Wrong Turn

Sometimes, Realm-Hopping isn’t as straightforward as I pretend it is for those who can’t do it. You’ll never find two beings who travel between Realms and do it the same way unless one of them taught the other, and even then, the student’s method will evolve into something more personal, which they might teach to someone else, and so on.

Once upon a time I had an amulet given to me by a goddess, who then turned out to be a false goddess, interested only in her own power and gratification. Once I tore myself away from her, I had to kluge together my own methods. It often felt like I was stepping forward into the dark. I know Dyisi would have scolded me if she’d known how many risks I was taking, and rightly so. As I scolded Fenella—or Tacey, or whatever she’s calling herself these days—when she rocked reality and fell naked upon my altar up in the old Faerie bower.

That’s another thing I need to come clean about: I’m going to leave the Wylds. It’s too much. There is too much drama, too many dark machinations. I hope I will still be able to keep my promise to Mornoth, because Mornoth, bless him, is a very good creature who’s been thrust into a very bad situation…. and I’m rambling again.

The other day, I took a wrong turn.

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The other day, I took a wrong turn.

Honestly, I don’t know how it happened. One minute, I was set on travelling to a Realm where there’s a special faire on for people who love the moon, and then I started thinking about my Mother (my bio one) and how she was imprisoned for so long. I know, rookie mistake. But I landed in one of the weirdest little created universes I’ve ever seen.

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This pocket universe was obviously created by someone who loves the moon.

This pocket universe was obviously created by someone who loves the moon. Everything in it, with the exception of the homage to Scottish artist Nathan Coley’s outdoor artwork, is representative of or associated with the moon. I couldn’t resist photographing myself with this copy of the installation, as I never got a chance to see the real one. I wish Nathaniel knew more about modern art: he and I could discuss why the kerning isn’t right on this copy for hours on end, most likely.

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There were even versions of the moon for sitting and sleeping.

There were even depictions of the moon for sitting and sleeping. This one was up a nonsensical spiral staircase that just kind of ends at a window. And why the moon globe is just standing here is anybody’s guess—maybe the creator isn’t finished with his or her refuge.

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For a moment, I let myself wonder why anybody would even create such a thing.

For a moment, I let myself wonder why anybody would even create such a thing. But then, why do I create the things I create? My little empty (so far) town, my book forest, my tower by the water. And what was with this weird wind? It seemed calculated to blow my skirt up at just the wrong angle. Then I giggled and decided the creator of this little hideaway was obviously some kind of a perv with a fantasy on for women in short skirts exposing their knickers or more. Some sort of magical shag shack. Ugh. Then I felt a bit dirty, but really, how different is a place like this to, er, anywhere in Faerie on Beltane?

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But, musings aside, I had some shopping to get to.

But, musings aside, I had some shopping to get to. I’ve got my eye on some new hairstyles for spring, and I’m thinking lavender is exactly the right colour for me this year. Well, for this minute anyway. Who knows what’ll happen when I get to the next Faire?

Faires….Oh, that puts me in mind of the great multi-Realm Fantasy Faire. That’s only a couple of months away! My favourite Faire of the year. Because it’s all for a charity I can care about, I am becoming more involved this year and will be helping with some of the literary events that happen across the Faire. Apparently my background in mortal English literature isn’t as useless as people make it out to be!

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I took one last look back at the Shag Shack….

I took one last look back at the Shag Shack…. and wouldn’t you know it, that fucking wind caught my skirt again. It’s a good thing I was alone: I don’t fancy showing half my arse to just anybody, you know.

Credits:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Mesh Bento Head
Hair: Sintiklia, Scarlet (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Ella (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Makeup: Arte, Astrid Eyeshadow and Catya Glossy Lipstick
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Elf Dior Ears (Available NOW at Fetish Fair!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: Astralia, Moon Shine Nails for Bento Hands (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Dress: Dead Dollz: Shy Breeze, Purple (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Shoes: Violetility, Luna Heels

Scene:
Stairs: {anc} No Limits, Stairs to Moonlight
Crescent on Landing: {anc} Moonlight Lounge, Moon Boat
Moon globe on landing: Hideki, Steampunk Moon
Crescent behind stairs: PoseIt, Crescent Moon for Moonbeam Flapper Poses
Suspended Full Moon: BellEquipe, Moon Light
Suspended Crescent Moon: Ariskea, Fae Dreams, Moon of Us, Purple
Huge Full Moon, Medieval Fantasy, Giant Full Moon
Portal: Spell, Portals to other Dimensions
Gate behind stairs: CubeRepublic, Moon Gate
Lamp suspended from Stair Landing: Happy Mood, Globe Lamp M (moon)
Crescent Moon mounted to Stair Landing: Mori, Moonlight Silver
Moon with Blankets below Stairs: Pixel Mode, Lover’s Midsummer Night Moon
Small Standing Crescent Moon: Naminoke, The High Priestess Crescent
Lamp suspended from Sign: Happy Mood, Globe Lamp S (moon)
Full moon suspended from Sign: Keke, The Sky is the Limit, Moon
Moon mounted on branches/antlers: E.V.E, Snow on Branches Winter Bush White
Portal Behind Sign: Jinx, Gweles Stones, Magical
Standing Crescent Moon behind Sign: Air, Lost Moon standing, gold
There Will Be No Miracles Here sign: Fetch, No Miracles Sign

Photographed in Phototools No Light Windlight; all lighting in the scene comes from the LumiPro and created projectors.

Special thanks are due to Brez Lander, who, when I asked what you call a place where a guy brings women for the express purpose of seducing them, came up with “shag shack”. Thanks, Brez!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never light a model in complete darkness, in a set that took hours to build and which I will completely rip out within 24 hours, without it!

