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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A letter to my mother….

April 2, 2017
Last Hope House
White Owl Island

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This is White Owl Island Pier.

Dear Mother,

I’m not even sure if it’s OK for me to call you that. But never mind; I’m doing it, and I may be done with doing what everybody else wants me to do, at least for a little while.

You may have heard that I stepped down from being Queen in the Wylds. Yes, I can do that. Well, I did it, so I guess that means I can do it, yes? 

I don’t know where you are, so I’m going to send this off via the Wisp network and hope it reaches you, wherever you are. I don’t know if you’re still on the run, or if you ever really were on the run. But if you are, even if you think you’re in a place of relative safety right now, I want you to think about relocating. Or at least coming to visit one of the safest places I’ve ever seen.

I know I don’t have any hold over you and what you do, as you have had no hold over me and what I do. But I’d like to talk about our relationship. You know, the one we never had. All that time I was growing up thinking I was a regular mortal kid, you were doing Gods-know-what-all in Faerie, and I can accept that. But what I can’t accept is the fact that we got to know one another so briefly, and not as our true selves. I don’t think you could have had any idea that I was actually your daughter when we met, but I have a feeling Father must have told you about it at some point? Anyway, perhaps this letter will come as a shock to you, but it seems that you and I are related by more than a common, brief past.

But talking about that right now would stir up too many things, so I shall just let you know that I have walked away from the Wylds and I am now living in a place called White Owl Island. The photograph above is of me on the pier at White Owl. This is where the ferry transport lands that carries residents and tourists to the island. It may be that wherever you are, you’ve heard rumours of White Owl as a place of sanctuary, and that it is. 

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The Boardwalk.

Here is a photograph of me on the Boardwalk. You can see the bicycle rental station just behind me, and on a sunny day, you’ll find lots of people eating their lunches at these tables. It’s almost normal looking—except that everyone in White Owl is either part of the world of non-humans living among or near mortals, or a mortal who is happy to live among non-humans. 

White Owl exists in a Realm where we are not common knowledge, but the island is cloaked by strong magical redirectors that keep ships from arriving here unless we want them to. It cloaks us entirely to the non-magical population. We are in the American Pacific Northwest, a short ferry trip from Seattle, Washington, and we strive to be a place where non-humans can live together in relative peace.

It probably seems strange, with me coming straight from being a bit player in the unholy love story between Faermorn and Gwythyr Gwynn (no bitterness here, I promise!), but I do desire and have always desired to live in peace, preferably with Nathaniel, preferably near the sea.

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Closer-in to the town square.

Does that make me selfish? Probably. Maybe I’m finally manifesting enough of my Fae nature to take selfishness in stride as I always should have done. 

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My bookstore!

And I know it will come as only a small surprise to you that my mundane “job” here on the island is owning and operating a small bookstore! It’s called “Codex”. I got a giggle out of making up that name for it when I acquired the building. It’s on the high street, between a restaurant and a coffee shop, across from the greengrocers. Upstairs, I have a little office and a place to chat with people about important matters like how to glamour glittery eyeliner. 

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This is my house!

This is my house! I’ll send you more photographs as soon as we have it all decorated. The back wall is all windows and looks out over our bay; you can even see across to the forest on the adjacent island. The house on the beach that you can see in the distance belongs to Dyisi; I’m not sure if you remember her, but she’s been a constant friend and confidante since I met her shortly before you and Blaise and Lady R disappeared from Ashmourne-that-was. 

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Here’s a closer look at Dy’s house.

Here’s a closer look at Dy’s house; she has more surfboards than anybody I know. Then again, growing up in London, I didn’t really meet a lot of surfers. Perhaps we’ll change that here. 

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Our lighthouse.

On the other side of the island, there’s a lighthouse on a nice, craggy rock. Local kids assure me it’s haunted. 

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And here is our town at sunrise.

And here is our town at sunrise. You can see the bookstore in this photograph, as well. 

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An aerial shot of the whole island….

