Short Story Roundup

From The Author: Lately, I’ve not been inspired to write a lot of longish stories and have been sticking to single photographs. So here is a bit of a roundup of the last week or so in photographs. These have, except for one, already appeared on my Flickr feed, so they might seem familiar.

The Moth, or “Capture” and “Escape”

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Moth Working Shot

I knew Ritual was going to release a green skin for the Trick or Treat Lane event, but I didn’t have the skin yet. Now, green is not my favourite colour, and I only very rarely (like only when I want to blog one) wear green skin, so I wanted to find a concept that worked for me with a green skin. Luckily, I’d just been to the Lootbox event, where Devious Minds had this gorgeous moth outfit gacha. So, here is the dry-run shot that I took and edited before the eventual photograph with the skin itself. I’m including it here because it was fun to shoot and also because the character changed a bit in my head between concept and finished photo.

Quick credits: moth set is from the Devious Mind “Falena” gacha, at Lootbox. Hair is Magika, “Irene”. Avatar styled on LAQ Noelle Bento Mesh Head and a Maitreya body, with SLink Pointe feet.

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Capture

With the addition of the new skin (Ritual, Elspeth in tone Rheia for Trick or Treat Lane ), plus some brighter eyes (Cerebrus Xing, Uni Eyes), and dark lipstick (Pink Fuel, Dazzle Me-Haunted), and a change in hair (Tram, 0314), this character became, for me, a dark fairy captured, perhaps because she committed some crime or perhaps because of who she was. This is possibly her mug shot, although it might be a self-reflection from wherever she is incarcerated.

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Escape

Here is how the final photograph with the darker skin turned out. Whether she is re-captured, I do not know, but the story is somewhere in there! Even though I’d saved camera angles and lighting settings, things weren’t exactly the same, as you can see, and in order to soften the shadows I added an overlay in Affinity Photo to soften them. The Flickr version is cropped differently and I think more effectively.

I’d mentioned to the lovely Wren of Visionaire that I have been unsatisfied with a lot of the bloggy photography lately and felt like I was sliding in to some old habits (over-lighting, boring subject focus, and also over-lighting). Funny how when you talk about something, it suddenly seems to come clear to you? A lot of these pictures are partly influenced by that conversation.

Credits: Same as for the test shot, with the additions noted above. This great pose is from Le Poppycock‘s new Fairy Winds set.

Dignigoff

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Dignigoff

I’m still crazy in love with HEXtraordinary‘s adorable Lord Bartleby Von Tinkleton; isn’t everybody? I’d just finished the blog story about his visit to and planned takeover of Awenia, but I really wanted to put him in every photograph ever at the time, so here he is as Gwyneth’s travelling companion to some important Nu Jyorck function or other. This dress is 1313 Mockingbird Lane‘s beautiful (and versatile!) Delirium Dress, which will officially debut at The Black Fair on the 5th of October, and the shoes are also from 1313 Mockingbird Lane. They’re the Luna Mary Janes, and you can get them at Trick or Treat Lane , where there are many other amazing things, as well!

Credits from the Flickr Post:
The Dress: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Delirium (out soon at The Black Fair!)
The Shoes: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Luna Mary Janes (at Trick or Treat Lane !)
The Skin: Ritual, Elspeth in Tone 1 (at the Ritual Main Store)
The Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Zuna (Available at Lootbox)
The Bracelets: The Plastik, Phaen Cuffs (At Salem)
The Kitty: HEXtraordinary, Lord Bartleby Von Tinkleton, Esq. (At The Engine Rom)
The Headpiece: Zibska, Sammy (At Shiny Shabby)
The Backdrop: FoxCity, Grand Entrance (At Kustom9)
The Pose: An Lar, The Candi Series, 5m
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme

Glamour Shot!

