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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Waiting

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Gwyneth:

Patience is a virtue I’ve never had. So shopping at any time of the year with Nathaniel is a bit of a trial.

Shopping with him at Christmas is a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong: I love him deeply, but I have seen this man stare at two waistcoats for three quarters of an hour, trying to decide whether he really wanted piping or not.

Now, I hear the tradition in many families is that the wife does all the gift shopping and some gifts are just designated to be from Dad. I suspect this was true with my parents. Maybe I just still have hope that one day I’ll teach Nathaniel how to shop.

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So, here I stand in the Realm of the Looking Glass, waiting for my Consort.

So, here I stand in the Realm of the Looking Glass, waiting for my Consort. Luckily, I only shop in comfortable shoes; these are from Wicca’s Wardrobe, the Gypsy Boots.

Oh, and also, I don’t know how she does it, but on a fairly regular basis, Miss Allsunday Lemon, who’s the designer behind Wasabi Pills, has a special deal on one of the beautiful hairstyles she’s created. So I rushed down very early this morning to beat the crowds—this deal is only offered on select Fridays—and she fixed me up with the most delightful little set of pigtails! I love how designers in different Realms give their hairstyles and clothing such interesting names: I think Trixie suits this one. Anyway, it’ll be on offer only for today, December 23, 2016, so if you like it, run down to the Wasabi Pills Main Store and snap it up!

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It’s starting to get a bit chilly.

It starting to get a bit chilly. I’m all wrapped up in the outfit I got at The Winter Trend, made by Neve (Deedee leggings and Pep top), but I can still feel the wind picking up. Luckily, the Looking Glass Realm is very accepting of beings like myself; I’m sure most of the denizens here are different or special or perhaps not quite human. I’ve been waiting so long I’m tempted to ironically go into the Fortuneteller’s shop just behind me and ask the question, “Will my beloved ever show up to finish the last of the holiday shopping?” That might be seen in retrospect as cruel. Would be funny, though. I did say we’d meet at the lamppost outside Cole’s Corner; I really want to talk to ColeMarie Soleil about creating some particle magic (she is a magician with that stuff, I tell you!) so that I can appear at our Winter Ball crowned with stars and iridescent snowflakes. If anyone can teach me that spell, it’ll be ColeMarie.

Great Lady of the Woods, where is he? Night’s falling here, and I don’t know if shops stay open late. I guess I’ll just have to go on without him, and of course this means we’ll have a “discussion” later about whether or not I am meant to do all the shopping for the pickiest, most persnickety, peskiest, most perfect man I’ve ever known. Yeah; it’s true. I love him despite this. But it might mean I stop at Cole’s Corner first and buy something nice for myself. After all, it’s Yule!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone 2.0 Bento Head (NEW at the Lelutka Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Trixie (Available ONLY FOR TODAY, for Fifty Linden Fridays, at the Wasabi Pills Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Eyes: Mesange, Don’t Speak Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Yulia (only for Lelutka heads) (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Vista Bento Prohands
Jumper (Sweater, Americans!): Neve, Pep (Neutral) (Available NOW at  Winter Trend 2016!)
Leggings: Neve, DeeDee (neutral) (Available NOW at  Winter Trend 2016!)
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots

Location: The Looking Glass, by Sharni Azalee.

 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth stand around waiting for Nathaniel to show up for Christmas shopping without it!

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Getting Ready

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Gwyneth:

I love decorating. Always have. What I don’t like is the idea that I’m decorating maybe for people other than myself. The Atrium has to be a place where I can receive beings of all races and creeds, and it needs to have an appealing and comfortable atmosphere. I also need to be able to host visitors in the Atrium, so I’ve designated two of the rooms there as guest rooms for visiting folks.

I guess one of the guest rooms should have a more mortal feel to it, and I’ll make the other decidedly Fae. I’m not going to redecorate every damn room just because, say, a vamp or a demon drops by.

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One half of the room was easy enough!

One half of the room was easy enough! That genius at Fallen Gods made this couch. He calls it “Justine”, but I’m not sure if mine actually has a name. Anyway, lots of people can sit on it at once, and it has the plus of coming with many matching pillows and accessories, so it easily fills half a room.

