Tag Archive | set design

Sims4 testing

Okay, I have finally gotten around to purchasing the Sims4… if for no other reason than curiosity. I decided to at least give it a chance and test it for those of you who, along with me might still be in the debate or indecision mode on it. I know that many of us have looked at previews and current in game pictures, not been overly impressed by any of them and chose not to sink any money into this game. So, for all of you out there still trying to decided… I have chosen to waste my money on it for you and attempt to give an honest review of the full game experience. Previously, I did do some previews of the demo but will now give my opinions on the rest of it.

Brenda Blonde has kindly volunteered… well, okay, she really didn’t have much say in the matter? Anyway, she will be working as our test subject for this project. It might benefit us to see how she appears in sims3 first? Now, please remember that sims3 is much more developed as far as custom content such as skin tones, hair, clothing and makeup options. Brenda makes use of all of those options in Sims3!

Brenda Blonde ins Sims3 Eleanor and Brenda Screenshot-10

 

The transition to sims4 was difficult to put it mildly! I have already mentioned before the difficulties in getting used to the new sim sculpting tools. You can read more about that in these older posts.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/from-the-creator-sims4-cas-demo/

This was the initial work on Brenda’s character for sims4 in the demo

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/sims4-cas-demo-creations/

Here is Brenda now as she appears in live mode of Sims4. I will be doing more work on her as we go along in this experiment! Of course this is how she looks on a normal day without dressing up for anything and in the stressful process of moving into a new place. I am quite sure that there is a lot more custom content coming available each and every day and we will be searching through some of it now that we have the actual game. I do have to say that it does still have a cartoony feel and look to it in game? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing though? We’ll have to see how it all plays out!

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I did not get very far in the experiment tonight… We got as far as moving Brenda into a neighborhood in Willow Creek, buying her a house that she could afford with no money cheats. I wanted to get a feel for the build and decorating process so I decided to purchase an unfurnished pre-built house. We will walk through the building and decorating process by renovating this home that we’ve purchased. Don’t ask me what the address is because I didn’t even look at that! I will check that out later.

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Before even going into the build/buy mode, my frustrations came quickly with not being able to locate tools and options easily. They seem to be scattered around the screen and it was annoying to say the least. The first big headache and frustration for me was the camera tools and options. It took me a while to even figure out how to take a quick in game picture! Once I figured out how to do it, I calmed down enough to continue on… I do like the option that you now have of labeling your picture as a memory or not. If you choose not to save as a memory, the photo will show up in screenshots category and you can view them while in game. This for me as a story teller/picture taker is a huge benefit! It saves me a lot of time not having to go back and forth between game and desktop to see my pictures now.   I am finding the camera controls and angles really hard to work with right now but maybe that will improve as I get used to it… or possibly find mods for it as they come out?

Once I got the camera mode and pictures figured out, it was time to go into build/buy mode to start working with that portion… Let me just say that I did not get very far!  It is a huge change from the way things worked in sims3 building and I was still struggling with finding the right tools and options in that mode as well. I could not even find the undo tool at first? It is located on the top of screen, along with some other options and not on the lower portion with the various building selections. I do like the lighting  option where you can now easily change the lighting in build mode from morning to afternoon to night.

 

This is an initial photo of the interior with walls down so you can see the layout of the rooms. I have not yet figured out if there is an option to turn off those awful gridlines? That will be one of my priority searches, along with hopefully, a mod or something to get rid of those dang plumbobs hovering over my characters’ heads!

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This is what the exterior of our little house looks like now with some very basic changes in wall coverings, window and door replacements, changing out the fencing. A huge plus for the game- the adjustable window heights! Thank Heavens for that! There is also a wider variety of window and door options than I expected for just a base game? I was easily able to find older style windows and doors to create more historic time period builds, so that in itself is a life saver for me!  Another huge positive was the columns snapping to place on the fencing. And, one other great feature… I was able to change the fencing that was already in place by simply clicking on it and then choosing a different fence option.  I did not have to remove the fence and then redo it with another one.

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I ran out of time and patience to accomplish any more, but my initial observation is that I do see some potential as far as building. I was not so disappointed or frustrated as to throw up my hands and demand my money back immediately so I will continue on with the experiment for now. If it works out well enough, I will allow my other characters to move into the neighborhood and we’ll see how it goes from there?

 

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A heartfelt Thank You!

I want to take some time to express my appreciation for all of you who have visited here and made this endeavor of mine such a success! In checking the stats for my blog tonight, I was amazed by the sudden realization that my random thoughts and words have now reached 20,ooo views. I know that some of you more successful bloggers out there- those of you who know what you’re doing… this milestone might not seem like all that much. For me, though, this is a huge accomplishment!