Here’s an aerial shot of the whole island, which should give you some idea of the geography of the place. It really is beautiful. There is more than this, of course—the forest is lovely and deep and full of dangers you might find in a forest, and of course there is a Faerie here, though it’s growing organically and hasn’t sprung up in a day like the Wylds did.

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Reading and re-reading

It’s late now, and I’ve been up here in the bookshop office reading and re-reading this letter. I know it doesn’t say anything much. But I hope you will take it as an invitation, and maybe think about coming to visit us here in White Owl. Perhaps you might make your way to the Great Faire? It should be starting soon. We could meet there and I could help you find your way to the Island. 

With love,
Your daughter,
Gwyneth

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Paige (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Nan Madol Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available as part of the Men Only Hunt!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears, High Definition
Skin: Lumae, Ruby, for Catwa Mesh Head (Available NOW at The Avenue!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Top: Baiastice, Aziry Leather Tank Top (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Jeans: Swear, Laponte & Bathschild, Dita Jeans
Shoes: Reign, Skye Flats (Available NOW at Shoetopia!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never try to put the family back together without it!

Some Enchanted Evening

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No matter where you are, you can make magic.

No matter where you are, you can make magic. You can be magic. Especially if you’re wearing a stunning new dress from Silvan Moon Designs (at We ❤ Roleplay), beautiful new hair from Wasabi Pills (at Fameshed), a magical headdress from Glam Affair (also at Fameshed), and this amazing Lelutka applier from Lumae (Yulia, available at The Avenue).

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This backdrop is from WetCat and Lemon.

This backdrop is from WetCat and Lemon, and you can get it at FameshedI vacillate about using backdrops in my photography, but this one has a lot of depth, and the poses are a lot of fun, though not all of them are appropriate for sexy gowns. And some of you know I might have a bit of a love affair going with lamp posts, so it only makes sense that I’d like the lamp post poses.

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I love it when designers successfully combine flexi with mesh.

I love it when designers successfully combine flexi with mesh: it means that garments move and flow. Silvan Moon Designs do such a great job with things like this. The filmy contrast of the flexi arm pieces with the close-fitting mesh design on this dress is just divine.

I did worry over what, if anything, I should put on Gwyneth’s head for this series of photographs, but then I decided that she needed something non-intrusive, something that might make one think of both winter and spring, since we’re on the cusp of those two seasons, and of course it had to be beautiful and not interfere with her hair or ears. Enter KasyaGlam Affair‘s lovely headpiece comes in three colours, and it makes me think of both roots branching out and shoots branching up.

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Here, you can get a closer look at the Lumae skin. And oh! Those eyes, from Mesange.

Here, you can get a closer look at the Lumae skin. And oh! Those eyes, from Mesange. The skin is Yulia, which is a Lelutka applier that Lumiya Rae made a while back. It’s now on offer at The Avenue at a much-reduced price, definitely worth checking out. The eyes are from Mesange‘s Mercury series, still available at Lost & Found.

I don’t know why, but even though the WetCat and Lemon Backdrop Number 1 is about as far from a posh ballroom you can imagine, I just couldn’t stop singing “Some Enchanted Evening” as I shot these photographs. So that’s why the post has such an unlikely name. And that’s what made me think to remind you that yes, magic is everywhere; and yes, you are magic; and yes, even on the coldest night of the year, you may see a stranger across a crowded room, or a parking lot. And somehow you’ll know.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Skyler (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Mercury Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at Lost & Found!)
Skin: Lumae, Yulia (Available NOW at The Avenue!)
Ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Indira’s Light Gown, Blue (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Headpiece: Glam Affair, Kasya (Available NOW at Fameshed!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never photograph Gwyneth in a dark back lot while singing songs from South Pacific without it!

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The Stolen Child

 

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Where dips the rocky highland….

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuthwood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our fairy vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.

 

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Come away, O Human child!

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wave of moonlight glosses

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;

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To and fro we leap

To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

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To the waters and the wild

To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wandering water gushes

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild

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With a faery, hand in hand,

With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Away with us he’s going, The solemn-eyed:

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breath
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,

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For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

Poem, of course, is “The Stolen Child” by the immortal WB Yeats, a native of Sligo, where my late husband’s family were from and where many of them still reside.