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And of course, I had to get the place ready for Yule as well.

And of course, I had to get the place ready for Yule as well. I found the most amazing tree, created by a designer I’m only just getting to know, Dema Fairport. It’s a tree made out of books! I giggle in anticipation of what Nathaniel will say when I show it to him. She also designed this hearth, which gave me a perfect space to put in all those Fairytale Villains collectibles I picked ups. couple of years ago. And yes, the big box on the floor by the tree is for Nathaniel. I put in a formal dining table because I suspected I’d need one; Bran will be pleased. And of course I had to put the espresso machine in a place of honour, if only so that Nathaniel will have nightmares.

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All that magic is tiring!

All that magic is tiring! Well, for a moment or so. When I am back in my little grove, my energy replenishes more quickly than I thought it would, this being sort of Faerie-Light. In any case, I felt ready to do at least one of the bedrooms.

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Of course, my guests have got to have somewhere comfortable to sit…

Of course, my guests have got to have somewhere comfortable to sit, so I chose this bench from Death Row Designs, because it’s mundane with a bit of a Fae flair to it with the curtain and the sparkly lights and all.

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Here’s the rest of the guest suite!

Here’s the rest of the guest suite! Luckily for me, Death Row Designs makes the most gorgeous stuff, so I just picked up the whole set from them and there you have it!

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Of course, I had to test the bed….

Of course, I had to test the bed. It’s fluffy, yet firm and comfortable. I think my guests will like it very much.

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Whew! Now just one thing left to do.

Whew! Now just one thing left to do….

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Happy Holidays from Gwen Enchanted!

And that’s send a happy Yule greeting to all of you! My beautiful tree, my beautiful hearth, the most important gift all wrapped up and others to follow.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Hair: Emo-Tions, Avril (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Kelpie Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Avenge, Arwen Elf Skin (Catwa Head Applier, Maitreya Body Appliers, in Tone Ivory) (Available NOW at  Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Lilly, Winter Dreams (Available NOW at  Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)
Crown: Aisha, Holly Crown, Black and Gold (Available NOW at We❤ RP)
Jewellery: Empyrean Forge, Wassail Necklace (Available NOW at Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)
Shoes: Violetility, Fairy Heels

The Scene:
Couch: Fallen Gods, Justine
Fireplace: {e}lusive designs  (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Book Tree: {e}lusive designs, Book Tree (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Fairy Collectibles: Ohmai, Fairytale Villains Collection
The Rose Curtain: Half Deer, Fairy Curtain
The Skybox: Spellbound, Atrium Skybox
Skein: Jian, Christmas Cats, Grey Kitten
Urðr: Pixicat, Sphynx Cat Sitting
Guest Bedroom Furnishings: Death Row Designs, Bed and Breakfast Set, Bed and Breakfast Bench. (Bench Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!) (B&B Set Available at NOW at The Crossroads!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never decorate for Yule without it!

 

Another Photo Contest? Really?

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I can’t seem to resist them. This one is sponsored by Death Row Designs, the geniuses who made my beautiful Last Hope statue, and the creative minds behind some of the gorgeous Fantasy Faire sims I’ve loved over the years, including this year’s masterful Dangarnon and the 2015 piece of gorgeousness that was Andolys. From whimsy to post-apocalyptic fantasy, their designs never fail to captivate and inspire me. So, when I heard they were sponsoring a photo contest, I decided to put my best foot forward, and that’s why this blog was so quiet for nearly a week there: I was busy putting the following three photographs together.

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Deep in the Woods….

Deep in the Woods. This faerie is none to happy to be caught on camera. Those eyes! They say the deeper into the mythical forest one goes, the more primal the denizens become. We hope we haven’t angered her.

You guys know I can’t resist making everything into a story. So it was important to me that each photograph have a story attached to it. One of my favourite books of all time is Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood. If you haven’t read it, you probably should. It’s a book about a forest inhabited by all manner of mythical creatures. Anyway, the farther one ventures into the forest, the more primitive the “mythagos” become, until you end up with pure archetypes somewhere in the deepest part of the forest. I envisioned this faerie as one possibly on the very edge of that deepest place. The backdrop of this photo is from a DRD gacha, a forest backdrop that I was really happy to play with. The model is wearing another DRD gacha, the Fairy Outfit, in Pink, although you can barely see the top. I chose this colour because I wanted the wings to pop both against the background and the stunning DRD Darkforest Horns. 