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Air and Darkness

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I braved the sea.

I braved the sea today. Out on the edge of the Realm, where the water flows (always) round the now-frozen landscape, there is a fragment of an old temple, lovingly preserved by the demifae. And a lighthouse. There is little else in this corner of the Realm, save the lighthousekeeper’s house, which is just far enough from the lighthouse to make it an uncomfortable walk at this time of year.

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How quickly it gets dark!

How quickly it gets dark! Even though I know to expect it, darkness catches me sometimes, catches my breath and my spirit, and takes them on flights, farther away than I could go even with wings and my ability to move between Realms so easily.

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I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness.

I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness. And as the winds blew up and I could sense a storm coming, I thought also about air. If I am the Queen of Winter now, I am also Queen of Air and Darkness, or so the legends and songs say.

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If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet Spring.

If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet spring. I shall stand, and say to the Air, “blow through me”, and I shall say to the Darkness, “be one with me”. And I shall call the cold in, and befriend it, though I shall not scorn the sun.

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On the beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me.

On the frozen beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me: it threatened to blow me over. And so I bent, and let it come, and I remembered a song I learned back in my days of folk-club hopping:

I shall bow and be simple
I shall bow and be free
I shall bow and be humble
Yea, bend like the willow tree

I shall bow; this is the token
I shall wear the easy yoke
I shall bow and be broken
Yea, I’ll fall upon the rock

I’ve always heard this described as a Shaker hymn, although the only explicit references to the Christian teachings I can see there are the phrases, “I shall wear the easy yoke”, which comes from the Gospel of Matthew (“My yoke is easy and my burden is light”), and “I’ll fall upon the rock [and be broken]”, also from the Gospel of Matthew. But I digress into academic explication, a habit that’s mostly worthless to me now.

Bending my body and letting the wind take me, however, was not worthless to me.

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I found strength in bending.

I found strength in bending. And then, it was as if the wind blew through my body effortlessly, and I became an instrument of the wind.

And, as darkness fell, I also became an instrument of the darkness. What kind of instrument I will be, well. That remains to be seen.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Phoenix,  Kiara (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (Available NOW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Makeup: Arte, Frost Mask (blue)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Wings: Material Squirrel, Thethys Wings (light coloured)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: The Plastik, Veez (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Necklaces: both from The Plastik; short: The Skein Necklace; long: The Hallow necklace
Gown: Junbug, Ice Maiden (in Ice) (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Crown: E.V.E, Valindra’s Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Violatility, Fairy Heels, in Bubble

Scene:
Stairs: {anc}, Stairs for Moonlight
Lighthouse: Hideki, Lighthouse
Poses: An Lar, all from the Marta Series (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth wander frozen shores and contemplate her existence without it!

 

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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Bringing Back the Light

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

These Dark Days will segue soon enough into light. So much work to do, before they’re done. And of course it falls to us magical beings to set the wheels of the Cosmos into motion, because we are the Beings who see those wheels.

From the lonely strands of Winter, we weave the roots of Spring. Into human suffering and shortages, we bring a Festival of Light. Many Festivals of Light. Remember that we do not see the metaverse as you mortals do: for us it is an ebb and flow of energy that rises far above the singular moments which create it.

And I am young, so young, in my calling.

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But I have learned enough to know that my part, however small, is essential.

But I have learned enough to know that my part, however small, is essential. We are assigned to different places, you see, in various Realms, and we do the work of the cosmos, reminding our Beloved Sun that it is his time to return. Some of us do this by making a great noise, whether musical or not. Some of us do this with poetry. Some create works of art, or help mortals create them.

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But I do not have these skills yet. One day I shall do more.

But I do not have these skills yet. One day, I shall do more.

My simple task may confound you, and it might surprise you to know how many of us are assigned to it, in different Realms, throughout the Multiverse, throughout the Universe, at our appointed places and times.

I am given directions to a specific place, which I must reveal to no-one. Many of us Fae Royals are part of this: it is why you will find us slipping away from our revels and festivals before the bell-strike, before the dawn breaks.

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Two Minutes to Midnight.

Two minutes to midnight. Wait, breathe, gather myself. And when the time comes, make sure the clocks don’t stop. It needs a Queen’s touch, this twisted Realm, this twisted Cosmos. It needs a breath of Spring, powered by darkest Winter.

Really, you ask? Make sure the clocks don’t stop? Isn’t that as simple as a little winding, a new battery, making sure the power doesn’t go out… oh.

Yes, it’s like that. It’s why I am so often tired after the Great Festivals. I give all my energy to this work, and it leaves me drained. But for now, one minute to midnight. I am not alone. I feel my cosmic community around me: sisters, brothers, some who are neither or both. Isolated as I am, I feel them breathe with me, and I breathe. I feel them reach with me, and I reach, and then, with an impossible push, a starlit spell, the lights of a thousand candles, then comes the stroke of midnight. And the second after. And the minute after. And the infinitesimally small movement of darkness to light in the midst of winter. We are all harbingers. Light is returning. Light will come again.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone 2.0 Bento Head (NEW at the Lelutka Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Gaia (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Yulia (only for Lelutka heads) (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Makeup: Izzie’s, Lelutka Silver Glitter Makeup
Particle Effects: Cole’s Corner, Ice Queen (halo, wisps, aura)
Dress: SenzaFine, Catriona, Winter Sky
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoulders: Muse, Rose Brooch Jewellery Wrap

Scene:
Background: Glam Affair & Tableau Vivant, Light LootBox (rare) (Available NOW at The Fantasy Collective!)
Tree: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Christmas Tree (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hanging Light: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Hanging Light (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Clock: Death Row Designs, Mechanical Clock (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Globe: Hideki, Steampunk Moon

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth help start the engine of the cosmos again without it!

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