My first video tutorial

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

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

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

The Stained Glass Grove

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

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

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

Stained Glass Trees BLOG - 1

I stepped through the portal

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

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

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

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

Stained Glass Trees BLOG - 2

Stained Glass Trees

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

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

Stained Glass Trees BLOG - 3

Look at those perfect leaves

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

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

Stained Glass Trees BLOG - 4

Magical Grove

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

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

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

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

Truth VIP Group “Class Photo” Contest

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

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

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

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

Ramones - 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fae Duchess of Doncaster

Her Ladyship, Beatrice Canderiel, the Fae Duchess of Doncaster, spent a day in Dublin, where she was photographed with her prize dogs at Trinity College.

Victorian BLOG - 5 (1)

Fae Duchess of Doncaster, with Dogs

After her formal photographic meeting, she invited the photographer to come with her to one of Dublin’s many beautiful parks, where she intended to show an eager class of primary school students how to find fairies in the wild.

Victorian BLOG - 3 (1)

One can whistle

One can whistle, she explained as she put her lips together and blew, eliciting gasps of outrage from the primary school teachers (and possibly an assistant Headmaster or two). However, she said in a swift correction, there are those who believe that whistling is unseemly for ladies; she herself, she asserted, had never been bound by the sanctimoniousness of society.

Victorian BLOG - 4 (1)

Sometimes, she said, a flick of the finger is enough

Sometimes, she said, a flick of the finger is enough. She proved this by attracting an amethyst fairy to come and sit on her hand, while its little friend hovered, watching with an animalistic curiosity.

Victorian BLOG - 1 (1)

Eventually, she enticed a third fairy

Eventually, she enticed a third fairy. This one was robed in rose, and seemed to be more skittish than the rest; it flew and flitted all about her head as the children chortled. By this time, many of the children had found their own fairies to observe; Lady Beatrice was quick to remind them that snaring small supernatural beings is strictly forbidden by the Fae Concealed Commission, which oversees such oversights.

Victorian BLOG - 6 (1)

Fond Farewell

In the end, she bid the students, teachers, assistant headmasters, reporters, photographers, hangers-on, and several gazeboed geezers who just happened to be standing (and we use that term loosely) on the corner as she retreated back to Trinity College to collect her pups and be on her way to the Fair Ferry, where she drifted back to Doncaster, no doubt to be greeted by gaiety wherever she went.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Zoya (Available at the Truth Main Store, but only if you’re in the VIP group!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Necklace and earrings: Empyrean Forge, Minuet
Gown and Hat: Silvan Moon Designs, A Murder of Crows Gown Set (Available on 4 November at We Love Roleplay!)

Environment:
Trinity College Set:
Building: Sempiternal, Stone Eden Skybox (at Fameshed)
Dogs: {anc}, Flottante Puppy, milk

Lost Garden Photos:
Location: Awenia, Ruined Garden
Columns and Statues: The Looking Glass, Lost Garden
Foreground Trees: The Looking Glass, Dead Wood
Orange Grass: Balderdash, Rattlin’ Bog Grass Tufts
Fairies: all from HEXtraordinary, Faerie Maidens (at the Gacha Garden)

They Say We Dance

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 4

They say we dance the seasons of the year

They say we dance the seasons of the year
We sing the three Realms that the Old Gods kiss
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 6

Look how we leave our shadows floating here

Look how we leave our shadows floating here
And find the portals other men may miss
They say we dance the seasons of the year

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 3

Around the fire our children face no fear

Around the fire our children face no fear
Now skip, now hop, now give the wrist a twist
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 5

Our steps will echo where the gods may hear

Our steps will echo where the gods may hear
The moonlit meadow murmurs in our midst
They say we dance the seasons of the year

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 1

The fox, the owl, the chimney-swift, and deer

The fox, the owl, the chimney-swift, and deer
May listen as our magic songs persist
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

Some Say We Danced BLOG - 7

Our hearts step through these dances

Our hearts step through these dances: we appear
To shimmer as steps twist and then untwist
They say we dance the seasons of the year
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

