’s a great style for Gwyneth, and I imagine she’ll be in it a lot this autumn.

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Moon, “Solstice”

Oh gods yes! Another super-long, this one from MoonSolstice was also at last month’s Kustom9, but should be available in their main store soon. Solstice is so cool, I was in it for days! It even has extra strands you can hold in your hand, with an embedded pose that does not (and I can state this firmly) interfere with dancing!

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Nani, “Cora Crow”

Nani‘s Cora Crow, also available at the Salem event, is a whimsical little number that you can wear with or without the crow’s nest on top. He’s kind of hard to see in this photo, but there is a crow in the nest!

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Ayashi, “Janko”

This is Janko, by Ayashi. It’s not a new hair, but I picked it up at The Secret Hideout a couple of days ago. I love the fringe (bangs, Americans!) and the long curls. 🙂

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Phoenix, “Cassandra”

And finally (thank you for getting this far!), Cassandra, by Phoenix. Wow, there is a lot of great hair at the Salem event! Another very long straight style, Cassandra comes in the usual huge number of Phoenix colours, and don’t forget that if you’re part of their in-world group, there’s a special VIP HUD you can access when the group is active that gives you loads of rainbow colours!

Whew! That’s a lot of hair, Gwen! And just think, I have so much more to show you as the month goes on! Look for some more amazing Hairology styles, to name just a little bit, and I might have a surprise in store for you before the end of the month, but I can’t tell you what it is because then it wouldn’t be a surprise!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Byzsntium Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Rood
Sweater: Riot, Sansa Sweater (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Leggings: Riot, Sophie Leggings (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Boots: Baiastice, Haan Shoes (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Collar: Footpaw Industries, Celtic Filligree Amythest + Aelean Ruby

Hair: 20 different hairs; see individual photos above.

Backdrop: D.U.S.T., Dreams caught in bubble

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The 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest!

I’ve been busy over the past few days, while recovering from this annoying injured thumb on my left (dominant) hand, working on some photographs for the 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest.

Hair Fair is one of my favourite events of the year. Because duh! Hair! And I’m lucky enough to have early blogger access again this year, so I’ll spend lots of money and show you super cool hairs!

Every year, Hair Fair sponsors a photo contest, and I often enter it. This year I’ve done five photos, and that’s the limit. I’m sorry, judges.

The link above is to the official notice about the contest; the theme was “Wild”, and the idea was to picture hair colours that aren’t in the usual, naturally available human range. This post has been half written for two days in hopes I could get it done ahead of the contest deadline, but I’m afraid I haven’t managed it, and I’ll just have to do a better job next year.

Here’s the first of my Hair Fair Photo Contest entries for this year.

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Joy!

Hairstyle—Corumel (Summer Hair Play)
Hair Store—Tableau Vivant
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Lona
Skin: Lumae Adore Ianthe
Eyes: Mesange Iskander
Ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Silks: Axix, Heaven Silks Purple
Butterflies: Nantra
Location: White Owl Island

I initially wanted to photograph Gwyneth scrying something, with her hair all over the place, but the minute I put this hair on I knew I wanted her in the water somehow. There were numerous false starts with this photograph, because I kept wanting her to be attacked by a sea monster– but things kept going wrong. And we just won’t talk about that time the giant undulating tentacle ended up off the shores of White Owl Island….

Here’s number two:

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Who Shall I Be Tomorrow?

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Wings: BareRose, Black B Wings
Jewellery: EMO-tions, Falcon Earrings and Necklace

So, most of you guys know I love Analog Dog Hair. I knew I wanted to showcase at least one of Queue Marlowe‘s beautiful hair designs in these photographs. I picked this one, Joga, because it’s relatively new, and because it’s whimsical without being silly, and because I loved the way the green and red work together in this colour. Beloved took me on a date to Calas Galadhon, and I remembered having taken some photographs there yonks ago. I came back there for this one, and I was so pleased with the light (and the fact that “The Owls are not what they seem” shows up pretty well in the photograph on this photo. Of course, after I’d taken it through the whole editing process, I discovered that the hair is clipping the wing. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed that… I’d already entered the photograph when I suddenly saw the imperfection, and now I can’t unsee it. So it stays, because otherwise it’s a good photo, and I love so many things about it.