First of all, before I go any further, I want to thank Diana Gabaldon for her creation of the Outlander series which has swept me away through the Stones into a whole new life and journey. Long before I discovered her work, I was writing and creating my own little fantasy time travel world here. What Diana’s books, her devotion and allegiance to her fans, and her support of all writers have done for me is this: With her works and her many devoted fans, she has given me the self confidence to share my writing attempts and my creations. Through her support and guidance to aspiring writers, I have learned so much. Most of all, I have learned that it’s okay to write in the style that I do… chunks of seemingly unrelated scenes that eventually come together as long as I don’t forget an important character and leave them stranded somewhere in time? She has put herself out there, made herself and her knowledge available in so many places for us to learn from her even if we can not meet her in person. Because of this sharing of her experiences, I find myself more comfortable sharing my bits and pieces of thoughts and words with others even if they are never quite finished!

 

I began taking this blogging experience seriously about a year and a half ago.  For me it was a simple little experiment to see if I could do it, and stick with it? I have some major issues with ADD and procrastination which generally result in my not sticking with projects that I start. So, this blog was sort of a test for me… I wanted to push myself, to set some goals and have a way of holding myself accountable for continuing to work on them.  I thought that if I created a page or space where I could put my work, then maybe I would be more successful at continuing my projects.

When I originally started the blog, it was for the purpose of sharing my Sims3 creations and stories all in one place, rather than having them scattered all about in various Sims3 community sites. Honestly, trying to keep up with such a number of communities was consuming more and more of the limited time I had to devote to creating. It became much easier to just have it all in one place.

Many of you who have only recently started following and viewing this site probably wonder at the titles and are most likely not even aware of the original basis for the names. I know many of you assume that this is just an Outlander based blog… well, yes that is what it has become since I fell through the Stones with Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series early this summer. But, it did begin with an entirely different story based on my own theories of time travel. So, while I do thank each and every one of my fellow Outlander time travelers for making this site the success that it is, I also feel that I need to thank the earliest followers of my work. The Sims3 communities and members that have stuck by me since the ragged and rambling beginnings. Those simmers who appreciated and valued my creativeness, who inspired and encouraged me to continue with it, who still come here in search of Sims related content and information, only to find an endless sea now of Outlander! To all of you simming friends, I give you my endless gratitude and the promise that I have not completely given up on the simming or the stories! I am hoping to return to some it in the next few weeks. I do miss my own story telling and the creative process that the Sims provides.  In my most recent ventures back into the simming, some of the characters from my long running soap opera type story even made their own connection to those more famous members of the Outlander Series…

For those unfamiliar with my sims related projects and stories, you can find more information in some of the separate pages devoted to them, or if you have an enormous amount of time and need something to fill up your days waiting for more Outlander… You could always go back to my archives and start the story from it’s earliest beginnings with Lady Eleanor DeGuille and Royals Castle?  Wow, that brought back memories for me! Poor Eleanor is still trapped between the walls of one Haunts Castle waiting for someone, anyone, to come rescue her!  Our story was moving along at a fairly good pace until we were side tracked by a few other  things… Dunvegan Castle, the Viking history of one Eric North, and Outlander!

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/lady-eleanors-journal-entries/

Lady Eleanor DeGuille through time and history, from a lonely child pawn of Royals to an uncertain romance, timeless friendship to a Mother's spirit within her guiding her journey and her destiny.

Lady Eleanor DeGuille through time and history, from a lonely child pawn of Royals to an uncertain romance, timeless friendship to a Mother’s spirit within her guiding her journey and her destiny.

 

As I mentioned, one of the other projects that side tracked us in the story was Eric North’s decision to go home to Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. He is one of those characters that ends up having a mind of his own and insisted on telling his story! Eric’s appearance in the story began in the present day when he met Judith Self. He began with some minor small appearances in the storyline but for some reason, his character took on a larger than planned role. He emerged as a central character for much of the early medieval portion of the story where he appeared with Arthur and Guinivere in their ill fated story… He was a friend and fellow knight of Arthur’s and Adrian DeWare’s, and somehow his story took on a life of it’s own!

Eric’s appearance in the Arthur and Guinivere portion of the story

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/eleanors-journal-61-beyond-the-tower-and-back-again/

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Eric and Brenny into the woods Eric North poster

Eric begins his story of his ancient Viking history and it’s connection to Dunvegan Castle

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/eleanors-journal-the-depths-of-erics-past-from-norseland-to-vampyres-and-romans/

Eric and friends10 Eric holds Reina

You can read about the Dunvegan Castle project starting here:

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/from-the-creator-history-of-dunvegan-castle/

dunvegan castle

My interpretation of Dunvegan Castle

overview of front with windows, towers and turrets Screenshot-11 Screenshot-9

 

I did mention that during the work on Dunvegan Castle and our characters’ involvement in that place, there was recently a reference and connection made to Outlander. Right now as the story stands, Eric and Brenny are remembering their time spent at Dunvegan during the 1700s when much work was done on improving the conditions of the Castle. When last we saw them, they were having a serious discussion about an odd invitation they had received from the Clan MacKenzie?

