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Cabin on the rocks, and why the Tembo-dai gazebo stole the show

Well, this post’s title has nothing to do with some alcoholic beverage or anything in particular. As it will become obvious shortly, it’s plainly about a cabin set next to some rocky cliffs at the edge of Nowhere –that’s the name of my plot, as regular readers already know. The main character in this installment is POST’s Gunflint Cabin. This little wood cottage resembles the Gnesen Farm Shed released last summer and shown hundreds of times everywhere (including this blog), but while the shed, by design, is limited in interior space (it’s not  a house, though it looks like one), the cabin has extra room to spare if you’re OK with a 10′ x 8′ one-room, rectangular structure, with the only luxury of a stone fireplace to warm your bones on those chilling nights, and several sash windows that you can actually open or close at will during fair weather. In its original state, it’s only 42 LI, but if you resize it (as I did to fit my self) that number will change accordingly (mine is at 37, right now after a minor shrinking).

cabin02

There are six versions of the house in the package: one all natural color, another one with red door+frame and windows+frame, and a third one with red door and windows, each of which has a copy switching the back window position, either closer or away from the fireplace. Though there’s no other modification you can do to the structure, there’s still the option of “painting” the walls, floor or even roof to any color you wish. So, for that I say go with the plain one. That’s what I did to change the color of both door and window frames only. That’s pretty cool, you won’t mess anything else.

cabin04

And now with this other picture… There’s a little “story” to this one. As it looks right now, this Tembo-dai Japanese garden gazebo from Virtual Nature is literally stealing the place that was originally reserved for one of two similar style items at The Garden event. I opted for this one for several reasons. I really wanted to use Vespertine’s Garden Gazebo because it fits perfectly on that spot (because of its design and color). I was a little bit worried of its 50 land impact value (too high for a relatively simple gazebo, imho), but I bought it anyway. After rezzing it in the woodsy area, though, it turned out be quite small even for me, a below-average-height male avie. My neighbor won’t fit in, I bet (he’s a minotaur sometimes). The most discouraging thing is it isn’t modifiable, so you can’t stretch it to larger proportions. I love Vespertine, don’t get me wrong, but making this particular product no-mod is not helping the review.

Then I went for RageWorks’ Rustic Gazebo. This one is larger than Vespertine’s at only half its LI. That one is lovely, I tell you, but it didn’t pair too well with a rustic dwelling such as POST’s Gunflint Cabin. I promise I’ll use it for something else for sure.

So that’s the story of why the Tembo-dai gazebo stole the show.

cabin06

{ Items } Nature: 3D Trees, Magnolia; Wild Spring Tree (group gift from February); Elderberry (green); Triple Beech. XED Design, Garden Crocus (various colors). Studio Skye, Rocky cliffs; Gnarled cherry.  ||  Other items: Studio Skye, parts from the following building sets: Rocky outcrop, Rustic fence, River bank (rocks), Enchanted path, Board walk. We’re closed,  Pond deck (slightly modified). fri.home, Garden lantern (at The Garden).

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).

Fun post

I’ve been kind of busy lately, yet I don’t have much to report. Sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not, because, after all, I didn’t plan to change things so soon again. Besides, I’ve only been “revisiting” my inventory, for the most part, trying to clean it a little bit… if possible, and controlling SL expenses in terms of land holdings. I have to say I’ve managed to do OK so far. I’ve “found” some comfort in “decorating” with what I have at the moment; that has even been interesting, indeed: replacing stuff with low prim versions while retaining as much detail as possible. It’s been a lot of fun, really, and I think I should have a SL garage sale of some sort at some point, so other people may benefit from my used wares. Non-transferable stuff gets deleted of course; there’s no other way to deal with them… unless you want to keep it for historical reasons. But I’m more practical than sentimental when it comes to cleaning the clutter, and if I have no plan of using it again, why bother keeping?

