Sunday, 23 June 2013

For the Hoard! May - Week 2 (Cascade)

Continuing with the May catch-up and all the other items I bought in week 2. Again, this will be a short post (for me) as I think the pictures have more stand-alone aesthetic appeal than telling a story, and I managed to get all the detail in relatively few shots. This time you can see the grass and trees of the same sandbox I used in the previous post. Clever, huh? ;)

My acquisitions this week are the Forgotten Cascade and Ruined Bench from Angelic Designs, Universa hair and Darkness eyes (last image only) from The Stringer Mausoleum, Angelus sword from Illusions and Nugget jewellery from Vintage Jewels. The only non-mesh item in the set is the hair. 

I'm really pleased with how this shot came together. I chose the skin and some free eyes to highlight the hair and this elegant evening gown because of the jewellery, but I still felt something was missing and rummaged through my wing collection to find this unusual set which really complements both the hair and sword with its futuristic and blade-like design. I ran through my poses in a similar manner and came across this Divinely Naughty (Angel 13) pose from Juicy, which is almost identical to the position of the statue on the Forgotten Cascade behind me!

PurpleMoon "Meryl" gown in black (with contrasting gloves and bodice wrap);
Angelic Designs new mesh "Ruined Bench" with large number of animated poses and "Forgotten Cascade" fountain sculpture in background.

Illusions new mesh sword "Angelus" with colour change options on blade, hilt and gems;
TSM "Universa" hair made for Aeva Heartsick event but still possibly available in mainstore;
Will's Wings/Niangao Ltd. "TechAlpha" wings (very old acquisition).

Amacci skin "Liane" in goth (silver tattoo 2) and free hairbase in snow;
DAMNED "Tribal" make up with pouty lips (the black eyeliner and lip shadow);
Free eyes whose creator SL was refusing to divulge but matched the colour scheme;
Vintage Jewels "Nugget" jewellery set (group gift).

TSM "Darkness" mesh eyes, which come in two packs, the warms (red, orange and yellow) and the cools (blues and greens) which I didn't buy. These, like the hair, were special editions for the Aeva Heartsick event but were made available in mainstore afterwards, possibly only for a limited period.

And, not that you can see them for the long skirt, I am wearing +DV8+ "Lust for Life" stiletto heels. The store has sadly closed.

Don't forget, if you just noticed this post, to check back a few as I have finally been able to post a batch of updates. Thank you for reading! <3

For the Hoard! May - Week 2 (mermaid reef)

(Recall that I already posted Week 1 in its proper time period, for once!)

This post is by way of an aperitif because I bought several things this week, but this item stands out from the others and I didn't want it to get lost amid a bunch of completely different photos.

[Alyah] Underwater Mermaid Reef

Angelic Designs has the brilliant strategy of releasing new creations during the 60 Linden Sunday weekend sales, which means I can pick things up I could not otherwise afford. In truth I'd have to avoid the store if she didn't do this, because I love her stuff so much! This weekend I found an addition to my mermaid collection - a beautiful mesh reef with seating poses around a sunken boat, designed especially for avatars with tails instead of legs. 

Everything you can see in the photo is part of the reef, except for the 'dead' trees* in the background. It comes complete with tropical fish rezzer, sea plants and reef fauna and is only 27 prims and mod/copy. I had bought a similar but much higher prim sculpted reef in the past, before mesh came out, and had always been a bit stuck for prim space to use it; so I pounced with delight on this 'upgrade'. I only wish I'd had it last year when I made this mermaid avatar for Coral in the 52 Weeks Colour Challenge.

*If anyone is interested, I set the reef up in my habitual sandbox which has grass and trees, not the best background for a coral reef! I set down a sandy floor prim and reduced the draw distance to a minimum, which created retreating tidal flats (since the horizon of your draw distance is always water, even when no water exists) and stripped the nearest trees of their leaves, as though they were salt poisoned sentinels caught by an encroaching sea. The windlight setting is Gwen's Light, with its lovely pale lavender and sea tones.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

For the Hoard! April - Weeks 3-4

Lady Fledhyris with the necklace in the living room!
Warning: running theme of spooky eyeballs @.@

I know, April was a long time ago - especially in the fast paced time-stream of Second Life! I've been incredibly busy in the real one, as we are buying a house - our first property so it's all very exciting and stressful! - and we've also had a run of beautiful weather which, in this country, you'd be mad not to take full advantage of as you never know if there'll be any more. So in the last three weeks I've barely been on the computer for fun, let alone blogging.