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/dunvegan-castle-recieves-an-odd-correspondance-and-invitation/

Eric and Svein in the stable Rory's parsel of correspondance Wedding Invitation The women have their own discussion

 

Now, I hope this clears up some of the confusion or wondering about the origins and beginnings of this blog. I hope that you take some time to explore the other portions of it that I have devoted so much time and love to over the last year. I will soon get back to my own stories and characters because they are the reason I am here in the first place! They have a place in my heart forever and I am deeply devoted and attached to all of them. Even though my story winds and bends through space and time… much like my mind most of the time, I do still want to continue the journey for them and not leave trapped in the mists of time! I write in fits and starts, chunks of seemingly unrelated pieces but, as Diana Gabaldon has mentioned about the individual writing process, that is entirely Okay as long as I remember where I left each of them and don’t leave one of them trapped for years? If it’s alright for little Jemmy to be stuck in a cave for years, for Jamie Fraser to be waiting on a window sill for many months… then I guess Eleanor DeGuille should not be complaining about being trapped in the walls of Haunts Castle for a few more months!

leaving Jamie ing the window Jack wins the hand with a rope in the drawer Dragon Fly in Amber 11_dragonfly_in_amber_00001

 

Don’t worry Eleanor and Judith, Eric will eventually come to your rescue!

Judith and Eleanor in the hall

 

 

 

 

Dunvegan Castle: Great Hall comes to life with music

Previous Dunvegan Castle post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/dunvegan-castle-progress-medicinal-room-and-gardens/
Brennie and her music1

Work on the Castle continues and Brennie brings it back to it’s former life with her memories of it.  After living here for so many centuries, everywhere Brennie looks holds a vivid thought or memory of the past! Walking into the Great Hall/Dining room, she can see it as it once was and she can still hear Minn encouraging her to come back to life… to really live again and do what she was meant to. For such a long time, Brennie hid herself away in the Castle, avoided the Clan and it’s people as much as possible. The Castle stood empty and silent most of the time save for when Eric and his men would return from their battles and their journies.  One day, Minn dragged her into the empty Great Hall and as usual, sternly lectured her.  She swept her hands out around the room and demanded that Brennie look around at the emptiness.  Then she pointed her finger at Brennie, gave one her disgusted looks and sounds… “This, this is your fault. This emptiness and quiet is because of you. You need to fill this room, fill this place and fill our people’s hearts. That is what your duty is!”

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Brennie was puzzled by her remarks. “My fault? My duty? What ever are you going on about now. I have no real duty here. This place, these people and their hearts are Eric’s and his Clan’s. I have no true place here, or anywhere else for that matter. My place and my people are long gone… as I should have been as well.” Brennie shrugged her shoulders and lowered her head. These people do not care about me, they care about Eric and the men who fight for them. They do not know what do with me any more than I know what to do with them.”

 

Minn shook her finger and her head with frustration, “Achhhh Yea, your people are long away, but they be not gone… it’s because you choose them to be gone that they are. The Ladies of the Lake are always out there waiting for you to return to them but you willna go because you’re skairt. You’re skairt of life! The people here, they dinna care because you willna let them. You willna let them know you or be a part of your life any more than you will let yourself be a part of their life. You hide away here because you dinna want to feel the pains of life and death around you. And, as to the fighting, every day is a fight for every one of us whether we be mortal or Fairie, Witch or Vampyre. They care not if you be Vampyre… My Stars Girl, have ye not eyes to see that half the people around here are descended from Vampyres, Witches and Fairies?  They all know the secrets of this Clan and they stand proud to defend those secrets during these times. They care about Eric because they know he goes out there and fights for them and their freedom to be what they are.”

 

With that speech, Minn walked over to a case lying on the floor near the fire. She pointed down to it and motioned to Brennie to open it. Inside was a beautiful, intricately carved violin. Brennie picked it up carefully, holding her breath as she felt the warmth and the satin smoothness of the wood. She felt something else as well, she felt the vibrations of the music within it reaching out to her, wrapping around her soul. It had been long since she had allowed herself to feel the music. Tears came to her eyes as she remembered the music that had filled her mind and her soul.

 

Minn smiled softly and motioned her to play, “This is your calling, your destiny, your way to fight for yourself and for all of us.”

 

Brennie gave her a bewildered look. “What do you mean? I am not sure I understand what you want me to do.”

 

Minn answered her calmly, “What do I want you do? I want you to use your gifts to fill this place, and these people with your music, your stories and your spirit. I want you to remind them of the old ways, of the legends and the prophecies. I want you to give them hope, give them courage and give them their pride in their heritage. Every Clan, every Castle has it’s Bard and you are Dunvegan’s now and forever more. You are a Bard, and that is what you shall do to inspire these people. Now, Play and fill this hall with music once again!”

 

Screenshot-5 brennie and music2

 

Bard

In medieval Gaelic and British  culture, a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities.

Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland and Highland Scotland, the term “bard”, with the decline of living bardic tradition in the modern period, acquired generic meanings of an epic author/singer/narrator, comparable with the terms in other cultures (minstrel, skald, scop, rhapsode, udgatar, griot, ashik) or any poets, especially famous ones. For example, William Shakespeare is known as the Bard or the Bard of Avon.

Bards (who are not the same as the Irish ‘filidh’ or ‘fili’) were those who sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors’ deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies. The pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories; however, Celtic peoples did maintain an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards and filid. Bards facilitated the memorisation of such materials by the use of metre, rhyme and other formulaic poetic devices.

 

A description of life at a training school for bards survives in the Memoirs of the Marquis of Clanricarde, written in 1641-1643, but published in 1722.[7] Clanricarde was a territory in Ireland, located in what is now County Galway. This description, found in the introduction to the memoirs, appears to be by the lawyer Thomas O’Sullivane.[8]

Concerning the poetical Seminary or School, from which I was carried away to clear other things that fell in my way, it was open only to such as were descended of Poets and reputed within their Tribes. And so was it with all the Schools of that kind in the Nation, being equal to the Number of Families that followed the said calling. But some more or less frequented for the difference of Professors, Conveniency, with other Reasons, and seldom any come but from remote parts, to be at a distance from Relations and other Acquaintances that might interrupt his Study. The Qualifications first requir’d were reading well, writing the Mother-tongue, and a strong Memory. It was likewise necessary the Place should be in the solitary Recess of a Garden or within a Sept or Enclosure far out of the reach of any Noise, which an Intercourse of People might otherwise occasion. The Structure was a snug, low Hut, and beds in it at convenient Distances, each within a small Apartment without much Furniture of any kind, save only a Table, some Seats, and a Conveniency for Cloaths to hang upon. No Windows to let in the Day, nor any Light at all us’d but that of Candles, and these brought in at a proper Season only. The Students upon thorough Examination being first divided into Classes, wherein a regard was had to every one’s Age, Genius, and teh Schooling ha before, if any at all, or otherwise. The Professors (one or more as there was occasion) gave a Subject suitable to the Capacity of each Class, determining the number of Rhimes, and clearing what was to be chiefly observed therein as to Syllables, Quartans, Concord, Correspondence, Termination and Union, each of which were restrain’d by peculiar Rules. The said Subject (either one or more as aforesaid) having been given over Night, they work’d it apart each by himself upon his own Bed, the whole next Day in the Dark, till at a certain Hour in the Night, Lights being brought in, they committed it to writing. Being afterwards dress’d and come together into a large Room, where the Masters waited, each Scholar gave in his Performance, which being corrected or approv’d of (according as it requir’d) either the same or fresh subjects were given for the next Day. This Part being over, the Students went to their Meal, which was then serv’d up; and so, after some time spent in Conversation and other Diversions, each retir’d to his Rest, to be ready for the Business of the next Morning. Every Saturday and on the Eves of Festival Days they broke up and dispers’d themselves among the Gentlemen and rich Farmers of the Country, by whom they were very well entertain’d and much made of, till they thought fit to take their leaves, in order to re-assume their Study. Nor was the People satisfied with affording this Hospitality alone; they sent in by turns every Week from far and near Liquors and all manner of Provision towards the Subsistence of the Academy, so that the chief Poet was at little or no Charges, but, on the contrary, got very well by it, besides the Presents made him by the Students upon their first coming, which was always at Michaelmas [29 September], and from thence till the 25th of March, during the cold season of the Year only, did that close Study last. At that time the Scholars broke up, and repair’d each to his own Country, with an Attestation of his Behaviour and Capacity from the chief Professor to those that had sent him.

The reason of laying the Study aforesaid in the Dark was doubtless to avoid the Distraction which Light and the variety of Objects represented thereby commonly occasions. This being prevented, the Faculties of the Soul occupied themselves solely upon the Subject in hand, and the Theme given; so that it was soon brought to some Perfection according to the Notions or Capacities of the Students. Yet the course was long and tedious, as we find, and it was six or seven Years before a Mastery or the last Degree was conferred, which you’ll the less admire upon considering the great Difficulty of the Art, the many kinds of their Poems, the Exactness and Nicety to be observ’d in each, which was necessary to render their Numbers soft, and the Harmony agreeable and pleasing to the Ear.

As every Professor, or chief Poet, depended on some Prince or great Lord, that had endowed his Tribe, he was under strict ties to him and Family, as to record in good Metre his Marriages, Births, Deaths, Acquisitions made in war and Peace, Exploits, and other remarkable things relating to the Same. He was likewise bound to offer an Elegy on the Decease of the said Lord, his consort, or any of their children, and a Marriage Song when there should be Occasion. But as to any Epick, or Heroick Verse to be made for any other Lord or Stranger, it was requir’d that at least a Paroemion, or Metre therein, should be upon the Patron, or the Name in general.

