Hectic Friday, Partially Sunny

It started out very nice, sunny and bright, but the clouds rolled in by noon. Thankfully, by the time I headed out for my 4 miles, the sun was peeking through here and there. I got so completely wet Thursday that I was grateful for the sun. It was a quite brisk 44 degrees with a northerly wind, which blew down a few more leaves here and there. Dad’s carefully raked lawn was covered with Norway Maple leaves, so they are (finally!) coming down.

I have a bunch of cough syrups and immune support recipes to make this weekend: horehound syrup, elderberry syrup and drops, and herbal cough drops with slippery elm – and some lip balm for my sister. It’s exciting that my family members now ask me for herbal remedies (since I haven’t poisoned anyone yet and I have actually helped them with the ailments they’re asking for help with).  I will also need to decant the vanilla bitters and add the next set of ingredients to the cherry bitters. then all done with making bitters for this year. Maybe.

The Michigan Autumn textile collection is coming along. I have photographed all my references and dropped out the backgrounds. Now to figure out what sort of manipulation I want to do with the references and put the collection together. I think it will be very pretty when its all done.

We need more apples. I’m going through those things like water. Apples are so good for you and the Michigan apples just taste so great it’s hard to stop.

Interesting New Material: Pearlflex

This interesting new material from TCI Tang Chen in the Philippines has some interesting possibilities. Pearlflex is made from mother of pearl and Paua shell and combines the iridescence of these materials into a flat sheet suitable for use as tiles for home decor, or in fashion as a button or trim material or it would be ideally suited to make small evening bags.

Pearlflex is a nonwoven, with a flexible  base matrix that includes a water-based coating. The natural iridescence from the matrix changes hue as the material is moved and different parts of the matrix reflects light at varying wavelengths (this is a natural property of shell and mother of pearl.)

Pearlflex is light, sturdy, flexible and it able to withstand low or extreme temperatures. The material is tested on water absorbency and UV exposure to ensure quality.

You can check out its technical specifications at the Materia database.

Announcing the Shengri La Bird Sanctuary

Sanctuary Entrance
Sanctuary Entrance

We have completed the new bird sanctuary behind the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace, and would like to invite all to visit our newest space, full of birds and butterflies, and a special garden of roses visitors may take away with them.

The sanctuary is particularly interesting because we now have more than 35 species of birds represented throughout the Second Life Shengri La complex.  Some of the birds are easily seen – the swans and other water birds tend to be very visible, whereas the songbirds (just like in real life) aren’t as easily noticed.  We’ve included a list of our species below – please visit us, and see if you can locate all of them!

Rare White Peacock, Standard Peacock, Western Gull, Black-headed Gull
Black-Tailed Gull, Spotted Owl, Hoot Owl, Barn Owl
Common Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, Snow Owl (male & Female)
Raven, Green Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl, Greater Flamingo
Caribbean FLamingo, Toco Toucan, Red-headed Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker, Grey Bat, Black Bat, Brown Bat
Mute Swan, Black Swan, Cardinals (male & female), Bald Eagle
Blue bird, Robin, Black bird, Blue Jay, Starling, Mallard Duck (Male & Female)
Peking Duck, Muscovy Duck, Hummingbird – Sky, Robin
Hummingbird Pumpkin, Hummingbird Silver, Crimson Topaz Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird
Violet Sabre Wing Hummingbird, Jamaican Swallowtail Hummingbird
Baltimore Oriole, and various Parrots

Fountain in the Shengri La Sanctuary

Fountain in the Shengri La Sanctuary

 

Sunset Falls over the Sanctuary

Sunset Falls over the Sanctuary

Overlooking the flamingoes in the pond

Overlooking the flamingoes in the pond

Looking towards the Western Gate

Looking towards the Western Gate at Moonrise

 

The Rose Garden Gone Wild

The Rose Garden Gone Wild

Niftiness in Second Life tm Shengri La…Free Horseback Riding!

Saddle rezzer in the paddock of the Welcome Area

Saddle rezzer in the paddock of the Welcome Area

The Fashion Research Institute Shengri La complex in Second Life is the creation of many talented people working together to create a beautiful, peaceful, immersive experience.  We all add and remove bits of it, and occasionally something will happen that proves to be transcendent.  A perfect example of this is the new horse rezzer located earlier this week.