Image credits:
Model body: Maitreya Lara
Model hands: SLink elegant
Model head: LAQ Trinity
Model hair: Tableau Vivant Miranda
Model skin: Lumae Eirtae Fantasy Storm
Model ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Model eyes A.D.D. Andel! Siren Eyes Pink
Model clothes: DRD fairy outfit pink, fairy wings pinkset, fairy headdress pinkset (she’s wearing the socks too,, but you can’t see ’em!)
Model horns: DRD Darkforest horns, Ash
Photo background: DRD studios set forest

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Dark Goddess Rising

Dark Goddess Rising. 

When we noticed a disturbance in an otherwise calm sea just off the coast of White Owl Island, we began filming and were rewarded with the emergence of this exquisite but terrifying creature. What might she be doing here? Well, we don’t ask questions on White Owl. She rose, hovered for a moment as if waiting for the seat to calm, then flew into the forest.

This being started out as a fallen angel concept, but once I got the headdress and the wings on her, I knew she had to be a goddess rising from the depths. Argrace does such a good job with wet-look hair, and I was dying to photograph this new one, so I used that here as well. The headdress is the central feature of the photograph, and I chose the “faded” version because it provided some visual contrast between the mostly cool feeling of the rest of the photo. She’s also wearing Lumiya Rae’s gorgeous new Isciira imagining of the Eirtae skin, which I love. The DRD Devine Wings have long been a favourite of mine, and they just seemed perfect in this photograph, with they veins crossing them like lightning. I guess I sort of channeled David Attenborough for the text here: I was thinking of being an observer and “spotter” of Fae folk and other paranormal beings, and that informed the text for the next photograph as well. 

Image credits:
Model body: Maitreya Lara
Model head: LAQ Trinity
Model hair: Argrace Chizuru
Model skin: Lumae Eirtae Isciira
Model eyes Soul Sidhe Eyes Seelie Pepper
Model clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Elowen bra and thong
Model wings: DRD Devine Wings, Specials, veins
Model headdress: DRD Dead Religion Headdress, faded
Photo Background: Landscapes Unlimited, Patagonia Sim Surround

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Dragon Sunrise

Dragon Sunrise. 

Does this dragon bear a message, or are we just witnessing a visit from a friend? Either way, this Sidhe lady was so enthralled by her visitor we were able to photograph her without her even knowing. We think.

I think of all the photographs, this is the one with which I’m most pleased. It took a long time to get the windlight just right so that her body seemed dappled with sunlight. The LumiPro let me adjust the lighting precisely, so that the body lights, while not 100% natural looking, still managed to approximate the sunlight. DRD’s gorgeous Ravishing Roses outfit was completely inspiring to me, as my primary role-play character is of course the Queen of the Faeries, and Fae Queens are associated with roses in balladry and folklore. The little dragon, also a DRD creation (a gacha from a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival, I think), was actually an afterthought: I needed her to be doing something, holding something, and he seemed the perfect complement. The Ayashi hair (and doesn’t Ayashi have amazing silver textures?) completes the look of her as an ethereal Sidhe, relaxing in the morning light. A combination of the Catwa head’s animations and the absolute control the LumiPro gives me over the model’s eyes created her rapt expression, and don’t those Soul Sidhe eyes just pop? They’re my absolute favourite eyes at the moment, partially because they are *ahem*ing gorgeous, and partially because they’re Omega eye appliers, which means I don’t have to adjust mesh eyes every time I change her eye colour! Yay! Soul makes a great variety of eyes, most of which come as Omega appliers, and as I’ve said before, I hope more designers get into making Omega appliers for eyes, because they’re so easy to use. The background of the photo is a combination of DRD’s Pergola Set and their Boho furniture, both of which were (and are, in the case of the Boho set) featured at Shiny Shabby. This was shot inside an Image Photography Meshudio, mostly so I could texture a backdrop that went seamlessly around three sides of a square. Thanks are due to my friend Ben Bold, who taught me a few things about Photoshop I didn’t know when some details of this image presented a problem.