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Glamour Shot

This is an unapologetic fashion red carpet style photograph of 1313 Mockingbird Lane‘s Delirium Dress, which will be available at The Black Fair. It’s not often I like a dress so much I want to photograph it twice, but something about the fall of the skirt and the fact that there was a cherry print for it made me wonder what would happen if you put a Goth girl into a 1950’s sitcom. So here she is, probably ready to go out for blood burgers and zombie shakes with all her friends from school! I’d also been wanting to photograph these Marcelina shoes from Bliensen + Maitai for ages, so long I don’t even remember where I got them, though the properties tab says I acquired them on the 5th of May this year, which probably means the May round of We Love Roleplay. Regardless, they’re gorgeous little witchy pumps, made for SLink kitten feet. I wish more people would design for kitten and pointe feet, but I’m weird. I searched far and wide for this cherry-themed jewellery and finally found it on the SL MP from Petit Chat. Searching for anything with the word “cherry” in the description on MP is…. yeah. We suffer for art, y’all. We really do.

Quick Credits for everything not. above: Skin: Ritual, Elspeth in T1. Body: Maitreya. Head: Catwa Keme. Ears: Swallow Elf Ears HD. Stockings: Sweet Tea. Backdrop Wearh0ouse, Drapes

I Woke Up Like This

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I Woke Up Like This

I’ll be honest: I didn’t mean to take this photograph. I was testing hairstyles for the moth photograph, and I came across this one from Tram (H0414) and considered it as a possibility. Then, when I was cam zoomed in on the avatar face, it struck me that this would make a really nice portrait, so I adjusted her expression and shot it. It ended up showing Ritual‘s beautiful Elspeth applier really well, so I decided to share it. And, really, don’t we all love living in SL where we really can wake up like this?

Quick credits: Eyes: ProFect, Moon Eyes; Head: Catwa Keme; Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD; Brows: Simple Bloom, LaraDawn soft arch; Hair: Tram H0414; Skin: Ritual, Elspeth in T1.

The News

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The News

Sometimes, a creation just inspires me on sight. That’s what happened with this evocative skin from Jeanette’s Joint, Chronicles. I knew it had to go with clothes from the Belle Epoque Undimmed Eyes set; I didn’t even consider any other outfits to photograph this. I wore this outfit for like three days, I liked it so much, and trust me when I say my Second Life is mostly full of costume changes! Once I had the avatar dressed, the character that emerged was an investigative reporter for the Nu Jyorck Ganger, a big daily newspaper. This is her byline photo. As for the rest of the story, I don’t know it yet. Maybe I never will. Some characters are ephemeral.

Here’s the text from the Flickr post:

Look at this quirky, whimsical, downright glorious skin from Jeanette’s Joint! If you’re feeling significant (and, indeed, topical!) and you want to take this baby for a spin, you can pick it up for L$249 at the Fallen Gods Twelfth Anniversary Zodiac event. And this isn’t the only super cool thing there! Not only is there great shopping, but this event also promises great parties, cool chances to find your One True Soulmate (and win a limited edition skin!), and the Zodiac Hunt.

  • The Amazing Skin: Jeanette’s Joint, Chronicles Skin. Comes with Catwa, Maitreya, and Omega appliers. At the Fallen Gods Twelfth Anniversary Zodiac event.
  • The Exactly Right Outfit: Belle Epoque, Undimmed Eyes (this was at a Lootbox event, I think, but it’s sure to be in the Belle Epoque Main Store now).
  • The Understated But Fetching Hair: Exile, Lily (I think I got this at Hair Fair, but my brain is catnipped at the moment; anyway, it’s in the Exile Main Store).
  • The Thoughtful, Yet Appealing Eyes: Heaux, Glaze Eyes (fatpack light), for Genus
  • The Ears Of Hopefulness And Newshounding: Lumae, Leevi Short Ears. (At the Lumae/Ritual Main Store)
  • The Fae-Means-Business Eyebrows: Simple Bloom, LaraDawn, High Arch. (At the SimpleBloom Main Store)
  • The Flirtatious Yet Forward Thinking Eyelashes: Michan, Cheryl Lashes (from the September 2019 Genus Project Powder Pack).

Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body and a Genus Project Baby Face Bento Mesh Head.

I would say she never reveals her sources, but that would, verifiably, be what we call irony.