The rezzer pops up a vehicle that is saddle shaped.  Then it hands the rider a horse.  The rider wears the horse from inventory, and suddenly the rider is mounted on a fully saddled horse, ready to go riding!

This isn’t just any generic horse, either.  The creator of this particular system put a lot of painstaking work into scripting and creating the actual horse.  Through a menu system, you can change the saddle style on your horse, show or hide its Pegasus wings, change your riding pose (side saddle, anyone?), change your gait, and even change the color of the blanket under the saddle.  The horse itself will carry two people, so you can ride double.  You can change gaits by moving through its programmed gaits (Walk, Canter, Gallop, Fly) by choosing page up or page down.

What’s really fun about the horse you are given to ride is that the creator didn’t slack on the details – it blinks its eyes, switches its tail, wiggles its ears, stamps its foot when you are standing, whinnies, and sends up little puffs of dust when you are riding.  The horse itself is a mixture of primwork and sculpted prims, and of course, it moves its legs when ridden. For those equestrians who love SL horses, this won’t sound terribly impressive – until you realize that you’ve just been given this horse from the rezzer…for free.

As an estate owner, you can put the rezzer up, and allow visitors to your land to obtain the saddle vehicle and the horse (for free!!), ride around your estate until they get tired, and when they dismount, the saddle poofs, and they get to keep the horse.  The saddle won’t survive a teleport, but it does survice sim crossings quite nicely.  Riders can’t ride the horse again unless they use the saddle rezzer again. 

Needless to say, I was enamored.  The horse itself has some little quirkinesses to riding it – but for horse lovers or anyone who wants a fun, witty, immersive activity, a ride around Shengri La is enormous fun, as we found out last night.

I was tweaking the new saddle rezzer arrangement in the Welcome Area when I noticed some people in Joy.  So I flew over, and discovered Script Wizard Dale and Chestnut.   In the process of telling them about the cool new horses we now have in Shengri La, I brought out a saddle rezzer.  Another friend, Ahuva Heliosense, teleported in about then, and when she heard the word: horse, she took the plunge. 

Before I knew it, we had galloping Utopians all over the sim, and a few other friends joining us for the mayhem.  It took a little tweaking to figure out the horses, but once we got it, everyone really enjoyed themselves, as you can see in the pictures below.  We finished our evening with an impromptu art show by Callipygian Christensen, who is working up her next gallery changes for her main gallery in Shengri La and a fireworks display by Script Wizard Dale, who wowed us with some fancy and fanciful particle fireworks. 

If you haven’t visited Shengri La in SL yet, please consider yourself invited.  The horses are now there for anyone to ride.  Instructions are included in the information kiosk right behind the saddle rezzer.

Saddle Rezzer, example of the palomino horse "Ruby", and the paddock in the Welcome Area

Saddle Rezzer, example of the palomino horse, 'Ruby', in the paddock

Ahuva Heliosense discovers her wings!

Ahuva Heliosense discovers her wings!

Everyone has a horse now...

Everyone has a horse now...

We figure out how they work...

We figure out how they work...

Script Wizard Dale and Elezabeth Tinsley ride through the surf

Script Wizard Dale and Elizabeth Tinsley ride through the surf

Ahuva Heliosense happily riding

Ahuva Heliosense happily riding

Chestnut Rau canters across the Boardwalk in Shengri La

Chestnut Rau canters across the Boardwalk in Shengri La

Elizabeth Tinsley pauses beside Silver Rose

Elizabeth Tinsley pauses beside Silver Rose

Ahuva and I in the surf, talking to Calli & Script Wizard Dale

Ahuva and I in the surf, talking to Calli & Script Wizard Dale

Michele Hyacinth, Rez Tone, me, and Ahuva Heliosense

In the surf: Michele Hyacinth, Rez Tone, me, and Ahuva Heliosense

on the shore - Callipygian Christensen, Script Wizard Dale; in the surf-Ahuva Heliosense, me, Rez Tone, Michele Hyacinth

The End: On the shore - Callipygian Christensen, Script Wizard Dale; In the surf-Ahuva Heliosense, me, Rez Tone, Michele Hyacinth