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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Still Standing in San Mora

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You know what? I don’t care any more.

You know what? I don’t care any more. I’ve been living in this city for gods know how long, and I’ve watched the people come and go, and I’m just not interested in any of their bull any more.

I will walk where I want, dress how I want, eat what I want, go out at night without a burly male escort, and if anybody wants to stop me, well. They’ll have to go through me first.

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Dyisi came to visit yesterday.

Dyisi came to visit yesterday. I think she was pretty impressed with my new squat. I’m on the tenth floor of a mostly burned out building, so I have this amazing balcony that’s like half a floor, just exposed to the outside. And there’s nobody above me because those levels got melted, I think. Metal’s all bent, anyway.

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“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“Huh.” I frowned. “I can’t remember if it was there yesterday or not. I mean, looks like it’s meant to be there, right?”

“Are you fucking kidding me? That thing is a menace. It looks like the scariest part of a circus met the scariest part of a steampunk horror novel, and they are both converging on us. You mark me, tomorrow it’ll be closer and there’ll be some weird music coming from it or some shit like that.”

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“Frankly, I think those creepy metal birds are worse,” I replied.

“Frankly, I think those creepy metal bird things are worse,” I replied. I half-turned to point out the window (well, OK, the wall) behind us to point out one of the improbable things, which at the moment was just making lazy circles around an incongruous lake. “That is a cage on wings, and I keep having these nightmares they’re going to come over here and enslave us all.”

“Yeah; all thirty of us,” Dyisi replied. I think she just likes to piss me off by saying completely ridiculous things like that. There are at least 250 of us here in San Mora, surviving in the best way we can. Some people say there are even more if you count the other side of the city, but I’m not so sure. I only trust what I can see, which I think is the best way to survive in the world. Well. In my world, anyway. I sighed. “Come on; let’s go down to the roadhouse and see if we can score some beer.”

“I’d rather have a joint.”

“You always say that.”

I’ve rigged up a series of ladders to take me down the whole ten floors in a rush, ladder by ladder. I slide down them with one foot on either side of the ladder. Dyisi kept yelling at me to slow down, but I just ignored her. I’m sure I flipped her off more than once. And I have no idea what that last finger gesture she replied with was. The fact is, if Dyisi and I aren’t constantly bitching and moaning at each other and insulting each other a mile a minute, that’s when the apocalypse has actually happened. Laughed in a guy’s face last week when he called San Mora “post-apocalyptic”. Had to explain that truth of the world. I am not sure he believed me, but what can you do? I keep trying to explain to people that hope doesn’t have to die just because we’re certain now there is no god, given what we’ve been through. This is when we need hope most. I was telling Dy this story as we reached the roadhouse. Downstairs was too crowded, so we climbed up to the second level. Nobody likes it there because a wall got blown out in one of those firefights from last month. I’m not bothered. Ceiling’s still working, which means the floor’s all good. Right?

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Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

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Seriously?

Seriously: I just turned away and pretended I didn’t know her. By this time my wings had come out: I don’t know why they only do that when I’ve had a little bit to drink. “You are not going to actually play that thing.”

“Nah; I was thinking I”d just sit here and hold it like I’d just finished a beer and my best friend was about to go down and get me another one,” she said.

I sighed. One more trip down the stairs in four inch heels. Some of us have hooves and are much better at going up and down things, but no; Dy must have me serve her beer. Sometimes she’s a right bitch, but she’s the only friend I’ve got, you know? Pays to keep on her good side. I went for the beer.

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“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

She laughed. “Does it make you feel better about life to do shit that pisses everybody else in the whole universe right off?”

I shrugged.

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“I’m tired of being careful.”

“I’m tired of being careful,” I said.

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“Besides, it’s not like anybody is out there looking for me.”

“Besides, it’s not like anybody out there is looking for me. You ever seen my face on one of those missing posters?”

Dy sighed. “I guess not.”

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“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

Dyisi frowned. “I’d look for you.”

“Assuming you weren’t gone first.”

“In which case you’d look for me.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Probably? You’d be out there morning noon and night, because you love me.”