So, I guess that’s the news from this week.

Surgical recovery is finally done, so I go back to work on Sunday, 6 October. I will do my best to keep up the bloggity blogs.

 

 

Domus Novus

by Lord Bartleby von Tinkleton, Esq., Guest Columnist.

Of course there have been rumours that I’ve recently chosen to spend time in the Fae Realm of Awenia.

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I admit, I had lunch there.

I admit, I had lunch there. And in fact, I have grown quite fond of the Realm, which was first brought to my attention when an acquaintance suggested I consider interring my Grandsire, Lord Muffin von Tinkleton, in the delightful Cat Heaven that seems to have appeared there when The Author’s beloved cat passed away.

So, yes. I have been spending time in the Fae Realm of Awenia.

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And Her Majesty Queen Gwyneth gave me a lovely tour

And Her (more gothly than I expected) Fae Majesty, Queen Gwyneth, gave me a lovely tour.

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She was solicitous.

In fact, she was solicitous. Strangely solicitous. So solicitous, in fact, that I briefly wondered if she might be a collector of exotic, noble felines with a great deal of power and influence. Obviously, this has proven to be completely untrue.

However, the time I’ve spent in the Realm has convinced me that it’s a good place for me to be.

There. I’ve admitted it. Are you satisfied now, fae paparazzi? Are you satisfied now, FaeWatch? You and your cronies, always poking into my business. Cecilia, scratch this paragraph when you edit this, please? I don’t want to look like a raging lunatic; just a delightful eccentric. Thank you.

Yes, yes, and it was a convivial lunch with Her Majesty that convinced me.

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The Realm, she explained, could always use more cats.

The Realm, she explained, could always use more cats.

You do have some cats already, I said. You have many cats experiencing the joys of the afterlife, for example. And there are some… (I admit I held my nose) of those Forest-y cats in the island with all the book stuff.

The book forest, she said by way of correction.

Whatever, I said. You need someone like me. I will bring a level of jauntiness and sophistication to your Realm.

My mobile pinged. I ignored it.

Have you thought about where you’d like to live? asked Her Majesty.

Clearly, I explained, I must have the highest possible domicile. A place wherein I could look down on everyone, pouncing optional.

She pointed out what she described as the lovely little guesthouses they make available to some visiting dignitaries.

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You could have the top flat

You could have the top flat, she promised.

For at least half the year? I wondered.

Of course.

And that’s the highest point.

The highest point that’s really available as a domicile.

What, I asked, about that lovely treehouse there?

You mean the designated Residence For Foreign Royals? she asked.

I adjusted my hat.

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A few accommodations were made.

In the end, I agreed that I would live there, for at least six months out of the year, with a few small accommodations. The Salon now has a piano where a poor, shorthaired cat can sing the songs of our people.

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I have a proper cat tree, of course.

I must have a proper cat tree, of course.

And, after I only had to request it once, Her Majesty had her personal photographer, Bran, create this portrait of me that now hangs above the salon fireplace.

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Don’t I look dapper?

Don’t I look dapper? All in all, I am quite happy with how things are progressing, and I am sure we will continue in our mutually satisfying relationship, Her Majesty and I.

Cecilia, once you have transcribed this, would you please change my pesking phone number? I am very tired of those calls I keep getting from that fellow I hired to sort out the finances. He seems very predisposed to panicking over small things. I did tell him at the time that I didn’t care what happened to Mummy’s house as long as I had the patent on those catnip strains. How much more clear could I have been? And send up that boy who gives the nice chin scratches. Thank you.