Villanelle by GK Raftery

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Ayashi, Wendy Hair with Hat (VIP Group Gift at Ayashi)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Makeup: Unicult, Spooky Gloss and Spooky Looks Eyeshadow (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Mask: Amias, Aphra
Necklace: Candle & Cauldron, Moonphase Necklace (At the Fallen Gods 11th Anniversary Celebration!)
Dress: [QE] Flouncy Dress  (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Tights: Livid, Striped Tights (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Alice Boots

Environment:
Meadow Grass: keke, Dotty Grass Fall
Deer: Half-Deer, Fallow Deer
Foreground Trees: keke, Windswept Tree (v1 and 2)
Background Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Effigy: Ancient Creations, Estantapajaros
Bonfire: BD&JJW, Twisted Tower Bonfire
Bonfire Bounding Stones: Lore, Fallen Henge
Mist: E.V.E, Flower of the Mist
Ruin: DaD, Byron Ruined Tower (At FameshedX)
Poses & Orbs: Poseidon, Enchantress

 

Small World, Part 2

Another day, another breakfast. I get the feeling the weather may be about to turn; there’s a generous bowl of porridge this morning, a pot of coffee in addition to the usual orange juice. I wish once again that I could have coffee every day.

Halfway through, it starts to rain. Great. This means I will spend at least part of the day inside. So. Not. Thrilled.

Down the stairs I come

And yet, down the stairs I come, because there’s even less to do up there. I’ll try reading for a while, and I might or might not just give up since I’ve read them all (well, almost all of them: there is this huge and bloody dry one called The Silmarillion that I’ve given up on more times than I’ve read most of the others).

This is my nap face.

Maybe I’ll spend the morning napping on the couch on trying not to think about things too much. I don’t really like napping. This is my nap face, though. It’s a good nap face.

But there’s that damn beeping noise again. Beep-beep; beep-beep; beep-beep. Am I crazy, or is it more frequent today? I’m probably crazy. Or perhaps it’s the sound of an approaching Prince. Let’s go with that.

No luck.

Aaand.. that-was an abysmal failure. Super. The windows are still rain-streaked, and I’m sure this break in the rain is only temporary.

I hear laughter in the distance. Perhaps the gods or goddesses of fate are laughing at my stupidity, thinking I could get a nap on a rainy day in my lonely little world.

The music-box shelf

I wander over to the music-box Shelf. Sure, I’ve heard them all before, multiple times. But somehow, even though I know in my heart there must be more music then I can imagine Out There…the familiar tunes are comforting.

Small World 2 BLOG - 3

What does this stuff do?

What does this stuff do? I have no freaking idea. But I’m sure if I explored the much more dry books that reside in the cabinet below these shelves, I could figure something out. Of course, there’s no point in learning to make poisons if I’ve nobody to poison. Maybe this is all stock knowledge for the future. I could come away from this place with a stockpile of poisons, in case my Prince doesn’t turn out to be my perfect match. Then I’d be a widow with a really big dowry. This shelf is a relatively new addition to the tower, so I haven’t really explored it yet— but some of those bottles contain things that smell right nasty.

Small World 2 BLOG - 1

Too much tea!

When I make my way back over to the bookshelf, possibly to read Gossamer Axe one more time, I see that someone or something has placed yet another tea service on the table. What’s with all this tea? No sandwiches, no biscuits, just tea. Obviously it’s not lunch time yet, but do they really expect me to drink all this tea? Three pots full? Perhaps it is some kind of tea test. What sort of test could you take with tea?

Beep-beep; beep-beep; beep-beep. Murmuring voices. A different series of beeps. Are they (whoever they are) trying to drive me round the bend?

I know: I shall ask the Wishing Fairy to take all these noises away.

Small World 2 BLOG - 4

My closest companion.

