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Au coin de la rue

Lionheart Kiara is getting street names, and there’s already one labeled: Route 1, Atoll Coastal Road. This is the old pavement way that connects Kiara with adjacent Vitani and Kopa, to the east. Mine has no name yet, so I’m living au coin de la rue… The first one runs parallel to the north of Route 1 and ends at the sim’s emblematic Harry Potter-like Wizard’s Tower; the second one runs perpendicular to both and ends at the sim’s northern edge.

House in Kiara

The house is a modest structure that only has room for the basics. It’s the Little Getaway from Designer Prims. The only modifications I made were resizing and adding a second door to the back of the house, so I could access the backyard easily. Though it looks simple (and it is), it comes with several floor and wall texture options, door locks, and shutters that you can show or hide from view. I also added a car for the first time because I heard that LL worked on sim crossings recently, and that now it’s a little bit easier to travel from sim to sim without being sent to Mars on the try. I hope that’s true, and it seems so because I’ve seen several neighbors enjoying a ride lately.

{ Other items} Nature: 3D Trees: Banyan tree. Botanical: Mesh Mediterranean Cypress. Buddhabeats: Birch (2012). Frog’s Garden: Ivy. Heart’s Garden Center: Harmony grass (short). Organica: Bristlecone Pine (3). Yoneya: Poplar.  ||  Etc: Barnesworth Anubis: Garden fence (white). Haru Motors: HM VW BT M (Black). lame: Mia’s Pergola. PILOT: Larkin Set – Hanging Chair. we’re CLOSED: Awning white (painted red). Zacca: IshiDatami (Shadow).

Au coin de la rue 1Au coin de la rue 2

There’s not much about originality inside the house. I’ve used most of the items before –maybe with some rearrangement– except for Breno’s colorful Cardiff Petal chairs and Second Spaces‘ Eure Drafting Stool (in red) turned into a table, with Dutchie Glass vase with yellow flowers on top of it. Special mention goes to Trompe Loeil‘s Hanging Tri-Planter (yellow one, below), available at Collabor88 event. It looks nice with XED Designs Green phormium (significantly resized for a proportionate look), but I think any other hanging or small size plant will do; actually, adding any other items that may fit in will be more than ok, or even keeping the pots empty, as most people do.

Trompe Loiel hanging

{ Other items} Nature: Dutchie: Aloe vera. #NuLL: Koke bonsai. Tatty Soup: Tall lily vase (white). Xed Design: Potted dracaena (terracotta); Rubber plant (terracotta).  ||  Etc: Aria: Nina pendant light. [*Art Dummy!: For winter contemplation (silence in black); Idle (pompom flowers and vase). Bazar: Arizona – Black board. bitter vanilla:  Stepladder (red). Cheeky Pea: Hutton table (worn, resized and darkened; this item is from The Men’s Dept‘s May event). Culprit: Zen stone candles (from FaMESHed‘s first birthday event). floorplan: Pallet couch (burnt). lame, Kyle’s rug (Sunsplash). ililo (renamed +ilo+): Ind lamp (red). MMGraffiti’s: Wall decoration – Picture frames (blue). PILOT: Miller positive words A to C. POST: Afterburner occasional table (large). SFW Industries: Texture changing rug (Currents). Trompe Loeil: Bamboo ring lamp (from The Arcade gatcha Spring 2013 event); Pallet Lounger. what next: Flyaway wall art (dandelion, black). Zigana: Rug (Mahavra).

Au coin de la rue backyard

Hell, that was a lot of items! And I thought I had kept things homely. The backyard, fortunately, is definitely more simple. There’s only a couple of lame’s Angel’s Hanging Chairs (in white) “attached” to Botanical’s Wooden arbor with ivy. That’s the way they have them on display at the store, and I loved how they looked, so I’m just repeating the same concept at home. The wooden arbor were originally available at The Garden event, but now that it is over you can find them at Botanical inworld store, as well as in the marketplace.

Au coin de la rue pond

The parcel’s east side holds the main garden area. Again, it’s pretty simple: Studio Skye‘s Enchanted pond (available from the marketplace) surrounded by some vegetation. There’s also Cheeky Pea‘s Alice Pergola (another item from The Garden event).

