Let’s Talk.

Who’s up for some navel-gazing? If you’re willing, put on your Real Life Glasses and let me take you through a little labyrinth.

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Why do I do this?

Why do I do this? 

It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot, and I’m asking it a lot lately. I ask it before I apply for any sponsor or for any event. I ask it when I’m reshooting an entire set of photographs because I forgot to alpha out a bra strap. I ask it every time Gwyneth has a weird dream. I suppose the simplest answer is Because I like doing it. But that’s not very informative, is it?

I started this blog in November of 2012. That’s nearly six years ago. For the first two years, it was largely a chronicle of events in my role-play life, as Gwyneth discovered who she was and met a lot of cool people along the way. My first SL photographs were meant to represent Gwyneth’s drawings of the things she encountered in her strange new world(s). I needed an immersive creative outlet at that point in my life, because my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve told his story here more than once over that time, and while I will probably tell it again next spring when Fantasy Faire rolls around again, I won’t do it here and now.

Speaking of Fantasy Faire, in 2014, I attended my first Faire. I have no idea how I somehow missed out in 2012 and 2013, but I did. That first Fantasy Faire began to change me from a role-play blogger who took photographs to illustrate stories to a (long learning curve!) Second Life photographer who by-the-by let people know about cool stuff she found on the grid, or what she was wearing, or where she got something, almost always in the context of how Gwyneth found something, which meant for lots of fanciful stories about travelling to far-off Realms to visit this or that Faire, or getting to know this or that skin painter or hair designer.

A year later, I applied to be a Fantasy Faire blogger, and Sonya Marmurek liked my profile picture and gave me a shot even though I’d never “officially” blogged anything before. I imagine a lot of SL fantasy fashion bloggers have a similar story. After that, I started picking up sponsors and doing more and more events, and I began to work seriously on improving my photography. I created two additional narrators, The Gypsy Davey and The Amazing Catwoman, both of whom have morphed into important pieces of what makes Three Twisted Knots. When I started picking up events and sponsors, I made only one rule for myself:

I only blog what I like.

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So how’s that working out for you, Gwen?

So how’s that working out for you, Gwen?

I guess the best and only answer is, “so far, so good.” It is absolutely possible to have a blog that includes sponsors who send me stuff and events that send me stuff and still manage only to blog what I like. How does it work? Well, most creators have a “x posts per month” rule, and I choose from their monthly releases so that I blog stuff I would buy anyway. The few times the rules have changed to “blog all our releases, full stop,” I’ve politely bowed out. While it’s possible that I’ve pissed off a whole bunch of people without realising, it, I think my track record is fairly good, mostly because I have a good sense of diplomacy, am not afraid to reach out and talk to people when there’s any kind of a glitch or problem, and my narrators’ personalities notwithstanding, I’m actually pretty doggone nice. As my readership and Flickr following has grown, I’ve also come to see this as a bit of a responsibility. Because, sure, I could blog that pretty looking dress that also happens to clip everything everywhere and is texture-challenged at lower LOD, and I could make it look great—but how would someone feel if they bought that dress based on my blog and then it turned out that it only looked good at the camera angle I chose and with graphics on “I can’t believe you put your graphics on that”?

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OK, so what do you like?

OK, so what do you like?

What I like runs the gamut from contemporary comfort clothes, like the ones I chose for this blog post, to frilly froufrou gowns and adorable baby animals. It might be simpler to run down the list of things I don’t like and for the most part don’t blog. And I’ll probably leave something out.

  • I really don’t do uber-smexy.
    I think there have been exactly two posts on this blog that showed any of my narrators in the altogether. One of them was a dream sequence, and the other one was a rescue scenario. The Gypsy Davey has appeared exactly once without a shirt on.

