Changes and Accomplishments

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Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey; I want to be a redhead!”?

Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey, I want to be a redhead!”? Well, I mean, unless you’re a redhead already, in which case the point is kind of moot. But that’s how I woke up this morning. The mist was thick on the ground as I made my way through the book forest. I noticed a few new things there, but I didn’t have time to investigate. I had a sense of purpose.

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Somehow, I knew the bower would be there.

Somehow, I knew the bower would be there. Of course, it looks different here from the Wylds. It’s bigger. But here’s bigger, you know? The trees are bigger. They feel older. Maybe it’s because I’m older. And the structure that’s defined my bower for the last several seasons is here, too. It’s comforting, like a church, but for someone like me, whose windows look out into eternity and whose walls don’t shut out the world, the wood, the flowers.

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I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity.

I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity. But my new Realm wasn’t out of surprises for me yet: I knew there was yet more for me to discover.

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I took a moment to centre myself.

I took a moment to centre myself and take in the ambiance of the oak tree. I could feel the growing forest behind me: DI felt no need to turn and look, but of course I wanted to turn and look. Then, I rounded the oak tree to come closer to the Green, and I gasped at what I saw.

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Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise.

Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise. Pink ivy leaves covered the trunk and roots of the tree, set into which was a shelf with a beautiful clock. And floating parasols!

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Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me.

Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me. I found the morning drifting in to noon. As always in a magical Realm, time moves differently here. I recalled how the raven tower had made me think of my bower in the Wylds, and I smiled as I thought of those gorgeous windows, open to the sky, behind me. I longed for a book, a good book, to appear, and I found myself holding a book by Neil Gaiman I didn’t know existed. Apparently he’s retelling Norse myths now! Well, that ate up a few hours, as you might imagine.

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Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow.

Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow. How large it seemed, how open. So different from how it had been almost completely enclosed by forest in the Wylds. I wonder if this is my new mindset: an open-ness to things, a receiving, an acceptance. The flowers glowed with their own light as the hazy noon wore into afternoon, and I took some pleasure in feeling small inside my bower. A bower that will be open to everyone, a place for all to visit.

Oh, and then I felt tired—as if I’d done some act of creation just by walking through the flower field. I made my way back toward the beautiful couch and that book of Norse myths. Suddenly I was struck by a thought, and `I nearly laughed aloud.

What would that ludicrous reporter, Cherish Gelato, think of this place? I imagined her poking around, putting her nose into places it doesn’t belong, wondering why there were unfinished places that just look like vast fields of grass, and my explaining to her that this was not a Realm that came in to being overnight; that it must grow like a garden.

And then she’d ask me: “Are you proud of what you’re creating here?”

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Am I proud? “You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Am I proud? 

“You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), V (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Hiraeth Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Wednesday, snow (Full body skin and head applier, Available NOW at Skin Fair! These are 7 Deadly s{K}ins’ NEW. body appliers, and they are amazing and easy to use, and so fast!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: Earthstones, Flight of Fancy Necklace (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Peaches and Cream Dress, Blue (Available SOON at Shiny Shabby!)
Shoes: Ingenue, Gretchen Flats, Dove (Available NOW at The Arcade Gacha!)

Scenes:
Book Path: Una, Book Path
Book with trees: BananaN, Story Book Gacha Scene 3
Table and Chairs, Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Set
Grass: Alirium, Downy Grass
Birch Trees: The Little Branch, White Birch Cluster
Windowed Structure: Kaelis Ember, Find Here Amenity
Big Tree: Cube Republic, Auchmore Oak
Magical Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Boho Hangout Spot: The Looking Glass, In My Boho Garden (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Background Trees: Various trees by Studio Skye, The Little Branch, Happy Mood, Heart, Trompe Loeil
SimSurround: Landscapes Unlimited, Rolling Hills Large Skybox Environment

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create an organic magical realm 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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On a Misty Morning….