Miles Away

This third photo features hair from another one of my favourite designers, Wasabi Pills. Raven was released for this years’ Fantasy Faire, and I’ve worn it a lot. I wanted to do something like a portrait for one of the entries, and I wanted to investigate a region I hadn’t shot in before. So off I went to Phabolaois Stran. I love water sims, rain sims, and this one did not disappoint. I will be back again, I’m sure. I spent a lot of time waiting for this group of birds to un-clump so I could photograph them recognisably, which is probably why I left them in, rather than cropping them out to yield a stronger photograph. I still like the way the hair colour looks against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Raven
Hair Store—Wasabi Pills
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Clothes: Yasum, Boho Skirt and Top
Necklace: The Plastik, The Grolda Necklace
Circlet, Cae, Lasa Circlet

Pink

Pink, like most of these, is not the photograph I started out trying to take at all. Elikatira‘s Lalora, don’t get me wrong, is every bit as gorgeous today as when it was released last year. I did want to take at least one photo in White Owl’s Faerie, but the original plan was for this shot to have some softness to it, and I’m not sure it does, in the end. She looks determined, maybe even angry. Her hand is tense. The sunset lighting makes her look if anything more like she’s just made a battle plan. That said, while I know a lot of SL people who do not like these wings, I absolutely love them, I have them in every colour they were released in, and I do not get the chance to photograph them very often. I love how perfectly they match the pink of her hair, how they echo the makeup. And I like the way she really does pop against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Lalora
Hair Store—Elikatira
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Wings: Alegria, Wings of Cotton Pink
Dress: MoonAmore, Sugar Branches Dress
Makeup: Picchi, Sweet Fairy Makeup

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Take Off

Some things I cannot resist, and one of those things is going back and hoping to fix my mistakes. The thing is, Calas Galadhon doesn’t allow object rezzing and I couldn’t find a group to join that would let me do that, so placement wasn’t and couldn’t be perfect. And, you know, there’s only so much time in the day, and so I decided to go with something different. I love that this shot gives you the whole scope of the wings, and I did at least remember the windlight I used, which is a far sight better than I usually do here in Chaos-land. There were some birds around, as in previous shots, but I didn’t worry about them overmuch as they were a long way away and the focal bird would be the one wearing these beautiful wings from BareRose.

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots

Style cards are above in the text. Farrah is available at Vintage Fair!

 

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Quick Outing to Pandora Resort!

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Train Station

When you arrive at Pandora Resort, the mist (or is that smoke?) cloaks you like a blanket. Everything is so obscured.

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Group Gift from 7 Deadly s{K}ins!

The skin Gwyneth’s wearing is the January Group Gift from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. There is a price to join the group (L$225), but this skin comes with a ton of appliers, including Omega head appliers, so you can apply it to any head that takes Omega. This is the Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, and I think it looks beautiful. This hair is new from No Match; it’ll be at Hairology, which opens on the 10th of January. The style is called No Fiction.

Taking a break from working on the sim, which makes poor Gwyneth very tired, was in the cards today, and stepping into the nostalgic world of Pandora Resort was just the ticket.

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Town Square

Once you get into the town proper, the mist still hangs over, so thick it obscures pretty much everything. It’s sometimes hard to tell the birds wheeling round the central fountain from the falling snowflakes, and the buildings and lamps have an extra glow to them that adds to the ambiance.

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A moment of contemplation

I guess one of the things I love about visiting great sims in Second Life is just experiencing the multitude of fascinating ideas that can be brought to life in our big pixel world. From untouched wilderness to avant-garde art pieces, we’ve got it all. I’m often amazed by the sheer amount of work and care that goes in to all the beautiful builds I visit. SL tourism has been a hobby of mine since way back in 2007 or so when Avalon and I used to go around in search of various Stonehenges in all sizes and levels of repair. Perhaps I’ll revisit that one day and do a tour of prominent Second Life Stonehenges sometime. Gwyneth does love standing stones, after all!

