On a Misty Morning….

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Mm, coffee!

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

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A little closer

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

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More Book Forest details!

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

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Mist, and a lamppost.

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

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

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

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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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Talking of Designers….

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

I said recently that as a Fae Queen, I think it’s important for me to keep on top of fashion. I’m very clear about what I like, and I don’t talk too much about what I don’t like, because what I don’t like is kind of arbitrary and has mostly to do with my own taste than anything else. If you’re reading my blog regularly, you know that I love the hair designer at Analog Dog, for example. And that I greatly enjoy the skin painting of folks like 7 Deadly s{K}ins and Curio and Fallen Gods. The truth is, I don’t wear designs I don’t like, because even my life is too short to wear designs I don’t like. There are a lot of great clothing designers out there in all the Realms, and there are many, many people and companies on my list of designers I love. But. If I had to pick just one. If someone said to me, you can only wear one designer’s clothes for the rest of your reign… Well, OK, I’d smack that person, tell them to get a life, and probably have them escorted out of Faerie. But if I had to seriously answer that question, “Who is your absolute favourite designer ever, world without end, amen,” the answer would be Evangeline Miles. 

Evangeline Miles’ clothing studio is called Evie’s Closet, and I’ve been hearing her name bandied about since long before I was in a position to wear such lovely things all the time. Even in Jasper Cove, all those years ago, there were whispers that a person just had to go to Evie’s Closet if they were looking for a beautiful gown.

Well, there’s a new gown from Evie’s Closet! Now, I read all the fashion information that’s to be had both in Faerie and in all the other Realms, so I know when someone is coming out with something new. I also know that the caravans, mostly manned by mortals, taking goods to great faires like We Love Roleplay, often take a detour through Faerie in order to shorten their journeys from their respective Realms. One such caravan came through our lands recently, and well. Let’s just say the caravan driver loved our Fae Mead very much.

Available tomorrow at We Love Roleplay, here is "Evonyn".

Available tomorrow at We Love Roleplay, here is “Evonyn”.

Available tomorrow at We Love Roleplay, here is Evonyn, Evangeline Miles’ newest design for Evie’s Closet.

I managed to talk the caravan driver out of one dress in each colour, and it cost me a pretty penny too, though I’ll probably send a servant to We Love Roleplay to pick up the dresses from the booth itself, since I suspect the caravan driver may have just pocketed the (real! I promise!) money I gave him.

How could anyone say no to a dress like this?

How could anyone say no to a dress like this?

How could anyone say no to a dress like this? It’s summery, the bodice detailing is so intricate, and it comes in five beautiful colours.

Personally, I'm in love with the lilac, but they are all beautiful.

Personally, I’m in love with the lilac, but they are all beautiful.

Personally, I’m in love with the lilac, but they are all beautiful. And I should probably mention the circlet—it’s the one I got from Fair Play, from Independent Objects, such a funny name for a jeweller, but I hear they do other things as well. The necklace is made by an artisan called just Coquette. It’s called Fairy Necklace, which I thought was appropriate.

Another lilac picture, in our magical flower field.

Another lilac picture, in our magical flower field.

Here’s another lilac picture, in our magical flower field.

I guess that even though I love the lilac so much I should show you the other colours.

Gold.

Gold.

This is the Gold colour. I guess some people would describe these colours as pastel, but I think of them more as dusty.

A closer look.

A closer look.

Hair by Analog Dog (natch!), Tiara from Le Forme, necklace from Empyrean Forge. I still love the way this bodice looks.

Blue.

Blue.

Here is the blue colour of this beautiful dress. I love how there are different colours in the tiers that are all different from the colours in the underskirt. Even using subtle, muted, colours, she manages to make the whole thing look perfectly put together. Mostly because it is perfectly put together.

Turn to the left...

Turn to the left..

Here you can see the back of the dress and how all the tiers interact together. You can also see that this necklace from EMO-tions falls down the back and has a lovely hanging jewel just at the small of the back. It’s called Fairytale. Ha! It’s like I have a whole fairy theme going… wait. Circlet is from On A Lark, whom I’m just not seeing enough of lately.

Sand.

Sand.

The Sand colour way offers the same subtle shading as the rest, but in an even more muted shading scheme. I love how the centre tier is almost but not quite a green.