All thanks go to Noah, who agreed on fairly short notice to find some schoolboy clothes and come be my Stolen Child for an evening. Noah’s player is among my favourite people in SL, and their portrayal of children as real kids taught me not to be completely dismissive of child avatars when I was new to SL roleplaying several years ago and we ended up on a sim together. Noah is an amazing kid, and is that not the most adorable child you have ever seen? Here, he is seven years old, and I thought he brought me the perfect Stolen Child.

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The amazing and adorable Noah!

When Astralia came up with the stunning Ivy Elf Set for The Gacha Garden, I knew I had to do something special with it. Once I dressed Gwyneth in the outfit, I could only think of the wild faeries of Irish folklore, and of course Yeats’ poem came to mind as something accessible, and short, that I could use as a springboard. With very little preparation, I decided to use the beautiful forest Dyisi Oppewall created on my sim, Awenia, as a setting. Raindale‘s beautiful boat, Meriel, provided the simple stage we used to take these photographs. I am grateful to Lumiya Rae, who created this lovely skin, Aurora, which is coming soon to The Coven: it got me to streamline my Lelutka Simone Bento head-shape to give Gwyneth this stern and otherworldly face. ColeMarie Soleil, the creative force behind Cole’s Creations, created the glimmering bits of gold that are sometimes visible around Gwyneth’s body and head and also the beautiful moonbeams that illuminate her Faery form as she appears to Noah. This photoshoot took nearly three hours, possibly a bit longer, and I could not have done it as well or efficiently without my experience in the Visionaire class or our masterclass with Senna Coronet on lighting. Nearly all the moonbeams on the water are made with projectors I created, and the projector on Noah dimmed out the lamp on the boat, so I had to create projectors to simulate that, as well. This was shot in various Phototools Moonlight wind lights, with the exception of the last photograph, which I shot in Phototools No Light so that I could bring all focus to Noah’s adorable and pinchable little face! (Noah is going to barf when he reads this!)

Style Cards:
Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Mesh Head
Hair: Mina, Ava Lin (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Aurora, Hexed (COMING SOON to The Coven!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Clothes (bra, headdress, body leaves, neck leaves, necklace, leaf tattoo, leggings, armbands, corset, and necklace): Astralia, Ivy Elf Set (Available NOW at The Gacha Garden!)
Wings: Zyn, Woodland Tree Wings
Moonbeams and Gold Sparkles: Cole’s Corner, Fairy Gold Dust and Illuminated Lightbeams (Moonbeam Aura)

Noah:
Hair: *ARGRACE* GAKU
Socks: EB Atelier – Mesh_Socks Grey
Necklace: MeshMerized – Pan
Sweater: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal – Top
Shorts: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal Shorts
Boots: Loki Mesh – V4 Workboots – Brown
Mesh Body: #SMB Mesh Body 2.2
Skin: [Lee] Yang Skin Child Version
Eyes: [Icy Winter EYE] by Lubellia

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never re-enact a Yeats poem in SL without it!

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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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Beginning a Book Forest

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Gwyneth:

I’m building a book forest. Yes, that’s right: a book forest. I got inspired by this gacha at The Guardians, the Storybook Gacha by BananaN. One of the rares is a Book Door! And I was thinking, what would you find if you walked through a Book Door? I’d come across this great set from Una, the Book Road, after I played an Una gacha at a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival, and I’ve been  meaning to use it and blog it every since, but life and my kitchen (don’t even ask!) and sickness got in the way, so it’s been on a shelf in my inventory for months now. I also have this great Book Tree from HarshLands that I’ve used in other places before and photographed on a couple of occasions.

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Building a Book Forest

Building a book forest, as it turns out, takes some time. I designated a portion of the sim platform to put it on and then began laying out paths. Now, I love to shop (tell us something we don’t know, Gwen!), and so when I got to check out some pre-release items that’ll be at The Crossroads, which opens today, 3 January, I discovered the magical work of Keira RaindaleRaindale has an absolutely gorgeous gacha coming out at The CrossroadsMaplemoor. It includes, among other gorgeous things which I’ll show you as I continue to build and photograph the Book Forest, the gorgeous lamp and wishing well you can see in this photograph.

