A Little Gratitude & Insanity

FFL Is going so well and I couldn’t be happier.  So, I decided to do something to celebrate how far we’ve come and hope to push a little further.

Everything in my store location on Bourke White has been marked down to 100L.  Fatpacks are marked down to 100L per outfit included in the pack.  Yeah no seriously, I meant everything.  Including RFL Items.

This Discount Remains in Place until FFL Closes on March 22nd, so don’t waste anymore time!

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On the Architecture of Friendship

Whatever good things we build end up building us. -Jim Rohn-

I love walking around the Helmut Newton sim at FFL.  It’s wide inviting entryways to the stores, the delightful little bends and turns that always seem to be eager to reveal some secret wisdom and above all the fragmented personal thoughtful emotional touches you’ll find if you look, but may not notice right away.

Helmut Newton is a lot like the man who built it.  I didn’t know Raven Haalan before the build started.  But he has a wide inviting manner.  His mind twists and bends in ways that have you eagerly chasing after the things he may not say right away; and he is just full of personality, emotion and thoughtfulness.

It’s almost unsettling how this free yet earthy spirit seems to know precisely the exact moment to send me an IM with a couple of words of encouragement.  Never so heavily applied as to seem insincere, and yet never so light as to seem flippant.  He’s the kind of wise that doesn’t have to say it is; the kind of intuitive that isn’t forced; and the kind of creative that inspires those around him to push a little harder.

And yet, when I grabbed him for the picture above, he said “I feel like this should be the other way around.”  We tried that:

My Shoulders were.. and are way too small.

I am so very very glad that his are not.

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So I’m Not Irish

But hey why not?

Pop in to the Fashion for Life Sims and look for Green Things that may be on sale for St. Patrick’s Day!

My rule of thumb for Sakinah?  If it’s green and on Bourke White, It’s 99L.

That includes the following:

See you on Bourke White!  Hopefully in LOTS of Green!

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Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
-Marlene Dietrich-

I picked that quote for this post because, it fits.  Because Frederick Lancaster has, in fact, called me up at 4 a.m.

Fred and I have known each other for years.  Bickering like an old married couple, I honestly learned most of what I know about building from him.  But you don’t bicker like that with just anyone.  You bicker like that with someone you care about deeply, who means a great deal to you and whose opinion truly matters to you.

Fred has always, whether he intends to or not, raised the bar for me.  He’s an absolutely brilliant builder with a fantastic aesthetic.  He’s a smart, funny charming man.  I’ve been at hand when he proposed to his wife.  And while I couldn’t make the trip to his wedding (I was kind of in the wrong country at the time), I made sure to send him a little luxurious irony. (Hot pink bath towels from Egypt)

We jokingly refer to ourselves as Peanut Butter & Jelly; though we’ve never managed to figure out which one of us is which.  Fact of the matter is, where one of us is, the other is within easy reach.

I didn’t really edit that shot much.  I couldn’t.  I was laughing too hard.   He usually knows how to make me laugh, and most importantly?  WHEN to make me laugh.  All the same we’re just as comfortable saying nothing at all but pushing prims together to make some magic.

I have to admit, it felt weird taking on sim builds without him.  Though I couldn’t be more thrilled with how he put Ansel Adams together.  It’s typical Fred.  Bringing the Fabulous.

You know, I think every designer in SL has one or two people they can tolerate working with.  I think Fred is overall who I prefer to work with.  Which still amazes me since we started out fighting.  But it works.  We work.

And Fred’s the kind of Giant who’s shadow isn’t a cold dark unfeeling place.  It’s warm, because he really does shine just that brightly.

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On Being Honored

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Sir Isaac Newton-

Fashion for Life opened to a rousing start, and has held pretty steady over the past couple of days.  As both Harper and I are flush with compliments and praise; I find myself looking around at the shoulders of the giants I’m standing on; and am truly humbled.

I think that there are few things a content creator can do for someone that mean more than allowing that person to be a creative inspiration.  I know that it’s something I do rarely, if ever.  That would be, for me at least, because it would be an impossible task.  If I created something for every person who inspired me?  Well, I’d never get everything done.

So I think it’s difficult really for me to express my surprise when not just one, but two content creators participating in Fashion for Life honored me like this. I’d like to tell both stories, not just to share with readers, but so that I have them written down, and that way I know I’ll never forget.

Part of plotting out the look and feel for Fashion for Life, was deciding how each sim would actually look beyond the vague concept of simply grayscale.  Each sim is a reflection of its sponsor, matched to the style and mode that sponsor expresses in their work.  I made these decisions by walking around in each Sim Sponsor’s mainstore, since I like to think that would be the venue they had most freedom to express themselves in.