Style Card:
Lord Bartleby von Tinkleton himself: HEXtraordinary, Lord Bartleby von Tinkleton, animesh cat available at The Engine Room until 20 October

The Dress: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Black Magic Woman, available at Salem
The Boots: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Riveter Boots, available at Salem
The Stockings: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Drusilla Stockings, available at Lootbox

The Skin: Ritual, Nimue, available at the Ritual Main Store
The Hair: Wasabi Pills, Astra, which is available now at Uber
The Eyeshadow: Veechi, Evil Queen Eyeshadow
The Lipstick, Pink Fuel, Silky Shine True Red
The Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
The Eyes: Tone 2, Autumn Mist Eyes (at Uber)
The Tattoo: Stardust, Misty (Night) (at Uber)
The Location: Awenia Faerie, Landing Point, Bridge to Remembrance, The Treehouse
The Poses: Bauhaus Movement, NoiseBastardZ series
The Body: Maitreya
The Head: Genus Project, Baby Face

Much of the decor is from The Looking Glass, including the bridges, the gazebo, lots of the trees, the furniture in the salon. The coffee cart is from Atomic, the Witches Brew Gacha. The treehouse itself is from LAQ.

 

Unicorn Sanctuary

FAE LADY LETITIA LUPERCALIA:
Volunteerism is my calling. I believe it comes from a higher place, the desire to help those less fortunate than oneself, to bring them along in the world and lift them up. And who, really, is less fortunate than a poor animal?

Even mythical animals receive such terrible starts in life. They are born to godless herds, forced to fend for themselves, and so many of them do not realise what lively and indeed lucrative, contributions they might make to the greater world.

Thankfully, there’s The Unicorn Sanctuary.

INTERVIEWER:
We’re honoured to be speaking with Fae Lady Letitia Lupercalia today, about her life’s work of rescuing and rehabilitating young Unicorns and helping them find their places in the multiple Realms that make up our tangled universe. Who are these fine young foals?

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Some of our success stories!

FLLL:
You will of course have seen news reports of some of our success stories. These delightful twin unicorn foals, Pinkberry and Smoothie, have just brought home to their sponsors an outstanding win at this years Flutterfoal Bowl. We are so proud to have representatives of The Unicorn Sanctuary winning medals all over the multiverse. They now also command a lucrative sponsorship from the famous frozen yoghurt company. Our newest little celebrities spend so much time training, they are sometimes too tired to snuggle with their Sanctuary brothers and sisters when they come home, but don’t worry for them! We have constructed them a special pillow paddock so they feel snuggly and warm even when they’re too tired to cuddle.

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All our unicorns are on a journey.

I:
Tell us about more of the Unicorns you have at the Sanctuary now, My Lady.

FLLL:
All our unicorns are on a journey, their own special journey. This one matches my dress so well I have thought of taking her home, but really she will need a few more months’ worth of education. She is still being very deferential to this Giant Sleepy Cat, and believe you me, this cat does nothing but sleep and purr and eat and, well. You know what else they do. “Goldiebelle”, I tell her, “You’d better find someone better to bow to!”

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The Old Guard

The Old Guard is our one remaining adult unicorn. He expressed a desire to stay and watch over all the little foals, and while it’s lovely to have him here, I must also remind the foals of what a bad influence he is. He did once take an assignment away from the Sanctuary, but he was returned when it was found he’d been inciting other members of his Myth Zoo (yes, that Myth Zoo!) herd to unionise. It was quite the scandal back in the day! He assures us he’s too old for all that, but I do sometimes find him whispering to the foals. One cannot be too vigilant. An agreeable nature is so important to one’s well-being and contentment, don’t you find?

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Some are simply hopeless

I:
Oh, what a cutie-pie!

FLLL:
Some, it must be admitted are, sadly, simply hopeless. Of course, even for these poor unfortunates, there may be a salvation: I’ve wired the Fae Duchess of Doncaster to see if she might take this one in as a charity case. She does have her eccentricities, and they might extend to a Unicorn as fated for disaster as this one. I can’t even bring myself to name it.

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All Unicorns deserve a good home!

I:
Do you have some words that keep you true to your mission?

FLLL:
All Unicorns deserve a good home; that’s my motto!

I:
What about visiting the Sanctuaries?

FLLL:
Oh, we love visitors! I hope if you get the chance you’ll come and visit one of our satellite Sanctuaries or even our main Sanctuary (although, let’s face it, getting to Awenia is more hassle than most people want to go through in a lifetime!) for one of our Open Days.

