28 January 2010

Sue Stonebender

I've never met Sue Stonebender, but her work has touched me in Second Life. After many years of building and creating, Sue has been winding down her business in Second Life—it's been known for a while—and her store, House of Serendipity (temporarily hosted at Alchemy Immortalis), will close its doors forever this coming Sunday, January 31st. Almost everything there is now deeply discounted, and it's now or never to get copies of her elegant and lovely work.

On the sim where I live, Boughan's Chance (photo at top), I am blessed to have enjoyed some of Sue's enormous arboreal creations, including her Ancient Salix Babylonica Tree (I'm in the second photo lying in its huge branches), her Stately Old Magnolia Gradiflora Tree, her Grizzled Old Apple Tree (which actually drops apples you can pick up! ... below I'm on its lovely tire swing), her Tortured Swamp Chestnut Oak Draped with Spanish Moss, and her Giving Tree, which doubles as a microfinance program for the working poor in first life. I love them. They're works of art, and I know I'm not alone in my admiration. I could watch them swaying in the wind for hours. Plus, Sue has made other fine things ... pianos, jewelry, Christmas items and more. I just ran over to her store to get copies of many things for myself (I don't have a place to put them, but I will treasure them!). Thank you, Sue.

24 January 2010


I own a Babele Fashion store in a beautiful, exquisite sim by the name of Abbey Island Resort & Sex Club. OK, OK, from name of the place you might expect to find one of Second Life's many sleazy resorts or sex sims. But it's not ... it's a work of art, with a beautiful shopping area, castle, great textures, fun stuff (try the hang gliding!), and simply a beautiful landscape. Even if my store didn't turn a profit (don't worry, it does, and a healthy one) I'd keep it open just to support the sim, which is the creation of BaileyMarie Princess and Darmin Darkes.

Not until recently did I have a chance to visit a much-talked-about sim called Innsmouth, and I couldn't get enough of it ... it was like inhaling something so intoxicating I kept wanting to breathe more. The textures, the vistas, the sounds -- stupendous. But when I realized that Darmin and BaileyMarie were the creators of this amazing place it really brought a smile to my face.

Innsmouth is described as a "New England Coastal Town 1930," but if you know your geography and pulp fiction you'll know that 1) there's no such place in real life, and 2) you need to dust off your H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was a far cry from Shakespeare or James Joyce, but he managed to create some vivid and usually nightmarish literature, some of which was set in his imaginary and beloved Innsmouth.

Whether or not you're a reader of Lovecraft, this sim will amaze. It's a dark place, a seemingly deserted seashore town, complete with houses, shops, a church, an opera house, a lighthouse, ships and boats, a fish processing house, a movie theatre, a leviathan, a bar, broken sidewalks and other structures, all in various states of filth, grime and decay, embraced by relentless rain and lightning. It's an exciting place where one has the sensation that any turn might lead to a new discovery, a new encounter. The shopworn textures are stunning. And every structure can be entered--be sure to wander into a few and to climb to the top of the lighthouse. If you find it, the store emblazoned with Coca-Cola ads contains the one real commercial establishment, where you can buy copies of some of the Innsmouth buildings. Simply put, Innsmouth is priceless.

To see some commercial work by Darmin and BaileyMarie, check out A2 Design, purveyors of, ummm, let's say delightful adult items, visit Abbey Island. (And stop by mine right next door while you're there!) ... And DP Fashions & Designs as well.

My outfit here is the lovely Miss Peacock Dress from Cutea Benelli's Grim Bros.