The last Part to be done, which was the Action and Pronunciation of the Poem in Presence of the Maecenas, or the principal Person it related to, was perform’d with agreat deal of Ceremony in a Consort of Vocal and Instrumental Musick. The Poet himself said nothing, but directed and took are that everybody else did his Part right. The Bards having first had the Composition from him, got it well by Heart, and now pronounc’d it orderly, keeping even Pace with a Harp, touch’d upon that Occasion; no other musical Instrument being allowed for the said Purpose than this alone, as being Masculin, much sweeter and fuller than any other.[9]

Martin Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland (London, 1703), paints a picture of the bardic culture as he encountered it a few decades later, providing in the process a description of bardic training rites. This is one of the last eyewitness accounts of the bardic culture.

The Orators, in their Language called Is-Dane, were in high esteem in these Islands and the Continent, until within these forty years they sat always among the Nobles and Chiefs of Families in the Streah or Circle. Their Houses and little Villages were Sanctuaries, as well as Churches, and they took place before Doctors of Physic. The Orators, after the Druids were extinct, were brought in to preserve the Genealogy of Families and to repeat the same at every Succession of a Chief; and upon the occasion of marriages and Births they made Epithalamiums and Panegyricks, which the Poet or Bard pronounc’d. The Orators by the force of their Eloquence had a powerful ascendant over the greatest men in their time; for if any Orator did but ask the Habit, Arms, Horse, or any other thing belonging to the greatest Man in these Islands, it was readily granted them, sometimes out of respect, and sometimes for fear of being exclaimed against by a Satire, which in those days was roeckon’d a great dishonour; but these Gentlemen becoming insolent, lost ever since both the Profit and Esteem which was formerly due to their Character; for neither their Panegyricks nor Satires are regarded to what they have been ,and they are now allowed but a small salary. I must not omit to relate their way of Study, which is very singular. They shut their Doors and Windows for a Days time, and lie on their backs with a STone upon their Belly, and Plads [sic, plaid?] about their Heads, and their Eyes being cover’d they pump their Brains for Rhetorical Encomium or Panegyrick; and indeed they furnish such a Stile from this Dark Cell as is understood by very few; and if they purchase a couple of Horses as the reward of their Meditation, they think they have done a great Matter. The Poet or Bard had a Title to the Bridegroom’s upper Garb – that is the Plad and Bonnet – but now he is satisfy’d with what the Bridegroom pleases to give him on such occasions.

 

Brennie’s childhood with the hidden Ladies of the Lake had been spent training for life as a well respected Bard/legend keeper.  Her life had changed however with Eric’s turning her and the world had begun to change as well during those times.  She did not know how to change with the world, but realistically she admitted to herself, she had not tried very hard either. Minn was right, she was skairt as Minn so bluntly put it! But, with Minn’s help… she began to find herself again and understand that she could find a way to make a difference in their world.

 

Minn made her realize that it was not Eric’s place to teach her everything, it was up to herself to learn how to adapt and fit in to an ever changing world.  Eric could not teach her how to be herself and be happy with it and it was not Eric’s fault that she was so unhappy with this gift of life he had given her. She learned from Minn how to be strong again, how to be mistress of this Castle and leader of these people.  They worked together to make the Castle liveable, comfortable and filled with life again.

 

Minn explained to her how important it was for the Clan members to feel they were a part of this Castle, and for them to know that they were just as vital and important to the well being and survival of the Clan as the highest members. It was a give and take between all of them, a matter of team work on every level.  After all, what good did it do to be a Clan Chieftan if one had no Clan members left? A clan could lose it’s Chieftan and replace him with someone else but a Chieftan would have a harder time replacing his clan if they all died, or deserted him because he was not a good leader… So, it was important to take care of each other.  One part of that, Minn insisted, was to be able to provide the best care possible to all of their members. She and Brennie worked to ensure that their Castle had a well equipped and well stocked medicinal room and along with that, Minn added to the room with another well stocked storage room for some of the most valuable and in some cases highly dangerous detoctions. This area was a locked portion of the Medicinal or Still room.

 

Still room

The still room is a distillery room found in most great houses, castles or large establishments throughout Europe dating back at least to medieval times. Medicines were prepared, cosmetics  and many home cleaning products created, and home-brewed beer or wine was often made. Herbs and flowers from the kitchen garden and surrounding countryside were preserved for flavoring food[1] and processed into what today we call essential oils, and infused or distilled, or brewed  as required to make rose water, lavender water, tinctures, peppermint-based ointments, soaps, furniture polishes  and a wide variety of medicines.[2] The still room was a working room: part science lab, part infirmary and part kitchen.

Originally, the still room was a very important part of the household. The lady of the house was in charge of the room, and she taught her daughters and wards  some of the skills needed to run their own homes in order to make them more marriageable. As practical skills fell out fashion for high-born women, the still room became the province of poor dependent relations.

