Thursday, December 28, 2006

Angel Wings

New angel wings - in both black and white. The black has more detail than it shows in this little picture.

Secondlife . . . the blog-o-sphere, it's all so quiet.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stella never listens when you are being morbid

Blanche wouldn't approve and Stanley would never get it, but this Stella Lolita dress by Draconic Kiss is my new favorite wardrobe item.

The fashion blogs largely missed the release of this line of Gothic Lolita dresses by Draconic Kiss, which is unfortunate, so I'm giving it some press here.

Many Gothic Lolita dresses lean a bit too much on the Lolita bit and have too many bows for my tastes, but this one blends the rufffles with the Goth and the result is a stunning addition black dress.

My only issue is that my arms get lost in the ruffles. I'd love to find some standing animations that didn't conflict with the dress, but currently, SL lets me play about 3 animations before it crashes. I had to restart my computer twice and SL went *poof* about 7 times while I tried to get this model pic. Is ANYONE else having this problem? Is it something on my end or does it warrant a bug report.

Dress: Draconic Kiss
Skin & Gloves: Munchflower Zaius (Nomine)
Hair: Kin Keiko
Necklace: Shiny Things
Shoes: Fatal Raine (Legend)
Tights (under shoe base, the pink): Canimal

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Winged Isle Open!

We're finally open at our new island sim - Winged Isle. Our builder (the very talented Alexis Stapovic) is still putting the finishing touches on the store, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Go visit us Here

Our new wing version is out too. This version has real open & close (meaning the prims actually re-size and hide, not just go transparent, so you will not accidentally click on your wings when they are closed.) Another popular feature is droop, which well, it droops. But it looks like the wings are inactive. Lots more features too.

I offer free updates on wings, as long as you trade in your old wings and I am still selling the wing version/type. (I have discontinued several older wings.) To get the upgrade, please put all your wings in a folder with your name in the folder title or in a notecard. Also in the folder title, please indicate how many wings are in the folder. Example - Kala Bijoux's wing upgrades 10 - or something. I am getting hit with the missing inventory bug so if I see that a folder should have 10 wings, but I only see one, I'll relog. And please be patient, so far I have kept up, but whew, hard to say what will happen in the next week.

I also managed to get a few new wings out.

These are wings designed for furry avatars. But they look striking on people avs too.

I also designed a new fairy wing.

Nothing is on SL boutique or Sl exchange yet - but I hope to get those updated today or tomorrow. And then on to more wings.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Where Has Kala Been?

First, I've been busy with our new island. We actually hired a builder this time and it's turning out very cool. Still lots of work left to do.

And then, just because I am apparently insane, we created a new version of our wings. These are really wonderful and do a ton of things the old wings didn't. I'm really really excited about these and can't wait to get them out. Ziggy (scripter, husband) is much more patient and wants to be sure we are ready to launch the new wings. We'll come to some sort of compromise.

I'm hoping to have the new island open sometime during next week. Hopefully there won't be any horrendous updates to screw this plan up. I had hope by this weekend, but since it's Thursday . . . chances are slim that it will happen.

In the meantime, this is my honktonk playlist that I am listening to while I push the pixels.

  • Balls" - Amy Rigby
  • "Westby" - Kathleen Edwards
  • "Neighborhood" - Tift Merritt
  • "Life Is Bad" - Shelby Lynne
  • "I Know" - Kim Richey
  • "Ridin' The Red Line" - Rhonda Vincent
  • "Here In The Blue" - Serena Matthews
  • "Sweet Side" - Lucinda Williams
  • "Gotta Be Better" - Shelby Lynne
  • "Upside Down" - Freakwater
  • "This Perfect Dress" - Maria Mckee
  • "London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)" - Heather Nova
  • "Everything is Free" - Gillian Welch
  • "Crackers Rule" - Kelly Hogan & The Pine Valley Cosmonautsy
  • "Something Less Than Something More" - Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell
  • "At Last" - Neko Case
  • "Back to Me" - Kathleen Edwards
  • "Next Door Down" - Stacey Earle
  • "When I Dream" - Nanci Griffith

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thoughts on RL companies

Have you visited any of these RL companies in SL?

I've visited the American Apparel store and one of the car sims. Clearly, the car sim was not successful since I don't even remember the name of the car or the maker. As for AA, I was familiar with them before, so I didn't really come away with anything. I might wear their clothes IRL, but my clothes in SL are pretty much whatever I can mash together. I visited them cause they were at the front of the line in building their store.