    • While I’m not a prude by most definitions, I’m really not interested in outfits that are super-revealing, exposed nipples, barely-concealed (or not concealed!) orifices, and the like.
    • If the skirt is barely below the bum but I like it anyway, well, that’s what leggings are for. Seriously, I wear a lot of things that are sold as dresses in SL as tops over leggings or jeans.
    • For the most part, I think SL fashion is geared far too heavily toward things that are sexualised. I have trouble finding things I like just generally when I’m out shopping, because I guess sexy clothing sells really well, far better than my (comparatively) modest style.
  • I’m not into sporty clothes.
    • Gwyneth does not exercise. She really did just wake up this way. The only time you can get her into something that looks like workout clothes is if you fool her into thinking she’s dancing. No joke. TAC’s idea of exercise has more to do with weapons training, and you will find The Gypsy Davey setting up camp rather than doing sets at the gym.
    • This rules out:
      • Trainers (OK, I think she owns like three pairs of trainers, at least one of which are made for SLink Pointe Feet).
      • Baseball caps (Ugh, baseball caps!)
      • Garments with sports logos on them (Unicorns do not count!)
  • I have an aversion to rompers.
    • Rompers are worn by children too young to dress themselves. They are best designed to have a set of snaps all round the inseam for easy changing.
  • I stay away from hair that has shaved bits.
    • Nothing political; it’s just not my style here, though I can and have worn such hairstyles in real life.
  • Believe it or not, I am not a big fan of high heels.
    • I gave up keeping Gwyneth mostly in flats because if a shoe can be made in SL, it can be made as a stiletto. TAC, however, less than politely declines. With Gwyneth, I try to stick with styles that are whimsical or have rose themes or high heels that do not actually have heels.
  • Perhaps hypocritically, I absolutely love my SLink Pointes.
    • But only when the shoes do not actually have heels and look more like dance shoes, even super weird dance shoes.
  • Clothes, skins, and hair that are not so subtly designed to make women look like preadolescent girls. No explanation needed here, though if you want to engage me on this point in a chat session, I will gladly go into detail. Let’s just say that Gwyneth has no desire to look any younger than eighteen, and usually she goes for a bit older than that.
  • Everyday human ears. Every single one of my narrators, unless they are undercover for some reason, appears in elf/fairy/pixie ears. I actually won’t go to places where I am not allowed to wear pointy ears.
  • Stuff that creeps me out, like:
    • Skulls.
    • Blood.
    • Floating eyeballs.
    • Creepy gelatinous things.
    • Cosmetic enhancements that look like injuries (unless there’s been a battle).
    • Zombies.
    • Firearms.
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Why are we having this conversation now?

Why are we having this conversation now?

I’ve recently been thinking about my reasons for blogging, particularly when I look around at other SL fashion blogs. I like my pleasant little story-blogging niche, but it does have a few unfortunate side-effects, namely

  • I am rarely able to make multiple posts per day, and when I’m working full time I’m lucky if I can make more than a couple of posts in a week; and
  • My Flickr average view per photo is below what most blog managers want, for the simple reason that I post between six and upwards of twenty photographs per post, and the average Flickr user is skimming on a mobile phone or a tablet and unlikely to view or fave anything other than the first three photos posted at any time by a single user.

There may be some changes coming to the blog pretty soon, but these are only sort of a vague idea in my mind right now. Davey needs more post time. Angharad wants her new voice heard as well. TAC is about to start a new job. Well, she’s always starting a new job, but this one is differently new.

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So what’s with the neon sign?

So what’s with that confrontational neon sign? Are you trying to make a point?

Nope; it’s just one of the bits of décor in my out of character office, which is honestly where I spend most of my time in SL. I thought if I were going to talk about the blog and me and go wandering down merry rabbit holes of how and why, I should probably photograph in my home territory. That just happens to be the loudest sign in the office at the moment. The other sign, which you might or might not be able to make out, says, “I’m too glam to give a damn”, and I love it. I momentarily set it to full bright for this post, but then I felt sick inside and changed it back.

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But isn’t this kind of like shouting into the void?

But isn’t this kind of like shouting into the void?

I hope not. This blog doesn’t get a lot of comments, except for in-character comments from Gwyneth’s IC husband, but if you want to talk, by all means leave a comment. Tell me what a prudish old biddy I am! Explain to me that my elf ears make me look like a pathetic fantasist! Compliment me on these awesome boots! Anything you like. We are all in this together.

I purposely wore only items that I purchased myself and are not sponsored by anybody for this photoshoot. The sole exception, and I realised it too far after the fact to go back and reshoot everything, are the ears that Gwyneth is wearing, and these are her ‘go-to’ ears; they’re on all her basic outfits and only change when I consciously change them. 

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Pink Bento Head
Skin: The Plastik, Elvenne Skin, Bonnen
Eyes: Song, Frost Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Lip colour: Booty’s Beauty, Lush Gloss
Eyeshadow: Arte, Fairy Eyeshadow
Eyebrows: Mai Bilavio, BrowEdit 3
Hair: Truth, VIP Reyane
Jewellery: The Plastik, Unicorn Kin Gacha, Armlets, Bracelets, Necklaces (Currently at the Lootbox event)
Nails: Nylon Outfitters, Art Nails, Unicorn Solo
Top: Neve, Altierre Wonderland
Leggings: ABC, Comforter Leggings
Boots & Socks: Eudora, Haloke Boots & Socks (Currently at Shiny Shabby)

Why I Relay

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I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction.

I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction for our special time together at the Great Faire. I wanted to show her how beautiful the memories of all the Fairelanders were when placed into a special cove. The air was alight with candles, and the roots of the trees went deep, down into the river, symbolising the depth of caring Fairelanders have for their loved ones who are suffering and memorialising those who have gone before.

