Let’s Talk.

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

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Why do I do this?

Why do I do this? 

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

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

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

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

I only blog what I like.

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

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

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

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OK, so what do you like?

OK, so what do you like?

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

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

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

Why are we having this conversation now?

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

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

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

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So what’s with the neon sign?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Ready for Spoonful of Sugar!

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It’s almost time

It’s almost time! Time to get ready for two weeks of fashion shows, parties, and cool events, not to mention shopping! I’m all excited about the Spoonful of Sugar Festival, and I’ve roped Bran into coming with me to take some photographs. So this is the first of about twenty amazing dresses I have to fit and accessorise before the fact. It’s the excitement of putting a perfect look together that makes me anticipate an event like this so much. I admit, I’m often interested in these things for the shopping alone, but there’s so much more to an event like SoS.

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All angles

Seeing something from all angles is important. I always want the shoes to work with the dress, the nails to work with the dress, the dress to work with me, my hair to be the perfect complement. Nathaniel is fond of saying that I might spend too much time on this stuff—but, you know. We’ve all seen his idea of fashion.

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But how does it move?

But how does it move? That’s another consideration. This dress really knows how to move. I want to take it dancing.

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Of course, I’m nothing without a good dressing room!

Of course, I’m nothing without a good dressing room! This is one of two dressing rooms in the Castle, technically for guests, but I love the privacy of it, so when we don’t have guests, I am spending a lot of time in it these days. The room is very bright and airy, and the furniture complements it beautifully. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I have a lot of vanities, most of which are stashed in a pocket dimension, because it’s more efficient to keep stuff there than just pile it in a random room, right?

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Ready!

All right: I think this outfit is ready. Even the simplest things sometimes take me a while: my friends and subjects know that when I say, “Just let me get dressed,” they might be looking at a long wait. My adopted stepdaughter, Wren, is fond of just responding to that with, “And then, three days later….” She’s a hoot.

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival starts on the 15th of September. That’s only five days away! So much to do; so much to prepare!

Style Card:
Items available at Spoonful of Sugar:
Dress: Mishmash Fusion, Rocketpop Dress, Glow Dots Purple
Necklace: Songbird, Heartbeat Necklace
Vanity: SPF Fine Furnishings and Clothing, Vanity
Tall Mirror: SPF Fine Furnishings and Clothing, Full Length Animated Mirror

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival is a charity event benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders sends medical aid to places where need is great, like conflict zones. They support humanitarian causes and report on the problems they see. Nearly 90% of donations to Doctors Without Borders goes straight to the work itself.

Other Items:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Cate Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Friday (Available NOW at AnyBody!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hair: Magika, Lotus (New at the Magika Main Store!) —If you haven’t checked out Magika’s new colours and textures, you really must visit. You get almost 200 hair colours in every single pack, all for L$369. If you join the Magika group, there’s an additional group colour HUD that has some great multicolours.
Shoes: Eudora, Alice Pumps and Socks
Photobox: FoxCity, Escape
Poses: PoSEsion, Estrella Set

Spoonful Of Sugar AD 2018

 

A Little Prophecy

Not a full day after I had that weird dream about the talking frog, Bran informed me that we’d received an invitation to the latest theme event for one of my favourite off-Realm faires, Enchantment. And you’ll never guess what the theme is! OK, probably you already guessed, given the title and lead-in here. It’s The Frog Prince. Now, obviously there was going to be lots of fun stuff at this event, so I grabbed Bran, and off we went.

Whoosh! Of course everything there was beautiful. And I might have almost blown the Royal Budget, but when you’re the Queen everything works out for you in the end, so I didn’t worry too much. Weirdly, one of the things I found was a beautiful gown from Silvan Moon Designs. Well, there’s nothing weird about finding a beautiful gown from there…. but it was weird that it exactly matched the dress I’d dreamed about just the night before. Sometimes, my mind astounds even me.

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Into the Ruins I skipped!

I also found this stunning dress from Noble Creations, and a nice new crown from Bauhaus Movement that’ll be lovely for autumn, assuming it ever gets here. Helpers were on hand from two of my favourite hairstylists, Analog Dog and No Match. Also weirdly, the new style from Analog Dog was exactly like the one in my dream. Of course I made a deal to have Queue (we’re totally on a first name basis now!) come round to the castle and plait my hair for me sometime in the near future, but once I got the extensions from No Match in, I knew I’d have them in at least for a week. Unless I get bored…. you know how it is.