Blush

Blush

Here is the Blush colour way. I really like this hairstyle by Lelutka with this dress: the simple and classical lines seem to fit so well with the dress’ construction. Necklace is by Cae, and the tiers is from The Plastik.

And now I almost feel a little guilty.

And now I almost feel a little guilty.

And now I almost feel a little guilty, for showing you something before it’s officially released. But it’s a beautiful dress from my favourite designer!

I have so many other things to tell you, but showing you this dress just sort of pre-empted everything, dodgy acquisition practice or no.

We Love Roleplay opens on 4 August 3pm SLT. 

Style Cards:

Lilac Dress:
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Evonyn, Lilac (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift in Marshmellow. Available free to group members at the 7 Deadly Skins Main Store
Hair: Analog Dog
Circlet: Independent Objects (Available at Fair Play)
Necklace: Coquette, Fairy Necklace (Seed of Inspiration at the Gacha Garden event!)
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Gold Dress:
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Evonyn, Lilac (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift in Marshmellow. Available free to group members at the 7 Deadly Skins Main Store
Hair: Analog Dog
Circlet: Le Forme, Aegon Tiara (rare!) (Available at The Epiphany)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Timepiece
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Path

Blue Dress:
Dress: 
Evie’s Closet, Evonyn, Lilac (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift in Marshmellow. Available free to group members at the 7 Deadly Skins Main Store
Hair: 
Analog Dog
Circlet: On a Lark
Necklace: EMO-tions, Fairy Tale
Stone Circle: Artisan Fantasy
Trumpet Mushrooms: Cerridwen’s Cauldron
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Sand Dress:
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Evonyn, Lilac (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift in Marshmellow. Available free to group members at the 7 Deadly Skins Main Store
Hair: Lelutka
Circlet: The Plastik
Necklace: Cae
Mushrooms: Roawenwood, Half Deer

Blush Dress:
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Evonyn, Lilac (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift in Marshmellow. Available free to group members at the 7 Deadly Skins Main Store
Hair: Lelutka
Circlet: The Plastik
Necklace: Cae
Ballroom: The Looking Glass, Enchanted Ballroom

A Beautiful Day for Fair Play

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

I talk a lot about getting out of the Great Seelie Forest. It would probably be easy to get the impression that I don’t actually like my realm very much, but that would be a wrong impression. What you don’t hear about here in my little ‘blog’ (I love that word!) are the day-to-day activities that make life as Queen of Faerie a bit of a grind. Meetings, negotiations, handling wars—all that stuff is frankly very boring to me and I would rather pass it off to advisors and people who know more about these things than I do. But I do love the magic of my Realm. That’s why even when I do get out of Faerie, I tend to present most things from within Faerie, if that makes any sense.

And of course, being Queen has its advantages. My friend Kaleidos, who is a jewellery designer and a skin painter, organises a great shopping faire (you know how I love shopping faires!) that actually has a gaming theme, called Fair PlayGetting to go in to an event like this early is such a treat, because you don’t have to navigate narrow streets full of shoppers with the full power of the Shining Throng behind you. (People stare, seriously. It’s embarrassing.)

I think it’s a Fae Queen’s job to keep on top of fashion, and of course as Queen it’s not like I can wear the same dress to this month’s masked ball as I did to last month’s masked ball: people would talk. So without further ado, here are some of the beautiful things I found at Fair Play.

Sometimes, I want to be a Dark Queen.

Sometimes, I want to be a Dark Queen.

Sometimes, I want to be a Dark Queen. The Seelie have such a snooty, xenophobic reputation, and there is the obvious misunderstanding that we are beings of Good while the Unseelie are beings of Evil. That’s simply not true: I have met some truly evil Seelie Royalty in my time, and you could never, ever convince me that our former Unseelie Queen, Faermorn, was a creature of evil. My children are born of both courts, and while I see darkness in them all three, I do not see evil. Perhaps that’s because I am their mother. Or maybe I’m just an optimist. Stop laughing.

This dress is from Vengeful Threads.

This dress is from Vengeful Threads.