This year, I have not been as present at the Faire as I have in previous years. The boys are taking over most of the merchanting duties for me now, and I admit I’ve settled nicely in the Faerie Haven at White Owl Island. It feels good to sit back and let work be done by others. But I knew I’d have to visit the Faire at least once this year, to connect with my long-time friend Dyisi and to marvel at the way the Realms shine when they are chosen to be part of the Faire.

I thought Dyisi would love this memorial spot, but instead she grew melancholy.

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“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“I guess I probably should,” she said, and she followed it up with some of those Greek terms of endearment she uses. I persist in thinking they are complimentary.

I said, “See how quiet it is here, but for the water, the birds. Let there be peace. You know you can tell me anything.”

“What about,” Dyisi said, “If we just break the fourth wall for a moment?”

I lifted a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how you’re a character from Gwen Enchanted’s imagination?”

I shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not something I usually think about.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dyisi replied. “She gets Queen Gwyneth to be her mouthpiece most of the time.”

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She put her arm around me.

She put her arm around me. “Well…” and here she paused to look up in to my eyes, above her glasses. Briefly, I glimpsed the galaxies within before she looked down again. “I, too, am a character from someone’s imagination.”

I blinked. “Not Gwen Enchanted’s imagination, I hope; that’d be… well, slightly creepy and incestuous.”

“Oh, like your desperate love for Her Majesty isn’t creepy?” Dyisi allowed herself a little laugh. “No, no; I am a character from someone else’s imagination, and she is a very good friend to Gwen Enchanted.

I rubbed my chin, shook my head. “Confusing.”

“That it is, Davey,” said Dyisi, with a sigh. “This place makes me think of the imagination from which I spring, and I’d like to tell you a story from her perspective.”

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“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

A few words from the mind behind the satyr..

First off, let me thank Gwen.. who has been an amazingly dear friend to me for years now.. for allowing me to say a few words.  Her blog has been a great source of entertainment and touching stories that is more than just a labor of love.  But an outlet for her beautiful and talented soul.  So I thank her from the bottom of my heart to be apart of not just her stories, but her life.  As well as her dear husband Joe, who also touched my life in a very remarkable way.  He is missed deeply.

There is also another woman who has been an influential part of my life, as well as having been my rock.  My mother.  She passed in June of 2013 after a short battle with lung cancer. Her diagnosis was in March of that same year.  So we did not have a lot of time in the end, and even though I am told not to have regrets, I do.  It’s hard not to, especially when her life ended so quickly.  Things I wish I could have said, wishing I could have been there at her side when she finally passed.  While I still hold to these regrets, I also look back at the life we lived.  She was an amazing woman, strength in the face of all adversities..  Be it her time spent in the Marines during Vietnam, or the life our family lived.  Her sense of humor never wavered and in that taught me to laugh when things feel hopeless.  For that, I will forever be thankful.  She also did her best to try and protect me from death, even though it’s inevitable.  This does include her own death as she insisted I stay home… three thousand miles away.  Despite my better judgement, I listened to her, because she is my mother..

Cancer is not new to my family, as it has claimed so many on my mother’s side.  Her father passing from leukemia, while lung cancer claimed her mother, aunt, and a year after mom died, one of her sisters.  Even my cousin’s little girl fought leukemia, which I can happily say she is in full remission.  At the beginning of this year, a close childhood friend had lost her battle with cervical cancer.   This monster is all too familiar to me, and so this is why Fantasy Faire has become important to me ever since I discovered it. I thank the creators and participants.. vendors and supporters..   for all that they do for the American Cancer Society.  Helping those who work tirelessly to defeat this monster so that no one else.. no more of our loved ones and own selves..  will fall into it’s clutches.

Thank you.

I’d never seen tears from Dyisi before, but now I did. And I confess I buried my face in her hair to staunch my own.

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I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together.

I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together; I shall only say that the unlikely friendship between Gypsy and Satyr—and the unlikely friendship between American expat and Seattle dilettante—continues to be a force for good in the world.

Let all your stories out. Let all your tears flow. Recognise that together, we are stronger than cancer, stronger than the losses we have sustained because of it, strong enough to go on. Those candles burn for every beloved person who has passed to the other side of the Veil, for every beloved person who wakes up to fight another day, for all of us who contribute, with our time and our money and the love in our hearts (which knows no end). 

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Catalina Staheli’s “Why Do You Relay” photo of The Amazing Catwoman, from the 2015 Fantasy Faire.

