It's the 3rd of December already and I can't believe how quickly Christmas has come around once again! I've been putting up my Christmas decorations in real life and in Second Life as well, as I really love all the glitter of the festive season. I suppose lots of it is nostalgia from childhood, as it's a magical time for most children and I guess we all try to recreate that feeling of excitement, comfort, warmth and peace by producing an atmosphere that we think our friends and family will love and enjoy.
Hibiscus and I moved to our new SL homes at Isla Vesta earlier this year and unlike Jamaica Inn, our previous shared sim, we aren't able to change the ground texture to snow as other people are sharing the land with us. At first I put a snowy skybox above my parcel of land, but soon learned it wasn't really big enough for what I wanted to do. Then we had a new neighbour move in a couple of weeks ago and she went ahead and laid mega prims on her quarter of land to create the snow, so Hibiscus and I decided to do the same with our separate parcels. Whilst I like terraforming the land, digging holes for icy rivers and frozen lakes for virtual ice-skaters, I had to make do with a totally flat surface, albeit, nice and bright with my favourite snow texture. The forth quarter of the sim is owned by someone who has a lovely beach theme, complete with a high cliffs dividing my land from theirs. So I had to make a screen of snowy mountains to cover the summer vegetation growing on the rocky face of the cliffs. I'm not a lover of SL screens at all to be honest, I hate the square huge prims that look so ugly from other places in the sim, and often people don't worry about making the other side of the screen fit their neighbour's season or style. I did my best and made the back transparent so they shouldn't be aware of the screen, plus I made the sky above the mountains alpha, so the screen wasn't just a square shape. (I found making an alpha in Photoshop is easier by creating a Ping file now instead of Targa, but I can't tell you why Targa no longer works for me, I suspect the programs have moved on since I used Targa files.) So there I have it, my snow covered land and my mountain screen covering up every hint of the summer.
I usually cheat and buy my decorations from the many talented creators in SL and there is so much to choose from this year as the items get more real with the help of mesh, plus they use less prims, so shopping is a joy! I did spend some time making a row of cartoon style terrace houses though, each one a different colour, and I attached some lovely neon Christmas decorations to them that I had bought a few years ago. I just wish I had enough prims to furnish them all, but I had to forgo that idea. I bought an advent calendar from SL Market Place too, hoping people will drop by and take a gift as they explore the rest of the sim. I already had lots of beautiful winter grasses and plants from Kidd Garden Centre, he does a huge range of grasses and plants, plus other bits, and the prices are really good. So I did what I enjoy the most in SL, I started to create my Christmas wonderland. I did treat myself to one thing that I had had an eye on for quite a long time, a fantastic mesh house. It's made by LAQ and it's a fantasy style cottage, a little bit like a fairytale house, but its really very spacious inside and gives plenty of room to move your avatar around. You buy the snow for the roof separately so you can just remove that once the winter is done. LAQ make fantastic mesh furniture too, their items have very low prim impact, so they are worth the money. I also added an open air winter ballroom made by Two Moon Gardens, they really do exquisite gardens and buildings all year long and they have some stunning new winter scenes for sale this year. So, so far I've idled quite a few hours away in SL having fun and ignoring the real life chores that I should really be getting on with! Sometimes life is too short to stuff a mushroom, as best selling author Shirley Conran once famously wrote.