Has anybody done a garage sale before? The Marketplace has a Used Items category, some kind of a flea market, but I still prefer inworld business. But then, there’s some issues to consider too. For example: When a creator puts something for sale with transferable rights, does that automatically entitles the buyer to a licence for resell (unless specifically indicated otherwise)? You own a copy because you paid for it, and if after buying some furniture in RL you can do with it as you wish (be it resell, give away, burn up –or down–, whatever), should it be the same in SL? If so, or if it doesn’t make a difference, at what price should used wares be sold? I mean, SL stuff is eternally new, so should one go for same price as new or lower? Not that I’m looking for a way to get rich or anything, but getting something back from my investment will certainly be more than welcomed. Actually, even selling at 5L per item would help to cover some sweet weekly tier, come on. But I’m not a business man; I usually end up cluttering some of my friend’s  inventories instead, hehe.

Anyway, back to “business”. Here are some shots of what the plot looks like right now. As I said, most of this stuff is old, so I’m skipping the credits of what has been shown in previous posts. You can browse the blog if you need to, or use the tags to get some clues. I do have to highlight some products I’ve never used before, like the Lainey Park Bench from Cheeky Pea {slurl} in the first picture. It’s not exactly a low prim bench considering there are some in the market for 4 to 6 times a lower land impact (LI), but I like this one a lot, and I think it’s because its nice animation set. By the way, Cheeky Pea is having a 50% OFF sale this week, a great excuse to renew your house furnishings while saving some lindens.

Next is Zacca’s Farmer House, small version {slurl}. As usual, I did some modding to fit my size, so this is smaller than the original one. I had to ask direct help from Cross Jupiter (its creator) to adjust the garden door and the casement window because they are no-mod to prevent people from screwing the scripts up if they attempt to change any of the two. The house is pretty good if you own a small parcel. If space is not an issue, check out the two larger versions; both are awesome.

The tall bush in front of the Farmer House is a broadleaf tree (T12) I got from Sub Dimensional Studio {slurl} a long time ago. Again, the original is a huge sculpted tree that is taller than a skyscraper, and I mean it. It is mod-able so now, thanks to the new prim size limit, it’s ok to stretch it to more realistic heights; that’s why I’m using it now. In the foreground, there’s a Wood Bike from Mary’s Little Lamb {slurl} –a toy-like thingy not for riding–, and a freebie Fence from Glitterati {slurl} loaded with about 10 different poses. The bike is still available, but I really have no idea about the fence.

The “idea” behind the Farmer’s House is that I converted it into a little shoreline café; just for the looks and the fun and the challenge of adding a lot of stuff while keeping the prim allowance in check, really. I won’t be holding artsy soirées anytime soon, but you can turn in the parcel music stream if you happen to be around. Be warned, though: it’s not Beethoven coming out of the antique speakers, but some dark gothic tunes provided by the House of Avro‘s Dark Radio preset stations. The radio can’t be seen in the picture above, but you can get it following this {slurl}. It’s somewhere around the store. Be careful of vampires while you shop [grins]. The tables and stools are from mdrm {slurl}, while the Bistro Chalkboards in the background are from LISP Bazaar {slurl}. The bottles and box are from Post’s Sunnanby Harvest Hutch {slurl}. Most of the bakery stuff (mostly hidden in the pic behind the stool) is from i(TuTu) {slurl}, LISP, Kinokoko {slurl}, atmosphere works {slurl}, and Organica {slurl}.

All these changes were prompted by this enchanting Willow Tree from 3D Trees {slurl} released a couple of weeks ago. I placed it near the pond, which you can see in a more natural light in the picture accompanying a previous post.

I also found this cute Tree with Bird’s Nest in the most unlikely of places: a store named Old World {slurl}, that specializes in Medieval furniture, buildings and other wares. It’s not that it’s odd to find a tree in there, it’s just that it’s not a garden center. But well, it was a nice finding. They have some interesting stuff for a rustic look as well, so it’s worth paying a visit. I used the Cheeky Pea’s Zachary Patio set before, but the wire-like chairs and table are so thin that they didn’t show up well in the picture. This time, the shot was more favorable, so there they are.

And finally, a “cutesse” from Happy Mood {slurl}: the Stump Table set. It comes with table and tree chairs, and with or without painting utensils. The tubular thingy covering the stump table is a modified Gazebo from Cheeky Pea. By the way, don’t look up cutesse in the dictionary. I just made that up; read it as cute + finesse [winks].