The Certainty of Rain

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Hottest summer anyone can remember.

This year has been something else. It’s been the longest, hottest summer anybody can remember. And here I was, thinking I was the luckiest Naiad alive: spend a summer studying folklore and literature in Paris, get to know the Nymphs of the Seine, practice my not-very-good French on a city full of every kind of being you can imagine. So I’m packed into a student flat on the top floor of what would be called a flophouse in any other country but here is called a “mansion” (it is to laugh). With four other Nymphie-types, one of whom is a fire elemental and is loving this weather.

I, however, am not. I spent evenings out on the open roof, and then sometimes I climb up a little higher if I need to spend time in what wind there is.

Rain had been in the forecast for days. I got home from class, hiked up the five flights of stairs, and immediately walked into the shower—fully clothed because I was really not feeling patient—then out onto the roof to get some air.

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Dark clouds fell across the sky.

Dark clouds fell across the sky. I looked up hopefully. Sometimes we Naiads have a sense that can tell us when rain is coming, and my fingers were tingling. This could be the night!

This is probably the last summer I can ever do anything like this. With Britain leaving the European Union (and whose stupid idea was that, anyway? I wasn’t even old enough to vote at the time) next March, there will be predictable problems with student visas, particularly if you’re classed Supernatural. There is even a party in the UK that wants to restrict the Supernatural population only to “indigenous British, Irish and Welsh species,” which makes absolutely no sense at all. So I’m having no fun because it’s too hot, I can’t get to the river enough because my course load is so heavy, and there’s no rain.

Finally, there was thunder, and then the rain started. Oh, yes!

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I climbed up onto one of the chimneys.

I climbed up onto one of the chimneys. Here, you can see the expanse of the city spread out below you, although at night it becomes Paris At Night, which is kind of dingy and dark, but it’s Paris, so people think that’s romantic.

Rain was falling in earnest now, and that made me feel alive and free and at home.

Right now it’s hard to feel at home anywhere. I mean, the Supernatural Ministry is arguing that water and tree spirits, Naiads and Dryads, have precedent because water and trees occur everywhere, but the Preserve Our Paranormal Party (the party of P) thinks we have our origin in Greece, so they want to deport us all to Greece. Greece? What would I do there? I’m a British citizen. I don’t speak Greek. And some of the Continental supernaturals are downright snobby. Kind of like the POPPs want us to be. Of course, because it’s a grey line with me, the other supernatural races who are under threat think it must be easy for us, so I don’t fit in with them either.

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Caught in the middle.

Caught in the middle, that’s me. I don’t belong in Greece. But if the POPPs have their way, I won’t have a home in England either. What happens to me? It’s easy to get into this vein where I feel sorry for myself and just want to dive into the Seine and never come out (thought that’d be a bad idea; it’s muddy down there).

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Eventually I wandered back to our balcony proper and just sat.

Eventually, I wandered back to our balcony proper and just sat, enjoying the water pooling under my body, the rain on my feet, the rain everywhere. It showed no signs of stopping.

“I’m going to close the window now, Gwen,” said Kari, the fire elemental. “This humidity is fucking with my mojo. You coming in?” She chuckled as she spoke, probably anticipating my response.

“I might really sleep out here,” I replied. “This is heaven for me, you know.”

“Suit yourself; I’ll leave it unlocked.” Kari shut the window.

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Dancing was the best solution

I made my way down to the upper roof and just decided dancing was the best solution. I have six months to worry about what to do in March. Maybe they’ll change the whole thing and make it OK for England to be my home as it always has been. Maybe I’ll have to take a crash course in Greek. I can’t do anything about it here, can’t do anything about it now, so why am I ruining this glorious rainstorm by dwelling on it? I didn’t even let my mind wander onto the environment and reason why this summer is so hot. It would only depress me further.

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Rain Dance

No, no use to dwell. Better to dance. Better to let the water take me over. I only have a few weeks left here, and then it’s back to cloudy Cambridge and the Lit department at Anglia Ruskin, where at least nobody stares at me like I ought to be deported.

Yet.