So, what do you need, really, to build a Book Forest?

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You need a head full of stories.

You need a head full of stories, first of all. You must love, really love, story. I as a writer, blogger, songwriter, student, and investigator of all things mystical, love nothing better than a good story, and Gwyneth the character reflects this. Like me, her background is in literature and books; unlike me, her concentration is much more on poetry and high literature than mine is, though I have studied those bits and pieces and have read widely. Behind Gwyneth you can see both the Raindale Wishing Well and the HarshLands BookTree. Gwyneth’s skin is part of a stunning new set from The Plastik. Vae really hit this one out of the park, and this skin, Taryn, in colourway Creme, is available at The Plastik Main StoreThe hair is Carrie, new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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You need a good lamppost.

You need a good lamppost. Possibly several of them. Because there is never a place in the forest where you’ll feel alone if you have something to guide your steps along the Book Road. All of the bits of the Book Road, by the way, are from Una, as are the large books that ring the forest. The trees surrounding the books are the Mystical Birches from The Little Branch. I’ll include a style card below the post, but Gwyneth is wearing a stunning new gown from JunbugLittle Bird. You can pick up the gown at this month’s Fameshed event; this is the Ruby Silk, but it comes, as you’d expect from Junbug, in a fabulous array of colours. I fell in love with this crown at the recently-closed Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms event; it’s by Muse, the Rose Brooch Crown. This one wasn’t available at the event; I hunted it down at the Muse Main Store.

So, let’s see. You need a head full of stories. You need a good lamppost.

And, oh, yes.

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You need to not be afraid of the dark.

You need to not be afraid of the dark.

There’s more to come: I’m in love with my book forest, and I will show you all of it, once it’s done.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!),  Carrie (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (NEW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Gown: Junbug, Little Bird (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Illi, Rosalynn Heels

Scene:
Book Door: BananaN, Book Doorway, from the Storybook Gacha (Available NOW at The Guardians,!)
Book Road: Una, Book Road, Small
Flanking Books: Una, Book Road, Book 5, Book 6, Book 2
Lamppost: Raindale, Maplemoor Lantern, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Well, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Forked Tree: The Little Branch, Green Ash
Mushroom Circle: The Roawenwood, Tangleshimmer Grove Fairy Ring (Purple)
Book Tree: HarshLands, Book Tree
Grasses: all from Alirium, Puffy Grass and Downy Grass
Glowing Undergrowth: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, Gaia Undergrowth
Poses: An Lar, all from the Ava Series

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

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Works in Progress….

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Gwyneth:

So, yeah. You know how it is. The seasons turn, Yule comes and goes, the mortal world is celebrating the beginning of a new year, and you’re pacing around on your sim platform, trying to think of a series of evocative photographs that’ll get you through Certain Things Yet To Be Announced, not to mention your Visionaire graduation, which is coming up sooner than you’d like to admit. And you look around yourself, and you go, ‘Well, sweet goddess; why am I building and tearing down all these photo sets on a temporary looking platform? I have a whole effing sim to play with!’

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Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody. But we’ve all had that revelation when we realise we’d been making something more complicated than it had to be, yeah? Some of the best things in the world are simple. Take this new hair from Wasabi Pills. It’s called Isla, and it’ll be at Fameshed on the first of January, unless they open late because of the holiday. I love it, because it is marvellously, stunningly, simple. Like the solution to my problem.

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And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress.

And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress. First of all, I’m still experimenting with finding the perfect shape for Gwyneth’s Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, which I still love to pieces. Just the eye animations keep me rapt, because Gwyneth’s eyes seem to move naturally in their sockets, rather than kind of sliding beneath the sockets on a static mesh head. In fact, I’ve changed her face shape slightly since shooting these photographs; I became unhappy with a detail about the way her cheek met the hollows beneath her eyes and spent a while playing with that this morning before starting this post. I’ll shoot a couple of special photos so you can see what I mean before I finish this post, so please don’t mind me if I yammer on for a bit here.