Image credits:
Model body: Maitreya Lara
Model hands: SLink flat, SLink fist
Model head: Catwa Dyana
Model hair: Ayashi
Model skin: Lumae Eirtae Rubrae
Model ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Model Eyes: Soul Sidhe Eyes, Seelie, Tera
Model clothes: DRD Ravishing Roses, white pink roses
Dragon: DRD GOT Moving Dragons, Red
Pergola: DRD Pergola Set
Furniture, Rug, Décor: DRD Boho Set
Photo Background: Katink, forest set

I should tell yo more about the Death Row Designs photo contest: the rules are outlined in this Flickr post, and the deadline isn’t until 10 August, so you still have time to enter if you want to.

I’ve enjoyed putting together the entries for this contest, and I think they represent my best work. I might even have stretched myself a little. So thanks also to DRD for sponsoring a contest that I’ve really enjoyed preparing for. And now comes the hard bit: I just have to sit back and wait.

Thanks for reading, if you’ve reached the end of this post, which is mostly a photography geek. I don’t say it often enough, but I appreciate everybody who reads this blog, and I hope you may find some inspiration from it, as it is after all an expression of how the creative powerhouses that are SL’s content creators inspire me.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never go anywhere in SL without it. And that’s the beauty of it: you can take it anywhere. 🙂

 

The Back Forty

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The Amazing Catwoman:

So, yeah. I said my mobile was working in that strange forest I landed in. About two hours after I discovered the crag above the water, right after I’d put together a makeshift campsite and managed to gig a couple of frogs for dinner, I got a call from my fixer. Security gig, small town, infested with demons, probably last a week or so, basic demon cleaning, no biggie, nice payoff at the end, accommodation provided by the town in question.

Sounded like a sweet job, so sure, I took it.

You know, nothing is ever the way they pitch it to you. Nothing.

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What. The Actual. Fuck.

At first, I thought I might have travelled to the wrong Realm by accident; that’s been known to happen. But no; I was shortly met by Zeke, my contact. Seriously? There are actually people named Zeke? Who the fuck even knew that? And what were his parents even thinking? Jesus. Or Whomever. Zeke took me through the nearly deserted town, explaining that most of the population had deserted the place, “On account of this demon infestation, see?”

“No offence,” I said, and I winced inwardly at that: I think people who say “no offence” usually mean to give quite a lot, but I didn’t, really I didn’t, “but it looks like the population has been gone for quite some time.”

“Week or two, tops,” he insisted. “And why’d they send a demon to take care of a demon infestation, anyway? No offence.”

“Would you like to know how many knives I’ve got stashed in these boots, Zeke?” I asked. “I’m no demon; I’m a svart alfar, and I’m not seeing any evidence of demons around here, so you’d better produce one or I’ll be heading back to my fixer without doing jack shit for you, and you’ll still pay my fee, or you’ll meet some real demons. A lot of very interesting people work for my boss.”

Zeve raised both hands, backed up a couple of steps. “Whoa there, little lady. Nobody needs to be siccing demons on anybody, not with the problem I’ve got.” All this time he’d been leading me down an overgrown street. “Here we go,” he said finally. “Village Garage.”

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Yep: it was a garage, all right.

Yep: It was a garage, all right. And holy mother of fuck, there was an old Dodge with the engine on pumping out black smoke like it was in the middle of a full-on engine failure.

“What’s up with the Dodge?”

“That’s the demon.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I would not shit you about the demon Dodge,” Zeke intoned.

“Right.” I covered my nose with my hand. “Yeah, OK; I can smell the sulphur. You got one of those face masks you use when you’re working with something smelly that might give you some kind of lung disease if you inhale too much of it?” I asked.

“Got a bandana,” he said.

“Great.” Great. Zeke handed me an oily bandana, which I duly tied around my nose. “You know I get a bonus if I clear up your problem in short time,” I said.