Now maybe if someone started making RL versions of Silent Sparrow clothes . . .?

People are certainly making money off RL companies coming to SL (if those prices are to be belived). The RL companies are also adding much needed capital to Linden Labs. But I haven't seen any company really ADD anything to SL that enriches MY experience yet. So far, that's all done by us pleebs.

I feel like SL is the web circa 1997 or 98 - when you'd wonder if the counter at the bottom of the webpage was just corporate employees visiting, cause there was nothing to see there.

Did RL companies ruin the web? They certainly changed it and took over some of the little guy's work. But, the content I spend the most time looking at (web wise) is still produced by the little guys. Blogs, Flickr, Youtube . . . that's not content produced by Yahoo or Google, even if they host the sites.

I predict that user driven content will continue to drive SL. Maybe I'll be wrong and we'll all be working for Microsoft or Acme Products R Us.


50% off wings that I am discontinuing! These will NOT be supported for new versions/updates. Or xcite features.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Male Angel of Destruction

I feel like I've been working on this outfit forever. I released the female version at the beginning of November, so it's taken me literally weeks to get this together. I was very blocked with this one - I hate to revisit old work and since I'd already done the female half, this felt very much like revision.

But it's done finally.

Available at my store in Eunpyung
and also
SL Boutique

SL Exchange

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tattered Wings in Black & White

New wings - available in world at Material Squirrel
Available in Black & White (off white a bit) in large and small sizes and also with xcite! features.

On SL Boutique
On SL Exchange

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Steps Taken

Well, I've done what I can (which isn't much) to avoid the copybot.

1) Put up the a !quit script yesterday that did not spam people constantly. Took this down at midnight after I learned that most versions of the copybot now ignore this command. And most of my neighbors finally seemed to have changed and removed their scripts as well, so my store is no longer being spammed with other people's copybot protectors.

2) Turned build off on my land. Frankly, I hate this step. It feels like turning off right click on websites - fairly useless for stealing images and punishes people on your website. This is only a temporary measure for me right now. I will be turning build back on.

3) I plan to spend time in my shop, instead of my skybox. Except for modeling, where I need to use my skybox. This is probably something I should more of anyway, to get an idea of customer issues and concerns. (People can always IM me to talk me about business stuff, but not everyone does.)

4) A large anti-copybot sign warning anyone who uses it or attempts to use it that they will be banned from my store.

I also took the opportunity to take my store down time to put up new pose stands where you can buy the wings directly from the pose stand. This was a customer request given to Ziggy (my scripter & husband) who thought it was a great idea. I've wanted this for a long time but didn't think it was possible. So now it is done.

I hope to release some new wings soon. It has been FAR too long since I've put out new stuff.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Public Enemy #1 - Copybot

I am not even sure where to begin to communicate my thoughts on this matter. My real life has been hectic lately and throw this into the pile and yesterday I just could not deal with SL and resulting issues. So I did nothing. Inlcuding not releasing new items.

Today I am faced with the choice to close store and join the ranks of shops that have closed, even tho I am not in 100% agreement with this decision. If I do not, I look like I am clueless or careless. If I do, I then risk losing income, customers, a creative outlet, and more. And this is not to say that I disrespect the people who have closed, they have done so out of their own convictions and that's fine.

Currently, I am thinking of closing my store to my group members only and cleaning up my shop. I need to decide if I am going to temporarily remove pose stands. And I plan to put up a sign regarding the ban of anyone caught using the copybot in my store.

I have seen similiar signs concerning banning members of the group who created the bot, but I do not agree with this. On the face of this, they may seem like an irresponsible group of hackers - Linden sanctioned hackers at that. But after talking with my husband Ziggy, I've come to better understand what they do. Frankly, finding the holes in SecondLife is a good thing. Cause if this group that has Linden members doesn't, someone else will. And they certainly won't alert LL to the problems until much more damage has been done. The group has found several serious holes in the code which LL fixed.

Which brings me back to Linden Labs. Frankly, they should have taken these steps prior to this. They knew they had issues with the texture ripper over the summer, yet they utterly refused to do anything about it. Now they seem to be stepping up to the plate, but their slow awareness is frustrating. The possible fix that Robin Linden brought up to bake the textures to objects WILL really help with the texture theft issue - but does not address the copybot problem at all.