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Out of the mist…

But getting back to what I was talking about before I got distracted by my hair…. I began thinking, even though the ground area of my sim is covered by the beautiful Pacific Northwest Rainforest that Dyisi Oppewall has created for our roleplaying group, there are still all these (extra!) prims left over, and so why didn’t I just make a sim-sized sky platform with a great surround so that it felt like there was a horizon?

And thus, out of the mist, was this idea born. It doesn’t have a name yet. What you see in the photo above are the bare beginnings of it; there’s a rez platform over on the left, even. As with most of my changing SL homes since the 2016 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, the first and central object placed is my glorious Last Hope statue, a one-of-a-kind (well, two-of-a-kind!) item created by the geniuses at Death Row Designs. Some of you know I lost my beloved husband to cancer at the beginning of 2016. Some of you also know that in another life, I’m a semiprofessional harper. To me, this statue is me playing a lament for my beloved. The dove is hope itself, or possibly Joe’s immortal spirit, come to listen. I knew at the time I wanted a circular path around the statue and four of Elicio Ember (the personable, nice, and downright sexy mastermind behind Cerridwen’s Cauldron)’s stunning Fae Waystones placed at cardinal points round the statue. I wanted paths running toward the surround edge in all four directions.

The skybox surround is from Landscapes Unlimited, and aside from having to build an invisible floor underneath it, I am 100% satisfied with it, as I can change it to many different looks depending on the season of the year or whether or not I want to live on Mars. 😉

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A few more things have now been added….

A few more things have now been added in this photo, but importantly you can see Gwyneth’s whole outfit, so I can talk about the clothes! The dress and boots are both from Zenith, the Autumn Sweater with Skirt in Rose, and the Leather Boots with Lace Socks, also in Rose. You can get the boots at Uber. If you noticed the necklace and earrings, they’re from Empyrean Forge, the Levity necklace and earrings.

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Ohh, but that skin!

Ohh, but that skin! It’s a new Catwa applier from Pink FuelSabine, formerly available only as a Lelutka applier. This was just released yesterday, and yes, I was part of the yammering glom-mob that descended on the Pink Fuel Main Store to pick it up, both in my favourite shades (Porcelain and Crystal—you see Porcelain above) and in their yummy new shade Brulée, which is available at a special price for now. Pink Fuel has long been one of my favourite skin creators, up there with Lumae7 Deadly s{K}ins, and DeeTaleZ (though, yes, my heart will also belong to Curio if she comes back to us) as some of the most beautiful skins you can get in Second Life, in my opinion. Pink Fuel also distinguishes itself by offering a dizzying array of body styles, particularly suited to those of us on the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. These are the Lionsong eyes from Mesange. I’m wearing Mesange eyes almost exclusively these days because they’re available as Omega appliers and I simply can’t be arsed with correctly positioning dozens of different mesh eyes to suit whatever head I’m wearing. And seriously, I’m a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I even tell other people when they’re posing for me and wearing mesh eyes to fix that cross-eyed thing right now; I’ll help you; no, really, it’s important; I’ll wait.The ears are the Swallow High Definition Elf Ears, and Gwyneth, as almost always, is wearing the Maitreya Lara body. Behind her, you can see more of Cerridwen’s Cauldron‘s lovely plants, including the Challis Flower, which is just about my favourite thing ever at the moment, and some of Elicio‘s beautiful Fungal Undergrowth. You can pick up both these and the Fae Waystones referenced above at the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Main Store in world or on the SL Marketplace if you fancy shopping from your couch.

So, what follows are some fairly rough shots of the still-unfinished and in the very beginning stages of my new home in Awenia.

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First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

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8f8’s Cottage Cairn and Windmill

The first two buildings I put down were 8f8‘s lovely Cottage Cairn and Windmill, both from the New Beginnings set, from a past Arcade Gacha. One of the best things about having a sim-sized place to decorate is getting to put out all these beautiful buildings I’ve acquired at this or that gacha event over the years.

