Why Haven’t You Been to Ostara’s Altar Yet?

Because I’m recovering from cataract surgery and under multiple deadlines at the same time, here’s a straight-up blog post from me. These photos were taken last weekend and should have been posted on Friday, but my eyes were one day out of surgery and I’ve not been looking at computers much because they are bright and full of colour! (My new cyber-eyes are amazing, btw.)

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There’s so much to embrace about the coming of Spring.

There’s so much to embrace about the coming of Spring, and Ostara’s Altar has a lot of it! Gwyneth is frolicking in a field of flowers, my favourite flowers ever, the Ichi Fields from The Looking Glass. The ruins in the background are an amazing set from Delirium, called Ancient Temple. This is permanently on Awenia (well, as permanently as anything is on Awenia!), and I love the gothic arches and the atmosphere of the place. I put lime trees from The Little Branch all around the temple, but you can’t see them in this photograph: check the ones below!

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But let’s get on to the important stuff! What is Gwyneth wearing?

But let’s get on to the important stuff! What is Gwyneth wearing? The dress is from Oubliette, and you can get it at Ostara’s Altar until 1pm SLT today, so hurry it up! It’s called Maia, and it comes in an amazing array of ombre colours, something for everyone, and the textures are fantastic! This hair is from Limerence, called Lamiya, and it’s still available at Lootbox. The amazing nails are from Dark Passions (natch!), and they’re the Odin’s Pride set, also available at Lootbox. The skin is Lumae‘s wonderful new Neoma Catwa applier, here on the Catwa Lona head, and the extra makeup is from Adored; it’s the Unicute Shadows, which you can pick up at The Secret Hideout. I went crazy at that event this time around. Unicorn theme. You guys know how I am! Eyes are the Gem Eyes from Amara Beauty. Gwyneth’s ears are these great new ones from Swallow, the Noldor Elf Ears. I love the jewellery on these ears; I just wish they took Omega appliers (hint, hint, Swallow!). 🙂 The boots are from Luas, the Skadi boots, which are at Lootbox. Trousers are a standby from The Muses, the Laced Leather Pant. Body as always is the Maitreya mesh body, though I’ve been experimenting with the Tonic body lately and may do some photos with that one soon.

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Leaping!

Leaping! Gwyneth loves Spring, because as a natural Summer Queen, Spring is the beginning of her rise to power, which peaks at Midsummer. These poses are all from Grafica, by the way; they did some amazing dance poses a couple of years ago that I still use frequently. That said, I have been to Pose Fair, so be expecting some new ones in the weeks to come!

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Happy!

This pose is from the Hela-Miyo Happy series, which is just a lot of fun. But look at the textures on that Oubliette dress. Yum, yum. I love it when things just look perfect and I don’t have to work too hard to make them perfect.

I’m not including a style card with this post, as everything is described under the photos, but I will tell you this: Ostara’s Altar is closing at 1pm SLT today, so get yourself down there and do some last-minute shopping, because some of these exclusives are discounted and you don’t want to miss that!

Short Stories

Fog and the Garden

Some mornings are just full of possibility. You rise, you dress (And what a dress! Those miracle workers at Silvan Moon Designs have done it again!), you meet an owl along the substantial walk from the castle to the Garden, and you consider.

“Do you think I should move the Garden closer to the castle?” I mused. “It seems an awfully long walk to come here every morning to pay my respects, and Court days will feel interminable.”

“I think that’s a foolish idea, Your Majesty.” Oh, great. That talking cat was back in the Garden. Where was Dyisi when I needed her? The owl was no help (they never are), and I’m pretty sure the cat just wanted a piece of the dress (but who wouldn’t?) There were two bunny rabbits and a faunicorn wandering around with me as well. I”m pretty sure the dogs were just planning on sleeping til the cat came down from its perch (which was of course never going to happen).

I sighed. “Why’s that, Your Cheshireness?” I tried to sound distantly pleasant.

“Because this way you have to look at everything—well, most everything—at least once a day, sometimes twice,” it reasoned. “And you wouldn’t want to miss anything, would you?”

“No, I suppose not,” I said with a frown.

“Smart lady,” said the cat, but just then his scruffier ginger relative finally jumped up to get a piece of that dress. I’m lucky it comes in an assortment of colours.

Late Journey

Coming home so late, you’d think I would be more worried about stalkers and drunkards than I would be about the decision I’m currently making. And despite the relative wittiness of London tube adverts, I really do have more important things on my mind.