This dress is from Vengeful Threads, and it’s called Queen of Tides. There’s even a necklace that comes with it, built along the same theme. Now of course my fae element is water, so much of my power comes from the sea. Tides are a powerful force. As the summer begins just barely to wane, I begin to think about how I will get us through the autumn, and remembering that the sea isn’t just a summer place is a good way to start. When I find a dress like this that makes me imagine myself in some future role, or even some role I may never have but would long to have, I love finding just the right things to go with it. And lo! and behold, a mask maker called Chimeric Fashions had such a beautiful mask at this event, and it seemed to be made for this dress. It’s their Butterfly Domino mask and it’s available at the Fair Play faire in three different colours. Of course, no Fae Queen’s wardrobe would be complete without an array of wings, and these are from masterful winemaker Deviance. Amusingly, they’re called Unseelie Wings. I know I got them at a shopping faire years ago, but I think you could still find them if you wen to the Deviance store. Clutie helped me braid my hair into this beautiful style I learned from Analog Dog called Ever, and there I was, the Queen of Tides, ready to survey my realm’s rocky beaches and bleak coastlines. It’s enough to make a girl forget she’s landlocked.

Queen Of Tides

Queen Of Tides

Oh, but who is the Queen of Tides? Is she an explorer? A warrior? A sorceress? Only time will tell.

Sometimes, I feel the Wyld coursing through me.

Sometimes, I feel the Wyld coursing through me.

Sometimes, I feel the Wyld coursing through me, and that’s when I need to let my hair down (all the way down) and not worry about whether it’s just come out of a long braid and is curling in unmanageable wildness everywhere. I used to work so hard to control my hair, but now I only do this for special occasions, and letting it down is definitely my preferred method. Possibly because I’m lazy, and possibly because I love the oils Clutie finds to dress my hair. This dress, from Blue Moon enterprise, makes me want to leave my hair down, take my shoes off, and dance. I love all the names designers pick for their dresses, and this one has a personality: it’s called Asiza, and again it comes in an array of colours. This dark purple, called grape, is my favourite, and since we’re peeking in to the dark time of the year, I can tell you that it makes me think of harvest, of singing through hard decisions, of preparation but not overcompensation. In September, when the nights are still warm, I will put on this dress and go among my people with a bottle of mead and a song in my heart.

There are of course problems unique to Royalty.

There are of course problems unique to Royalty.

There are of course problems unique to Royalty. I nearly laughed my head off one afternoon when Aoibheann and I were getting ready for some event or other and I was taking hours choosing a circlet to wear. I finally settled on one, and I said, “This is a very versatile crown.” She burst out laughing at me. I’m not kidding: she pointed and everything. “Do you realise what you just said?” she asked. “Some people make these kinds of decisions about a belt, or a ring, but you have to make them about crowns.” And then she laughed some more. When I find a good circlet, I snap it up because I’m always looking for circlets and crowns that will go with a variety of gowns and levels of dressing-up or -down. Independent Objects has a booth at Fair Playand they’re offering this lovely circlet called Mearwen. It is beautifully designed, serious enough to be Queenly without being overpowering (I mean, really, you don’t want to go out without your crown if you’re a Queen, but you also don’t want to wear an intimidating mass of metal on your head if you’re just going out to water the flowers, right?). Even better, it is enchanted so you can change the colours of the jewels, and that means it will go with almost anything. I honestly had a hard time taking it off.

Speaking of different moods, sometimes I miss wearing trousers!

Speaking of different moods, sometimes I miss wearing trousers!

Speaking of different moods, sometimes I miss wearing trousers! I remember when I first came to the Lucky Leaf, all those years ago, Aoibheann being completely scandalised that a woman had shown up in the pub wearing trousers. Nathaniel loves to relate that story when he’s telling people about the mortal girl I once thought I was. Jinx makes such beautiful dresses, but I fell in love with this trouser ensemble, because these are trousers I can realistically wear in Faerie. It comes with a matching pair of shoes, but the thing I really love about it, and this is probably my long-lost LARP background talking, are all the laces! Now, if I had to dress myself every morning, they might be a bit of a pain, but my fae attendants love being able to lace me into things, and I love the luxury of being laced into things as well. It’s called Kessick and comes in six colours that could be realistically mixed and matched, since they’re all complementary. Once again, the circlet from Independent Objects is a perfect accessory for the outfit, since it’s so very versatile. Oh! And the wings! These wings don’t come from Fair Playbut they’re so whimsical and fun, don’t you think? I found them at The Fantasy Collective and had such a lovely chat with the wingmaker, La Biche, but she would not reveal to me the magical secret for making the little stars inside the wing membranes actually move! Then again, if great artisans like her revealed all their secrets, everyone would be making wings as beautiful as these. She named them, appropriately, Galaxy.