I:
What should our listeners know if they are interested in adopting a Unicorn Sanctuary Unicorn?

FLLL:
Well, we make it as easy as we can, but remember that our passion is the Unicorns themselves and their well-being! You’ll need a plan for how you’ll make your special Unicorn productive in its life and your community if you wish to adopt a Unicorn who’s graduated from our rigorous training programme! You’ll need an Exotic Magical Pet license or a guarantee that your application in progress will be reviewed favourably, and of course there is a nominal donation to help keep our Sanctuaries running. Remember that because we are a Fae organisation we are not obligated to take currency, so we decline most Realm-centred currencies and credit. We also hope you understand that gold certified “Fae” must be authenticated by our in-house experts. We spay and neuter each Unicorn who leaves our loving Sanctuaries, and exceptions cannot be made. Before your Adoption Application is approved, our representatives will make several home visits to ensure you can offer an appropriate home to one of our Unicorns. Applications must be filled out in person on the grounds of one of our Sanctuaries; as the Application is lengthy, you may wish to stay overnight in one of our comfortable Unicorn Hostels: make sure to arrange your accommodation before your visit, as Unicorns are placed very quickly and we wish to avoid your disappointment should you be unable to book a long enough accommodation to complete the Application.

I:
Well, thank you very much, My Lady Lupercalia! I’ll let you get back to your work. Remember, The Unicorn Sanctuary is a Registered Fae Charity and as such operates under the Fae Charity Council as disbanded by Their High Majesties, the rules of which are duly revoked each year at the Annual Fae Charity Council Excuse For A Revel In Place Of An Annual Meeting.

The Unicorn Sanctuary: Where The Magic Can Be Yours!

Style Card:
Featured:
The Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Anastasia of Emeris Gown, currently at We Love Roleplay.
The Skin: Ritual, Elspeth, Tone 2, available at The Ritual Main Store.
The Hair: Dreaming Thicket, Rosemary Hair Gacha, Rose Queen Exclusive, available at The Imaginarium.
The Unicorn Foals: HEXtraordinary, Unicorn Foals Gacha, available at The Arcade.
Big Unicorn: Teegle, Fable The Unicorn
Big Unicorn Coat & Mane: Lunistice. Coat: Watercolor Wings; and Mane & Fluff: Ombre Mane and Fluff (now at The Ark).
Trees: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Tapestry Trees and Twinkle Trees
Grass: The Shrine Tree, Grass Clumps
Sanctuary Walls: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Walls
Giant Sleepy Cat: Half+Deer, Giant Sleepy Cat

Avatar:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Rings: Swallow, Princess Rings
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Heritage Necklace
Eyebrows: Simple Bloom, LaraDawn Soft Arch
Lipstick: Pink Fuel, Silky Shine True Red
Eyelashes: Wednesday, Doll House Eyelashes

A-Five! A-Six! A-Five, Six, Seven, Eight!

 

Thanks, as always, to the genius creators behind some of these beautiful SL creations! I knew I had to blog the Unicorn Foals, but a TP in and out of my region while they were rezzed made me realise the animations reset and they would move in tandem, which is what inspired the story of the post. I also knew I must be a very posh and possibly out of touch narrator here, and the dress from Silvan Moon and amazing hair from Dreaming Thicket just made it all so easy. Teegle continues to inspire with their gorgeous equestria, and I would be nowhere, nowhere I tell you, without the goddess behind Ritual Skins. Heartfelt thanks also and as always to Half+Deer for all the cats, every single one of them. 

 

Don’t Look Down

Dreams are so weird.

I mean, I’ve spent large portions of the past few years explaining the vagaries of being a Fae Queen through dream sequences because sometimes they’re the only things that make more sense than trying to explain it all as a straight-up narrative.

But that doesn’t mean they make sense.

Sometimes they do at least have plots, and then I can tell them to you as a story.

But sometimes.

Sometimes they’re just images, seemingly disconnected from everything else in my life, startling and disruptive points of clarity that don’t make any objective sense.

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Don’t Look!