Catalina Staheli took this photograph of The Amazing Catwoman at the beginning of the 2015 Fantasy Faire, my (Gwen Enchanted’s) first year as a Fantasy Faire blogger as part of her “Why Do You Relay” series. That was the year my husband, Joe Raftery, was moved from curative to palliative care. My heart was on my sleeve then, and it is now, as well. Eight months after this photograph was taken, I became a widow. Fairelanders, one of my SL tribes, supported me through his illness. My roleplaying tribe, which includes Dyisi, whose beautiful words are above, were with me constantly. My real life family stayed by my side and have never left me. I am rich, rich in friends and rich in family. I am also rich in memories. Why do I relay? I relay because, at fifty-one years of age, I am still too young to be a widow. 

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Style Cards:
The Gypsy Davey:
Head: Catwa, Justin
Body: Signature
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Bo (Guys Group Gift for April, Available NOW at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Outfit: Silvan Moon Designs, The Fairelands Traveler Tunic Set (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5

Dyisi:
Body- Maitreya Laura
Hair – little bones. Chel
Ears – [][]Trap[][] Gelf Ears
Eyes – Plastik Galaxie Eyes, Arc
Hooves – Gauze
Tail – Leo Tail v5
Skin – Plastik Briane Freckled
Horns – Plastik Swyrl Horns, Ray
Top – !gO! Spring lace top 1 (Now at this month’s round of Shiny Shabby)
Shorts – L&B Swear Denim Shorts
Lip ring – .:ellabella:. Blowing Bubbles
Belly chain – .Charm. Moon
Necklace – .Eldritch. Bog Cailleach Vial
Necklace – Plastik Twiggled Necklace, silver
Arm chains – Zaara Rasksha
Thigh chains -Zaara Rasksha
Septum Ring – Zaara [Goa Party]: Baga nosering
Bracelets – Zaara [Goa Party]: Friendship bracelets
Glasses – Zaara [Goa Party]: Retro sunglasses
Bindi – ~Soedara~ Pearl Berjuang Tari

Location: Fairelands Junction, Sponsored by Ruins of Xenark Roleplay Community and designed by Saiyge Lotus.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

A Home in Raven’s Perch

The Great Faire has opened, finally. For the next fortnight (well, nine days), I shall only be nipping home to grab important things or add new furniture to the Treehouse (there is so much to find here!). I shall tell you stories, and I shall be so many people. But today, I will let the puppeteer speak: she has some things to say to you.

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The Lady of Roses in Raven’s Perch

The Second Life Fantasy Faire is my favourite event of the year. It comes round only once, and for ten days appears like a mesh Brigadoon out of the mists, and then disappears, never to be seen again in that one incarnation. This is my fourth year of being involved with Fantasy Faire, my third year as a FF blogger, my second year as a Litfest volunteer and co-coordinator. And for the first time this year, I watched as two of the most talented people I’ve ever met, Kae Ember and LRriven, built the serene marvel that is Raven’s Perch. Kae was already a friend, but getting to know Riven has been such a joy.

I’m also fortunate to blog for the amazing and talented Bee Dumpling, who is the co-creator of the Light of Sarin gown that the Lady of Roses is wearing in this photograph. The Opal skin is by another creator I’m so honoured to blog for, 7 Deadly s{K}ins. The stunning necklace, which I’ll give you a closer look at a few photographs down the line, is from Otherskin, created by another amazing friend, Kaleidos Hope. I’ve applied a Glam Affair lipstick and eyeshadow to Izara‘s beautiful skin, but later posts will show it to you with no appliers, as it’s so beautiful on its own: I just felt the Lady of Roses needed a bit of colour in her lips particularly. This hair is from Tableau Vivant, and it’s the only thing I’m wearing that isn’t a new release for the Fantasy Faire. I will be showing you some gorgeous hair from other creators later on in this year’s FF blog series that are exclusively available at the Faire, as well.

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Here is the path into Raven’s Perch from The Hill, the hobbit sim next door (more on that later!)

Riven’s exquisite gothic cathedral-like buildings make for some beautiful skylines.

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The roofs of Raven’s Perch

And indeed, when I was first photographing the sim, a couple of days before the Faire opened, I became fascinated with the roof spires and the silhouette they created in this beautiful windlight. I’m probably not supposed to tell you this, but I was there when Riven accidentally created this windlight, and there were many oohs and ahhs and giggles and “Don’t lose that!”s. Kae and Riven have this amazing, madcap dynamic that belies the serenity of the sim itself.

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Sim Landing Point

This is the centre of the sim, the landing point, before all the signage was added. This is where you’ll land if you take this teleport to Raven’s Perch. These glowing lanterns are part of the story of Raven’s Perch, which I got to write. You can find the story in chapters if you participate in the sim hunt and find all the beautiful spaces along the way. The story of the Raven Queen and the Lady of Roses is not a happy one, but so many of the stories we tell during the Faire are not happy: we are raising money for cancer research, and all the people involved with the Faire have stories to tell, sometimes personal, heart wrenching stories, about their loved ones’—or their own—battles with cancer. Many of the things you can buy at the Fantasy Faire are full or partial donations to the American Cancer Society, and we, all of us, although we are having a great time and building and experiencing such wonderful things, are serious about raising money to fight cancer.