When you walk around in LaPointe & Bastchild; it’s very clean and bright.  There’s a LOT of things to see, and they’ve arranged it so things don’t seem as cluttered as they could be.  But as I look at the style, my mind kept turning toward the French Quarter in New Orleans.  I have no real idea why.  Maybe the Fleur de Lis in their logo, maybe just kismet.

When Paul LaPointe and Bastchild Lotus came to see the sim for the first time, before I had finished it out all the way, and before the designers were setting up their stores, I learned that I had accidentally or through fate, hit a touchstone for both of them.  A loving and funny couple, I learned that New Orleans held a lot of significance for them.  They were touched that I’d picked up that theme and ran with it.

And then they took it and went a step further.  Their FFL Releases are New Orleans inspired.  And when Paul sent me these boots, and told me I’d inspired them, I was humbled.  Shoulders of Giants, indeed.  http://lapointebastchild.blogspot.com/2011/03/fashion-for-life-2011.html

These Orleans Tartan Boots are texture change through a HUD, and so can match just about anything you could wear.  There’s a Version in Black and White Lace as well.

Ikon Innovia was like a dirty little secret Harper kept from me.  And if you talk to him, you learn why. The Creator of Fashism, he’s been making Harper’s avatar eyes for a while.  I’ll get into how stunning they are in a bit.

It’s the person that’s the kind of warm, funny engaging and genuine that inspires the selfish bits of you that want to keep them away from anything that might taint such a lovely spirit.

Usually when someone tells me they’re a graphic designer, it tends to mean to me that they do logos or edit photos.  Both of which are very different tasks from working in a 3-D environment like Second Life. Ikon’s graphic design is in video games, so he understands how to color and dress gamespaces.  And those conversations with him are some of my favorites, bantering about how to use texturing to enhance 3-D effects.

So when I logged in Saturday, I had a gift from him.  

My picture does not do these justice.  The eyes, which he named “Egyptian Blue,” play upon the rich lapis and gold colors, and oddly enough make me think of afternoons in Marina.

I think the picture he sent to go with them speaks far better to his skill, his talent and a whole lot of other things I want to gush all over but don’t have the words for.  And sometimes it’s hard to tell if I am on the shoulders of the giants, or in the shadow of them.

Either way, I’m humbled, and honored.

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Fashion for Life

Holy Cow!  I have a ton to write about and the only way I can think to do it sensibly is to break it up into a series of posts.

First, I don’t think I’ve had this much fun on a project in a while.  The Team has been absolutely stellar.  And yes, that’s Team with a capital T.  They deserve their own Thank You post.

Second.  I was just blown away, not just by the artistry of the build, but the artistry and personalities of the designers involved.   They too deserve their own post.

So I’m left with the smartest way to start.  To let you know what Sakinah has produced for RFL.  I know RFL is usually my big release for the year, but between building two of the sims, and the work and communication needed as one of the Co-Leads, I came up a little short in the Newness department.  But I did get one brand new historical costume done and it’s available at my store on the Bourke White sim of Fashion for Life.

Nefertiti is one of those “I want something to go on my head” that becomes a whole outfit. I modeled this after the famous bust of Nefertiti currently on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany. (Though I, like every Egyptian hopes someday to see all of our missing artifacts come home someday.)

I recolored two of my most recent Halal Outfits: Latika and Rasha into shades of purple in honor of the Relay.

And lastly, being that pressed for time, I did something I’ve never done.  I re-released an RFL item.  If you shop with me regularly, you know I don’t do this.  And It’s an indicator of just how much time and effort I have put into the event overall.

I have had a wonderful, exhausting time working on Fashion for Life, and I hope all of you will come out and show support for such a great cause!

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Do Not Adjust Your Screen!

If anyone asks why I’m not as responsive as I usually am.  This is why.

I covered last post that I’m one of the leads for the Fashion for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  You probably knew this as Clothing Fair in years previous.  This year the scope and size of the event has expanded to cover anything used to enhance avatar appearance including Clothes, Skin, Shoes, Eyes and Hair!  The bulk of my job is not only coordinating the rest of an incredibly awesome build team; but I’m building two of the sims myself.

And I couldn’t help it.  I had to bring in a little piece of home.  When I started?  I started building the Corniche from Alex, the area at Romle Square.  But then I said “Wait a second.  Porto Marina is basically a big mall, and totally fits Elikatira (The Sim’s Sponsor) so much better!”

Now.  Do not Adjust your screen.  It’s supposed to look like this.

Yes.  It’s in Grayscale.  There’s a reason for that that I’ll cover in another post, but the short version is that the theme this year is “Beyond Black and White.”  Cancer isn’t a black and white issue.  And thanks to the efforts of organizations like ACS, options for treatment, and chances of survival are broadened.