“Do not.”

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“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

Dyisi snorted. “I still think it’s silly to call it ‘the dead wall’. For all we know, they are all alive and well, somewhere better than here.”

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The Dead Wall

“Nobody’s seen or heard from any of them,” I replied. “I think if my picture were up there, it would mean I have died, too.”

Dyisi shook her head. “Cynical, cynical.”

We wandered out into the street. It was one of those sunny, dusty afternoons, the kind of afternoon you always get in San Mora.

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Dyisi on a police car.

At one point, Dyisi jumped on top of a police car and yelled something about how the PoPo couldn’t get her any more because there weren’t any… I think she might have been a bit drunk.

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“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth.”

“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth,” Dyisi said.

“Are you having a moment of existential ennui?” I wasn’t even sure what ‘existential ennui’ was, to be honest. It just sounded good.

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You’re stuck in a Fairelands Realm.”

“What are you talking about?” I shifted uncomfortably on the gazebo floor.

“You’re not actually a street urchin in a post-apocalyptic novel, you know.”

“I’m not?”

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You wandered in here because this is one of the Realms that’s part of the Great Fantasy Faire this year. You got lost in the story. It’s a common hazard.” She blew across her nails for absolutely no reason.

“You mean I could just get up and walk out of here? And I’d find somewhere else?”

“Yep,” Dyisi said.

“Right! Let’s do that, then.”

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So, we got up and just walked out of San Mora.

So, we got up and just walked right out of San Mora. The closer we got to the fence, walking with purpose to Another Place (where, we didn’t know), the more I remembered.

“Have you noticed that we keep having stand-alone adventures this year? It’s like we’re episodic.”

I lifted a brow. “Wow, Dy; that’s awfully meta for you.”

“I am the epitome and the ultimate representation of meta. Then again, so are you.”

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Towers Of Nope

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog, Merida (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Eclipse Arts Studio, Elf Ears Dior
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Mashallah (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Syren’s Song, Ursa, Purple (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Violetility, Luna Heels

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, San Mora, Sponsored by Death Row Designs and designed by Jaimy Hancroft, Eowyn Swords, and Morbid Deceit

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

 

Changes and Accomplishments

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Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey; I want to be a redhead!”?

Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey, I want to be a redhead!”? Well, I mean, unless you’re a redhead already, in which case the point is kind of moot. But that’s how I woke up this morning. The mist was thick on the ground as I made my way through the book forest. I noticed a few new things there, but I didn’t have time to investigate. I had a sense of purpose.

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Somehow, I knew the bower would be there.

Somehow, I knew the bower would be there. Of course, it looks different here from the Wylds. It’s bigger. But here’s bigger, you know? The trees are bigger. They feel older. Maybe it’s because I’m older. And the structure that’s defined my bower for the last several seasons is here, too. It’s comforting, like a church, but for someone like me, whose windows look out into eternity and whose walls don’t shut out the world, the wood, the flowers.

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I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity.

I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity. But my new Realm wasn’t out of surprises for me yet: I knew there was yet more for me to discover.

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I took a moment to centre myself.

I took a moment to centre myself and take in the ambiance of the oak tree. I could feel the growing forest behind me: DI felt no need to turn and look, but of course I wanted to turn and look. Then, I rounded the oak tree to come closer to the Green, and I gasped at what I saw.

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Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise.

Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise. Pink ivy leaves covered the trunk and roots of the tree, set into which was a shelf with a beautiful clock. And floating parasols!

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Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me.

Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me. I found the morning drifting in to noon. As always in a magical Realm, time moves differently here. I recalled how the raven tower had made me think of my bower in the Wylds, and I smiled as I thought of those gorgeous windows, open to the sky, behind me. I longed for a book, a good book, to appear, and I found myself holding a book by Neil Gaiman I didn’t know existed. Apparently he’s retelling Norse myths now! Well, that ate up a few hours, as you might imagine.

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Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow.

Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow. How large it seemed, how open. So different from how it had been almost completely enclosed by forest in the Wylds. I wonder if this is my new mindset: an open-ness to things, a receiving, an acceptance. The flowers glowed with their own light as the hazy noon wore into afternoon, and I took some pleasure in feeling small inside my bower. A bower that will be open to everyone, a place for all to visit.