NB from HM Queen Gwyneth: I have no idea where this dream came from. It felt very much like the world I used to live in, only with supernatural elements disclosed and some unthinkable idea that the UK would ever leave the EU, which would be the dumbest thing ever, and nobody would ever allow that to happen. It was like living in some bizarre dystopian novel preface, where humans made every stupid decision they possible could and the author couldn’t pick the ones they liked best, so they decided to just throw them all in there. Climate change, Xenophobia, and this terror that World War III was on the horizon brimming in my mind. I obviously have more darkness and despair in my subconscious than I ever could imagine in waking life. Beginning to wonder if the dreams really are nothing more than just my mind doing what-if somersaults at night.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project Genus Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Juniper – Iriana (Available NOW at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Dark Passions Koffin Nails, Dark Orchid (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
Eyes: Mesange, River Eyes
Dress: Pixicat, Ava Dress
Top: Decoy, Carmen Blouse
Jeans: Spirit, Undina Jeans
Shoes: Atelier Pepe, Maya
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Nimbus
Hair: Mina, Sandra
Makeup: Alaskametro, Babygoth
Eyelashes: CowTea, Doe-eyed Eyelashes
Skin Rain: Izzie’s, Wet Body and Face

Environment: Milk Motion, The Roofs of Paris
Poses:
Nantra, blame it on the rain
EvoLove, kiss the rain
Roquai Poses, Rain 1b (last photo)

We Are All The Story

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Alone in the woods…

Alone in the woods, I am looking for something. I don’t know what I am looking for, but that’s not unusual.

I hear a noise, not far away, and I turn to see

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Another version of me, telling stories to animals.

Another version of me, telling stories to animals. Her/my voice rises and falls, and they are rapt. Dragons flutter round the edges, bunnies cavort; even the squirrels have her/my attention.

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So why am I here?

So why am I here, when I am also there? And what does she have that I don’t have? The forest grows dark around me, and I fear I will be lost.

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“The forest grew darker around her, and she feared she would be lost,”

“The forest grew darker around her, and she feared she would be lost,” says the storyteller/me. And suddenly I realise, not what she has the I haven’t, but what I have that she hasn’t.

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She is telling a story about me.

She is telling a story about me. I am the writer and I am also the protagonist. I am the captive and the captivator. I am the creatrix and the created.

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“We are all the story,” she says.

“We are all the story,” she says. “We are all the beginning and the end of drama, quest, beginnings, middles, and ends. We are all of it.

I am all of it.

You are all of it.

Build your story. Star in it. Create yourself as you create something else. What more magic can there be?

Style Cards:
Gwyneth in the woods
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Gaia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Carter (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyebrows: Alaskametro, “Glimmer” Eyebrows
Eyes: Song, Nagi Eyes
Gown: The Annex, Antonia Gown, Warm (Available NOW at  We Love Roleplay!)
Hair and Garland: Tableau Vivant, Silvana (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Photo Background: Serenity Style, ChoiBoi Mystic Forest Backdrop

Gwyneth with the animals
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Neve
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Carter (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyebrows: SCS Fresh Eyebrows, Blonde
Eyes: Song, Nagi Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Lady Ariana Gown, Blue (Available NOW at  We Love Roleplay!)
Hair: Mina, Carmen
Wings: Muse, Miss TWA 2015 Wings
Necklace and Earrings: Empyrean Forge, Springleaf Necklace and Earrings
Crown: Bauhaus Movement, Rapunzel Crown
Photo Background: Kraftwork, The Book of Dreams
Animals:
Bunnies: anc, Cotton Bunny Cappuccino
Puppy Dogs: anc, Flottante Puppy Cream
Raccoon: Jian, Raccoon Static
Winged Cat: Half Deer, Winged Cat, Contemplate
Black and White Cat: Fashionably Dead, Cat 11- Sitting
Sitting Dragon, Alchemy, Dragonette, Air (rare)
Marble Foxes: Jian, Marble Fox
Faunicorn: Jinx, Faunicorn 5
Squirrel: HEXtraordinary, Fat White Squirrel
Tabby Cat: Fashionably Dead, Cat 12, Curious
Flying Dragons: Half Deer Solstice Dragons Leafwing, Infinite Light, and PermaFrost
Unicorn: Culprit, UniQrn, SnowLeopard Baby

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February Fashion Show!

Sometimes, we find beautiful things in the unlikeliest of places. I think cities like Nu Jyorck excel at this kind of thing. Great artwork on the sides of tenements, sculptures made out of rubbish, and of course the annual February Fae Fashion Show, which takes place in a different abandoned building every year. And while I’m certain my ongoing friendship with Arahaelon is behind many things that happen to me in Nu Jyorck, it still gave me a thrill when the FFS (best initials ever!) crew got in touch to say they’d like me to be in the show this year!

All the models are Fae, though the audience is a mix: Nu Jyorck has such a fae-worshipping vibe that tickets are pretty hot, even for the most expensive city in most Realms. Of course, official photos of the show itself can only be distributed by the FFS corporation and its official publicist, but when you’re a participant, they give you promotional rehearsal photos to share!