Longing for flight...

Longing for flight…

Even though I need no wings to fly, wearing wings makes me feel like more of a flyer, if that makes any sense. And our Court Skin Painter (yes, I have a Court Skin Painter!) found this beautiful design from Fallen Gods that I have asked him to paint on me again and again. It’s called Persephone. 

Kern made me choose this dress.

Kern made me choose this dress.

Kern made me choose this dress, and I’m so glad he did. At the time as we were looking over the beautiful things in the Mistique stall, I almost passed it by. But he kept pointing it out and pointing it out. “Don’t you think,” I asked, “it’ll make me look like a dancing girl?”

His reply surprised me. He took my hand (and that man’s glamour just makes a woman shiver all over!) and said softly, “My Queen, you used to dance. I used to watch you, in the mornings, dancing in the bower, every morning. Your Court duties make you forget sometimes that you are a dancer, always. And this dress will help you remember that.” So in the end I chose the Silver colour of this, Mistique’s beautiful Samina dress.

I love the detailing on the bodice, or bra, or whatever you want to call the top bit.

I love the detailing on the bodice, or bra, or whatever you want to call the top bit.

I love the detailing on the bodice, or bra, or whatever you want to call the top bit, and the little appliqué motif matches the belt beautifully. Such a lovely thing to wear, with all the hanging beaded fringes moving as I move, turning as I turn, dancing as I dance.

The dress called for a hairstyle that moved as well.

The dress called for a hairstyle that moved as well.

The dress called for a hairstyle that moved as well, and this long ponytail from EMO-tions is a favourite of mine. It’s called Mystery, and I’ve had it for some time. I come back to it again and again, and my Court hairdresser and I have several little jokes about it being that one old ponytail I just can’t seem to stop wearing. The headpiece is also from EMO-tions, a new item in their shop, and it’s called Genesis. It’s meant to go with another of their hair styles, but I think it works beautifully with this one as well. The lavender beads swing freely round my head and remind me of those long earrings I used to wear as a teenager in London.

So we came home from the Faire.

So we came home from the Faire.

So we came home from Fair Play, and we arrived back in the Great Seelie Forest just as dawn was beginning to break. I had worn the Samina dress home from the outing, and Kern was right: wearing it made me remember I was a dancer again, and so I danced the dawn in on one of our exotic Trumpet Mushrooms from the amazing home and garden designs of Cerridwen’s Cauldron.

“O sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on earth.” —Roman Paine

O sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on earth. —Roman Paine

So yes, I danced the sun up before we retired back to the treehouse for a much-desired full English breakfast (Bran does these things because he loves me!), coffee, tea, and all the promise of today. And today is a great day for Fair Play.

The Fair Play event opened today, August 1, at midnight SLT. There are so many more beautiful things there than I could possibly show off in just this one post, so expect some more goodies from Fair Play to be showcased here over the next few days (or weeks!). 

Style Card for items not specifically mentioned and linked above:
Body
: Maitreya, Lara
Skin: Pink Fuel, Sora Alabaster
Ears: Lumae, Leeve Long Ears
Ring: JCNY, Forever
The Genesis headdress is NEW from EMO-tions and available at the EMO-tions Main Store.

Location: The Great Seelie Forest, Wicked Wylds.

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

See all the photos on Flickr?

Fair Play Logo

What I Did After My Summer Holiday, by The Amazing Catwoman

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Well, first of all, those fuckers in New Brighton fired me after one night on the job without so much as a “fuck you very much, TAC.” Fucking vamps. I mean, at least you’d think a crowd like that would be up to date on whether or not women could be badasses, but no; I was too small, not intimidating enough, why on earth would anybody hire a little girl like me as a bouncer, blah, blah, blah, she’ll be somebody’s ghoul by tomorrow midnight, blah-ti-blah. Fuck you, vampires of New Brighton.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem. I mean, seriously. Ghosts? Fine, fine, fine. I loaded up with anti-ghost herbs and took the notes from the fixer. It was a weird realm jump: I materialised outside a fucking cemetery over a sewer drain, and the steam was godawful. Well, fine. I’m not one to be a complete idiot, as I’m sure you know by now, so instead of heading immediately into the cemetery, I got suited up, then made my way into town to find out what was going on from the locals.