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The Lady of Roses

Riven’s concept for the lady of Roses was that she began as a very normal mortal girl, who befriended an extraordinary Raven Queen. The whole sim is their story. Oh! And here you can see Otherskin‘s gorgeous Trinity necklace, here pictured in gold with red jewels, The Mesange Iram eyes stand out so beautifully against the Opal skin, don’t they? And OMG, Izara! Those eyebrows! I love them!

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Path to the Lady of Roses’ ruby resting place

You’ll find this mysterious pathway somewhere on Raven’s Perch; to tell you where would spoil the joy of your exploration.

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As you approach, you can see the beautiful bower of the Lady of Roses.

Beyond her, there seems to be only the sea. You can almost feel the forest silencing around you as you enter the grove to pay your respects to the Lady.

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Beautiful, she was.

Why is the Lady of Roses memorialised in this way? You’ll have to do the hunt and read the story to find out! If Riven gives her permission, I might post the story later on in the Faire or after the Faire closes.

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Beyond the Lady’s bower, a path leads to the sea.

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Why I Relay

The day Kae showed me a photo of this memorial space on the sim, I cried. The placement of the stones, the candles, her words beneath (you’ll have to visit the sim to read that part!), such a poignant combination. Poignant not least because she added my late husband, Joe Raftery, to the memorial stone. I already felt at home in Raven’s Perch: that was the day I knew I’d keep coming back throughout the faire, no matter how beautiful everything else was, to stand here and think on the sea and the boat and the many times I played and sang “Into the West” for Joe before he died in January of 2016. His death is still so fresh in my mind, and his loss will always be a hole in my heart and my life. I cannot bring him back from the dead. But I can tell you that every Linden you donate at the Fantasy Faire could help someone like Joe. Could help someone like me. Because no one should be a widow at 49, as I was.

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The Lady of Roses at the memorial stones

The Lady of Roses also knows a little something about loss, as does her longtime friend, the Raven Queen.

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Why I Relay

We are the cure. All of us, faeries, demons, dragons, were beasts, pixies, sprites, tinies, giants, satyrs, elves, warriors, unicorns, mermaids and mermen, post-apocalyptic princesses, cait sidhe, seelie and unseelie, orcs, and dozens of others I can’t possibly list here because there are so, so many—we are all the cure. You can make a difference. I can make a difference. Our words, our pictures, the money we donate, the spirit we create, the atmosphere of inclusion and caring you will find throughout the Fantasy Faire, these are beautiful things.

Four years ago, I came to a huge shopping event with a lot of fantasy items and some beautiful, beautiful sims, and I wrote stories about Gwyneth’s rise to the throne of Faerie throughout that Faire experience. I met some beautiful people, and the next year, I got involved. Joe was right there by my side the whole time—he was even on the Skype call where Her Immortal and Glorious Fairneness, Elizabeth Tinsley, interviewed me about helping with store check-in my first year. He loved the spirit we created, and he looked forward to sharing the next year with me. But last year, he passed away, and when the Faire came round again, I experienced it as a widow, with all the memories of Joe’s vicarious enjoyment of it there in my head.

This year, the LitFest promises to be amazing. We’ve got Seanan McGuire as our Guest of Honour, and so many great writers and workshops and sim tours to be had over the course of the Faire. Seanan‘s first event will be an interview with Saffia Widdershins, on Monday, 24 April, at 1pm SLT (that’s Pacific time, so do your own maths!). We’ve also got Tales from the Fairelands being broadcast on Fantasy Faire Radio. You can hear them every four hours; they’re randomly programmed in. I was privileged to compose and record the music for these stories; the tune is called the “Storytime Waltz”. I hope you enjoy it if you hear it.

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Another view of the Rooftops of Raven’s Perch

As you can see, I really did get fixated on those rooftops!

Don’t worry: There will be plenty of the usual story posts from me as we move throughout the Fantasy Faire. I’ll have litfest news, tales from the points of view of The Amazing Catwoman and of course the Gypsy Davey, and I’m sure Gwyneth will pop her head in from time to time.

Come. Stay. Enjoy the Fairelands. Make friends. Be beautiful. Be free. Be whoever you want to be.

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Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Tableau Vivant, Lenoir
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Gown and Headpiece: Silvan Moon Designs, The Light of Sarin Gown  (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Trinity (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, Raven’s Perch, Sponsored by Rivendale.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

7ds     mesange-logo-noir OtherSkin Logo Black silvan-moon-designs-logo-full

Where’s she gone now?