 

In the case of the remote Highland Clans and their Clan seat Castles, such as Dunvegan was, it would have been crucial to their survival and that of the Clan to have such a well equipped Still room and a highly trained, skilled healer in their residence.  Minn would have made sure that the Clan members were welcome to use the services of the Castle’s healer and she would have ensured that everyone shared in the growing, harvesting and stocking of the much needed herbs and plants. 

Over view of Medicinal Still room with locked storage area.

Screenshot-12

 

Minn spent a great length of time teaching Brennie her responsibilities as Mistress of the Castle, even though they both knew that as long as Minn was there, she would really be the one in charge. But, as she matter of factly pointed out to Brennie one day, “Well, Lass, someday I won’t be around to keep things running so smoothly and when that time comes you must know what to do.”  They stood in the now finished Still room addition one day discussing this rather depressing subject while Minn took it in stride and continued taking inventory all the while.

Screenshot-15 Screenshot-19

 

Minn stressed to Brennie how important it was to keep accurate accounting of the items in this locked room. Some of it, such as the wine and some of the food stuffs were highly costly and worth as much or more than their other finer items around the Castle! “It’s not that I be callin the workers or guests here thieves or such but, one never can tell, Can they? Why leave it out and about for them to be tempted with.” She continued on, “Now some of the potions and detoctions be locked away in here for safe keeping, as they could be quite poisonous or even deadly if used in the wrong way. Tis just better and wiser to keep such locked up and make sure you know how much of it we have and how much gets used.”  Minn told her that there were only a very few with keys to this room and she must always be sure she knew of who had those keys, and who was let into the room.  The only ones with keys were Minn, Brennie, and Eric. Even the resident healer would have to ask permission to enter this room.

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As they worked in the storage room, they chatted about other things going on around the area.  Minn was always full of local gossip and stories, and loved to share them.  Brennie usually wasn’t one for gossip but often she found the stories amusing so she listened patiently to Minn.  She did find the stories more interesting now that she was coming to know the area, the Clan members and the history of this place better.  Minn was going on about the Fairie pools and the ancient circle stones near by and how some folks were swearing that the mists were heavier lately. She added that a few of the women insisted that they saw strange people and things near the pools… Minn just laughed and added her own observation on that, “Achhh well, I know that one, Lila… I suspect that she had a few too many nips of that rot gut Whisky she keeps in her pocket!”

 

Minn did grow serious though and warned Brennie, “Those places and stone circles be verra powerful dangerous. They’re ancient and most folks have no knowledge of them or their use any more. A few of the Ladies of the Lake are left who might know but they hide in deep secrecy now and have not been seen in many ages. You best be careful if you go there.”

 

Brennie eyed Minn warily. “Why would I go there? I have no need or reason to venture near the Fairie pools or the Ladies that are left.” Minn nodded her head, gave Brennie a somewhat knowing and suspicious look that said she knew well what Brennie was thinking.  And, Brennie was thinking then in a small hidden space of her heart, of the Ladies who had raised her, trained her… and of whom she felt like she had let down by leaving them so long ago. Even though it had been necessary, her and their lives had depended on her not returning to them then. But, now… Now, perhaps some of them would be left? She was quite sure that these Ladies of the Lake here would know of  the ones who had raised her, would know if they survived yet?

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As quickly as the thought entered her mind, she stamped it down, set it aside and tried to follow the rest of Minn’s chatter. Minn was going on now about the Fairies, and the legends of the stones… how people could travel through them to other places, worlds, or times?  She gave her usual  laugh of  disbelief and disgust. “Such stuff and nonsense, who would believe such things. Why I heard tell of traveling to such a different world as where there be no Vampyres, no Witches, no Fairies… where they chain their babies to their cradles and don’t let them out till they be a child? They canna move their furnishings around just as they wish, they canna build a cellar, they canna design pretty fabrics as they wish… Now, would ye not be hating to live in that world?  Someone even said as one of their tiny villages had a name… something such as a place called Willow Creek?” Minn pointed her finger at Brennie and laughed as she added, “Now do ye not think that even with all of our problems in this world, it’s still not such a bad place to living… You could get too close to those Stones, Lass, and who knows where or when ye might end up.”

 

Brennie tried to laugh with Minn about all of it but her mind was thinking back to those past events that had caused her to end up here in the first place. She hadn’t thought of it in a long time, since shortly after arriving here to live in this remote isolation and safety from some of those early events. Now, as she left the room and Minn, she shook a little with doubt and real fear. Minn thought it all nonsense, but she knew otherwise. She knew that there were ways to travel through time, even though she had tried very hard to forget… and maybe if there were ways to travel through time, there were also ways to travel to other worlds?  That scared her even more and she thought perhaps she should stay far away from those pools and those circles!