The copybot may copy the texture onto the object, but it can't save that item as a skin or shirt. Each texture isn't copied over and over again, unlike objects. When you buy a shirt, you don't get the shirt texture, rather your inventory gets a pointer the UUID (identifier#) of the shirt texture. It's only the server once.

What the copybot CAN do is completely copy objects like shoes and hair AND their textures. And wings. It can copy the textures, because the object has that tag to the UUID texture.

It cannot copy scripts or (at last word) flexi parameters. But flexi parameters are sent to the client side, so with some tweaking, they could be copied.

And the current copybot "protector" does nothing more than spam people. And even if you decide that your customers need to put up with the spam, it's a temporary fix at best and it wouldn't take much to change the scripts in the copybot to get around that.

So. . . back to square 1.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And also . . .

It appears that when I upgraded to the new version of blogger, it reposted a bunch of my posts on several feeds. I had no control over that, but I do apologize for spamming you all with old posts.

Red Head Love

I just had to blog this outfit before I had to change to do some modeling for my adboxes. Frankly, I don't usually go the red head route. I don't know why - maybe cause it feels like an exclusive club - red heads tend to be passionate about their hair and coloring.

Or maybe I just never had a good red head skin? Munchflower Zaius dropped a bunch of redhead skins on me the other day to try out and wowser, they are cool. They are SO well done and so cute - how can you resist freckles??

Here's a closeup:

Isn't that so sweet?

Skin: Munchflower Zaius (Nomine) - new line of redhead skins
Hair : Kin Keiko
Shoes: Shiny Things
Top: Nomine & Silent Sparrow
Skirt: A work in progress by yours truly. I probably shouldn't be featuring stuff I'm still working on it, but I love the skirt with this. Yes. I need to make the top and few extras for it, maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

Angel of Destruction - Fear Her!

Maybe she's just mad about Xmas commercials on the TV before Halloween. Or maybe it's one of those days. But this angel is NOT nice.

You get 2 version of the outfit and wings. One pre-destruction (without the blood/gore) and one post (full of gore). And of course the skirts are flexi. And the wings do everything our wings do ( Flapping, Unfurl, Hover Flap & More with HUD).

And I'm working on a male outfit for this as well. Don't worry, I'm not going the male toga route (scary!).

If you were in my update group - this was the Halloween treat you received. Everyone else has to buy it. So . . . if you want to join my group, just go to groups and search for Material Squirrel and join. If you need more detailed instructions, go to my store and there is a adbox to click on and get a notecard with precise instructions. I will be giving my update group more free wings for holidays and just in general.

And also, I did it - bought an island. I expect it to be at least a few weeks until I get it - possibly longer. But soon, I'll be pulling out the pixel mixed drinks and living the island life.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Linden Labs Killed my Pony

Ok, not really.

But they certainly have made me blue today.

This news about the large increase in island fees had to happen just when I was contemplating buying an island.

I know, I've talked about the land thing before in my blog and it sounded like I was going to put off the island thing.

But around the beginning of last week, I noticed that the number of scripts that the mainland sim I'm on was running around the max (6,000). Of course, there is no limit on scripts, but scripters have discovered that about 6,000 or more scripts on a sim greatly affects performance and LL has quietly admitted this is true. On Wednesday, I started to toy again with the island idea. On Thursday, I was almost ready to buy (and no, I had no insider knowledge), but I decided that I had nothing to lose by thinking about this big decision over the weekend.

Of course, now I am screwed.

If I don't get one of the 150 islands, then I think I will still have to move to another sim. I just cannot let my customers suffer because I happen to be on a sim with 2 casinos using a lot of scripts. But on the same hand, I can't justify the new tier cost and initial island cost. So I will be forced to find new land which will be outrageously priced to begin with and try to buy up a lot of the sim. And then just hope that no casinos/high scripter users or much worse, a high traffic camping chair set up moves in.

So . . . I still plan to release one more free set of wings to members of my Material Squirrel group tomorrow. I am just hoping to muster up some creativity out of my blues to complete that project.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Demon Wings & Store Renovation

New Demon wings available. I finally got these out. People have asked for bat-like demon wings to spread fear across the SL landscape. Well, ok, at least the first part. So I'm hoping people like these. They are not my usual multi-prim feathers thing, so hopefully they are still enjoyed and um, actually sell. They fit the male avs better than the females, but I can make girl adjustments if necessary. It's just that I get so tired of photographing different sizes and stuff. So I'm going to see how these sell before I do different sizes.

They also come in green and a darker red.