I am so thrilled year to really have my hands in a cause I’ve been a participant in for years. And I’ve been both deeply honored and greatly privileged to work with some fantastic people.

Fashion for Life opens March 12th and will continue through March 22nd.  And what you guys are getting with this shot here is just a teeny taste of what to expect.  I can’t wait for you guys to come and shop your hearts out for a great cause at such a huge event!

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Sakinah’s Moving

Sakinah is Moving

Yeah. I know. Again.

I’ve accepted an offer to move to the Sanctum Sim. A sim shared by Haven Designs, Slink Shoes and a soon to open business with what may be the only breedable pets I’ve ever actually decided I like.

There will be a brief time where the Sakinah store is offline, as I move it, and the servers. After that, I’ll be replacing the landmarks in my products and making a few changes that I really have just been putting off getting done.

Now the fun part? I’m cramming all of this in around Fashion for Life. Which, if you haven’t gotten the word yet, I’m one of the Co-Leads on. Harper Beresford of one of my favorite blogs: A Passion for Virtual Fashion (http://slfashionpassion.wordpress.com) is the other.

Fashion for Life is the redeux of what we’ve long since known as Clothing Fair, the huge fashion event that openes the Relay for Life Campaign in Sl, and one of the biggest fundraisers for the American Cancer Society in Second Life. This years it’s nine sims of designers from all over the grid, and the scope of the event has expended beyond clothes to include hair, shoes, skins, eyes: anything to enhance your avatar’s appearance.

There’s a region-wide hunt; dozens of Gacha machines, and of course 200 vendors spread over nine sims.

You guys know I always try to put out something new and shiny for RFL every year. And despite the heavy workload this year will not be the exception. There will be a Sakinah gacha located on the Bourke White sim (Those of us from Egypt may recognize where I got the build inspiration from). And of course I will have a store there with my usual RFL Exclusives and a New Outfit or two. (depending on what I can get done)

So. Yeah. I’m busy 🙂 Sakinah will go offline Probably on Tuesday, and I will try to have it back up and running its new location Before Fashion for Life Kicks off, but I’m not making promises.  Everything is still available on Marketplace though, and will stay that way throughout the move.

I will also have a store on the Bourke White sim for the Fashion for Life Event.  So you’ll be able to get a lot of things there as well.



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Gift from Sakinah

I’m sure by now many of you have heard that Friday, January 28, 2011, became known as the “Day of Rage” in Egypt.  After the Friday prayers, Egyptians took to the streets in protest of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in office for 30 years.

Why protest?  Why not just vote him out?

Egypt has been under “Emergency Law” since Hosni Mubarak’s succession of assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981.  Emergency Law is what holds Egypt back from the Democracy its constitution promises.  This state of Emergency law, faithfully renewed every 3 years (It actually started in 1967, and there was about an 18 month break before President Sadat’s Assassination) permits government disruption of everything from organized protests to political funding, and has ben used repeatedly to cripple or quash opposition to the National Democratic Party.

Over recent years, Egypt’s Economy has suffered.  Princes inflate at astronomical rates, but incomes aren’t increasing.  Many industries in Egypt are Government subsidized, and the government’s response to cut back subsidies has only aggravated the out of control inflation.

Why haven’t we heard of this before?  Egypt always seemed pretty peaceful?

Because it is pretty peaceful.  But, as has happened so many times with nations in the Middle East, nations that ensure the supply of oil to the United States, the United States has provided financial aid to these regimes due to their benevolence toward US Policy.  A sort of “Better the devil you know,” policy that, in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq and numerous other Arab nations has kept men in power through finance and influence that have been amicable to United States Foreign Policy, regardless of how those leaders treat the freedoms and rights of the people of the very nations they command.

In 1981, Hosni Mubarak was a good man.  He came in at a time when it was necessary for him to do so, and held Egypt together through a time of crisis.  But that was 30 years ago.  And power corrupts.  Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

To this very moment, the words of a dear friend, spoken while I was in Egypt last September are echoing in my ears, “Egypt is on the brink of revolution. ”

With 2/3 of its population under the age of 30, Egypt’s youth, coordinating through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and spurred by similar actions in Tunisia,  enacted the first day of Protests on January 25th, 2011.  The police response to these protests was swift and brutal.  A second day of protests was enacted on January 28th.  After Friday prayers (called Jummah  or Gummah, as Egyptians don’t normally use the J-sound in their Arabic), Youth swarmed the streets again in Cairo and Alexandria.  Government response was to shut down the cell networks and the Internet service providers.  To swarm the streets with police in armored vehicles firing tear gas into crowds.