“Go for it,” Zeke replied. “I’ll leave you to it.” And he was off down the street. Coughing a bit.

“All right, you little fucker,” I said. “Come out where I can see you.”

“No.”

“Don’t make me fill this car up with chlorine,” I said.

“You wouldn’t. There’d be an explosion.”

“I would. Whole town’s deserted because of you and your little friends,” I said. “And I am not a very patient demon cleaner.”

“It’s just me.” The demon actually managed to sound petulant. “The others got bored.”

“Bored.”

“Yeah: too easy. Once we trashed the church, whole population, vamos.” I think it snapped its fingers.

“Except Zeke.”

“Yeah, except him. I’m working on him.”

“What do you want a shitty little town in the middle of nowhere for?” I asked.

“I dunno. Something about a vortex of evil to take over the whole universe,” the demon replied. “It’s the same shit every job. We’re always going to take over the universe, and we never do, and then there I am, barely a fortnight later, stuck in the belly of a car that still takes leaded petrol, because that is my lot.”

“So you don’t believe there’s actually a vortex here that’ll help your masters take over the universe.”

“Fuck no. This is just make-work. All the big boys are busy with politics at the moment. They have to keep us out of trouble.” A black shape began to manifest out of the smoke the Dodge was coughing up. I could swear it shrugged. “I used to think one day they’d put me on politics, but that was a fucking pipe dream,” it continued.

“So quit.”

“What?”

“You heard me: quit.”

“Can’t. Got debts.”

I rolled my eyes. “You demons have such a fucking caste system.”

The black smoke took a vaguely humanoid shape. It managed to manifest a pair of red eyes. “Very impressive,” I said.

“You don’t sound impressed.”

“I’m not, actually. Seriously: there are whole cities out there with huge demon populations. You could corrupt a couple of kids, pay off your debt in no time.”

“Seriously?”

“Sure. Plenty of work for lesser demons: your boss just isn’t very imaginative.” I scoffed. “The whole ‘vortex of evil’ plot; so overdone. Somebody’s been watching too much Buffy.”

“I loved that show.”

“Me too, but it’s not the same as real life.” The Dodge stopped coughing up smoke and the engine stilled. “Seriously, I’ll pop you off into a Realm where you can just walk into a bar, meet some loser, start stripping souls, make yourself a tidy retirement fund.”

“Yeah?”

“Sure. Here.” I opened up the bag I carry for this kind of work. “Pocket dimension. Pop in there and I’ll transport you to the right place, once I check in with Zeke and let him know the job’s done.”

The amorphous head tilted. “You’re not having me on?”

“Nope. You got kids out there thinking sex with demons would be pretty rad. You can take two, three souls a night that way, and nobody’ll even miss them.”

Shadowy fingers worked as the demon did some internal calculations. “Could pay off my debt in a year that way.”

“You owe six hundred souls?”

“Nine hundred, actually. Married a human and had four kids with her.”

I whistled. “That’ll do it. Yeah; into the bag with you.”

And that was that. It went willingly into the pocket dimension, and I closed the bag with the drawstring. Five day job? Five minute job.

Of course, once I checked in with Zeke I had to wait until sunset to catch the portal out: it was one of those old fashioned ones that only works at dawn or twilight.

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So I wandered around a little.

So I wandered around a little. Discovered what is probably the only intelligent life in this town. Checked in with the fixer, made sure Zeke paid him, made sure the funds plus my bonus were in my account. Swapped the bag with one of the demon relocation team. Then, I got myself back to that forest as quick as I could manipulate the Realm stream, because another couple of frogs would not be a bad way to end the evening.

And here’s some more fashion bloggy stuff!

Once again, I’m featuring one of the great hairstyles available at the 2016  Hair Fair! Hair Fair is open until 31 July, and a percentage of the proceeds of all sales go to benefit Wigs For Kids. Hair Fair is the best place to stock up on the latest and greatest hairstyles available on the Grid!

With that in mind, and because there is going to be no way to write a separate story around all the hair I picked up at Hair Fair (I bought a lot of hair…. no one who knows me will be surprised by this!), here are some editorials of other styles I can’t wait to put on TAC for role-play and blog stories in the near future:

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41’16, from Red Mint!