On SL Exchange

On SL Boutique

And I've also redone my store. It's now way bigger with lots of room for me to expand and
grow. The next step is an island (I hope), but I'm miles and leagues away from that. Here's a pic of the outside that no one will ever see cause the landing point is inside the store.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nomine Sim Open - Go VISIT!

Munchflower's Nomine sim is now open to the public. And you should go visit now. Her store is a wonderful build by Sky Everett inspired by The Series of Unfortunate Events. And that feeling is definitely there. And of course there are fabulous skins with Munch's new makeup (I've worn a couple in some past ads, but you'll see me in a lot more of them now that they are released.) And there are other faboo vendors like Luth, Nocturnal Threads, and um, me :)

Go visit Nomine now

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New Halloween/Gothic themed outfit

Another outfit with a darker theme. I designed the skirt on this so that you can wear it after Halloween is over with other tops.

I'm having a blast designing spooky clothing, more to come. What I have in mind next will be slightly less spooky and more towards the Gothic.

Available at the Material Squirrel store
on SL Boutique

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In which I bribe you to join my update group

On Wednesday or Thursday, I will be giving this set of wings FREE to all the people in my update group - Material Squirrel. And then I'll put it for up for sale for the other 885,270 people who aren't in my update group. To join my group, just search under group for "Material Squirrel" and join.

I had planned to release this today, but after reading the Linden blog and several customer issues, I'm waiting until after the update tomorrow. Scripted things are just really buggy right now. And of course since it is an update day, things don't always go as planned, so I may very well wait until Thursday.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Auction Runners, please note

If you are running an auction for a good cause, please please please put up some sort of donation box. Make it BIG.

That way those of us who only have a wee bit of time to drop by the auction can donate and then run. It makes it nice for the giver too, we don't have to explain to the host why we are dropping money on them, etc.

Just a thought :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Fairy Wings

More fairy themed wings!
I named these after my favorite Rockstar singer. Storm kicked serious booty on that show. The cool thing about these is that I put the color change script in them. So instead of buying multiple wings to match every outfit, you can change the color of the wings to match. And the really cool thing is that I'm not charging extra for this feature. Also available in Grande. I'm still working on the Xcite version, I have a scripting issue that I can't fix and need to wait for Ziggy to return home.

Another fairy wing - this one in bright white. I also put the color change in these wings as well, but it looks best with the pale colors. At least in my opinion.

All are available on SL Boutique and I'll be adding SLexchange very soon. And also of course in world.

Link to all my SLBoutique stuff

Skins: Munchflower Zaius
Hair for Storm: ETD
Hair for Winter: Kin Keiko

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dark Fairy Wings Anyone?

A dark fairy look.

Available at my store in Eunpyung and also available with the Xcite! Scripts (lower level in my store)
and also on SL Boutique

Hair: ETD
Skin: Munchflower Zaius

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shoe Ideas - The Retro Version

Part 2 of the "steal these shoe ideas" for the shoe makers of SL.

I love these shoes, but I can't wear heels this high IRL. But I'd love to dress up my av in some of these pinup style shoes. Yum.

I really love the version on the right. Shiny Things' Lollies shoe is very close to this.

Shoe ideas

I doubt I am going to make tons more shoes. The little prim work is very hard on my wrist, much harder than texture/clothing work. For that I can use my drawing tablet but prims have to be manipulated with a mouse. And there are so many shoe makers out there that are more talented than me.

I do have some shoe ideas and will possibly eventually make those.

But here's a whole bunch of shoes that I'd LOVE to see in SL but am not going to make myself. Here's a plea to those talented shoemakers, make these shoes. Please???

The shoes in this photo are kinda hard to see, but if you click on the picture for a closer look, it's that delicate scrollwork that is just gorgeous.

I love pointy toed heels.

Like Dorothy's shoes, only a bit more modern.

Ok, this needs a follow up post for all the retro shoes I need in SL. There are so many really cute retro shoes that I NEED.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Halloween Madness - Spider outfit

I am completely caught up in Halloween fever. Obsessed. If I could make items as fast as I could think of them . . . wow, I'd have an entire Halloween line. As it is, my wrist won't let me work more than 8 or so hours a day. Bummer.

But I did finish this little Tim Burton-esque spider outfit. There are lots of details that you can't really see from the pics, hidden spiders and such. Very October.