Au coin de la rue side yard

{ Other items} Nature: 19 Motorcycle (EDO Japan): Willow tree. 3D Trees: Triple Beech. Botanical: Cattails; Pond style dragonflies. Culprit: Lotus plants. Garden World: Hosta Corfu Lily. Organica: Lotus leaves. Tiki Tattoo: Papaya tree.  ||  Etc: +ilo+: Garden set. Studio Skye: Wooden Bridge (old mossy).

Suddenly, I feel tired, lol. Furnishing a house isn’t easy for sure. Next time, I’ll rezz a canopy and a toilet, and that will be it. Or hire someone to do it for me, hehe.

Lionheart house 001

Rethinking the lion (from within a Bamboo refuge)

About a year ago I began to write a blog post –that never got completed and was put into the trash can, where it still is I guess– about how alienating living in a stand-alone sim and then faking mountains around your property to stand up for less aggressive privacy lines was turning to be. I stopped writing it because that’s what most people look for, it seems, or those big pseudo-estates with hundreds of sims dully distributed in giant waffle-like expanses wouldn’t be so successful. I prefer to have neighbors –good ones, let me be specific– and having sims to walk through and see what other sentient beings like to create and call their own. Yes I know you can TP anywhere and all, but adjoining sims offer another kind of experience; even the interaction with people living in them is more vivid and rich. Or that’s the way I see it, at least.

Lionheart main building

So that’s why I moved to Lionheart Estate, searching for that sense of community… and then you know that it kind of went the wrong way. I am persistent, though, so I got back to my little plot in there to try and do something… enjoyable for the rest of the time remaining on the tier meter. Thanks to a quick New Year’s snow melting process (or should I call it sublimation), the readaptation was gratifying, to the point that I may be giving the estate another, more durable, chance.

First, there’s no landscaping involved in this new setting. That’s why I don’t like pre-fabricated –a.k.a. themed– regions that much, because they generally restrict what you can do with the land. Lionheart is not a themed region per se, but as to secure the consistency and well being of the estate and its residents (what Mainland have never had nor done, and so why it’s such a large obnoxious patchwork) strict rules have been put into place. But that’s ok; it actually becomes a challenge: to see what you can do within what is permissible. Second, this is a more… contemporary look, unlike anything I’ve done before, so it was refreshing. Third, I tried not to disrupt my immediate neighbor, building up walls around the yard to keep that which my eyes don’t appreciate away from sight; I solved that “issue” using some nice bamboo to function as natural “privacy screens”. Maybe that’s the antidote to remedy Mainland’s suffering: to enforce bamboo plantations between limits, lol.

{ Items } I’ve already given slurls for some of these items in recent posts, so I’m listing those that haven’t gotten any mention yet. Nature & Garden: 3D Trees, Bamboo. Buddhabeats, Bamboo 2011. XED Design, Dracaena in terracota pot, Snake plant (garden). Culprit, Lotus (from Lotus barrel). Ossanha Gardens, Stepping stones (that link is to the Marketplace because I don’t know if the sim is still there; saw it as on sale as of this writing). Organica, Stepping stones (mossy). Landscaping by Felix, Rock (from one of his prefab landscape sets). nonino, Chouzu-bachi. || Architecture: Breno, Mars (Sunny). drobak, Hako house (this one may not be available anymore; this little cube house dates back from 2009, and I think I got it from a lucky board as well). || Furniture: One Grid, Wall tree with lamp, Deco birds. Bazar, Privacy screen & Entrance rug (from Arizona set). Cheeky Pea, Rue Abel loveseat.  MudHoney, Meredith chair. LISP, Anna prints. what next, Flyaway wall art (Dandelions & Birds). Tatty Soup, Tall lily vase. POST, Votive (candles) & Tivoli birdbath (modded). ililo, Eiffel slat table. Art Dummy, Idle (pompom flowers and vase). floorplan, Pallet couch (available at FaMeshed right now, that’s the slurl to the event, not the main store). MMGraffiti’s, Wall decoration – Picture frames (blue). PILOT, Larkin set vase. GiornoBrando [GB], Nodategasa (red).

Backyard in Lionheart house

So I’m staying in Lionheart a little bit more, and won’t rush payments anymore and go a week at a time. Now, if only those big signs of an expiration notice weren’t so intruding…

The lives and times of Birches, Part 2

Things keep improving with time, to our decorating pleasure. As botanists –in this context, Second Life content creators who specialize in plants– refine their skills, new birch trees hit the market. In no way the following products replace or make obsolete the ones covered in the preceding post. They just bring additional colors and shapes to Second Life’s forests and gardens.