Sure, she’s a silver cast statue— but she’s the closest thing to a full-size companion I have in this place of weirdness. “Hey,” I say, “Wishing Fairy.” (I don’t know if that’s her real name but I’ve called her that since I’ve been here and she’s never objected) “Can you make those noises go away? I’m really tired of them.” And suddenly I have a coughing fit. I don’t know why. Great. My handkerchiefs are upstairs.

I go up to retrieve the handkerchief, and I feel dizzy on the stairs: that’s unusual. On the way back down, handkerchief in hand, I have to use the handrail. Still a bit dizzy, and the fall would be pretty bad, I assume.

At the bottom of the stairs, I take a few deep breaths and look out the window. The rain appears to have stopped, so I can get out of this stuffy tower, at least for a little while.

Small World 2 BLOG - 1 (1)

The reading bench

So, back to my favourite reading bench I go, copy of Gossamer Axe in hand. It’s one of my favourites, even though I don’t know the first thing about the kinds of music they talk about in the book. It’s my favourite first line ever, though.

“Chick with a harp.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Yuko
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Makeup: Cazimi, Flushed Blush cheeks, Tempting eyeshadow, Pastel Petals lips and nails
Circlet: Ersch, Bethany Headband
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Noelle Necklace
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Moonlight Dance Gown (Moonlight Dance is available at The Trunk Show until 18 November)

Environment:
Indoors
Tower: Poetica, Willow Tower
Stopped Clock: The Plastik, Waine Clock
Lights: Lucas Lameth, Glimmer of Hope and Crawling Lotus lamps
Ottoman with Crown: Nutmeg, Old Story Ottoman with Crown (at Shiny Shabby)
Couch: Trompe Loeil, Noelle Sofa
Music Box Shelf: The Looking Glass, Knick Knack Hutch
Top Shelf: The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Music Box
Middle Shelf: HEXtraordinary, Rapunzel Music Box
Bottom Shelf: HEXtraordinary, Captured Faerie Light Lanterns, Absinthe and Rose
Creepy Potion Shelf: 22769, Witch Shelf Nature (At Salem)
Coffee Table: Silas Merlin, The Haze Metal Table
Teapots: The Secret Store, Folk Teapot (at The Epiphany), THOR, Teapot with herb tea, and 8f8, La Petite Joie, Tea Order
Bookshelf: 22769, Bookshelf (common)
Angel Statue (on wall): Quasi, Angels Wept
Fairy Statue: Lucas Lameth, Autumn Fairy, Female, Hover
Outdoors
Statues: By Nacht, Proserpina (L), and Brigid (R)
Bench, Topiary, and Walls: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth and Gothic Garden gacha sets
Yellow Brick Road: The Roawenwood, Yellow Brick Road

Poses: All from An Lar (An Lar Poses is sadly closing its doors after several years of offering some of the most subtle, and most versatile poses in Second Life (in my opinion). Everything at the An Lar Main Store is 50% off through the 31st of October.)

 

Small World

Every day’s the same. I get out of my beautiful bed with all the fluffy pillows. I attend to my personal toilette. I put on the single dress in the wardrobe. I make my way up to the tower roof to eat the breakfast that will be waiting on the table there. And then, I go down into the garden.

Small World BLOG - 9

Surrounded on all sides

I am surrounded on all sides, by walls, flowers, topiary, trees. This is my garden, or I’ve always thought of it as my garden.

There are times when I think I know it so well I’ll scream from the sameness of it all. But then sometimes, something changes.

Small World BLOG - 10

A new tree

Today, it’s this heart-shaped tree of roses. It’s just enough to delight me for a time, to make me reach for the familiarity elsewhere in the garden. There used to be a bench here, but now there are just the three identical benches around the garden’s central circle. I wonder if other things in the centre will change, and I wonder when.

Small World BLOG - 11

I must be a princess.

I must be a princess, yes? I know from the storybooks on the ground floor that only princesses get locked up in towers and taken care of by forces they cannot see. It seems the only explanation for why I’ve been here for as long as I can remember, why I see no-one. I know that princesses in towers are either being groomed for their destiny, or somehow separated from it.

