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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Find Here Serenity

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Gwyneth:

So much of my life seems to be occurring in dreams right now. It may just be that I’m not as willing to go out and make a new land as I was last time. I miss My King Janus more than I admit. But I must accept that he, like Maric, like so many others, is lost to me. I hope all these losses I’m experiencing will make me very wise and worthy of my office when I grow older. I hope they will.

I have been spending a lot of time in my little garden with the swans. Nathaniel has been busy with Mysthaven Business, which I try not to get involved in, since we mash things up enough as it is.

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I remember walking through a sparse wood.

I remember walking through a sparse wood. I had a snow-covered track to walk on, an day feet didn’t feel cold at all. Eventually, I realised the trees must be growing out of some kind of ice: everything reflected blue and smooth around them.

Then, I saw colours other than white, blue, and the green and silver of the birches: up ahead was what might have been a church ruin perhaps? I imagined I could learns something there, find something out.

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And there were flowers, summer flowers. How odd.

And there were flowers, summer flowers. How odd. When I reached the intersection, I debated whether or not to ascend either of the two flights of stairs, but opted to go straight on after a little bit of thought.

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A series of beautiful lamps—or I assume they were lamps, for they were unlit—lined the side paths.

A series of beautiful lamps—or I assume they were lamps, for they were unlit—lined the side paths. I touched one of them, and the crystal was warm against my skin, but I could find no way to illuminate it. Perhaps they were just decorative.

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I made my way to the centre of the structure, where candles burned.

I made my way to the centre of the structure, where candles burned. Over my head were a series of small lamps shaped like cathedrals. The flowers felt alive and warm against my ankles.

And I read the inscription:

Here is a place of serenity
The lights below flicker with love
For those who fight
And for those who have faded into night
Find here amenity
The lights flicker below
And twinkle above

So it was some kind of memorial. And I did feel peaceful, calm.

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I began to notice little details.

I began to notice little details: the marbling of the granite, the texture and pattern of the window-panels. Even then, the snow didn’t feel cold against my exposed toes. Even as close as three years ago, I’d have stopped to sketch at least some of this, but now I’m confident enough in my memory, and its ability to impress images onto the little tablet computer I keep locked up in a YWCA locker in a land more convinced that magic and technology coincide a bit than Our Wylds.

I turned and ascended the stairs behind me, and almost immediately felt that dizzying sense of transformation that accompanies a scene change in dreams.

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When I reached the top, I held a hand out to catch the staff that seemed to be thrown at me.

When I reached the top, I held a hand out to catch the staff that seemed to have been thrown at me. I felt lighter, felt my hair fall down my back, felt the tightness of a dress I might have worn during my I’m a fairy, so what? phase (or at least that’s what I call that phase).

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And then, I felt inclined to dance.

And then, I felt inclined to dance.

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And dance…

And dance…

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And dance.

And dance.

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When I’d finished, I felt … empty.

When I’d finished, I felt empty. Like weeping. As if this were a safe place for me to let all my tears and sorrow and longings out in tears.

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I admit it: I fell to the floor in a sobbing heap.

I admit it: I fell to the floor in a sobbing heap.

I’m not sure how long after that I woke, in my own bed, feeling more refreshed from a night of sleep than I have in ages.

Style Cards:

Lower Level Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Doe, Emerson, Essentials (Rare!) (Available at Whimsical!)
Circlet: Secrets, Daydreams Flower Tiara, Lavender (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Dress: Kaithleen’s, Linen Dress, Smoke (Maitreya) (Available at Whimsical!)
Wings: Aii The Ugly And Beautiful, Pixie Wings, Tintable (Available at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Bubble, Mithril Sandals, Lavender (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Upper Level Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Moon, Barracuda (Available at Whimsical!)
Clothes: Belle Epoque, Find Your Tribe Gacha (Belt, Bodysuit (rare!), Bracers, Feet Piece, Headband, Necklace, Staff) (Available at Whimsical!)

Landscape:
Memorial/Cathedral Wall: Find Here Amenity, by Kaelis Ember, a Fantasy Faire Auction Item, one-of-a-kind
Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Flowers: The Looking Glass, Dream Fields
Trees: The Little Branch, Mystic Birches
Crystal Lamps: Air, Lacrima Ligmo, Silver (Available at Whimsical!)
Cathedral Lamps, Striped Mocha, Petite Shrine Lantern, Light (Available at Whimsical!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never have cool dreams without it!