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Further in to the sim, shops and a delivery tricycle!

Further in to the sim, there are parks, residential areas, a Christmas tree lot, and some beautiful spaces that can be hired out for weddings and other functions. While there were a few informational averts up in the train station area, the sim is otherwise completely bereft of anything commercial, aside from small signs around the for-hire areas. If you haven’t been to Pandora Resort, it’s worth a visit. It’s on the SL Destination Guide at the moment, under Editor’s Picks.

In the end, I wished I could have stayed longer. There was a lot to see, and I love a foggy, misty landscape. But I had to spend much of the day in Real Life, so Gwyneth and I headed back to the affectionately named Ook Office in Awenia, and that was that. I have some more places I want to show you around soonish, though, and I know Gwyneth will appreciate any breaks I give her from ordering people around on the sim platform in Awenia.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match,  No Fiction (COMING SOON to Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Madelief in Sand (The January Group Gift at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Tattoo (visible on neck): Stardust, Amelia, Silver (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Top: Pseudo, Knotted tee Pink (Available NOW at Kustom 9!)
Jeans: Pseudo, Corset Jeans Indigo (Available NOW at Kustom 9!)
Boots: Have Unequal, Betty Boots, Pink Cedar (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Poses: All from An Lar, the Rory Series (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Location: Pandora Resort

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never give Gwyneth a day off without it!

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On a Misty Morning….

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Mm, coffee!

So the best thing about being up in the actual morning is coffee. Or at least it is from my perspective. And building my own weird little world requires caffeine. Today I decided to give Gwyneth a bit of a casual look, because she’s working after all, and it’s not always practical to order your minions around while wearing ballgowns, right? This hair is new from Wasabi Pills: it’s the Bianca hair, and you can find it in a gacha at this month’s Chapter Four. The outfit is also a gacha, from the currently-running (and nearly done!) Kustom 9; it’s Zenith‘s Fur Scarf Sweater and Winter Leather Fur Boots. The Fur Scarf Sweater is a rare item, but all the sweaters are lovely, and they come with the cup of coffee and tintable hands that are easy to colour to whatever shade you want. The tattoos on Gwyneth’s legs and face are from Stardust, whose wonderful work I have only just discovered. The leg tattoo is called Ami, and the face tattoo (which you an see more clearly in the next photo) is Amelina. There is a matching body tattoo called Amelia that you can’t see in this photograph. They’re available as single purchases or as a fatpack at The Chapter 4.

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A little closer

If we come a little closer, you can see the hair, the face tattoo, the skin, and the fur scarf a little more clearly. First of all, the Wasabi Pills hair comes in two different styles: this is the one where both sides are tucked behind the ear. The other style has one side falling over the ear and one side tucked. I like the tucked style because it doesn’t interfere with Gwyneth’s ears. The ears are from Swallow; they’re the High Definition Elf Ears that were offered for the first time at Shiny Shabby a few months back. Once again, Gwyneth is in the Taryn Omega mesh head applier from The Plastik. I can’t say enough about how much I love this skin, so I’ll just shut up about it already, except to say that this is a darker colourway, Au Lait, and that my favourite part about it are the lips, which seem to capture the constantly-evolving Gwyneth Bento head shape perfectly. I’m wearing a lot of Mesange eyes recently; I think I’ve mentioned I like them because they’re Omega appliers (Genesis appliers as well) and I can’t be bothered with re-situating a different pair of mesh eyes every day! These are the Sekhmet Eyes, and they’re also at The Chapter 4 this month. As almost always, Gwyneth is in the Maitreya Lara mesh body, and this is the Catwa Catya Bento mesh head.

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More Book Forest details!