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The Ruins

As Awenia reshapes itself around me, little nooks and crannies are always springing up. This one is built around what appear to be the ruins of an old church, or maybe a monastery. That’s odd in and of itself, since you don’t find many Christian-style churches in Fae lands, but you never know about the history of a place. I also know that many of the demifae like to reclaim lands like this for their own purposes, so maybe that’s what happened here. I loved the little benches; their maker’s mark says they come from Raindale, which doesn’t surprise me at all: I’ll have to find out who sourced those. I recognised two trees as obviously being from Sharni Azalee’s beautiful nursery in The Looking Glass realm: one of them looks just perfect for stealing kisses with Nathaniel when I bring him here later to show him the Ruins. I think he’ll like this part of the Realm. That’s if I can get his attention away from his ongoing Words With Friends games. I swear, for someone to whom technology is completely new, he’s caught on very quickly. Of course, he still describes it as “the library in my trousers,” so maybe we do have a little way to go there.

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Bran made me pose like this.

Bran made me pose like this, because he loves the extensions. Here, they are still new so the ends look shiny and perfect. He’s another one who’s embraced technology wholeheartedly. I still can’t get Clutie to log in to the castle computer system, but she says that’s because they don’t make hardware in her size. I just don’t argue with her about it.

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Royal Dress, by Noble Creations

Then, he wanted to get another shot of me in the beautiful Royal Dress by Noble Creations. He still wasn’t happy that all the sleeve detail wasn’t showing, so he had to take like five more photographs. If Bran had been raised in a more modern Realm, he’d be a fashion photographer, for sure. He really has an eye for it.

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A little closer.

“Now, let me get a little closer to you, Your Majesty,” Bran said. “I want to make sure we have a nice shot of that beautiful crown.”

“Did you know,” I said, trying not to be too self-conscious, “that Bauhaus Movement included this necklace as a gift with the crown? I have no idea how they afford to do that.”

“I guess the best designers just know their markets enough,” he replied, though I could tell he wasn’t really thinking about it too hard.

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I really did wonder, though.

I really did wonder, though.

Bran cut into my thoughts. “Oh, yes!” he said. “Look at those slashed shoulders!”

I swear, any minute now I was expecting him to tell me to Work It, Baby! or something.

“Just get a nice photo of my face, and let’s stop?” I asked. “It’s hot, and this dress is getting prickly. It’ll be great in October, though.”

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Portrait

Bran obliged.

“I want to remember this skin paint from 7 Deadly s{K}ins,” I said. “It’s called Focus. I could use a little more of that in my life.”

And would you believe he laughed? He caught himself when I mock-glared at him. “Well, far be it from me to contradict you, Your Highness.”

“I’m finding a frog and putting it in your bed!” I said.

He shuddered. “We’d better get home, then,” he said, “so I can make you forget about all that with an exquisite lunch. Fresh salmon today, with couscous and vegetables from Clutie’s garden.”

“Mm, Clutie does have a way with aubergines,” I said. “Which reminds me to get you a recipe for baba ghanoush.”

Off we went home. I should really spend more time at home: I haven’t explored the entire castle yet, and you know there are always surprises to be found here.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Focus (Available until AUGUST 18 at Designer Circle!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Song, Luna Eyes (Available NOW at Kustom9!)
Gown: Noble Creations, Royal Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: No Match, No Spell (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bauhaus Movement, Frog Prince (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Eyelashes: Besom, Sassy Lash (Available NOW at Kustom9!)

Location: Awenia, The Ruins
Structure: Delirium + Lunacy, Ancient Temple
Benches: Raindale, Heathergate Bench
Ground Cover: Keke, Dotty Grass
Big Trees: The Looking Glass, The Kissing Tree (Available NOW at Enchantment!); and
The Looking Glass: Will-O-Wisp Tree (You can pick this up at The Looking Glass main store!)

Kiss That Frog

Sometimes, a Princess’ life is … surreal.

In this dream, I am wandering around the Book Forest. You know, just soaking up the atmosphere, trying not to contemplate the sheer insanity of a forest made up of things that used to be trees but are now books. Because the book forest makes perfect sense if you think about it. It really does.

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I had to stare

And then, the strangest and yet most completely normal thing ever happened. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I happened to glance down and there was this … frog. With a crown on his little head. He was obviously disgusting and slimy, as frogs are wont to be, and of course I found myself filled with curiosity, rather than revulsion, because that’s how things go in dreams.

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No. Freaking. Way.

“No. Freaking. Way.,” I thought to myself. “This is absolutely not happening. Of all the faerie tales I could get stuck in, why this one?” I’m a now kind of faerie princess, not a stuck-in-a-story-I-can’t-escape kind of faerie princess. Or, you know. I have  been up ’til now…

I turned away. “Forget it,” I said. “I am absolutely not going to kiss you.”