A Figment in Tinker’s Hollow

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Gwyneth:

 

When I found myself in Tinker’s Hollow, I was at first too overwhelmed to take it all in. The darkness of the landscape was contrasted by bright bean-shaped paths in some places and wide roads in others, dirt paths into which something seemed to have been inscribed in yet others. To be honest, I was confused. I felt dizzy, displaced, possibly a bit drunk.

One arrives on an airship, after which there is a long flight of spiral stairs: this might have contributed to the feeling of dizziness, but I can’t be sure, because it’s hard to be sure of anything in Tinker’s Hollow.

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For example: was that really a giant red teapot house?

For example: was that really a giant red teapot house? I mean, obviously it was a giant red teapot house: I was looking at it. And the floating cups, and the smaller floating teapot, and a strange newspaper headline, and … well, everything was brightly coloured, or at least it was just here.

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What sort of Realm had I stumbled in to?

What sort of Realm had I stumbled in to? It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, like a picture book inscribed upon a landscape of night-dreams, but all the denizens seemed to be awake, alive, busily going about their lives. I suppose if you lived in such a Realm, you’d become used to the scenery. In the day (I think it was a day; it’s hard to measure time in Tinker’s Hollow) I was there, I never stopped coming upon things that surprised, delighted, and even scared me a little.

Of course, as with all the Fairelands Realms, the shopping was amazing, though the feeling of dizziness never subsided,the whole time I was there. In fact, I wondered to myself if it might not be an intentional atmosphere of putting visitors off-balance. Perhaps confused people buy more merchandise. If I were back in London, I’d just Google that and see if there were any statistics on it: for myself, I can only say that I came away with an astounding number of wild headdresses and crowns from a shop called Love. Though I didn’t wear any of these trinkets while in Tinker’s Hollow, I can’t wait to try them all on and see how good my decisions actually were while in the Realm. Maybe when my head clears I’ll realise I’ve made huge purchasing mistakes. Then again, maybe they’ll just bring back the sense of delight and wonder the whole Realm evokes.

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Somewhere on a  high hill in the Realm, there was a carousel of unicorns!

Somewhere on a high hill in the Realm (and I couldn’t tell you how to get back there now!) there was a carousel of unicorns! Inside the circle of the carousel, I found statues of fae creatures (or maybe they were real, and just being very still: I could have sworn one of them had fluttering wings!), sunflowers, a host of glowing plants. It all seemed so comfortable and happy, like a child’s daydream.

While the feeling of dizziness stayed with me, I became more and more comfortable with the landscape as I travelled through the realm.

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I could have sworn this tree was topped with candy floss.

I could have sworn this tree was topped with candy floss! And the glowing flowers reminded me of nothing so much as our Will-o-the-Wisps, come out to bring messages. None of them spoke to me. In fact, despite the assault of colour and movement, and some music at the carousel, the Realm seemed silent to me. Of course, as my memories fade, I’ll never know if that was completely true or if my system just couldn’t process so many things entering it at once.

It did all begin to seem like a dream, but more of a day-dream than the asleep variety. I wondered what Richard would have made of it: he probably would have suggested that recreational drugs would enhance our experience. Of course, with my heightened Fae senses, I have absolutely no idea what drugs would do to my system at this point, or if they’d have any effect at all.

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I blinked once, twice.

I blinked once, twice. Or maybe hours passed: I don’t know. But when I next became aware of what I was doing, I found myself reciting Titania’s lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

I pray thee, gentle mushroom, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say….

Oh, hell no. Once I realised what I was saying, I shook my head to clear it, muttered a quick, “Sorry,” and fled from that grove with the talking mushrooms. Or, I assume they talked. They did have faces after all, and I swore (or Titania certainly did!) that I heard one of them sing…

Yeah. It was definitely time to go home for a rest. Tomorrow I’ll seek out a bright land, a simple land, a Realm with no talking mushrooms and a straightforward path from end to end. I might even do it as a different person.

I do hope no one heard me.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Iota (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet: Mangomoon, Ophelia Crown (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Bite & Claw, Gabrielle Gown (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Senzafine, Aesbrennil Velvet-Lined Slippers
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Benedictine Riata (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Tinker’s Hollow

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