Here are some more book forest details We’ve moved a little deeper into the forest; you can see the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Fae Waystone from here as well as the Book Door, though it’s obscured by the mist that will probably cover everything in this space quite a lot of the time once it’s done. Well, in my windlight at least: I’m not going to put down mist because it makes the lag-beast happy! (In case you’re curious, the windlight is Alchemy Immortals Foggy Morning.) Next to Gwyneth is one of the lovely pieces from that amazing Storybook Gacha by BananaN that started this whole “Book Forest” thing. It’s the Scene 3 item. I love the tree with the little ladder. In the distance and partly obscured by trees, you can see one of the most beautiful bits of the Raindale Maplemoor Gacha, the Maplemoor Bridge. I’ll put up a more close-up photo of it once I get that side of the Book Forest detailed; for now imagine that the mist comes right up to the edge of the bridge and obscures everything beyond it. Luckily, the windlight does that pretty well! You can get all the beautiful Maplemoor items at this month’s The Crossroads event.

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Mist, and a lamppost.

I like the idea of the mist obscuring all areas of the sim platform that haven’t been built yet. It gives me both plausible deniability and the ability to procrastinate, as I have a lot of other projects coming due shortly and I won’t be able to get back to building for a week or so, probably. But of course, a good lamppost can see you through (or at least to the edge of) the mist, and this one is another one of the beautiful Raindale items, the Maplemoor Lantern. I love discovering new things in SL. The book paths, again, are from Una, part of the Book Road set, and the trees are The Little Branch‘s White Birch Cluster.

No style card today, as it’s all in the text; links appear above as necessary.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build Book Forests without it!

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Shaggy Cat Story

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Baby, take off your coat…

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Real slow….

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Baby, let down your hair…

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Just let it all hang down there….

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Baby, take off your dress…

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Yes, yes, yes….

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You can leave your CAT on…

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You can leave your CAT on…

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You can leave your CAT on!

With apologies to the monstrous and daunting songwriting talent of Randy Newman, of course. I changed only a few lines in the song, but I think it kinda works!

I don’t know what came over me: must be these Crazy and Cute Cat Slippers from Death Row Designs. They’re at The Crossroads

YouTube: Original Randy Newman recording of “You Can Leave Your Hat On”

Style Card:
Baby, take off your CoatRebel HopeCharlize Mesh Coat, Red
Baby, take down your Hair: TruthIvanaTruthTyne
Baby, take off your Dress: MimikriJouJou Feather Trim Dress, Black
You can leave your CAT on: Death Row DesignsCrazy and Cute Cat Slippers (Available NOW at The Crossroads!)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin:  Pink FuelSabine, Catwa Bento face applier in Porcelain (NEW at the Pink Fuel Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Lingerie:
Top Half: Big, Beautiful DollMiriam Lingerie Set, Black
Stockings: F’N’HawtXHigh Net Stockings Cat
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Flying Cats: Half Deer: Winged Cats
Armchair: Death Row DesignsSoft Pink Moods Chair
Home Cloud, Moon, Stars: 8f8Dreamer’s Cloudland
Cloud and ladder, extra small clouds, InfinitiStairway to Heaven

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make terrible song puns involving lots of flying cats without it!

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Beginning a Book Forest

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

I’m building a book forest. Yes, that’s right: a book forest. I got inspired by this gacha at The Guardians, the Storybook Gacha by BananaN. One of the rares is a Book Door! And I was thinking, what would you find if you walked through a Book Door? I’d come across this great set from Una, the Book Road, after I played an Una gacha at a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival, and I’ve been  meaning to use it and blog it every since, but life and my kitchen (don’t even ask!) and sickness got in the way, so it’s been on a shelf in my inventory for months now. I also have this great Book Tree from HarshLands that I’ve used in other places before and photographed on a couple of occasions.

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Building a Book Forest

Building a book forest, as it turns out, takes some time. I designated a portion of the sim platform to put it on and then began laying out paths. Now, I love to shop (tell us something we don’t know, Gwen!), and so when I got to check out some pre-release items that’ll be at The Crossroads, which opens today, 3 January, I discovered the magical work of Keira RaindaleRaindale has an absolutely gorgeous gacha coming out at The CrossroadsMaplemoor. It includes, among other gorgeous things which I’ll show you as I continue to build and photograph the Book Forest, the gorgeous lamp and wishing well you can see in this photograph.