Escalator, or steps? Hm… The thing is, if I lost this costume, I’d have to reimburse the club. And the club, conveniently, had nowhere to store it that seemed safe. And I, not-so-conveniently, didn’t exactly carry peacock-costume-sized garment bags with me when I left home for rehearsal this afternoon.

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I’m so tired. All the dancing, fifteen girls just like me in identical costumes, struggling to make sure our feathers don’t touch. So much easier to take the moving steps. But the tail feathers and the train…. it was hard enough knowing I couldn’t sit down on the Tube. But now, two long flights of stairs, and then more stairs to my second floor flat, seems almost more than I can bear.

But I’m young, and I know I can bear it. I will bear it. I do bear it.

With a last look at the train-eating escalator, I turn to walk slowly down the stairs and into the dark.

The Awakening of Silence

No light except the Lantern Tree, and far above, the moon. I am here again, helping the organic growth of Awenia along, suggesting a house, a tree, a path, a fountain.

There was a time when I’d have said, “This is too much for one person.” I’d have been glad of Faermorn, of Saone. Now, I welcome this stillness, the silent waiting that is January, secure in the knowledge of Imbolg, so soon now, and the promise of spring in the womb of the world.

Oh, great mother, guide my hands; guide my heart. Help me see what the Land wants to be.

I used to wonder, are you there? I used to wonder about a lot of things.

Now, I stare in wonder at the moon, the dark sky sparked with flickers from the Lantern Tree, and I watch as fragrant blue flowers spring from my fingers.

There are few times in our little or long lives when we are not waiting for something. Now, I sink into the silence. I think of my Land, Awenia, and how lucky I am to have this influence I do, this ability to shape it.

A long winter’s night. An incandescent moon. Silence is the womb of the world.

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Style Cards:

“Fog and the Garden”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Izzie’s, Winter Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Daphne of Mistborn Gown (Available on 4th February at We ❤ RP!)
Hair: Truth, Teanna (January 2018 VIP Group Gift! Why aren’t you a member of the Truth VIP Group?)

Location: Awenia, Faerie Garden
Cheshire Cat Tree: HEXtraordinary, The Cat’s Favourite Tree
Sleeping Huskies: Jian, Sleeping Husky Gift
Norwegian Forest Cat: Jian, Forest Cat Static—Catch
White and Brown Bunny Rabbits: UnRepentant, Twitchy Bun
Owl: HEXtraordinary, Snowy Owl, Flying
Faunicorn: Jinx, Faunicorn 3
Ground Cover: The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Blue Flowers
Birch Trees: The Little Branch, White Birch Cluster, Mystic Birch Cluster

“Late Journey”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Mesange, Argos Eyes
Clothes: The Annex, Shake Your Tail Feather (Available at Pocket Gacha! [link is to HUD on SL Marketplace])
Hair: Truth, Apple

Photo Set: Mesh India, Mi Bon Voyage Escalator Background (Available NOW at Limit8!)

“The Awakening of Silence”
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Clarity (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Eyes: Izzie’s, Winter Eyes
Hair: Argrace, Sayo (NEW at the Argrace Main Store!)
Jacket and Sweater: Fame Femme, Leather Jacket and Sweater, Brown
Trousers: The Muses, Ariane Legging Pant
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots
Circlet: Lightstar, Celtic Trinity Knot Silver

Location: Awenia, Faerie Dwellings
The Lantern Tree: The Looking Glass, The Lantern Tree
Poses: Argrace, Sayo (NEW at the Argrace Main Store!)

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Thoughts Are Things

So I took a walk down to the other side of my small Realm, because I had this idea in my head that perhaps the Gypsy Davey had listened to the boys and the other Rom who live here and decided to take up residence in the special (and it is pretty amazing) vardo they have set up especially for him. I haven’t asked them what they’ll do if he says no, though I think I might talk Dyisi into moving up here if I let her live in that.

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The mist was just about to burn off when I got near the vardo site.

The mist was just about to burn off when I got near the vardo site. And there, sitting next to the amazing Rom Castle, which is what some of the neighbours are calling the place, was a vardo I’ve seen him travel in before. So. I could walk up and just knock on the door, I guessed….

Or I could notice that suddenly, a greenhouse with a flower shop has appeared not too far from there, across from the red cottage; just the kind of flowers I like, and a greenhouse filled with roses. I remember once as a young woman I wrote a series of stories for a guy I loved more than I thought I could ever love anyone, about a house where things only had to be wished to be brought into reality. I haven’t thought about those stories in so long. But now, it got me thinking. Thinking about the way things spring in to being. I wonder if I wasn’t somehow foreshadowing my life now, all those years ago. All those years ago. It wasn’t all that long ago. And if I think of that guy, I still miss him. And I wish he could see all this. But then, flowers.