Available at my store (search for Material Squirrel), on the lower level right next to the Piggy Ziggy.
SL Boutique

In other news, one of my neighbors sold me his land so I don't have to worry about moving my store. I now have PLENTY of land to expand. I also have a hefty tier bill, but that's the price for moving up.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Photoshop CS Tip & Other stuff

Ok, have you heard of this "stamping a layer" thing in Photoshop CS??

If no, well, let me tell you about the beauty of this command.

Let's say you are working on several layers and you want to merge the layers and experiment with levels or make changes, but you don't really want to loose those layers as separate layers in case you need to make changes.

Now, you could make a copy of each of those layers and then merge them, but that's tedious.

Instead, use the Stamp Layer command. Have only the layers you want to duplicate as visible layers. Then hit control-alt-shift down at the same time, holding those down, hit e.

Magically you will get another layer with all the layers you have visible merged into that layer, but your old layers will still be there! Separate, not merged!

You'll have to forgive my bad explanation of this. I know this could be stated in a much more concise, clear manner. But I spent several hours out in the sun and my brain hurts. There's a post on the forum by Robin and this is explained by her, in those concise words you want.


I'm seriously rethinking my idea to limited edition Halloween wings. I started to run some numbers and I'd have to charge a ridiculous amount for the wings in order to make my time back, even excluding a profit. So I think I will do some Halloween things, just not with the exclusive tag. I'm working on some Halloween fashions now, with wings to follow. Weee!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

And also . . .

And the other twist in my panties is the new land system . . . . now when you search for land for sale, it tells lists rentals on private sims. But there is really NO WAY to know if you are buying a chunk of someone else's sims. Some people have clear signs, but most just have land for sale. Usually if you pull up the map, you can tell it's an island sim. But I almost bought land on Anshe's Dreamland sim which is all residential without even knowing it.


Love thy Neighbor?

I'm throwing this out there to the few people who read this blog . . . anyone looking for shop space on a decent sim?

I am eyeballing several entire mainland sims and I want to buy one.

Now . . . 1) I can't really afford that teir, not to mention the $1,000+ it's going cost me and b) I haven't really outgrown my current space.

But I am soooooooo tired of my sim neighbors. I am sure they are nice people. But I am soooo tired of clubs and malls.

I moved into an empty sim and bought a chunk of land. One guy moved in next to me and opened up a club with lots of particle scripts and moving lights. We both expanded, buying up bits of land next to our main land. He expanded a mall and more games. I made more wings.

Another club opened up behind my land. But that changed hands and is now a 50s diner/mall/wedding spot. At least it is interesting and does not having lots of particle lights.

And yet another club has opened up now. This one a sex club and with lots of moving lights that go right through walls. It's just a big rectangle. This club could stay as empty as the other one or be a big sim drain filled with people so much that the sim av limit caps.

Do I want too much to NOT be surrounded by sex clubs??

I can move somewhere else . . . . or . . . stay where I am . . . or think really big and buy a whole sim.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Angel Wings

2 new angel wing designs.

I'm really happy with this one as this is 100% hand drawn, a first for me in an angel wing (tho not in my other type of wings, many are hand drawn).

This is the last of the angel wings cause now I'm going to work on Halloween themed wings. I plan to do a limited edition line of wings. I thought I'd do something special this year cause October is my RL birthday month and I turn the big 3-0. I'm still working on designs and pricing, but we'll see what happens. That's in the works at any rate!

Credits: Skins by the amazing Munchflower Zaius.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Angel Wings

New angel wings. These are for the people who wanted really bright white angel wings. Here they are. I put them on full bright so people will see how angelic you are from a distant.

These wings were a real challenge cause I am in serious PMS mode. Nothing seemed right and everything seemed just slightly off. But I think they are good. I'll know in about 5 days.

I named them Mihr angel wings, cause some website said that Mihr is the Angel of September.

A List for Failure or Success

How to be typical (and probably not successful) in SL

Open up a generic club with a lot of particle scripts. Offer camping chairs and freebies. Don't have your club do anything different or original. Maybe host a few events but gradually lose interest and never do anything original with your club again. Let it sit on the sim and drain resources running your 10 gazillion particle scripts.

Open up a casino.

Sell items that almost anyone can make or find at Yadni's junkyard. Like pictures from obvious internet sources. Or shapes.

Shamelessly copy other people.