105 People have been killed in these protests.  The Police have retreated and the army, and their tanks have taken their place.  Mubarak’s initial response was to dissolve the government in its entirety and to appoint two men into previously unheard of positions.  The Protests have turned violent.  Grocery stores are shut down.  Government bakeries are only permitting the purchase of ten loaves of pita bread per day.  Banks are closed, ATMs are shut down.  Gas stations are closed.  While cell service has been restored, internet has not.

United States citizens are being evacuated out of Egypt via charter flights to safe havens in Europe.  Delta, Lufthansa, and Olympia.. the three biggest airline carriers to and from Egypt have stopped service.  The United States embassy is shut down.

Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in September.  I do not know if this will be enough to bring quiet to the streets and the voices of the people demanding change.  I do not know if the damage done is too extensive to recover from with so distant a promise.

To those of you who have asked, my family in Alexandria is safe, indoors, but safe.  And I thank all of you for your concern that you’ve shown.  It’s been touching, and vital during this difficult time.

I felt like I needed to do something, for you, my customers and supprters and friends; to explain, to educate, to share, and to ask for your continued support in the coming months as Egypt undergoes some of the most radical political changes it has seen since 1967.  So please find a Hijab and scarf, colored in the black, white and Red of Egypt’s flag, (With gold tassles for the Eagle of Saladin).  I’ve sent it out in my Subscriber; and it’s available at my Mainstore.

I hope you wear it from time to time, to show your support of a free and democratic Egypt.  To let people know that you will not look away.

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A Struggle

I think I’ve tried to write this post seven or eight times over the last few days.  But it feels like there’s lead in my fingers, and sand in my heart.

I know everything started before Friday.  But it wasn’t until Friday that it really hit home.  It wasn’t until Friday where, watching CNN footage of Egypt in an uproar, buildings burning, clouds of tear gas drifting over the October 6 Bridge in Cairo.  People shouting and blocking the Corniche in Alexandria that it sank in.

It wasn’t until the internet was shut down, and we lost touch with our family, that I began to panic.

It wasn’t until much later, through a scratchy phone call that managed to hang on just long enough to hear “We’re okay.  We’re staying inside.” That I managed to break down into tears.

I’ve had some friends, who’ve been right there with me.  Who called me as soon as they heard.  Who shared my fears, who asked after my family.  Who let me just cry like an idiot over Skype or SL Voice.

I’ve spent hours trying to explain the why to people who have never lived there, who can’t fully understand the scope of the political ramifications.. why this matters, why it’s so important.  And then hours with people who do understand on some level, and who I could get into the higher reasoning with.  But my brain just won’t go there today.  Today, I just want people to have enough food to eat.

Today I just couldn’t bother to do much to my Av.  I knew I should pick a different skin, or a different hairstyle.  Maybe some new eyes?  A dress might have been nice.  Maybe I should have found a sweater and shirt and jeans in the black, white and red of Egypt’s flag.

The charm of being worried over the Crisis in Egypt is starting to wear off for some people who know me.  I know my family is alive and safe, right?  That should be enough.

Alhamdullilah it is enough, and yet, I am human enough to ask for more.  I ask for a country that does not pretend at democracy to appease the West.  I ask for an economy that does not inflate the prices of basic human needs while not supplying the additional income to supply them.  I ask for the safety of those brave enough to step forward and fill the streets, peaceful but purposeful in their intent to bring about long over due change.  I ask for wisdom to shed a light on those presently in power, to truly listen to the people who make Egypt what it is.  I ask those whose intentions are violent to stop and not let selfishness diminish the gravity of the message.  I ask the world to turn their eyes on Egypt and not take them away, not get bored with the message, to hear it, to repeat it, to support it.

I ask you to look upon Egypt not as a distant nation in a distant land.  But as your brothers and your sisters.  As the nation that has fostered modern thought throughout the ages.  As the mother of the ideal and freedoms you hold so close to your heart.  I ask, shouldn’t this country have those things too?  Not the illusion of them, but the real ideas the real freedoms.

My every thought.  My Every Prayer right now is there with them, in the streets and in the homes, with my brothers and my sisters.  I ask you.  Do not look away.

Sweater: Dutch Touch – Knitted Jumper Grey Green

Turtleneck: Dutch Touch – top TurleNeck nr 13

Jeans: Dutch Touch – Basic Jeans nr 2

Skin – Tuli – Jade tone 3

Hair: Truth – Milla – Chocolate

Eyes:  Poetic Colors – Cool Night

Skybox: nordari – snow.white

Grass: Organica

Bridge: Glitterati

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