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69HF, from Barberyumyum!

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Blowdry, from Atelier Pepe!

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Cross, from Little Bones!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Soul Uni Ears, Blix
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: The Plastik, Draziele, Aeshma
Hair: Mina, Odyle (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nimue Outfit (Available at We❤ RP!)
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Montana Boots (Available at We❤ RP!)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, The Dreamer, Fortuity Vibrant
Poses: PosESion, from the 100 poses for $399 set currently on sale at their Main Store
Setting: The Village and Bar Deco, which is a gorgeous sim with so many photo opportunities! (Another great discovery thanks to Ziki Questi’s fantastic blog)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. The Amazing Catwoman never talks lesser demons into shady pocket dimension transfer deals without it!

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The Princess in the Forest

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Once upon a time, there was a brave adventurer, and her journey took her to many far lands. And in these far lands, she came across many wondrous beings and experienced many wondrous things.

But one thing, she did not like very much. One day, she was out hunting ghosts and got herself all turned around. And because she knew what she was doing with her realm-hopping skills (and they were mad skilz!), she zapped herself into another realm to get away from the Bad Ghosts. Only this realm had Sharks. So then she zapped herself into a quieter realm, but in this one she was a freaky Queen with weird servants in a very quiet house with music that had no backbeat. So of course she hopped out of that realm too, and then she got really confused.

And she isn’t sure what happened next, because after that the only thing she really remembers clearly (aside from some guy named Russel and a VW minivan) is landing, on her back, on an altar. In Faerie.

Problem was, it was the Faery Queen’s altar, and the Queen found out about it, and apparently there might have been some sort of temporal rift or some shit like that.

So then she got stuck in this realm because the Queen put a Geas on her to stay until she sorted her shit out. As if.

She got this gig guarding the Queen’s Realm against Goblins, and she wasn’t sure there were any goblins, and she spent her days off out in the Great Fae Forest, hunting and fishing and generally exploring.

And then one day she came upon the Wyld Weald. Which is some sort of scary old forest.

Anyway, in the Wyld Weald, she met a girl. A very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl. Well, this is a picture of the very skinny girl after she’d hurriedly pulled her clothes on and made a move to step out of the water.

You see, the bold adventurer had surprised the very skinny girl while she was bathing. Now, the bold adventurer was very smart, so when she heard splashing sounds and humming coming from the pool up ahead— oh, fuck it.

Right. I heard these splashing sounds from the pool, so I knew there must be a (very unwary!) sentient being there, particularly as she was humming something I almost recognised. I mean, it sounded a bit like an Adele song. But then everything sounds a bit like an Adele song sometimes, doesn’t it? Stop staring at me blankly: you know what I mean.

So I snapped a twig loudly and swore or something, just so she’d know it was a humanoid coming up on her. I might even have shouted out a hallo or something: I don’t remember.

Anyway, she called out that she was just getting dressed, and could I please give her a minute, so of course I did.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me. She was right cheeky! I liked her immediately. Said no way could I steal her campsite, but she’d welcome me to stay there for a bit if I wanted, as she hadn’t seen another soul in days.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going. I was surprised that a woman alone out this far into the Unseelie Woods and into a place stranger even than that would be travelling without a weapon: she seemed completely fearless and said she’d been catching fish with her hands. That’s a nice trick, but I thought she’d do better with an arrow, so I gave her one.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift, but then I remembered that some Fae who are into protocol and such have these rules about gift-giving. I briefly explained that I don’t follow those bullshit rules: an arrow would work as a makeshift spear and keep her from freezing her hands off in the cold water of the lake. I guessed its tributary river would be the one that flows through the middle of this Realm of Faerie; I’d follow it to get back to my post the next day I had guard duty, but til then, I had nothing to do, so it seemed like as good an idea as any to spend some time with this chick.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You now how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about her lives. Turned out she was estranged from her mother, whom she said didn’t care about her but was more interested in her two more ‘perfect’ siblings. And then she said she was grown from a crystal.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. The penny dropped at that point and I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses, Drysi. And her mother was the Seelie Queen I’d been going on about. I’d told her about the Geas, see, I don’t know why she seemed so easy to talk to, but I will tell you she didn’t remind me of any Royal Sidhe I’ve met in any other Realm. She seemed quite casual, not concerned with my parentage or heritage, which to my mind puts her probably more on the Unseelie side of the spectrum. Then again, the gossip in the guard’s mess says that nobody really knows who the sire of these kids is, except that both King Janus (missing in action, presumed busy in another Realm) and the Queen’s Consort, Nathaniel (apparently some sort of vampire-fae hybrid, if you believe rumours), claim to be their fathers. So they have two fathers (and there’s some question about a former Unseelie King, whose name nobody will utter, having had a fling with Queen Gwyneth—ye gods, how the Royal Sidhe do get around!—before she and Janus became a couple, so there are rumours about him as well. Nobody will say his name, but the guards mostly refer to him as HUM (His Unseelie Majesty), and there are whispers that he’s come back from the dead. I swear, this Court is seriously fucked up. It’s like Dark Shadows up in here.