So, here are the outfits I’m modelling at the best fashion ticket in Nu Jyorck!

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The Annex: Larkin Gown, for The Trunk Show, Purple

The Annex has such a way with things that are both sexy and simple. The cut of this gown may seem to leave little to the imagination, but it’s flared enough that it moves well on the dance floor, too. And the colours! Such an intense purple here, but the fabric is reflective enough that it appears to be several different shades. The lovely people at No Match handled the hair for this gown: it’s their No Promise style. The necklace is by Vae of The Plastik fame: it’s called Sawola. Zibska, such a deft hand with pastels, did the makeup; their Adelia line works perfectly here. Underneath the eyeshadow and lipstick, the skin painting was accomplished by the amazing folks over at 7 Deadly s{K}ins. Where would I be without them?

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Here’s a closer view, mostly so you can get an idea of how the bodice on the gown falls.

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The collaboration that is Silvan Moon Designs never fails to amaze and delight, and this classy gown is no exception. The pearl collar and neckline are the only adornments on a dress that is just perfectly cut with a great tulip shape. The delicate brocade fabric really sets off the dress, and once again No Match did some magic on my hair for this style: the look is called No Halo, even though I kind of felt as if I were wearing a halo because of this gorgeous Avaway Diadem the organisers put me in.

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Avaway Diadem

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Ghee: Overblown Lace Pashmina, for Sense.

I love it when I get to play with more modern, “casual” clothing styles, even though I think you could wear this pashmina a lot of different ways. Here, it’s paired with an old pair of jeans from my personal wardrobe and some great boots from Empire, the Nelumbo Boots. The hair is by TruthAstra.

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Yummy Truth Hair!

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Silvery K: Soiree Beil Dress and Gloves

Such a fun dress from Silvery K! It comes with matching gloves as well. The shoes are from Pure Poison, the Aurora Sandals, and they might as well have been made for this dress. Hair by MonsoJunghwa. The FootPaw Industries necklace is from my personal collection.

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Cazimi did an amazing job on my nails, don’t you think?

And mm, sexy lace detailing on the bodice and gloves from Silvery K.

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Shanghai: Bella Gown, Rose (for Enchantment)

Now, I’ve seen this before at big Nu Jyorck events. Somehow, they think you’re “more fae” if you come from a “fae realm”. That is, if you come from the Metaverse equivalent of a cultural backwater, you’re somehow more legit as a fae. Which means that they’re always going to try and put you in fairytale gowns and wings and pretty headdresses because they think you’re somehow more honest in those outfits than a Nu Jyorck native would be. Well, that’s poppycock, of course, but I do love a great ballgown, and this is definitely one. The meticulously crafted petals set the whole dress off beautifully, and that skirt is so reflective you feel like you’re wearing liquid gold. Magika provided the hairstyle, Talk Like That, with the headdress by Elise (Silvia) and choker by Empyrean Forge (Majesty) that look like they were made for each other.

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I think this is just a zoom of the same shot, but I like that you can see more of the headdress here. 

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Liz: Abrielle Dress, for Sense

Now, this is a dress I could wear almost anywhere, particularly as the hope of spring is alive in most places. Liz‘s Abrielle Dress has such fun lines, and I love the pearl embellishments. The shoes are from Like DesignDoll Shoes. They are also a lot of fun, and Nani did this incredible Kenna thing with my hair!

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This dress just makes me smile!

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Salt: Belle Gown, for Enchantment

Salt did a beautiful Belle Gown, and of course you know they had to put me in some legit wings sometime! These were crafted by Drastic, and are called Butterfly WingsDeLa did the hair for this outfit: the style is called Melora, which makes me think of that series of fantasy novels I loved as a little kid, the ones with all the dragons.

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Here, you can see the great Cazimi Nails, but the necklace is obscured by my hand, I’m afraid.

I hope the necklace will be visible in some of the official Show photos: it’s from Bliensen & Maitai, and I’ve always liked their work.

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Alter: Viviana Asymmetric Wedding Dress, for Sense

I wouldn’t necessarily wear this dress to get married in, but I’d wear it just about anywhere else. It’s from Alter, the Viviana Asymmetric Wedding Dress, and I love the high-low effect and the loveliness of the bodice here. The BareRose Lace Wings fit beautifully with it, and the jewellery is from Adorsy, the Emily necklace and armbands. These stunning shoes are from Cult: they’re the Desire HeelsExile created this hairstyle, called Jemma.

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A closer look at wings, hair, and necklace? Yes!