 

 

Dunvegan Castle progress: Medicinal room and gardens

Previous Dunvegan progress post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/dunvegan-castle-progress/

In the previous post, I mentioned the eventual purpose of this back room attached to the kitchen.

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That room is now finished! It is a space dedicated to the medicinal needs of the Castle. Most Castles would have had some form of such a space and the luckier ones would have had an in residence healer or at least an herbalist who would know the basics of potions and poultices. In some Castles, this room or area might have been a small closet space called a Simples Cabinet, in others it would have been a larger space specifically designated for medical treatment and healing as well as the storing and drying of herbs and such. 

 

In our representation of the Castle, we’ve chosen to locate it off from the kitchen and with easy access to the outer courtyard on the other side of the room. While the kitchen has been updated over the centuries, the medicinal room remains much the same as it did in earlier times. This side of the Castle is the older part and the rooms on this side will reflect that more than some other spaces. The medicinal room is located right above the old entrance and when the Castle was added on to, this was probably one of the first areas to be built above ground.

This is an overview of these rooms. The empty space will be an entrance or mud room for this back portion of the Castle. If you look closely, you can see that there is a separate entrance  and stairs to the medicinal room. This is so that those in need of the healer or the medicinal room would not have to go through the kitchen to get there. This would have easier served the servants, stable hands, or tenants. The entry from the kitchen is an archway rather than a door because in older Castles, there were few actual doors.

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The room is very well equipped with an alchemy station, storage cupboards, work table- which would often double as examining table!

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There are additional shelves for storage of necessary items.

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This is the view of the entry from the entrance room. The fireplace remains from the original building of the room.

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Much of the wall space near the fireplace was used for drying of various herbs.

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When Minn first arrived, she was disgusted that the Castle did not have dedicated working garden space. Just because they were Vampyres didn’t mean that the rest of the lot didn’t need to eat! She berated Brennie soundly for being so lax, inefficient and a number of other things… for not having a good garden and for relying on the local farmers to provide their herbs and vegetables, when it should be the other way around. The Castle should be providing for their own needs and those of their tenants! A garden space was promptly set aside.  It is located off from the formal front gardens, and while it was not as convenient or accessible as Minn would like, it would have to do.

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In addition to the garden space, orchard trees were planted along the walkway to the back area.

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This is the back courtyard, with the original all important fresh water spring well still in place and in use. This well was one of the reasons the Castle was able to survive so well in it’s earliest years, and one of the reasons that the Castle was built in this location in the first place. A fresh water source was vital to survival and protected at any cost!

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Dunvegan Castle progress

Previous Dunvegan progress: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/category/dunvegan-castle/
Brennie at tea

While Eric is lost in his memories of a long past, (We will get back to him soon, I promise!), work continues on the Castle restoration and Brennie has a few memories of her own. Brennie has not called the Castle home for quite as long as Eric but she has been there for quite a few centuries! Some of those centuries were more pleasant and or more memorable than others. She arrived during the 1400’s when much of the Castle as it stands today, did not exist. For a long time, it remained rather small and more of a fortress for defense. It was during the 17th and early 18th centuries that the Castle came closer to it’s present day appearance.  Unfortunately for Brennie, those were also some of her more difficult years. Prior to that time, in the medieval period, she had less problems finding ways to fit in as a female and a vampire. Those earliest years were difficult in terms of sheer survival but they did allow her a bit more freedom from social judgements on her appearance and behaviors.  Over the centuries as the Highland Clans were being more integrated into the politics and the regimes of the rest of the country and losing their individual identities and freedoms, life became much more regimented and governed by the social customs and rules of the larger world around them. Eric and the other men found it less difficult to find their place and fit in as warriors, soldiers, clan leaders or land owners. Brennie would have had a far harder time coming to terms with the restrictions and rules placed on her as a proper “young” lady of good standing. 

 

Even in her earliest years at the Castle, she struggled with being the “Lady” of the Castle. She was not raised in such an environment and had never desired to be in such a position of authority and leadership. It took her many centuries to adjust to it and even in the present day, she was not comfortable with all that running such a place entails. She did learn early on that one thing was essential to the Castle’s running… That was to have a  person who did know how to run a Castle! As Eric’s clan and the Castle took on more importance, Brennie realized that image was and is everything. She needed a person who could help her present a proper image to the rest of the world, who knew what had to be done, how it had to be done and when it had to be done, even if she herself had no real idea?  Somewhere or when during that time, she found just such a person in the form of one Mistress Minna MacGuinn.

 

Every Castle has it’s version of Minna… Castle Leoch for instance has Mrs. Fitz. 

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Our  Dunvegan Castle has Mistress Minna MacGuinn or just Minn if she likes you well enough?

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There was a period of time when Brennie was not necessarily  on that well liked list and would be the first to admit that she was downright skairt of the woman!

Minna and Brennie

 

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Who’s Kitchen is it… It’s Minn’s Kitchen, Who runs the Castle… Minn does, and best ye not forget it lass!