“You say that now,” croaked the frog. “Give me a chance.”

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Absolutely not.

“Absolutely not,” I retorted. “I do not have to resort to kissing frogs! I have the Internet! I have thousands of Realms where I can go, any night of the week, if I want a date. I am a princess, not a cliché.”

The frog made a sound between a snort and a laugh: it was hard to tell, because his voice was every bit as repulsive as he was. “You’ll change your mind,” he said. “Look: I’m out of my natural habitat here. Can’t you just take me back to the palace and let me stay with you for a bit? I’m a nice frog, I promise.” His tongue flicked out wildly to grab an insect I hadn’t noticed. Yuck.

“I really don’t think so,” I replied.

“Look, Your Highness. I have a nifty crown; that must mean something, right? And I’m a good conversationalist. I promise only a small percentage of our discussions will be my trying to convince you to kiss me.” Was that a smile on his wide, ugly face?

“Hmm.” I considered it for a moment. “OK, but if I tell you to stop trying to convince me, you will change the subject immediately. Is that clear?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you want,” replied the frog. “But hurry up and get me home; I need a much more humid environment than this weird forest made of paper books. Who on earth thought that was a good idea, Princess? Who designed such a place?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I did, you abhorrent amphibian. This whole Realm is my creation. I probably even imagined you into being, now that I think about it.”

“Oh! A lovely conversational topic!” said the frog. “The nature of existence! If I am your creation, I wonder if I truly have free will, or if free will itself is merely a construct that my brain imagines so that I don’t lose all hope or argue myself insane wondering whether my choices are truly mine, or if they are determined by you, My Lady.”

Super. The frog was going to have an existential crisis and wipe himself out of existence any second now. I pondered. And then I smiled.

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I picked up the frog.

I picked him up. “All right: I’ll give it a shot. Let’s head back to the palace, and I’ll figure out what the best environment for you will be. We’ll look it up on the Internet.”

“What, pray tell, is the Internet, Your Highness?”

I smiled widely. “You’ll love it!” I declared. “It’s the greatest source of information and fun conversational topics ever!”

And then I had a little laugh with myself, just in my head. Because Dear Prince Froggie had never heard of the Internet.

And that meant he probably had never heard the story of the geek princess and the frog. Because, you know. In my world, princes are a dime a dozen. But a talking frog?

That’s freaking fantastic!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Arte, Nordic Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Princess Tiana Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Tia (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bliensen & MaiTai, Principessa (Available NOW at The Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Titania 2.0 Bento Animated Iridescent Fairy Wings
Frog Prince: Unrepentent, The Frog Prince

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Building: Ionic, Sacred Ruins
Silver Moon on Stand: Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Table: Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table
Book on Table: Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose
Frog with Mirror (on table) Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Book Castle: BananaN, Storybook Gacha, Castle and Books

I talk a lot about how much I love the Enchantment Event. It’s one of my favourite recurring events in Second Life, both in terms of the stuff you can find there and the careful attention that the Ippos team put into the event design itself. Unlike lots of other events that have gone to the “stuff you can buy all stuck together in one big room” model, Enchantment always, always, creates an inspiring environment around the story theme. If you love story as I do, and if these tales speak to you, you cannot afford to miss Enchantment, and you’d better stock up on Lindens before you go, because otherwise you won’t be able to afford everything you want!

Kiss That Frog
Peter Gabriel
Jump in the water
Sweet little princess
Let me introduce his frogness
You alone can get him singing
He’s all puffed up, wanna be your king
Oh you can do it
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady kiss that frogSplash, dash heard your call
Bring you back your golden ball
He’s gonna dive down in the deep end
He’s gonna be just like your best friendSo what’s one little kiss
One tiny little touch
Aah, he’s wanting it so much
I swear that this is royal blood
Running through my skin
Oh can you see the state I’m in
Kiss it better
Kiss it better
(Kiss that frog)

Get it into your head
He’s living with you, he sleeps in your bed
Can’t you hear beyond the croaking
Don’t you know that I’m not joking

Aah, you think you won’t
I think you will
Don’t you know that this tongue can kill
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady, kiss that frog

Let him sit beside you
Eat right off your plate
You don’t have to be afraid
There’s nothing here to hate
Princess you might like it
If you lower your defense
Kiss that frog and you will get your prince
Get your prince

(Singing now…!)
Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me

Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet, get wet, get wet

(While scatting:)
Kiss that frog. Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.

Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me.

Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.