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From the player:

Going back into full time work has affected my blogging schedule more than I’d like it to, which probably isn’t a surprise for those of you who know me. Today I’m home sick with something that feels more flu-like as the hours go on (and I just got a flu shot last week—oh, the humanity!), but in an ordinary week, I’m now working five days.

Because my job is retail, I rarely have two days off together, and because I haven’t been at my job for some time, getting my stamina back up to being away from home for 11 hours out of my day, with nine scheduled in at the shop (one of those is a lunch hour), has been tough. I felt less exhausted last week, though I still spent a goodly portion of my day off sleeping. I’m slow at waking up in the morning, plus those of you who know me in RL know that my brand of makeup takes a little longer than the average person’s, so the rest of my waking time is often spent getting ready before work rather than having time to play after, I’m afraid.

I know, I know; it’s one excuse after the other from me. Trust me: my roleplaying group have been saying this for over a year now.

On top of it all, I’m enrolled in the Visionaire course this term, so a large proportion of my SL time will be spent doing assignments and improving my photography, which I think will be all to the best.

This time, instead of asking blogging sponsors just to bear with me, I’m going to be backing away from blogging for sponsors, with two exceptions. I’ll continue to blog Lumae skins, because the commitment is low-stress, and I’ll continue to blog for The White Armory & Silvan Moon Designs, because again, the commitment is low-stress. For everyone else, I’ll move aside to make room for other bloggers, because I cannot promise x number of posts per month/week/whatever. I’m committed to only the highest-quality photographs I can take, the best stories I can write, and I can’t promise that in the limited time I have. There are plenty of SL bloggers out there who take a great photograph and tag it, credit it, then post it as their blog entry for the day or the hour, and I know loads of them who do a great job and post as many as 5-6 photographs a day. That’s not what I want to do with my blog, though I enjoy reading many blogs that do that very thing. Without the time to craft a story, my blog doesn’t feel like my blog.

For those of you who are interested in such things, here’s my first Visionaire homework: it’s a photo of Gwyneth returning from some Realm or other, greeted by deer in the Great Seelie Forest.

portal-1-1-2

Visionaire homework 1: Self-Portrait

The deer are from Half Deer; they are a gacha at Kustom 9 this round. Nothing else is current, but the portal is SPELL’s Portals to Other Worlds, from a Chapter 4 Gacha, and the woods are the Enchanted Woods from Studio Skye.

Gwyneth is wearing:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Elanil
Hair: Monso My Hair, Somi
Clothes: RealEvil Industries, Avery Jeans & Avery Jacket
Shoes: Roped Passions, Leaf Lullabye
Pose: An Lar, The Carrie Series

Spiffy photo taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make enrol in a SL photography course while simultaneously starting a PhD and going back in to full-time work without it….

Off on an Adventure? And, A Tree Grows in the Treehouse…. That’s not weird, is it?

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

I woke up in the middle of the night to do the sorts of things that even Fae Queens must do in the middle of the night, and there was… well.

There was a tree. In my bedroom. Like, right at the foot of my bed. It wasn’t the sort of thing I could miss, especially as there was a large lantern hanging off a branch positioned directly above my pillow.

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom?

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom?

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom? I mean, obviously I live in a treehouse. But a whole extra tree? And this one comes with books, all written in a foreign language. I don’t even recognise the text. Dyisi took a look at them earlier, and she just sort of ‘meh’ed and then we moved on to talking about boys and clothes. Yes, Dyisi and I talk about boys and clothes. Stop laughing.

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go....

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go….

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go… after the moonlight had clothed me in autumn, I did what any sane Queen would do upon realising there’s a strange tree full of books growing in her bedroom.

Because, duh. That’s what trees are for, right? You climb the tree, you have a think, you climb down off the tree, and it disappears from your bedroom, yes?

No.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find an invitation. To a ball.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find an invitation. To a ball.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find and invitation. To a ball. In a far-off realm.

Apparently some relative of Father’s needs a Royal Sidhe on his arm for some charity event. He needs someone who’s unknown and a bit exotic. Of course, the invitation doesn’t say this, but I picked it up from touching the scroll.

It’s a more contemporary Realm than ours, much more contemporary. And it has an openly Fae upper class. Should be an interesting trip. I think I’m going to go: Father wouldn’t have given my name to anyone if he thought there’d be trouble. Certainly he wouldn’t do a thing like that.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though. Should I, or shouldn’t I?

There is so much going on in our Realm. A plague we don’t understand. Demifae uprisings. Goblin wars. But– a chance to ride in a limousine, have my nails done for real instead of just glamoured, check some email, post to my ‘blog’ openly instead of hiding out in an Internet Cafe in a nearby realm where they don’t like Fae at all.