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All of the upstairs kitchen, as well as other improvements were more due to Minn’s suggestions… or demands than anything Brennie would have thought of during that time. Once Brennie sorted things out and came to an understanding with Minn, understanding as in it’s Minn’s way… Well, after that Brennie left much of the day to day running of the Castle up to Minn and they got along fine!

 

Minn’s kitchen, and best ye not forget that!

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Minn was instrumental in a number of changes and improvements. The back room behind the kitchen would eventually become a large alchemy/medicinal and herbal room. And, Minn was also responsible for added garden space outdoors… Shortly after her arrival, she shrugged and tsked at the lovely outdoor gardens and made a comment to Brennie. “Achhh and sure it’s a pretty place for entertaining and all but what would ye be needing that for seeing as ye’re so skairt of them such things now aren’t ye?” She was right about that… This was during a time when Brennie was having such a difficult time of adjusting to the world that she avoided people as much as possible and her reason for having Minn was so that she didn’t have to face any of the many guests that often frequented the Castle. Minn was having none of that, and she was the one who helped push Brennie back to the outside world.  Minn would get her working garden and Brennie would get her life back during that time as well!

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Behind the Scenes: Work on Dunvegan Castle

Yse, it’s very slow progress but at least I have made some!  I was waiting for the new Amore Venue/set hoping there would be some items I could use on the Castle… unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed in that respect! I did find a use for the new windows though. They work well when recolored, and I have swapped a few of the other windows out with these new ones. I am not going to replace all of the windows with these new ones because I do think that would be overdoing it? A few scattered around though does change the appearance a little and adds a touch of color to the stonework.

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I also finally found a place to use this new gate from the Brunch at the Old Mill set from the Sims3 store.

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The rest of today’s work was on the main level of the Castle. A larger, newer kitchen space was added along with less formal dining for servants and a back breakfast or tea room.  The kitchen space is designed to easily access the formal dining/great room as well as the breakfast room. There would also be convenient and easy access to the lower level old kitchen and storage areas. This new kitchen will be up to date with modern appliances but will retain an old world rustic feel to it. The décor is not finished in either space but the layout is set now. There was some initial thought on replacing the flooring in these two rooms but I have decided to keep the old stonework floors here. The stone flooring gives the historical and old world feel to the rooms. They have been lightened and scrubbed up to lighten the rooms up a bit.

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Kitchen

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Breakfast/Tea room  This room is not meant to be a formal tea room but just more of a comfortable dining space for family or guests.

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Previous Dunvegan progress:  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/behind-the-scenes-finally-some-progress-on-dunvegan-castle/

From the Creator: Sims3 That’s Amore Venue

I have installed the last Sims3 Venue offered, have had a look around it and can now make some observations about it.  Yes, the preview screens of it were quite impressive… but that is usual due to some good marketing and photography work on their part!  I mentioned previously that I purchased it more for the contents included in it rather than the venue itself… I am not disappointed with those individual items so it’s worth the money spent, for me anyway. I was not really expecting a whole from the venue/ build so I can not say I was surprised or disappointed in that aspect either!

 

If you are planning to use it as is, please be forewarned that it is a huge lot- 64×64, with little else to do on the lot other than experience the Gondola ride? Not much thought or effort was given to interior décor or entertainment! In my opinion this lot is what I would call a definite fixer upper with a lot of potential! Please excuse my photos… I plopped it down in my current empty world of Aurora Skies and it doesn’t necessarily quite fit in with that environment. All of the photos are taken in build/buy mode as I really just wanted to go in quick and check it out.

These are some quick overviews of the lot after placing it.

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I could resist trying a few adjustments to portions of it to see some differences in the appearance? As I said, it qualifies as a fixer upper… I do not care for much of the wall covering that they tried with this build. It’s far to shiny and I think it detracts from the over all appearance! I changed the roof color/pattern and did some very basic wall covering replacements to come up with this?

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Here are some photos of the interiors such as they are…

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You can find a number of places to sit, or make use of a computer… The décor and atmosphere leaves much to be desired!

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I did find one spot to do some painting… after you get bored with reading!

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And, after an exhausting trek through the building and the very large lot, you can at least find a place to sleep? If two of you came here together, possible for that romantic encounter on the Gondola, you are out of luck on finding space to sleep together! I found only this one bed anywhere on the lot! If you were planning on a nice romantic meal together… please remember to bring your own and be prepared to cook it on a grill! I did find one grill located on one of the balconies near the entrance.

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Overall impression and thoughts on this venue… Yes, definitely has potential as in a massive renovation and redecoration project. It does seem to have a good basic structure and foundation to work from but the redecoration would be extensive and take quite some time! You could easily go in and add some entertainment and recreation, as well as some decent cooking and some convenient toilet facilities?! I can see the opportunities for some great photos, at least out door ones… Not sure if I would bother taking photos inside without some redecoration!