How to Conquer SL or at least carve out a little niche

Make something, maybe sell it. It doesn't have to be the most original thing ever. Plenty of people make clothes. The key is to dance or stumble along to your own tune. Don't try to make stuff to impress the bloggers. Make something that you want to. And yeah, it's a lot easier to say that than to actually practice it. I know this personally. Sometimes I feel pouty that I didn't get any PXP or other blogger coverage. It's ego. And ya know, some of the stuff that has been covered by bloggers, doesn't sell well. Things that have never been covered sell well. (And this is NOT to knock any of the bloggers who review stuff. I love 'em and I read their blogs slavishly.) Just go your own route and the fame will follow. Just don't expect it overnight.

Build something cool.

Ok, my brain is done with this for now. But there are more (in both categories) out there.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Snake Tattoo

New tattoos in the Japanese style of tattoos. Well, kinda. Works on guys and girls.

I think I'm back to wings after this. Or some outfits. Tattoos that are this complicated are not easy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Customer Service Stuff

Seth Godin wrote a very excellent blog post on How to Deal with an Angry Customer.

Great advice.

I became a fan of Godin after reading his book on marketing, Purple Cow, which I HIGHLY recommend. It's not a dull business book, it's a very quick read and full of great ideas on how to make your business stand out.

And speaking of angry customers, Godin addresses this, but I'm going to say it again - Don't get angry back!! This is the most important thing and a mistake that so many people make. The nice thing about SL is that you don't have to maintain any happy facial expressions while dealing with the angry person. You don't even have need to regulate your voice. You just need to make sure you type nice.

Another thing that I've heard recently is "The customer is always right." I hate this phrase. It should be "The customer is often really wrong and misinformed, but I should still treat them with respect." I guess it's not as catchy. But really, as I think we all know, sometimes customers can be dead wrong about how your product works or what they were supposed to get. The key is to realize that you can't bend over backwards to make every customer happy. Sometimes you will not make that customer happy, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try really hard to please the customer. At least make them feel like you made an effort.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Like the Absinthe Fairy

New fairy wings at Material Squirrel Wings - these are translucent and very delicate fairy wings.

Skins by Munchflower Zaius
Hair by Kin Keiko

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pink & Green Anime Hero

Sometimes when I'm making wings, I get caught up in making a complete outfit. And it's weird, because I do this particularily with pink & green outfits. It's such a playful color combination. So this is what I came up with today.

Thanks to the Fashion Emergency group for help on finding the right shoes!

Wings - Absinthe will be coming out later today.

Skin - Munchflower Zaius - one from her new makeup line that isn't out yet, but will be worth waiting for, trust me.

Shoes - ZVZ Ultra Designs

Gloves - Curious Kitties

Hair - ETD (one of her sale hairs, I wish I'd bought more colors in this style)

Skirt - Janie Marlowe

Leaf outfit - Chaospire

Now I'm going to find a pink & green sidekick and we will vanquish all evil!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Special Remember & Hope Tattoos

First, the quick info bit - this is a commemorative tattoo that I'm releasing for a few days only in recognition of Sept.11. The tattoos are "freebies" - tho I don't like that term applied to this.

They are up in my shop for the taking and also on SLBoutique here.

Now the long story part:
Last night I was working on drawing (with real pen and paper) some tattoos while the TV played in the background. The tattoo subject matter was skulls and flames and stuff. Kinda dark stuff. Lots of September 11th stuff was on TV last night and I couldn't help watching some of it. And it felt wrong to be drawing skulls.

I messed around with a few tattoo designs of something heart related and something related to 9-11. Some way to do something meaningful to the moment.

But last night I put my pen down and wondered if people would think I was trying to exploit the event. Would people recognize this as a thoughtful tattoo or just see it as a blatant grab at attention? And did I even have the right to do something like this? Me, who lost no one in those horrific events. So I stopped.

But this morning I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I read blog stories about the Towers, looked at pictures in the NYTimes and I just had to create something.

So I started with a classic tattoo design and recolored it, and wrote "remember" on it. Then I decided I also needed one with hope written on it.

While I created these for myself for Sept 11, I hope they will serve as to commemorate other horrific events in peoples' lives. As a small reminder of events that have passed, but that we carry with us every day.

I am not trying to be political. I am not trying to exploit our heroes and victims. Rather, I just needed some cathartic relief and I created this and I share it with you.

*edit* I do hope this is done in the right spirit (as is my intention). I'd love comments here with
your thoughts.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

New Group Invite

So I decided to follow the herd and start a prroduct update group. The idea being that you, the vivacious Material Squirrel fan, will join the group and happily receive notices on new products, sales, and also an ocassional exclusive item I'll offer to the group only.