So, what do you need, really, to build a Book Forest?

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You need a head full of stories.

You need a head full of stories, first of all. You must love, really love, story. I as a writer, blogger, songwriter, student, and investigator of all things mystical, love nothing better than a good story, and Gwyneth the character reflects this. Like me, her background is in literature and books; unlike me, her concentration is much more on poetry and high literature than mine is, though I have studied those bits and pieces and have read widely. Behind Gwyneth you can see both the Raindale Wishing Well and the HarshLands BookTree. Gwyneth’s skin is part of a stunning new set from The Plastik. Vae really hit this one out of the park, and this skin, Taryn, in colourway Creme, is available at The Plastik Main StoreThe hair is Carrie, new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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You need a good lamppost.

You need a good lamppost. Possibly several of them. Because there is never a place in the forest where you’ll feel alone if you have something to guide your steps along the Book Road. All of the bits of the Book Road, by the way, are from Una, as are the large books that ring the forest. The trees surrounding the books are the Mystical Birches from The Little Branch. I’ll include a style card below the post, but Gwyneth is wearing a stunning new gown from JunbugLittle Bird. You can pick up the gown at this month’s Fameshed event; this is the Ruby Silk, but it comes, as you’d expect from Junbug, in a fabulous array of colours. I fell in love with this crown at the recently-closed Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms event; it’s by Muse, the Rose Brooch Crown. This one wasn’t available at the event; I hunted it down at the Muse Main Store.

So, let’s see. You need a head full of stories. You need a good lamppost.

And, oh, yes.

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You need to not be afraid of the dark.

You need to not be afraid of the dark.

There’s more to come: I’m in love with my book forest, and I will show you all of it, once it’s done.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!),  Carrie (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (NEW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Gown: Junbug, Little Bird (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Illi, Rosalynn Heels

Scene:
Book Door: BananaN, Book Doorway, from the Storybook Gacha (Available NOW at The Guardians,!)
Book Road: Una, Book Road, Small
Flanking Books: Una, Book Road, Book 5, Book 6, Book 2
Lamppost: Raindale, Maplemoor Lantern, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Well, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Forked Tree: The Little Branch, Green Ash
Mushroom Circle: The Roawenwood, Tangleshimmer Grove Fairy Ring (Purple)
Book Tree: HarshLands, Book Tree
Grasses: all from Alirium, Puffy Grass and Downy Grass
Glowing Undergrowth: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, Gaia Undergrowth
Poses: An Lar, all from the Ava Series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build Book Forests without it!

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Works in Progress….

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

So, yeah. You know how it is. The seasons turn, Yule comes and goes, the mortal world is celebrating the beginning of a new year, and you’re pacing around on your sim platform, trying to think of a series of evocative photographs that’ll get you through Certain Things Yet To Be Announced, not to mention your Visionaire graduation, which is coming up sooner than you’d like to admit. And you look around yourself, and you go, ‘Well, sweet goddess; why am I building and tearing down all these photo sets on a temporary looking platform? I have a whole effing sim to play with!’

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Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody. But we’ve all had that revelation when we realise we’d been making something more complicated than it had to be, yeah? Some of the best things in the world are simple. Take this new hair from Wasabi Pills. It’s called Isla, and it’ll be at Fameshed on the first of January, unless they open late because of the holiday. I love it, because it is marvellously, stunningly, simple. Like the solution to my problem.

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And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress.

And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress. First of all, I’m still experimenting with finding the perfect shape for Gwyneth’s Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, which I still love to pieces. Just the eye animations keep me rapt, because Gwyneth’s eyes seem to move naturally in their sockets, rather than kind of sliding beneath the sockets on a static mesh head. In fact, I’ve changed her face shape slightly since shooting these photographs; I became unhappy with a detail about the way her cheek met the hollows beneath her eyes and spent a while playing with that this morning before starting this post. I’ll shoot a couple of special photos so you can see what I mean before I finish this post, so please don’t mind me if I yammer on for a bit here.