“Don’t Look!” It’s all I could say to myself, because I could sense I was standing on something that wasn’t all that sturdy, and the sensation of wind, everywhere, led me to understand that I was at some height.

But, first of all, whoever listens to warnings in dreams? And secondly, I’ve never personally expired from a dream, even though Dyisi used to warn me it could happen and I’ve heard, you know. Stories.

So of course I looked.

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Don’t Look Down!

OK, WTF brain? Who puts a train track with creepy American-style wired telephone and power poles up in the middle of the air? Who does that? Clearly, my brain does that.

I have no idea what the significance, if any, of this sharp-relief set of images that startled me awake just now, might be.

But I guess when the time comes, I’ll be unable to look away.

Style Card:
Skin: Ritual, Elspeth, Fantasy Tone Laele. This is a new release in the Ritual Main Store! Ritual has some other great fantasy tones in new releases, and I’ll be showing them all to you over the next few days! Ears come with the skin in matching shades, natch, because Moonmagik over at Ritual is fabulous.
Hair: Truth, Delirium. OMG I WON SOMETHING! Truth Hawks gave away some fatpacks of this hair via Facebook and Flickr, and I won one! I love winning things, and the fact that this hair is called “Delirium” is part of what inspired me to photograph it this way. Delirium is new in the Truth Main Store, and the textures are ah-mazing.
Photo Setting: Milk Motion, Cloudy Dream Scene. This is at Collabor88, and it’s super cool. I am imagining some other scenes I can create with it, but the scene itself is just so pretty I wanted to photograph it just for itself.
Dress: The Secret Store, Celeste Ruffle Dress. Also at Collabor88— it just fit the theme. Comes in lots of mix and match colours that you can customise using a HUD, which is super cool.
Necklace: Swallow, Key Friendship Necklace. This is at eBento. I’m a sucker for anything with a key on it!
Gloves: Supernatural, Crystal Gloves. I can’t even remember when I got these, but they’ve obviously been waiting for this post!
Shoes: Mosquito’s Way, Giselle. (I will use any excuse to break out the SLink Pointe Feet, and I wish more people would make shoes for them.
Lipstick: Pink Fuel, Dazzle Me (Haunted). PF put a set of their Genus lipsticks in a recent Genus Project Powder Pack, and I loved the ombre shades so much I went out and bought them aaaaall!
Eyeshadow: Mila, June Cosmetic Pack (from the June Genus Powder Pack).
Eyes: Lotus, Fable Eyes, at Spellbound, which you can visit for a few more days.
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face

Shaggy Cat Story

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Baby, take off your coat…

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Real slow….

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Baby, let down your hair…

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Just let it all hang down there….

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Baby, take off your dress…

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Yes, yes, yes….

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You can leave your CAT on…

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You can leave your CAT on…

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You can leave your CAT on!

With apologies to the monstrous and daunting songwriting talent of Randy Newman, of course. I changed only a few lines in the song, but I think it kinda works!

I don’t know what came over me: must be these Crazy and Cute Cat Slippers from Death Row Designs. They’re at The Crossroads

YouTube: Original Randy Newman recording of “You Can Leave Your Hat On”

Style Card:
Baby, take off your CoatRebel HopeCharlize Mesh Coat, Red
Baby, take down your Hair: TruthIvanaTruthTyne
Baby, take off your Dress: MimikriJouJou Feather Trim Dress, Black
You can leave your CAT on: Death Row DesignsCrazy and Cute Cat Slippers (Available NOW at The Crossroads!)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin:  Pink FuelSabine, Catwa Bento face applier in Porcelain (NEW at the Pink Fuel Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Lingerie:
Top Half: Big, Beautiful DollMiriam Lingerie Set, Black
Stockings: F’N’HawtXHigh Net Stockings Cat
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Flying Cats: Half Deer: Winged Cats
Armchair: Death Row DesignsSoft Pink Moods Chair
Home Cloud, Moon, Stars: 8f8Dreamer’s Cloudland
Cloud and ladder, extra small clouds, InfinitiStairway to Heaven

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make terrible song puns involving lots of flying cats 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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