Of course, we'll see if this works. I don't know if people prefer to read the blog or just stick with the forums. Maybe people will run out of groups. 25 seems like a lot until every designer has such a group and no fashionista can belong to all of them.

So we'll see how it works.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Tattoos - *squeeeeee*

I am so excited about these new tattoos I'm working on. I was going to wait until I'd developed a few more designs, but I really really wanted to share these with people. More designs will be coming out soon - I really needed a break from wing designs, I was (and still am) burnt out on wing designs. I know the muse will come back, but while she's off sipping drinks with umbrellas and flirting with the cabana boy, I need something else to work on.

This design is inspired by vintage tattoos from the 50s and my love of bird imagery.

Available at my in world store and also:
Sl Boutique
Sl Exchange

Skin: Munchflower Zaius - from her yet to be released new makeup line. She gave me a sneak preview and wow, there are soooo many cool makeup options.

Hair: Rita Groshomme

Pants: Nevermore Studios

Pose: Little Rebel Designs - These were only 30L each!!!

This one is a bit more traditional in SL terms, but with a bit of a twist. I couldn't escape wings here either.

Available at my in world store and also:
Sl Boutique
Sl Exchange

Skin: Munchflower Zaius
Hair: ETD

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dragon King Wings

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut and I don't even realize that I'm in one until I try something new.

Several of my customers have requested wings that are 2 prim/one wing on one side. Our wings are a signature style, several feathers on each side. So I've always been reluctant to change that. But I came up with this dragon style texture, it looked AWFUL on the multiple feathers wing shape. So I had to design something new. And wow, it was down right refreshing to do this.

All skins: Munchflower Zaius - Nomine
Hair Pic 1: Lost Thereian
Hair Pic 3: ETD
Shirt: Kya Eliot
Pants: Nevermore Studios

Friday, August 25, 2006

New Fluffy Feline Tail

I actually added this to my store yesterday. I'd planned to blog about it this morning but instead I've been fighting technology all day today. I conquered the problems, but it takes time to figure out why Outlook has deleted an email account and rebuild it in. Then time to answer a week's worth of business email (from my non-SL stuff).

Then I decided to change the template of this blog to make it pretty. That took hours.

But here is the fluffy feline tail. It lashes and swishes. And the nifty color change script so you can match any outfit. And it doesn't look like a cylinder or pipe hanging from your bum.

Available in world at our store (search for Material Squirrel)


SL Exchange

More Design Stuff

A few more things I want to higlight on the design subject:

- Alaska Metropolitan posted a great post on her blog also about this subject. She also took the time to include really good examples. It's always a lot easier to learn with visual aids, so check it out.

- A really good design resource for those you that want to learn more is The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition by Robin Williams. The author has great examples of what NOT to do but also includes very helpful lessons on the elements that do make for good design and how to bring them together. It's a very down to earth book - very straightforward and easy to understand, with pictures.

- Thanks to SL Fashionista & Pixel Pin-up for linking to that blog post. And anyone else who did. My apologies for the typos and grammar mistakes in advance.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Quest for Fashion

My biggest concern with the demise of the forums is . . . where am I going to find new designers and cool new places to shop???

Ok, so it's not a huge deal and some might argue that the loss of forums like the scripting/building/design forums is worse as it leaves people without a place to go for help.

But for me, I do 2 things in SL - I create stuff (mostly wings, sometimes clothes) and I buy stuff.

The stuff I buy is mostly clothes, hair, and shoes. Basically, I play a digital version of Barbie dolls - you know, dressing up, combining outfits, hair, shoes. Etc.

I know I'm not the only woman who enjoys SL for the fashion aspect.

The Lindens say that blogs and in world classifieds will replace the classifieds on the forum.

I decided to test the 2nd half of that theory. I search in the classifieds for "new" "new dress" "new clothes " "new flexi" and I went to every place that looked semi-promising. I even went to a few that did not look at all promising.

All I found that was new and exciting, was this killer outfit:Outfit is by Alter Ego Clothing
They have 4 outfits in their store (with different color combinations) and they are all pretty darn cool. There are a few minor details that need work - like the arm bands that don't line up and the top of the shirt that goes across the shoulders (that's a tricky area).

Hair: Kin Keiko
Skin: Munchflower Zaius
Shoes: Galacticaz - really cool shoes but I can't find the name of the maker.