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Out of the mist…

But getting back to what I was talking about before I got distracted by my hair…. I began thinking, even though the ground area of my sim is covered by the beautiful Pacific Northwest Rainforest that Dyisi Oppewall has created for our roleplaying group, there are still all these (extra!) prims left over, and so why didn’t I just make a sim-sized sky platform with a great surround so that it felt like there was a horizon?

And thus, out of the mist, was this idea born. It doesn’t have a name yet. What you see in the photo above are the bare beginnings of it; there’s a rez platform over on the left, even. As with most of my changing SL homes since the 2016 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, the first and central object placed is my glorious Last Hope statue, a one-of-a-kind (well, two-of-a-kind!) item created by the geniuses at Death Row Designs. Some of you know I lost my beloved husband to cancer at the beginning of 2016. Some of you also know that in another life, I’m a semiprofessional harper. To me, this statue is me playing a lament for my beloved. The dove is hope itself, or possibly Joe’s immortal spirit, come to listen. I knew at the time I wanted a circular path around the statue and four of Elicio Ember (the personable, nice, and downright sexy mastermind behind Cerridwen’s Cauldron)’s stunning Fae Waystones placed at cardinal points round the statue. I wanted paths running toward the surround edge in all four directions.

The skybox surround is from Landscapes Unlimited, and aside from having to build an invisible floor underneath it, I am 100% satisfied with it, as I can change it to many different looks depending on the season of the year or whether or not I want to live on Mars. 😉

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A few more things have now been added….

A few more things have now been added in this photo, but importantly you can see Gwyneth’s whole outfit, so I can talk about the clothes! The dress and boots are both from Zenith, the Autumn Sweater with Skirt in Rose, and the Leather Boots with Lace Socks, also in Rose. You can get the boots at Uber. If you noticed the necklace and earrings, they’re from Empyrean Forge, the Levity necklace and earrings.

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Ohh, but that skin!

Ohh, but that skin! It’s a new Catwa applier from Pink FuelSabine, formerly available only as a Lelutka applier. This was just released yesterday, and yes, I was part of the yammering glom-mob that descended on the Pink Fuel Main Store to pick it up, both in my favourite shades (Porcelain and Crystal—you see Porcelain above) and in their yummy new shade Brulée, which is available at a special price for now. Pink Fuel has long been one of my favourite skin creators, up there with Lumae7 Deadly s{K}ins, and DeeTaleZ (though, yes, my heart will also belong to Curio if she comes back to us) as some of the most beautiful skins you can get in Second Life, in my opinion. Pink Fuel also distinguishes itself by offering a dizzying array of body styles, particularly suited to those of us on the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. These are the Lionsong eyes from Mesange. I’m wearing Mesange eyes almost exclusively these days because they’re available as Omega appliers and I simply can’t be arsed with correctly positioning dozens of different mesh eyes to suit whatever head I’m wearing. And seriously, I’m a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I even tell other people when they’re posing for me and wearing mesh eyes to fix that cross-eyed thing right now; I’ll help you; no, really, it’s important; I’ll wait.The ears are the Swallow High Definition Elf Ears, and Gwyneth, as almost always, is wearing the Maitreya Lara body. Behind her, you can see more of Cerridwen’s Cauldron‘s lovely plants, including the Challis Flower, which is just about my favourite thing ever at the moment, and some of Elicio‘s beautiful Fungal Undergrowth. You can pick up both these and the Fae Waystones referenced above at the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Main Store in world or on the SL Marketplace if you fancy shopping from your couch.

So, what follows are some fairly rough shots of the still-unfinished and in the very beginning stages of my new home in Awenia.

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First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

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8f8’s Cottage Cairn and Windmill

The first two buildings I put down were 8f8‘s lovely Cottage Cairn and Windmill, both from the New Beginnings set, from a past Arcade Gacha. One of the best things about having a sim-sized place to decorate is getting to put out all these beautiful buildings I’ve acquired at this or that gacha event over the years.