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother.”

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother. She’s all full of love, like people say, and she’s kind and gentle and stuff. She just believes I’m the born troublemaker, dark to the core, from before birth or whatever you want to call it.” And she rolled her eyes! She reminded me of nothing so much as my older sister when she used to have fights with my parents as a teenager. Luckily, I was the younger sister, so they went easier on me. Though I still think my mum would shit bricks if she saw me now.

I explained that I just didn’t know what to expect from Queen Gwyneth. I figure I’ll fall in love with her like everybody’s supposed to, and then I’ll forget any grievance I had against her. That’s how Royal Sidhe work, you know. They get inside your head and fuck around with your thoughts and feelings til you can’t see straight. Honestly, the way she was talking about her siblings, you’d think they were both shining with Seelie Goodness and she was marred with the Dark Mark or something.

I didn't tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it. She was just so easy to talk to. Then again, maybe I fell into Royal Sidhe glamour full force and don’t even know it. She can’t lie outright: none of us can, but we all learn how to bend the truth to suit our purposes. It’s the only way to get by in the world if you’re fae, dealing with mortals, who fucking lie all the time. I was never very good at lying, come to think of it, even back during my mortal life. It was something Gwyneth and I bonded over: she was shit at lying as well and always got caught because she couldn’t bear to tell an untruth to her parents, or to our teachers, anything like that. I did mention to Drysi that I’d had a good friend with the same name as her mum. Not like it’s all that uncommon a name.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night. Drysi seems lonely. She did say the Satyr, Dyisi, was really all right and I could trust her, but I’m not so sure about that.

I brought down a pheasant with the bow and showed her how to pluck it. We roasted it over the now hot fire and ate it on the stick, passing it back and forth, while we talked.

And I’ve got one more day before my next guard shift, so I think I’ll choose to spend it hanging out with Drysi. i think she’s a good kid. Heh. Kid. She looks my age but is really only a couple of months old. How fucked up is that?

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do. How bad could her mother really be? No; don’t answer that. I have, after all, met Kevin’s mother. We called her The Iron Mum. Probably we shouldn’t have done that, but we did anyway.

Here's a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close. Sure she’s super skinny, but I think she has a beautiful face. And just about the coolest ears I’ve ever seen: she says she inherited them from her father. I tactfully didn’t ask which one.

Style Cards:

The Amazing Catwoman:
Body: 
SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store: SLink body appliers also available there)*
Hair: No Match: No Exception (Available at the No Match Main Store)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nirenil (Featured at the July 2015 Fantasy Collective and now available at the Wicca’s Wardrobe Main Store)
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black (Available at the Otherskin Main Store)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Bow: EZ Storybook, Heartseeker Bow (Available at EZ Weapons/The Forge Main Store)

Princess Drysi:
Skin
: The Plastik
Hair: Magika
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Tissa (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Eyes: Gauze
Ears: Gauze

*Note: If ever there is a skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins on the blog that you can’t find in the Main Store or on Marketplace, all skins can be ordered direct from Izara Zuta in Second Life!

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

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