So . . . . the moral is . . . yes, you can find something new. But damn, that's a lot of work. I hope blogs DO fill the gap. Or this girl won't really spend much money in SL.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pet Peeves

I have to rant about these:

1) Linden Labs desperately needs a better process for updates. It's NOT cool to do an update and then an hour later have to take the grid down because the update is buggy. They need to make their testing process more thorough. Honestly, it's NOT too much to ask. And they will NOT survive as a company if every update is this shoddy. Even Microsoft isn't this bad.

And here's another pet peeve. Don't tell us to check the blog for updates on the grid status if the blog doesn't work when so many people try to access it.

2) People making ads on the forums that make my eyes bleed. I wish I could use examples, but I don't want to make anyone unhappy. I just want to bless everyone with graphic design knowledge. Because I'm tired of my eyes bleeding. And it will help them sell stuff!

Here's a small list of things you should avoid in graphic design terms:

- images from SL that aren't scaled correctly.
We can tell when you've scrunched or stretched your images from SL. Not only does it look unprofessional, it makes your product look fuzzy and bad. Hold down the shift key when you reduce or change the scale in photoshop. Look up how to do it GIMP. Or whatever program you use.

- Too much going on in the ad.
Yes, it's nice to have a pretty border. Yes, it's nice to have a pretty logo. But when you try to stuff all of that into an ad AND put text in the image about the product, your ad gets cluttered. Our eyes don't know where to look and they certainly aren't looking at your pretty product. Don't put stuff in every corner. Don't clutter your ad with unnecessary text. What is the most important in an ad? Your PRODUCT. You've gone to all of that trouble to take a pretty shot of your creation, don't ruin it by slapping unnecessary stuff in there.

- Text
First, ask yourself "Is this text really necessary?" Sometimes it is. Then ask yourself "What is the shortest way to say this?" For example, if the skirt is flexi, don't say "Flexi prim skirt" - Just say flexi. We'll get that it's a flexi skirt. Don't feel the need to list everything that's included. We can check the box contents in SL or read the item description on SLexchange or SLboutique. Highlight the important points of the item, but don't go overboard. Remember that text distracts our eyes from looking at the image of your product. Most of us won't read much of your text anyhoo.
And also . . . use a readable font if you actually want us to READ your text. Now, I know that I use a pretty scrolly font on my wing ads, but I don't actually care if people read that. It's part of the design elements.

- Image Image Image
The MOST important thing is the image of your product. I touched on this before, but I'm going to stress it again. An image speaks 1000 words and if your image is fuzzy or too small or cropped funny, it's like a drunk is slurring those 1000 words. Your customers won't get what your product is, they won't see the beauty or your creativity shining through. They'll see the defects.

- KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie)
Do not choose a highly textured background image. Choose black or white or something very subdued.
Keep product images to a minimum. 3 different shots of your outfit is probably more than enough unless you are highlighting different colors or your outfit is REALLY complex. Try not to overlap them too much. If you do overlap, use a drop shadow on the top layer so our eyes can find the focus.

-Focal Point
Oh right, that's the other thing I wanted to cover. Pick a main focal point and make sure the entire ad revolves around that focal point. All additional design elements should define and support the focal point. No design element should conflict with the main focal point. The easiest way to do this is with scale. Put your main image in the center of your ad and make all other images and design elements significantly smaller than the main image. Avoid putting something in every corner.

This really should be an ongoing column in something like Second Style Magazine to help aspiring fashion newbies with good examples and concise writing. I know what I've written here is not very organized and not very well written. I didn't even intend this to be so long and this just sort of poured out of my brain unedited and even tho the grid is down, I don't have time at the moment to edit it. But I hope it is useful. If not, I at least feel better.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Taking a wee break & New Stuff

I'm taking a design break from SL for a while. Not a looong time, just a few days or a week or so. My creative SL battery has run low and I really need to recharge. Everytime I open photoshop, I sigh and there's a loud screech. That's my brain running to a halt.

Before anyone panics (ha!), I doubt I'll be gone for long, just a week or so.

I will still be around for any customer service issues. And I'll be playing tringo - of course.

I don't have any new designs out (see above) but I did finally release our Xcite! compatible wings. These wings respond to your touch and work with the Xcite! products to increase arousal, etc. Everyone who has tried it has loved it - so give it a whirl if that's your scene.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

New Wings

These have a color changing script in them. Nifty, no?