Town, wouldn't you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted. It was a ghost town. (See what I did there?) So I sat on the steps with an abandoned teddy bear and planned my next move.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters. Of course, everything was fine until I actually did hear a loud moaning sound coming from…. well, from everywhere, really.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

These things always have a source. That moaning continued, though, from just fucking everywhere. It was unnerving. It would stop, then start again, like a crazy sentient wind. Once I got further into town, I noticed signs for a carnival. Oh, great. Carnivals are hotbeds for weirdness, so I figured it’d be worth checking out as a possible source of the trouble.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked. It was half full of water, there were crows everyfuckingwhere, all this stuff looked like it had been dilapidated for decades, as did the rest of the town, really, and you don’t even want to know about the creepy dolls: those little things are seriously unnerving.

Then, a freaky thing happened: a rift opened in the sky, I kid you not. And I fucking froze. My heart rate went up, there was a pounding in my head and my ears rang and all my nerves started to tingle, and I knew, just knew, that I had to get away from there, and fast. Fuck my fee, fuck the job: there was no saving Ironwood Hills. As a realm, it is a goner, there is nobody here except creepy dolls and a strange brigade of little children playing in the refuse, and just forget the whole thing, I was running. Out of there. Fast.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark. Only I was still frozen in place. Fucking paralysed. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before; what the fucking fuck. I know, I know, I’m cursing too much. Blame her: She made me a potty mouth.

Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy, and then blackness.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach. On a beautiful day. With my heart still pounding. I wasn’t wearing my same clothes, and something had gone crazy with my hair, and there was one of those floaty planes—what are those things called, anyway—over the sea.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again. Great. This was just fucking great.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow. Take me, take me, out of this place. Take me away, lady goddess.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle. There were lutes playing. Servants quietly scurried around with their eyes on the floor. Nobody remarked on my sudden appearance: they just all said, “My Lady” whenever I passed them. “My Lady” would like a fucking dirty martini with extra olive juice, thank you very much.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world. It seemed to me that if this was some alternate life for me, I would be a very bored “Lady”. And half a dozen people explained to me that the purple of my dress complimented the red of my hair, which had been bound up in some admittedly impressive braid thing. The one thing I’d have loved to take away from this existence, which frankly reminded me all too much of her, was the necklace I found around my neck when I materialised. Such a beautiful thing. Perhaps I’ll see if… no. I am not taking any more favours from her than I have to. And why was I here, anyway? What possible impulse could have lead my shadow to bring me to such a place, unless it was just looking for something as far away as possible from a beach? I did note, when I looked out this window, that we were absurdly high, on some impossible peak. The castle seemed accessible only by a bridge that it would have been impossible to cross even on horseback. I did not waste much time wondering how supplies got in: enough of the servants were sporting pointy ears for me to imagine this must be some sort of an elfin or faerie kingdom. Still, it was terrifying to be on a beach one minute and then trussed up in a corseted dress the next. Ugh. I reached for my shadow again.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, this day is so horrible. Late night / early morning mist, and my dad shouting from the doorway and my mum looking out the kitchen window and crying, but fuck them. Rusty and I are going to Cornwall to surf and live a life like God intended people to live, free and not tied down to stupid parents.

And my dad yelling,

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!”

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!” And the fight going on and on and the mist burning off and Rusty just lying down to sleep in the back of the VW because he didn’t want to deal with my parents, and me fighting my way into the house again to grab a few things: I mean, how is a girl meant to survive without an iPhone, anyway?

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad storms out of the house to work, and my mum just stands there crying, and all of a sudden all I can think of is being a little girl again.

And I’m overwhelmed by this sense of loss, and Rusty finally gets fed up with waiting and starts the engine, and so I turn to get in…

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning, and nothing makes sense, and I see stars and have to grab for the van’s open window so I won’t fall over….

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me. I land with a thump on her fucking altar, in the middle of the Great Seelie Forest, surrounded by giggling demifae and gossipy little will o’ the wisps, and it’s late morning and I’m stark fucking naked, not that it matters here, but what the fuck just happened to me?

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand. “Don’t do that, Tacey,” says Clutie—you’d guess she’d be around, it being her domain and all. “You’ve had quite a shock. We’ll get a healer to you soon as we can: we think you’ve had a panic attack and spun yourself round several realms on your way back home.”