I doubled up two weeks of purchases because only the couch, plants and necklaces were from week 3 but everything went together nicely once I got the desk and picture frame. The Gothic Christmas skybox by Distorted Dreams, which I bought on sale last Christmas, was just the thing to show off the furniture; a snappy modern animal print dress does not exactly fit the Gothic theme, but think along the lines of modern young witch or vampire trying to fit into society - at least out of doors! With this in mind I chose a sunhat with a creepy twist, and the obsidian version of the winged necklace, which came in three colours - normally of course I would wear the gold. 

I think the top picture tells a kind of story, like a mystery tableau, or a scene from Clue. It was a dark and stormy night, and the old house creaked and groaned, covering the stealthy movements of the young witch as she made her way downstairs and into the drawing room. She went unerringly to the bureau under the big gilt picture frame on the back wall. Waiting for a crack of thunder, she slid open the drawers of the desk, but her caution was unnecessary; the well-turned wood glided smoothly in its tracks even after all this time. As she searched through the forgotten detritus of years, she felt the close scrutiny of watchful eyes. Glancing up, she smiled wryly; someone had placed a glass eyeball into the mouth of one of the carnivorous plants upon the desk. At last her fingers, rifling through the haphazard drifts of papers and odds and ends, grazed the thing she sought. An amulet of rare and secret power, it sent a surge of energy like electricity through her finger ends. She lifted it, entwining the leather thong about her fingers, and felt the essence of life blossom along the tracery of her nerves and veins, a cascade of emerald lightning heralding the spring. At a sudden sound, or perhaps her awareness heightened by the magic of the amulet, she turned, hand to her mouth in guilty surprise. The door to the room was open, a dark figure framed within against the light of the hallway beyond. She was discovered.

Cloud of Doom
I'm not completely happy with the way some of these pics turned out - I think I forgot to increase my graphics settings for some of them as they are very pixellated, which is why the above image is artfully blurred *g* I do like the pose though. I have a very Machiavellian look (sneaky and mysterious)! I spent forever trying to capture a shot with the lightning flash, which is random and intermittent and generally too fast for the SL camera to catch - which might be why I turned down the graphics, to speed up the viewer. The Doom Cloud Couch from !Weather or Not? has a good set of animated poses to choose from, and excellent realistic sound effects to go with the particle rain, and the lightning casts real light. I suppose some people might find it a gloomy piece of furniture but I love the rain and storms, so I find sitting on this couch very soothing - when I'm not trying to capture photographs!

In a dark, dark house in a dark, dark room in a dark, dark drawer...
This beautiful little mesh "Ambrosio" coffee table by Schadenfreude has drawers which slide in and out at a touch, so that you can actually put things in it (though of course you couldn't then close the drawers and expect the objects to move with them). I was very happy to snag this on a Fifty Linden Friday sale. The "Amore" baroque golden picture frame above is also mesh, a new item by Angelic Designs, whose store I plunder on a regular basis. The picture is of me, on the left, with a friend who had just bought one of the Grendel's Children dragons (an avatar I also possess). The frame is actually scripted to have a slideshow of images, if you want (or you can just take the script out to show one). It was a fortnight of thrifty purchases, as I bought almost all the items on sale - the couch and plants on Woeful Wednesday, the picture frame on $L60 Sunday, the flower pot necklace from a hunt and the dress from the Gypset Market. I had to be thrifty because by the end of the month I finally paid back my loan on the previous monty haul of Tekeli-li and bee fair jewellery!

Winged time
The amulet of life!
"Luisana" dress in black zebra by PurpleMoon - I love the hemline, something that just couldn't be done before mesh, and the reason I always favoured long skirts until now. The dress now comes in a wide range of patterns which you can purchase as a low deal fatpack on a HUD switcher rather than as individual items, once you have bought one dress at full price. I bought this dress on pre-release at a bargain price from the Gypset Market where PurpleMoon often showcases her new designs (Luisana is now only available at full price from the mainstore). That is not my spelling mistake, by the way. It's theirs.

Coincidentally, I purchased a black and white striped dress in real life this summer that has very similar lines to this, though the print is more linear than real zebra. That must be the first time SL has influenced my FL shopping impulse!

The winged eye necklace, "Winged Time" is a full price purchase from Needful Things, a new shop I discovered from looking at prizes on the April Flower Petal hunt. I matched the necklace with a pair of Egyptian styled wing ear piercings I got earlier this year from Cute Poison, though I'm not sure you can see them very clearly, and as you can see I'm wearing the White Widow "Fee" face tattoo I blogged with my bee queen, but in a different colour.