Forest Floor birches

Forest Floor –a funny name for a store that lies in the clouds– has always specialized in low prim plants. Trees in particular are sold in packs containing small, medium and large, and sometimes thin, standard and wide, sparse or lush versions, with ground covers, falling leaves, grasses, and lately some handy extras such as rocks and fences. Another plus for these trees are the dozens of different combinations you can come up with by mixing an assortment of bark and leaf textures for every growing stage (from sapling to young to mature) and season imaginable (including illuminated for festivities or fairy settings). The first trees were –frankly– Frankensteinish, combining some interesting trunk and branch structures with so and so foliage. However, they were quite popular because they were sold at a nice discount for members of certain themed regions. The Birch pack in the picture above is part of what could be referred to as second generation, when leaves got some love and became distinguishable. They are not only fabulous as trees, but also make perfect shrubs. They’re 2 prims too, so what else could you ask for?

Green & Wild  birch set

Another store with second generation trees is Garden World. Their first Silver birch set was very similar to this one, except for the bark texture, which was… erm… too unreal to be cute. Being the narrowest exemplars in this review and at 3 prims per object, these trees are simply perfect for birch groves. Make sure to rotate and resize some of them to get a varying look because placing a lot of these together could be somewhat monotonous. The pack comes in green, winter (bare) and four shades for autumn.

Post's Paper birch

POST is well known for the splendid detailing and texturing work in all of this store’s products. Hence, it came as no surprise that the Lutsen Paper Birch set released last year was of the same high quality. The only peculiar thing to notice is that these 3 to 7 prim birches come in spring and summer variations only, so that’s why there are no vivid autumn colors or a bare option in the pic. Taking into consideration the temperate character of most, if not all, POST builds, one has to wonder when the missing fall and winter sequel will be announced. Me crosses fingers –would it be worth sending a “reminder” too?

Post Gnarled Birch Tree

Or is it that Post is working in updating the trees to mesh? Maybe that’s what the Gnarled Birch Tree (8 LI) released this year suggests. As for the sculpted ones, you can get them as a pack of seven trees (from 12m to 20m tall) or individually.

3D Trees regular and autumn birch

If you desire –as in some kind of gardening lust– an alluring vista instead of a regular landscape, the natural drooping “stance” of 3D Trees‘ Silver birches deserve your full attention. After examining all the trees in this review, perhaps you will agree with me that these seem convincingly life-like, so it won’t hurt to add a few of them to your yard (if birches are what you’re looking for, that is). Though they were originally released in green only, with a LI equivalency of 6 prims, an autumn version later added its orange hues to the combo. Apparently, a winter version is not in the works right now, judging by the fact that 3D Trees has already released the winter collection, and a snowy birch was not included. Let’s see if it shows up later on.

Studio Skye silver birch

Studio Skye recently introduced an all-in-one Silver birch set by way of a scripted unit. Clicking anywhere (in the tree of course) will pop up a menu from where you can choose the season you want. As simple as that. Out of the package the tree is only 5 LI and about the right size, but if you want it bigger (hello, the tree), you can stretch it up as needed, but do it with caution because this is a mesh product, so land impact is prone to increase as the object gets larger. This birch also makes for good bushes, and in that case, shrinking its size will reduce the land impact requirement. Now that’s an absolute advantage.

Buddhabeats Birch 1

Finally –wait, what?– Buddhabeats has been selling good-looking plants for some time now (and yes, there’s some music to the name as well). The first version of his birches (picture above) was already quite attractive. The trees came in two sizes (big, at 10 prims, and small, at 8), and as in the Studio Skye set, a menu would let you change seasons and turn on/off an elegant falling leaves particle effect.

Buddhabeats Birch 1

Sometime later (it sounds like a long time ago, but it was actually earlier this year) the classic birch tree received a stunning makeover that not only lowered the prim count to 2 LI, but also turned it into a beautiful chef-d’oeuvre. I may be exaggerating a little bit (as usual), but hell, the change is really astounding. And what did the creator do? Believe it or not, it’s actually the same tree, textures and all, but with a different foliage arrangement made of a new sculpty base. Compare the two pictures and see what a great difference such a little change can make. Isn’t it obvious that I love this tree?

Ok, so here you have fifteen birch sets to choose from (plus a couple more that opted for retirement). I hope you didn’t fall asleep (did you?). And, by the way, thanks for coming back to this second part (if you did).