“This is not my home,” I snap, and it’s “Tac, not Tacey.” I fucking hate that name. “Tacey” means “quiet”. I mean, seriously. I am not Tacey. I am The Amazing Catwoman. Tac.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards. “Whose crap is this on the altar, anyway?” I mutter as I fall. But when you’re in the Magnificent Fae Queen’s back garden, there are always demifae ready to catch you when you fall over, even if they pull the shit out of your hair.

“Fine,” Clutie says, and there’s a hiss in her breath. “Tac, then, and it might not be home but we think you ought to stay for a little while, just until you get your realm-walking feet back. We’ll take you to see Dyisi if you want, though our healers can repair most of the damage.” Her voice softens as they settle me back down onto the altar. “It’s leftovers, by the way, from the Queen’s handfasting. It was just last week.”

“Oh, great,” I groan. “All this and I have to put up with her married bliss on top of everything else?”

“Oh, do calm down, Tacey—Tac,” she corrects herself before I can correct her. “So you don’t like Faerie. Well, you’re going to stay here for a little while, so shut your gob and get used to it.” Wow, she’s as bad as my dad back in…. what was the name of that town again?

“I was somebody else,” I say quietly.

“Probably several somebodies,” Clutie replies as if I’ve done the universe some great harm. “Now settle yourself, ground and centre, and let us help you.”

What happened to me?

What happened to me?

What happened to me? I rise up on my toes, breathe in the (admittedly) sweet air of Faerie, and let my feet feel the altar, the altar to the Earth, the earth to the Water, the water to the Sky, the sky to the sun, the sun to the great initiator, Fire. The sun of Faerie is like nowhere else, and I bathe in it, breathe it in, let myself go calm. I was a savage on a beach. I was a queen in a castle. I was a teenage girl running away from home. And for just a moment, goddess knows how long it’ll last, this does feel like home. I just hope I don’t have to deal too much with her.H

Style Cards

Hair Fair is opening as I write this, and the sensational Queue Marlow has outdone herself with this year’s offerings from Analog DogThe Amazing Catwoman is wearing all the new Hair Fair styles, plus one style that’s new in the Analog Dog Main Store, in this post. There’s also some great stuff from The Season’s Story and Oh My Gacha as well: check out the detail style cards below for lists and links!

Ironwood Hills, first photo:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Clothes: Faida, Jeanne, Brown
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Hellebore Boots, Brown
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Ironwood Hills, Subsequent Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Cirilla (blouse, boots, corset, and pants)

Timeless Memories (beach) Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: 
Fashionably Dead Designs, Cheeky Ranger (Tunic, Boots)
Tights: Izzie’s Cozy Tights
Tattoo: White Widow, Tombstone (At AnyBody)

Castle Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Molly (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Salvation (At Fair Play!)
Dress: Les Encantades, Grace (At the Medieval Faire!)

Suburban England Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Psylocibin (New at Hair Fair!)
Eyes: IKON, Destiny Eyes, Moor
Skirt: Wimey, Dark Denim Skirt RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
Tops: Wimey, Summer of Fandom Gacha commons (At The Season’s Story!)
Minivan: Bad Unicorn Clothing, “Prop” Summah Minivan RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
House: Breno, The Smith House (At The Fantasy Collective!)

Great Seelie Forest Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Stone Circle: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Circle
Trumpet Mushrooms: Cerridwen’s Cauldron
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Locations:
Ironwood Hills, a beautifully creepy sim with open rez-rights, is a fantastic location for photography and just to explore. There’s loads to see, so go back often, and pass a few Lindens their way: it costs money to keep a sim open of course, and making it available to the public like this is such a beautiful gift.
Timeless Memories, fairly recently redesigned with a Mediterranean flair, is a gorgeous place both to visit and to photograph. I’m sure I’ll be back and grab more than just a few beach photos to scare TAC with sharks!
Skye Neist Point, part of the Studio Skye sims, is one of my favourite places to go when I need gorgeous landscapes and beautiful buildings. Studio Skye will also make you long to design your own forests and gardens with their meticulously and elegantly designed landscapes.

Other Locations: The suburban street was built in a sandbox, because I couldn’t find anything out in the Wide Second World that met my needs for this part of The Amazing Catwoman’s journey, and of course the Great Seelie Forest is part of Wicked Wylds, a private, invite-only roleplaying sim that invites good writers who want to create great characters.

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