So, that’s all eight outfits I was asked to model for this badly-kept-secret fashion show in the steamy underbelly of Nu Jyorck! It was a great experience. I hope they’ll ask me again sometime.

Style Cards:
Most details are in individual descriptions; however:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Nena (Available at the BRAND NEW 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store! —don’t forget to update your landmarks!)
Eyes: AzDesign, Mandala Blue Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Nails: Cazimi
Venue: Trompe Loeil, Cathedral Catwalk Skybox
Poses: All from An Lar; Various Series

 

Faerie By Night

I should have mentioned I’d be away. I had a lot of travel planned for May, and coming off the heels of Fantasy Faire, I had a lack of energy for most things that kept me from doing much besides sleeping when I wasn’t working. Anyway, I’m sorry. I never expected my absence to be so long.

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The Fox Gate

One of the things I’ve been working hard on over the last six weeks or so is the creation of Faerie for White Owl Island. To me, Faerie is an outpouring of the Queen’s imagination, culminating in her own personal Realm, her own Faerie. Over the next few blog posts, assuming I can stay awake and am not too exhausted from being the only White Owl Island admin who is also holding down a full time job, I will do my best to give you a sense of what this Faerie looks like, and maybe why it’s so different.

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Tower Meadow

There’s more than one Tower in the Tower Meadow. I might have a collection of them.

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The hair is from Wasabi Pills, the eyes are from Mesange, the crown is from Junbug, the necklace is from Empyrean Forge, and the wings are from Evolved Creatures.

The skin Gwyneth is wearing is from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. It’s Naomi, currently at the EBento event, which will be open for at least another week. The hair, crown and necklace are all available at Fameshed.

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Fantastic Dress is from Silvan Moon Designs!

Silvan Moon Designs never ceases to please with their lovely texturing and great original mesh. This whole outfit was put together for the White Owl Island opening beach party, which was a big success. Thanks to everyone who came out, and additional thanks to Zander Greene for giving us an amazing night full of music and fun. My fellow admins, Moxy Macbeth, Dyisi Oppewall, Kitori Unplugged, Dickensian Dreamer, and Benbold Resident have done a great job of putting things together, and I’m excited at the number of applications that have been coming in!

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Of course, with the good sometimes comes the bad….

….and it appears that FaeWatch has set up an office in Faerie. Well, if nothing else, this means Cherish Gelato will be on the trail of all your favourite Fae celebrities and scandals! Gwyneth may not like it much on an IC level, but personally, I’m looking forward to all the embarrassing things Cherish may do both to herself and others.

I’m hoping to have some more cool stuff to show you in the near future, and I’ll do my best not to be a stranger. Exhaustion is a crazy thing to feel.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Strawberry (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sheba Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Naomi, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at eBento!)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Summersong (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown, Junbug, Crown Diadem Amethyst/Silver (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Rohanna of the Moors (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Shoes: Friday, Koko Wraps

Location: White Owl Island, Faerie.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never come back from an unscheduled blog-cation without it!

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Blink, and you could miss it….

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This month’s GENRE theme is Victorian!

There is always so much going on! If you’re not careful, you could miss stuff. For example, this month’s GENRE theme is Victorian! Genre is one of those events that has been going on for a few years and has had a few spikes and dips, but the last couple of months have been amazing. Last month was Viking, and I forgot to tell you about it, or I had too much other stuff to talk about, or my work schedule got out of hand (likely), so I didn’t get around to that. This time around, I promised myself I’d talk about Genre. I also haven’t got a chance to talk very much about what’s happening at Hairology this month, so I want to show you three different outfits in this post. Don’t worry: I do have an epic story post coming, hopefully tomorrow! But tonight is all about Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion!

This dress is Senzafine‘s Zenobia gown, and her textures are really striking, no matter what colour you choose. I can never choose, so I tend to fatpack her gowns, but that’s because I have a hard time with, you know, choices.

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Here, you can see a glimpse of the bodice detailing.

Here, you can see the glimpse of the bodice detailing; I love the smocking on the front. The skin I’m wearing is another of the new offerings from 7 Deadly s{K}insIzara has really hit it out of the park for the SL Skin FairMaliThe skin is built around 7 Deadly s{K}ins’ new body appliers, and they are so easy to use. Mali is a Lelutka face applier. I kept Gwyneth a redhead for this post, because I love the red eyebrows on this skin. The freckles are also great.

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Stealthic hair from Hairology!