Oh, and then I felt tired—as if I’d done some act of creation just by walking through the flower field. I made my way back toward the beautiful couch and that book of Norse myths. Suddenly I was struck by a thought, and `I nearly laughed aloud.

What would that ludicrous reporter, Cherish Gelato, think of this place? I imagined her poking around, putting her nose into places it doesn’t belong, wondering why there were unfinished places that just look like vast fields of grass, and my explaining to her that this was not a Realm that came in to being overnight; that it must grow like a garden.

And then she’d ask me: “Are you proud of what you’re creating here?”

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Am I proud? “You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Am I proud? 

“You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), V (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Hiraeth Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Wednesday, snow (Full body skin and head applier, Available NOW at Skin Fair! These are 7 Deadly s{K}ins’ NEW. body appliers, and they are amazing and easy to use, and so fast!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: Earthstones, Flight of Fancy Necklace (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Peaches and Cream Dress, Blue (Available SOON at Shiny Shabby!)
Shoes: Ingenue, Gretchen Flats, Dove (Available NOW at The Arcade Gacha!)

Scenes:
Book Path: Una, Book Path
Book with trees: BananaN, Story Book Gacha Scene 3
Table and Chairs, Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Set
Grass: Alirium, Downy Grass
Birch Trees: The Little Branch, White Birch Cluster
Windowed Structure: Kaelis Ember, Find Here Amenity
Big Tree: Cube Republic, Auchmore Oak
Magical Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Boho Hangout Spot: The Looking Glass, In My Boho Garden (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Background Trees: Various trees by Studio Skye, The Little Branch, Happy Mood, Heart, Trompe Loeil
SimSurround: Landscapes Unlimited, Rolling Hills Large Skybox Environment

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create an organic magical realm without it!

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Beginning a Book Forest

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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….

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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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Bringing Back the Light

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Gwyneth:

These Dark Days will segue soon enough into light. So much work to do, before they’re done. And of course it falls to us magical beings to set the wheels of the Cosmos into motion, because we are the Beings who see those wheels.

From the lonely strands of Winter, we weave the roots of Spring. Into human suffering and shortages, we bring a Festival of Light. Many Festivals of Light. Remember that we do not see the metaverse as you mortals do: for us it is an ebb and flow of energy that rises far above the singular moments which create it.

And I am young, so young, in my calling.

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But I have learned enough to know that my part, however small, is essential.

But I have learned enough to know that my part, however small, is essential. We are assigned to different places, you see, in various Realms, and we do the work of the cosmos, reminding our Beloved Sun that it is his time to return. Some of us do this by making a great noise, whether musical or not. Some of us do this with poetry. Some create works of art, or help mortals create them.

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But I do not have these skills yet. One day I shall do more.

But I do not have these skills yet. One day, I shall do more.

My simple task may confound you, and it might surprise you to know how many of us are assigned to it, in different Realms, throughout the Multiverse, throughout the Universe, at our appointed places and times.

I am given directions to a specific place, which I must reveal to no-one. Many of us Fae Royals are part of this: it is why you will find us slipping away from our revels and festivals before the bell-strike, before the dawn breaks.

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Two Minutes to Midnight.

Two minutes to midnight. Wait, breathe, gather myself. And when the time comes, make sure the clocks don’t stop. It needs a Queen’s touch, this twisted Realm, this twisted Cosmos. It needs a breath of Spring, powered by darkest Winter.

Really, you ask? Make sure the clocks don’t stop? Isn’t that as simple as a little winding, a new battery, making sure the power doesn’t go out… oh.