There’s a loud beeping sound, something harsh and out of place. Three sets of two beeps: beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep. It stops for a few seconds, then starts again. Then, by some grace, it stops altogether. I hear a murmuring voice in the background. But by this time, I know that voice is just the wind, and I suspect the beeping noise is some trick wrought by the unknown magician who imprisoned me here, something to make me not wander round the garden as if sleepwalking. It’s not the first time it’s happened: it sometimes happens more than once a day, but always at least once. Although it’s been happening for as long as I remember, it still shakes me, still brings gooseflesh to my arms. It’s so different from the quiet rush of the waterfall, the chittering of birds, wind in the trees.

Small World BLOG - 3

My beautiful statues keep me company.

Throughout the garden, there are beautiful statues, and they keep me company. I sometimes talk to them. I imagine they answer back, but I don’t know how a real conversation works. If another person, someone like me, walked into the garden and began talking to me, I think I’d run. Or faint. Fainting might be more seemly in this dress.

Small World BLOG - 1

Here is what I would look like right before I fainted.

Here is what I would look like right before I fainted. I’m sure I’ve seen a picture of a Princess fainting somewhere, and she was definitely doing this with her right arm.

Small World BLOG - 2

Days grow longer and shorter.

Days grow longer and shorter; that’s how I can tell there are seasons here. I get up when it’s light; I go to sleep when it’s dark. It’s an easy way to keep oneself on some kind of schedule. I don’t know why I need a schedule, but it seems important.

Small World BLOG - 4

The flowers change more often than anything else.

After I talk to the two statues, I make my way to the flower beds. The flowers change more often than anything else, but they are always in bloom. I used to think if I somehow stayed in the garden all night, I would find the beings who plant and maintain them, but I never can stay awake all night.

Someone is crying; it sounds a long way away. Faeries in the wood, I tell myself. Trying to trick me into somehow scaling the walls and going to find the baby. It’s a trap I’ve read about many times.

Small World BLOG - 7

Is someone watching me?

Is someone watching me? I wonder what it would look like from afar, if they were. They’d see the beautiful garden all spread out before them, the pink and blue sky, the lighted trees—and the lone princess, about to sit down on the bench where she always has her lunch. Lunch arrives in a little box, and I never see them leave it. Today it is a fresh salad with tomatoes. I pick out the onions. I do not like onions. I rationalise my dislike by telling myself that when a Prince comes (and he undoubtedly will; it’s in all the stories), I do not want to have bad breath and scare him away!

Small World BLOG - 6

Is there more than this?

I sometimes wonder if there even is more than this. If one day I’ll wake up and there will be nothing outside: no walls, no trees, just a big span of nothingness, whatever that looks like.

Sound of murmuring voices. Sometimes they get a bit louder, but I can never make out what they’re saying. Crying. A shout. A series of beeps.

It’s time for bed.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch) Top Shelf (Available at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Crown, necklace, and bracelet: AvaWay, Pearl Diadem, choker, and bracelet
Dress: The Annex, Lilith Gown in China (a VIP colour) (Lilith is available at The Trunk Show until 18 November)
Lipstick and Nails: Cazimi, Ravishing Reds
Eyes: Song, Demi Eyes

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Box
Tower: Poetica, Willow Tower
All Statues: By Nacht, various (Fallen Angel, Ladder Moon, Armillary Sphere, Forfax, Drawing Down the Moon, Proserpina, Brigid
Large Trees: HPMD, Garden Tree 09 With Lights
All Topiary and Topiary Benches: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth
Fountain: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth (rare fountain)
All bounding walls: Rivendale, Gothic Garden
Rose with Ladder: Boudoir, Painting Roses in Red
Background Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Poses: All from An Lar (An Lar Poses is sadly closing its doors after several years of offering some of the most subtle, and most versatile poses in Second Life (in my opinion). Everything at the An Lar Main Store is 50% off through the 31st of October.)