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I just sat there and thought, for a long time.

I just sat there and thought, for a long time. About how things manifest. About why there was an Oxford Circus tube station sign on the front of this greenhouse. I thought a lot.

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I thought about getting up and marching over to that vardo.

I thought about getting up and marching over to that vardo and just knocking until somebody came to the door, and if it was him, great, and if it was some little Rom girl, also great, and welcoming them to the Realm, and maybe offering to treat them to dinner down the pub or at one of the little cafés on the green. I thought about that a lot. And the roses smelled wonderful, and the sunlight shifted and shifted.

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And then, do you know what I did?

And then, do you know what I did?

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I turned right the fuck around and skipped all the way home.

I turned right the fuck around and skipped all the way home. Davey, and whatever (and whoever!) he’s doing—can wait for another day.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: GA/EG, Barbara Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Danielle (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Eyes: Mesange, Tikal Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: Lumae, Misty, for GA/EG (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Top: The Muses, Blackwork Top, Ivory (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Jeans, Spirit, Paola Jeans, Light Blue
Shoes: Ingenue, Gretchen Flats, Noir (Available NOW at The Arcade Gacha!)

Scene:
Fresh Flowers Gate: Hive, Fresh Flowers Gate, Light
Sunflowers: Botanical
Birches: The Little Branch, Mystic Birch Cluster
Flowers Behind Gate: Heart: Wild Flowers, Campion, pink, white, blue, lilac
Boxes on Greenhouse: BlackJack, Neighborhood Gacha, Wall Flower Boxes
Geeky Direction Sign: HopScotch, Which Way?
Greenhouse: Keke, Old Garden Greenhouse (part of the March 2017 DecoCrate)
Davey’s Vardo: Trompe Loeil, Tiena Caravan, Sylvan
Tall Pink Tree: Hayabusa Design, Sakura Tsyu Kosade
Fairytale Sign: Hive, Her Own Fairytale Sign
This Way Sign: {anc} This Way Sign
Nope Sign: Death Row Designs, Rustic Garden Signs (gift available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Oxford Circus Sign: Boudoir, Oxford Circus Sign
Wheelbarrow Flower Display: Death Row Designs, Rustic Garden Decor, Wheelbarrow Display (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Steps Flower Display: Death Row Designs, Rustic Garden Decor, Step Display (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Roses Inside Greenhouse: LovedWarrior Quan, Mesh Rose Bush Planter (various colours)
Background House with Bay Window: Scarlet Creative, Mockingbird Nook

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never have Gwyneth be typically Gwyneth 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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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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How I learned to stop worrying and become a witch!

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Gwyneth:

The dreams aren’t stopping, but they are changing. I’m not always myself in them. Or I’m playing out incarnations that are so far away from my actual life that their outcomes seem irrelevant to me. Maybe that’s what it is to look at things through the dispassionate eye of the Unseelie. This one left me with a good feeling: even though the dream protagonist was definitely me, she wasn’t operating in some way that seemed to want to teach me some kind of lesson, for which I was grateful.

I woke up in the late morning with this dream completely alive in my mind, so the first thing I did was go someplace where I could write it down.

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It was gonna be the best Christmas ever.

It was gonna be the best Christmas, ever. But then Jamie said, ‘Did you talk to the fucking fairies, Gwen? Did you? Because they will fuck our shit up, and then where will we be?’

And I’m all, ‘No, Jamie, I didn’t talk to no fairies: the stuff just fucking appears, and I am thinking, “Gosh, we will have a really cool storybook Christmas, just this once”. I swear, I didn’t talk to none of them. I don’t know why they follow me around’.

And then Ella gets into it, and she’s all, ‘Oh, look, little miss princess priss; the tree I put up in the car ain’t good enough for you, so you gotta go kiss up to some fairy prince, let him put his nasty tongue in your mouth or something, all so you can have hot chocolate and candy apples?’

I start to cry. ‘No, no, no! It just fucking appeared! What do you guys want me to do, burn the shit? The grass is too dry for that. Might as well eat the goddamn candy apples.’

Jamie folds his hands. ‘Fucking long-haired witch’, he says, and his voice is all hissy.

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‘I ain’t no goddamn witch!’