Yes, it’s like that. It’s why I am so often tired after the Great Festivals. I give all my energy to this work, and it leaves me drained. But for now, one minute to midnight. I am not alone. I feel my cosmic community around me: sisters, brothers, some who are neither or both. Isolated as I am, I feel them breathe with me, and I breathe. I feel them reach with me, and I reach, and then, with an impossible push, a starlit spell, the lights of a thousand candles, then comes the stroke of midnight. And the second after. And the minute after. And the infinitesimally small movement of darkness to light in the midst of winter. We are all harbingers. Light is returning. Light will come again.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone 2.0 Bento Head (NEW at the Lelutka Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Gaia (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Yulia (only for Lelutka heads) (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Makeup: Izzie’s, Lelutka Silver Glitter Makeup
Particle Effects: Cole’s Corner, Ice Queen (halo, wisps, aura)
Dress: SenzaFine, Catriona, Winter Sky
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoulders: Muse, Rose Brooch Jewellery Wrap

Scene:
Background: Glam Affair & Tableau Vivant, Light LootBox (rare) (Available NOW at The Fantasy Collective!)
Tree: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Christmas Tree (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hanging Light: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Hanging Light (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Clock: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Clock (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Globe: Hideki, Steampunk Moon

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth help start the engine of the cosmos again without it!

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Putting it all together 

Gwyneth:

Today, I began working on my throne room for White Owl. I know: I’ll probably never get to use it, but it’s a good exercise in decorating, and I was bored.

Below is a photo of my new throne — the demifae are enjoying it, as you can see. I’ve also acquired two new kittens—not CaitSidhe, but honest-to-Goddess kittens! The one on my lap is called Skein, and the black one is Urðr. Of course, this means I’ll have to get two more kittens, since I can’t overlook the other principal Norns.

The throne itself is grown from a special spell provided by the Master Wizards at Hextraordinary. I found them at that most excellent shopping faire, We , and they delivered it for free! Of course, tree thrones are a bit hard and somewhat scratchy, and the Royal Bum cannot deal with that for long periods of time, so I added a bunch of throw pillows I picked up from a gypsy at a gacha Faire some years ago.


Of course, I had to call Nathaniel for his approval (he always approves, does my Beloved Consort), so I summoned a will o’ the wisp to get him there quickly. The will o’ the wisps seem to like me much better now; I can communicate with them easily. Then, I got sentimental and summoned Drysi as well—she’s the only one of my children who reliably comes when called—and she surprised me by showing up in a very fetching dress! Of course, she’ll be back to jeans and t-shirts as soon as she’s out of my presence, not that I mind her dressing up to please her Mother.


I thanked the will o’ the wisp when it returned, of course. And what a lovely feeling of oneness I had with it! I must investigate the Unseelie connection to wisps more carefully at some point.

I have more work to do here, of course, but what a joy it was to write this from my office, in another of my realms, and not have to appease the Luddite Goddess by hopping off to another Realm to access the internet!

Now, of course I have to decorate both the Residence and this official Receiving Area—I think we’ll call it The Atrium—for Yule. Which will keep me busy at least for a couple of hours. I do have the perfect tree in mind for Nathaniel. I hope he loves it.

Style Card:

Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Vanessa (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Kelpie Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Atomic, Elf Gacha (Catwa Head Applier, Maitreya Body Appliers, in Tone Porcelain) (Available NOW at the Arcade Gacha)
Clothes: Mimikri, Vega Tank Top and Shiny Leggings (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Jewellery: Emo-Tions, Aurora Necklace and Forehead (Available NOW at On9!)
Shoes: Violetility, Fairy Heels

The Scene:
Throne: Hextraordinary, Elven Throne (Available NOW at We❤ RP
Clutie: Ohmai, Gerbera Fairy Companion
Danae: Ohmai, Dandelion Fairy Companion
Sorcha: Ohmai, Acorn Fairy Companion
Other Demifae: Ohmai, Bumblebee Fairy Companion, Ladybug Fairy Companion, and Horn Beetle Fairy Companion
The Rose Curtain: Half Deer, Fairy Curtain
The Skybox: Spellbound, Atrium Skybox
Skein: Jian, Christmas Cats, Grey Kitten
Urðr: Pixicat, Sphynx Cat Sitting

Poses:
Throne Pose: PoseIt, Glam Sit
Will O’ The Wisp Poses: Nantra, Charmed, I’m Sure (Available NOW at Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create new throne rooms without it!

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