The hair here is Stealthic, for Hairology, which closes in a few days. The hairlines and textures on Stealthic‘s hair have been impressing me since I first discovered them at the 2015 Hair Fair, and this is one of my favourites to date: Cadence. This is Lelutka’s new Cate Bento mesh head, which is a little softer than the Simone. The ears are Swallow‘s Elf Ears High Definition, the eyes are from Mesange: the Bering eyes are available for a few more days at We ❤ Roleplay. I found the Earthstones Velvet Rose Choker at The Liaison Collaborative.

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Another great hair from Hairology!

This next outfit features another great hair from Hairology, Runaway’s Jasmin. The skin is another of 7 Deadly s{K}ins‘ releases for Skin FairWednesday. These are the same eyes from Mesange: I just loved the purple colour with this dress, and I kept the rose choker on her as well.

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Beautiful furniture from Raindale adorns this set for the whole shoot.

Beautiful furniture from Raindale adorns this set for the whole shoot: these items are from the Birdside gacha. It was at the February Crossroads events, but you can find it at Raindale’s main store now. The gown is from BareRoseTasha in purple. The gown comes in sections, and it’s beautifully shaped. it comes with boots, but here Gwyneth is wearing the Harriet Booties from Wicca’s Wardrobe, which are also available at Genre, along with the dress.

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No shoot featuring this dress would be complete without a picture of the amazing BOW.

No shoot featuring this dress would be complete without a picture of the amazing BOW. When I tried this dress on, the first thing I noticed was that I had a huge bow on mah butt! And I kind of love it!

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Not everything at Genre is formal Victorian.

Not everything at this month’s Genre is formal Victorian: this is Poeme‘s Neo-Victorian in Damasque, here worn with some black legging appliers and the Wicca’s Wardrobe boots.

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This is the new Catwa Lona head.

This is the new Catwa Lona head. One of my favourite styles from the March Hairology is from Iconic; this is Esme, and I’ve been wearing it around just casually for weeks now. This is a Lumae freckled applier for Catwa, Ella, also available at Skin Fair. The eyes are once again Mesange; these are the Capriccio Eyes, which you can get for a few more days at The Chapter 4. The necklace is from Empyrean ForgeBreccia.

So, yeah; not a lot of my usual scintillating content here, but do take a trip to Genre. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to visit the Skin Fair before it closes!

No style cards for this post: everything’s in the text, and I’m kinda tired, and it’s Dyisi’s RL birthday, so I have to think of her right now. 🙂

In the Belly

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The moment of Spring

There is a moment, no matter where I am in the Realm, a moment when I can feel the world begin to wake from dark to light. Today I was walking from the frozen lake, over the frozen ground, toward a little tea shop I like, and I saw, for the first time, grass growing through the snow. And I felt a flutter in my belly, the sure sign of Imbolg: Spring is in the belly of the world now, growing as a child grows inside its mother. Almost a secret. Almost.

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A wonder, and a secret.

A wonder, and a secret. I wonder if this is what it would have felt like, if I’d grown the children in my own belly, those first flutterings of life. I sigh at the thought of my children, all so far away from me, all so removed from my life, and all so young still. Am I wistful that I did not carry three children in my belly? Honestly, no: I am a selfish Queen. And I can say that now and not feel even the shadow of guilt: my mortal past is fading from me more quickly now that I have spent a season truly embracing winter. Why did I not do that before? I don’t know. But spring. Spring, and the promise of new life. Quiet joy, that’s what it is.

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Quiet joy, quiet wonder.

Quiet joy, quiet wonder. Just from a few blades of bare, sunlit grass. The trees springing in to life do not fill me with as much joy as this little patch of green. Because look how it has grown through the snow. Which reminds me, there will be snowdrops soon, and bluebells. And the Equinox, and the shift of power, and then, oh, then. Beltainne and two years of being handiest to Nathaniel will feel gone in an instant.

For this moment, I am content. Imbolg. In the belly. Spring in the Land’s belly, hope and warmth in my belly.

Gwyneth’s dress is the stunning new design from Silvan Moon Designs, the Lily of Hollowdell dress. It’ll be on sale soon at the upcoming Fantasy Gacha Carnival. And this amazing new skin is from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, the beautiful Zora, who will make her public debut at the upcoming Fetish Fair

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Stealthic, Summer Haze (From last month’s Hairology, probably available at their main store soon!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Zora, Cotton Candy (COMING SOON to the Fetish Fair!)
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Lily of Hollowdell in Red (COMING SOON to the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Shoes: Have Unequal, Betty Boots in White
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Fortuna Necklace (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Headchain: Lumae, Vaeri Headchain, (Available NOW on Marketplace as part of the February Buy Now Event!)
Poses: Glamrus, all from the Eletha Series.

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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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