And I could use the break. I think I really could.

Getting Dressed

Getting Dressed

Clutie and Dani are all excited about the trip: they want to dress me once beforehand so we can see what I’ll look like on the night. They’re hard to refuse, those two.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm; : we’ll take this one, though I reserve the right to buy something new if it catches my eye! I do like what they did with the beads and the braid, though. They’re the best hairdressers ever, these two. I’m taking Clutie with me, for sure.

Should I worry about the children? About the plague? About the war? I know I should, but I want to get away. I need to get away. Does that make me a runner? Am I a running runner? Maybe I am. But I’m going. Going to have a nice time with a guy I don’t know at a party in a Realm where I’ve never been before, and the Court is just going to have to deal with it, because I’m the Queen and I say I’m going, so there.

I will be gone IRL from Friday-Monday, at a music conference with friends in Darkest Somerset. So while Gwyneth is away dancing her feet off, I’ll be singing my head off with friends old and new. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you when I get back!

Style Cards:

Seriously, Universe?
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Undies: Erratic, Fiona, Nude
Tree: HarshLands, Fantasy Book Tree

Autumn Fae Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: 
Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Outfit: Flippant: Cicada Fall Fae (This was the August Group Gift at Flippant’s Main Store,so you only have a few more days to get it: after that, it goes up to 179L.)
Tree: HarshLands, Fantasy Book Tree

Getting Dressed:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Undies: Erratic, Fiona, Nude
Shoes: Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, Sapphire
Dressing Table: Aisling, Coquette (Available at Festival of Sin!)

Hairdressing with Clutie and Dani:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) ((Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: No Match, No Siren (Available at Enchantment!)
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Dress: Mistique: Elora Gown, Blue (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Shoes: Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, Sapphire

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

WLTB 500x500

The Fantasy Collective for July

From the player:

From the player:

If you’ve been looking for me (all two of you!) you haven’t found me. I’ve been appearing to idle on SL a lot, unresponsive to messages, no flickr or  blog posts for days; in short it seems as if nothing’s going on with me. And of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve been in hospital here in London receiving and beginning to recover from a full knee replacement. I’ve talked before on this blog about my husband’s cancer and why helping with Fantasy Faire and events like that is so important to me. My own disease, the one you can see anyway, is arthritis. Arthritis doesn’t just strike super-old people, although I’m hardly what would be described as young. On Wednesday, I had my right knee replaced and depending on my recovery speed, the left one will follow in its own time.

As it happens, the full knee replacement is apparently one of the most painful surgeries you can go through, and I can now vouch for this. I don’t have the energy or concentration level to role-play or write the stories about my narrators that people have begun to expect here, but I’m still taking photographs and finding cool stuff. These photos have mostly been hanging around for four days, waiting for me to have the energy and wherewithal to put them into a blog post.

So here’s the stuff Gwyneth really fell in love with at the July Fantasy Collective. The Fantasy Collective is open until the 15th of August, so you still have time to check out some of these lovely things. I’ll present the style cards with the photographs.

Sweet Lies, Tauriel Gacha

Sweet Lies, Tauriel Gacha

The Sweet Lies Tauriel Gacha has a beautiful array of dresses, and you will get a dress on every play, not just pieces and parts. This one is Box 11 (rare), and I love the detailing on the sleeves and the over skirting. Gwyneth is also wearing the Deviance Erulisse Circlet (The Priestess, Rare), Analog Dog (natch!) ‘s new(ish) updo, Sambuca. The stunning necklace is an event find from I don’t know how long ago, The Mithrind Necklace from Storybook, which is a staple of Gwyneth’s wardrobe. Here, I love how it picks up on the lattice pattern in the dress’ arm texture. The skin is 7 Deadly s{K}ins stunning Baukje, which started out life at the first July Designer’s Circle and is now available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store. She’s in the Maitreya Mesh Body with SLink hands and feet.

Les Encantades Ivy Dress, Azur

Les Encantades Ivy Dress, Azur

Here is another beautiful dress from The Fantasy Collective, Les Encantades Ivy Dress. This is the Azur colourway. I did mention Gwyneth likes blue, right? 😉 The hair is from Ayashi, which is doing such a great job with superlong mesh hair right now; it’s called Sirena and is available at The Fantasy Collective. Necklace is once again the Storybook Mithrind Necklace, and the mask is from Spyralle, who’s long been one of my favourite SL designers. It’s called Forest Edge Mask, and you can get it from the Illusion Point event, which I’ll talk a little more about farther down. Skin is of course Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Senzafine Beriawen

SenzaFine Beriawen

The dress here is the SenzaFine Beriawen ensemble. SF really hit it out of the park on this one. The stuff is always good, but this style just makes me so happy, and additionally the tunic is completely wearable without the skirt and vice versa. The matching shoes are from The Illusion Point event, and they come in the same colourways as the clothing ensemble. You want to go to Illusion point, btw, and saying you’re just going for these shoes is a pretty good rationalisation!