‘I ain’t no goddamn witch!’ I reply, and I’m angry now, even though I’m still crying. ‘Y’all need to get off my fucking case. It’s a few cups of hot chocolate, some cookies, and a basket of apples. Jesus fucking Christ, you’d think the world just ended.’

‘You need to keep a grip on your language and stop talking about the Lord’, Emma says, speaking of prim and prissy. ‘And I seen you looking at the witch’s house’, she adds. ‘I know you been there’.

Jamie just stares at me.

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I can feel myself folding in.

I can feel myself folding in. I know this ain’t going nowhere. ‘I ain’t been to the witch’s house’, I repeat. ‘I ain’t’.

‘You and your long yella hair’, Emma teases. ‘Someday, somebody gonna push you into a river, and then you gonna become somebody’s fiddle’.

‘I ain’t nobody’s fiddle’, I said.  And then I just stomped into the car.

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Fucking fine. If that’s what they want from me, then fine.

Fucking fine. If that’s what they want from me, then fine. I find mum’s old scissors: they’re a bit rusty, but they’ll do, and I start chopping my hair off, crying buckets the whole time. I’m vaguely conscious of Emma and Jamie coming in and telling me they’re sorry, they didn’t mean it, they just didn’t want me to go eating fairy food and they were scared of the candy apple tree and the hot chocolate and the cookies, but I just keep on chopping.

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In the end, it’s uneven and I wrap this old Gryffindor scarf around my neck to hide the ends.

In the end, it’s uneven, and I wrap this old Gryffindor scarf around my neck to hide the ends.

‘It don’t look that bad’, Jamie says. ‘You don’t have to be wearing that scarf. It’ll grow back in just fine. I’m sorry, Gwyn’.

I just look at him.

Emma says she’s gonna test out the candy apples to see if they’re poisoned because she’s got a strong stomach. I just shake my head. ‘After all that, you’re gonna eat the goddamn apples’, I say.

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Well, fuck that.

Well, fuck that. I dry my tears, go outside to the candy apple tree, and I have two apples and a parfait before the other two can follow me out of the train car, yelling all the time. I smile. ‘That tasted good’, I say. ‘Real good’.

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‘And you know what?’ I add. ‘Fuck you both. I’m leaving’.

‘And you know what?’ I add. ‘Fuck you both. I’m leaving. You just try to survive round here without me cooking and cleaning for the two of you; just try not to get picked up by the dults from the village when I’m not here to keep you safe and look like I’m twenty when I’m only fifteen. You just fucking try’.

Emma’s in tears. ‘Gwyn, you can’t go!’ she cries. ‘You done got magicked by something was in those apples! You don’t know what you’re saying!’

Jamie stares at me with his arms folded. ‘I can look twenty’, he says.

‘Fuck you, Jamie; you’re only twelve, and you’re scrawny’, Emma retorts.

But I already have my back to them. Their squabbling fades like the horizon behind me.

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And that’s how I left my little brother and sister and became a witch’s apprentice.

And that’s how I left my little brother and sister and became a witch’s apprentice. I just walked into the wood, toward the twinkling lights of the witch’s house, and I knocked on the door.

I don’t even know what happened to those two brats. And you know what? I don’t care.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Enya, Powder NEW! (Omega face appliers, Maitreya body appliers) Body appliers available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!
Hair: Wasabi Pills — First four photos, Romy (Available at ULTRA!) Last four photos, Aspen (Available at The Forest!)
Jacket: DE Designs, Dana (Available at We ❤ RP!)
Jeans: Zhora Designs, High Waist Jeans Blue (Maitreya Applier)
Boots: Paper Moon, Huck Boots

Post-Apocalyptic Train Car: Death Row Designs, Post Apocalyptic Holiday Set, COMING SOON from Death Row Designs!
Tree Table, Tree Chairs, Hot Chocolate, and Cookies: Moonlight Shadow, Snack Tree Gacha (Available at Enchantment!)
Candy Apple Tree, Chair, Side Table, Candy Apple Cushion, Basket of Candy Apples, and Candy Apple Parfait: The Looking Glass, Candy Apple Tree Gacha (Available at Enchantment!)
Sparkly Grass: Happy Mood, Sweet Garden Grass
Three Ash Trees: Jian, Ash Tree (triple)
Green, Brown & Lavender Grasses: The Little Branch, Wild Grass
Twisty Tree: Rivendale, Faerie Tree
Surrounding Forest: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods

Poses: An Lar, from Woodland, Chaos, and All That series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create post-apocalyptic worlds where it’s nicer to run away and be a witch than take care of your kid brother & sister without it!

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