"Airhead" skin from GP (Curio) as worn in my previous Hoard post;
"Listen" hair by elikatira - fiery reds #10;
"Spider Eyes" in charcoal from Saturnine Dreams (marketplace listing only);
"Mizu-Hanabi" Gray prim nails by pulcino.

The 'amulet' again
The magical centrepiece of my little mystery story, this exquisite little flower pot necklace was in fact the hunt prize from Needful Things so I'm sorry, but it may no longer be available (unless it is released as a group gift). I loved their creations so much, I will definitely be coming back to make future purchases, it was one of those shops where I daren't look around because I want everything I see! I also paid the $L80 group membership fee, which was well worth it for the number of group gifts scattered around the store. I snagged a lot, too many to blog, but I can tell you now I have my eye on some [non-gift] antlers with mice and flower decked elven ears and a cute cat-chasing-mouse necklace, so Needful Things will likely feature in some more blog posts in the not too distant future.

I put in a second picture just to show it up close for the detail, because it's a beautiful little thing and a perfect example of how to entice people to your store by making high quality 'freebies' for hunts. I window shopped the Flower Petal Hunt and only went for two prizes; this one added a new store to my repertoire. Any creators who read my blog, take note!

The walls (or in this case the desk) have eyes...
These "Happy Plants" from Dell's Odd Shop come as a no-mod, no-copy single mesh item (weighing in at 10 LI), and the 'heads' twitch and peer about on a touch on/off script. I couldn't resist them after seeing them in the Woeful Wednesday sales listing, but there was little else I could stomach from the store. Dell's Odd Shop is a truly disturbing island of macabre genius, styled in the manner of Norman Bates gone down on his luck and renting out a trailer park instead of a motel. If you are a fan of slasher movie style horror then you really should check out this shop, for the atmosphere if nothing else; I would love to stage an adventure there for Sam and Dean Winchester. You could furnish an entire horror movie with grisly props but as I prefer my decor a touch more Gothic than Friday 13th, I grabbed the plants and beat a reluctantly admiring retreat. The long soil filled planter underneath the pots is not by this creator, incidentally, a friend made it and it just seemed a good idea to protect the wood of the desk underneath.

I seeee you!
Charlotte's sun hat from Schadenfreude, another (past) Fifty Linden Friday purchase. The hat occasioned much frustration in finding suitable hair. A major drawback to mesh hair is that you can't edit it to tuck away all the bits which stick out of your head gear. I wanted the hat, and I wanted mesh hair, so I persevered. This is why my inventory is so huge and my blog posts take so long :)

Zebra C Platforms
A zebra dress requires zebra shoes, and I really wanted to use this pair which I bought a long time ago from She's So Unusual Shoes, a delightful store which sold quirky and imaginative designs but could not compete with the new sculpt market and closed its doors long before mesh came on the fashion scene. Back in the day, I bought a lot of SSUS footwear, and at the time the builds were (in comparison with their peers) pretty good. Now, the basic prim builds could look sadly out of date or charmingly retrograde, depending on your perspective, but the main stumbling block to their suitability is no fault of the designer's or of the fashion zeitgeist: current graphics do not support invisiprims, and generic prim shoes use invisiprims to cover parts of the system foot. 

The 'modern' approach is to use an alpha mask, but these are incredibly fiddly to fix around the highly contoured detail of the feet, and most creators don't bother; they simply cut the foot off at the ankle or higher, because the shoes they were made for come complete with 'fake' feet which look infinitely better than the avatar default. I have not so far found a perfect foot mask that nips off the sole and heel without leaving ragged edges; I even tried to make my own, which is how I discovered how bloody difficult it is. I messed around for ages with these shoes because I really wanted to salvage them, and I'm pretty happy with the results, although I had to tweak a lot of the original prims to cover alpha gaps. Thank goodness the shoes were mod/copy, a handy feature that has been crowded out of many 'superior' sculpt and mesh builds. Of course the trade-off to being able to wear my retro platforms is that I'm stuck with the horrible default avatar toes; now I really wish someone would make sculpt or mesh toe-only add-ons for rescuing classic prim sandals!

Just as a note, in the top photo you can just see me wearing my butterfly bracelet, black/silver, by Ashley Dassin (full perms) - with of course my habitual solar and lunar armbands from L&E which are no longer available.

And thus conclude my Hoard listings for April! Phew! What a month, and 2 months behind in the blogging. Now I have May to catch up (don't forget I already posted the first week) but haven't bought much in June, because I have been so busy. I won't say 'watch this space' because updates won't be regular, but they will happen eventually!