Senzafine Beriawen, tunic detail

Senzafine Beriawen, tunic detail

Gwyneth is wearing SenzaFine Beriawen tunic and skirt in Pack 4, which includes the metallic colours, so Gwyneth really likes it. I also picked up the blues, greens and purples for her; those are Pack 2.You get a choice between gold and silver trims on each piece, as well. The necklace is Aegon from Le Forme and is still available at The Epiphany: this one is “eclipse” in silver. The tiara is also from Le Forme‘s Epiphany offerings; this one is the Aegon Tiara in Silver Sapphire (rare). The hair is, naturally, Analog Dog, the new(ish) Sambuca updo, and the skin is still the stunning Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. I just can’t get enough of this skin. Gwyneth’s eyes in these photos are actually new to her: I’d been using my own tweaked CustomEyes for her for so long I’d stopped crediting the eyes. These are from Mayfly, Luminous Mesh Eyes in Borealis. Ears are as always the Leevi Long Ears from Lumae. This is the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body with SLink hands and feet, and the shoes are SenzaFine‘s Aesbrennil Velvet-Lined Slippers, in colourways that cleverly match the ones for the Beriawen Tunic. This is pack 4, of course. They are available at the Illusion Point event: you should go there “just to buy the shoes”…. 🙂

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Blues

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Blues

I know I’ve rhapsodised at length about the Faida/Fallen Gods collaboration, but I’m going to do it again! They seem to have a gorgeous new dress for every event that comes along these days, and since I can’t resist a gorgeous new dress, here is Berenice. No fatpack was available, so I bought the blue ones to get the gorgeous Royale colourway, and as ever, it does not disappoint. HUD options are included as well, and you’ll see some of those later. The hair is Pepe, Athena, a gacha you can play at The Fantasy Collective. This is the rare light blonde colourway, and you don’t even want to know how much I spent to get Gwyneth’s colour in this hair. But, you know, if you want some of this hair and you don’t feel like leaving your house, just IM me in world and we can work something out. 😉 That said, if you’re not bothered about colours, the gacha is L$100 per play and the textures are all really nice. I’m always looking for ponytails and braids that work with Gwyneth’s ears, since I’m not giving those up, and that’s why I spent so much to get the colour I wanted in this one: it works with the ears! The circlet and crown combination are from ieQED, the Arwen crown (rare) and circlet (common) from the most recent Fantasy Gacha Carnival. Shoes are Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, from a longer-ago Fantasy Gacha Carnival. The ring is from JCNY. Body is Maitreya Lara Mesh Body, and hands and feet are SLink.

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Detail

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Detail

I’m presenting so many of these dresses with close-up photos so you can see the detailing on the dresses, it’s true, but also so you can get a closer look at this skin I’m currently raving about: Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. As with all of the 7DS skins, the detailing and subtle makeup on the face is worth taking a second-57th look at, and this skin has something that I really love personally, which is pronounced and visible eyeliner that does not take away from the eyes or the rest of the face. It’s eyeliner I might wear in real life if I wanted to be subtle. Yes, really.

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice

One of the things you can do with the Berenice dress HUD is hide the bodice altogether. I quite like this look, but as Fae Queens go, Gwyneth is actually frightfully modest. So, I thought of this necklace from Zibska, called Aisling, which I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear, immediately. I don’t remember where I got it, but you can score it at their main store, and they have a special one available in the dark rose colourway at The Lexi Project, another great event for a great cause that you should run not walk to as it has loads of worthy stuff.

Faida and Fallen Gods Berenice, plus Zibska Aisling, a closer look

Faida and Fallen Gods Berenice, plus Zibska Aisling, a closer look

And even closer. Irresistible skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins.

And even closer. Irresistible skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins.

This close-up photo is a good way to see how the Baukje skin employs such beautiful subtle highlighting, and you can also get a better look at the Mayfly eyes this way. I love the way the falling petals on the Zibska necklace seem to cup and enhance the breasts; as a Sidhe, Gwyneth is a bit of a titless wonder, so she needs all the help she can get in that department!

Now, I have to go get ready for physical therapy, which is the reality of my life for the next several weeks. I’m hoping to step up the blog posts for later today and later in the week, since so much is happening on the grid, but I can’t promise narrator stories or rp blogs for the foreseeable, as this post literally took three days to put together because my concentration is shot due to surgery, hospital, pain, heavy drugs, etc.

Thanks for reading.