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Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district.

Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district. So here we have from right to left Ex Machina‘s Chelsea, which reminds Gwyneth enough of London that she won’t have to visit too often, then Death Row Designs‘ The Joint coffeeshop, followed by The Magick Shoppe, also by Death Row Designs. These shops border what will become a park/village green of sorts, across which you’ll find some nice places to eat.

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Across the park.

Across the park, from left to right, there’s the lovely Hideki Bakery, next door to which is another Vintage Bakery by Dustbunny, though I’ll probably turn it into a pastry shop or a restaurant, and then there’s the whimsical Tea Shop from Tentacio. Then you have Tarte‘s Grinder’s Cafe, which might or might not stay where it is; I’m not sure.

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Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park.

Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park/village green, here’s a more zoomed-out shot where both shop rows are visible.

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Rez Platform Number One.

Here’s Rez Platform Number One, where you can see some tasty things that might or might not make it onto the finished build; and

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Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration.

Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration. And I have some amazing new ideas that just came into my head today!

All this is going to keep me busy on what promises to be a long and lonely New Year’s Eve, the first I’ve spent without Joe since New Year’s Eve 2003/04, which was the night we met.

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I guess now everybody knows I’m a tree-hugger!

On another note, The Guardians opens tomorrow, the first of January, 2017 (!), and there is much, much cool stuff to be had there.  BananaN has done a book gacha that I’m so so very fond of: you can see several pieces of it in the background of this photo. The tree I’m hugging is the Young Maple from The Little Branch, and I’m wearing the Fame Femme Amelli Sweater, which is turning out to be a real favourite for casual wear this season. The boots are the Gypsy Boots from Wicca’s Wardrobe, and the hair! Oh, yes, the hair!

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Amazing hair from Analog Dog (as if AD made anything other than amazing hair, right?)

This is amazing hair from Analog Dog, as if Queue Marlowe ever made anything other than amazing hair, right? It’s called Lei, and it’s the Gift of the Guardians that you’ll receive if you play Analog Dog‘s gacha fifteen times at The Guardians event. I should mention the necklace, now that you can see it: it’s Minimal‘s Camera Necklace, and I bought one for myself and two friends at The Project Se7en today. And the rings are from  Absolut Vendetta, the Hydra Rings for Vista Bento Hands. Yes, I now have Bento hands, and I’m so glad I got them! I’ll tell you more about them anon.

The Lei hairstyle is an obvious tribute to the gargantuan talent that was Carrie Fisher, and it seems a fitting note on which to end this, my last big blog post of 2016. I might shoot you a couple of teasers as it’s going to be a long night for me, but this is the wordiest I’ll get, I promise. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years old. That’s the same age my husband Joe was when he died on the 29th of January, 2016. Star Wars was the last film I saw with my father in the cinema before he died at the age of 46. I was twelve. When I took my primary-school-aged son to see it during the ramp up to the second trilogy of Star Wars films, it was all I could do not to weep through the film as I remembered sitting in the cinema with my dad: I would have been eleven.

Tonight, wherever you are, somebody is going to go down a list of the people who’ve died this year, and it’s a long one. That somebody might even be you. If you can, I want you to consider doing two things. One of them is for yourself. The other, selfishly, is for me. Remember that on the worst day of your life, someone else is having the best day of theirs. That one’s for you. No matter how bad a day you’re having, someone else is experiencing the greatest joy ever. Imagine that. Now here’s the one for me. When the somebody (who might be you) is going down that list of people who’ve left us this year, please, for me, whisper, or shout, or say, ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Let my beloved’s name be spoken on the same wind as all those other names, and let his bright, love-giving, life-saving spirit be woven into that song. Say it: ‘James Joseph Raftery’. He hung the moon. He lit the stars. He took my broken heart and put it back together, and even though my heart has been breaking every single day of this long, long year, it’ll never be as broken as it was before Joe, because Joe knew how to mend things. He hugged me and loved me and believed in me so hard he made me Real. ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Say his name for me.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build new homes without it!

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