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Mm, coffee!

So the best thing about being up in the actual morning is coffee. Or at least it is from my perspective. And building my own weird little world requires caffeine. Today I decided to give Gwyneth a bit of a casual look, because she’s working after all, and it’s not always practical to order your minions around while wearing ballgowns, right? This hair is new from Wasabi Pills: it’s the Bianca hair, and you can find it in a gacha at this month’s Chapter Four. The outfit is also a gacha, from the currently-running (and nearly done!) Kustom 9; it’s Zenith‘s Fur Scarf Sweater and Winter Leather Fur Boots. The Fur Scarf Sweater is a rare item, but all the sweaters are lovely, and they come with the cup of coffee and tintable hands that are easy to colour to whatever shade you want. The tattoos on Gwyneth’s legs and face are from Stardust, whose wonderful work I have only just discovered. The leg tattoo is called Ami, and the face tattoo (which you an see more clearly in the next photo) is Amelina. There is a matching body tattoo called Amelia that you can’t see in this photograph. They’re available as single purchases or as a fatpack at The Chapter 4.

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A little closer

If we come a little closer, you can see the hair, the face tattoo, the skin, and the fur scarf a little more clearly. First of all, the Wasabi Pills hair comes in two different styles: this is the one where both sides are tucked behind the ear. The other style has one side falling over the ear and one side tucked. I like the tucked style because it doesn’t interfere with Gwyneth’s ears. The ears are from Swallow; they’re the High Definition Elf Ears that were offered for the first time at Shiny Shabby a few months back. Once again, Gwyneth is in the Taryn Omega mesh head applier from The Plastik. I can’t say enough about how much I love this skin, so I’ll just shut up about it already, except to say that this is a darker colourway, Au Lait, and that my favourite part about it are the lips, which seem to capture the constantly-evolving Gwyneth Bento head shape perfectly. I’m wearing a lot of Mesange eyes recently; I think I’ve mentioned I like them because they’re Omega appliers (Genesis appliers as well) and I can’t be bothered with re-situating a different pair of mesh eyes every day! These are the Sekhmet Eyes, and they’re also at The Chapter 4 this month. As almost always, Gwyneth is in the Maitreya Lara mesh body, and this is the Catwa Catya Bento mesh head.

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More Book Forest details!

Here are some more book forest details We’ve moved a little deeper into the forest; you can see the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Fae Waystone from here as well as the Book Door, though it’s obscured by the mist that will probably cover everything in this space quite a lot of the time once it’s done. Well, in my windlight at least: I’m not going to put down mist because it makes the lag-beast happy! (In case you’re curious, the windlight is Alchemy Immortals Foggy Morning.) Next to Gwyneth is one of the lovely pieces from that amazing Storybook Gacha by BananaN that started this whole “Book Forest” thing. It’s the Scene 3 item. I love the tree with the little ladder. In the distance and partly obscured by trees, you can see one of the most beautiful bits of the Raindale Maplemoor Gacha, the Maplemoor Bridge. I’ll put up a more close-up photo of it once I get that side of the Book Forest detailed; for now imagine that the mist comes right up to the edge of the bridge and obscures everything beyond it. Luckily, the windlight does that pretty well! You can get all the beautiful Maplemoor items at this month’s The Crossroads event.

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Mist, and a lamppost.

I like the idea of the mist obscuring all areas of the sim platform that haven’t been built yet. It gives me both plausible deniability and the ability to procrastinate, as I have a lot of other projects coming due shortly and I won’t be able to get back to building for a week or so, probably. But of course, a good lamppost can see you through (or at least to the edge of) the mist, and this one is another one of the beautiful Raindale items, the Maplemoor Lantern. I love discovering new things in SL. The book paths, again, are from Una, part of the Book Road set, and the trees are The Little Branch‘s White Birch Cluster.

No style card today, as it’s all in the text; links appear above as necessary.

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

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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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