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Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district.

Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district. So here we have from right to left Ex Machina‘s Chelsea, which reminds Gwyneth enough of London that she won’t have to visit too often, then Death Row Designs‘ The Joint coffeeshop, followed by The Magick Shoppe, also by Death Row Designs. These shops border what will become a park/village green of sorts, across which you’ll find some nice places to eat.

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Across the park.

Across the park, from left to right, there’s the lovely Hideki Bakery, next door to which is another Vintage Bakery by Dustbunny, though I’ll probably turn it into a pastry shop or a restaurant, and then there’s the whimsical Tea Shop from Tentacio. Then you have Tarte‘s Grinder’s Cafe, which might or might not stay where it is; I’m not sure.

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Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park.

Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park/village green, here’s a more zoomed-out shot where both shop rows are visible.

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Rez Platform Number One.

Here’s Rez Platform Number One, where you can see some tasty things that might or might not make it onto the finished build; and

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Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration.

Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration. And I have some amazing new ideas that just came into my head today!

All this is going to keep me busy on what promises to be a long and lonely New Year’s Eve, the first I’ve spent without Joe since New Year’s Eve 2003/04, which was the night we met.

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I guess now everybody knows I’m a tree-hugger!

On another note, The Guardians opens tomorrow, the first of January, 2017 (!), and there is much, much cool stuff to be had there.  BananaN has done a book gacha that I’m so so very fond of: you can see several pieces of it in the background of this photo. The tree I’m hugging is the Young Maple from The Little Branch, and I’m wearing the Fame Femme Amelli Sweater, which is turning out to be a real favourite for casual wear this season. The boots are the Gypsy Boots from Wicca’s Wardrobe, and the hair! Oh, yes, the hair!

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Amazing hair from Analog Dog (as if AD made anything other than amazing hair, right?)

This is amazing hair from Analog Dog, as if Queue Marlowe ever made anything other than amazing hair, right? It’s called Lei, and it’s the Gift of the Guardians that you’ll receive if you play Analog Dog‘s gacha fifteen times at The Guardians event. I should mention the necklace, now that you can see it: it’s Minimal‘s Camera Necklace, and I bought one for myself and two friends at The Project Se7en today. And the rings are from  Absolut Vendetta, the Hydra Rings for Vista Bento Hands. Yes, I now have Bento hands, and I’m so glad I got them! I’ll tell you more about them anon.

The Lei hairstyle is an obvious tribute to the gargantuan talent that was Carrie Fisher, and it seems a fitting note on which to end this, my last big blog post of 2016. I might shoot you a couple of teasers as it’s going to be a long night for me, but this is the wordiest I’ll get, I promise. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years old. That’s the same age my husband Joe was when he died on the 29th of January, 2016. Star Wars was the last film I saw with my father in the cinema before he died at the age of 46. I was twelve. When I took my primary-school-aged son to see it during the ramp up to the second trilogy of Star Wars films, it was all I could do not to weep through the film as I remembered sitting in the cinema with my dad: I would have been eleven.

Tonight, wherever you are, somebody is going to go down a list of the people who’ve died this year, and it’s a long one. That somebody might even be you. If you can, I want you to consider doing two things. One of them is for yourself. The other, selfishly, is for me. Remember that on the worst day of your life, someone else is having the best day of theirs. That one’s for you. No matter how bad a day you’re having, someone else is experiencing the greatest joy ever. Imagine that. Now here’s the one for me. When the somebody (who might be you) is going down that list of people who’ve left us this year, please, for me, whisper, or shout, or say, ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Let my beloved’s name be spoken on the same wind as all those other names, and let his bright, love-giving, life-saving spirit be woven into that song. Say it: ‘James Joseph Raftery’. He hung the moon. He lit the stars. He took my broken heart and put it back together, and even though my heart has been breaking every single day of this long, long year, it’ll never be as broken as it was before Joe, because Joe knew how to mend things. He hugged me and loved me and believed in me so hard he made me Real. ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Say his name for me.

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

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