Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jazabelle's Everfrost Office

The old arched windows of the Everfrost portal hub.
From the moment I understood how prestige housing portals would work--and I admit it took me a few days and a bit of research before I was positive I understood it properly--I was determined to put together a portal hub.

My first attempt at a portal hub took the arched windows I'd constructed for Dolthaic back in April of 2011, and turned them into "windows" into the different homes. I liked the idea, but there wasn't enough room for expansion.

The round portal/transport room.
And ringing a room with ten windows meant over 100 items for the "windows" alone. With the low item count of the Everfrost house, that didn't leave me much room for decorating the rest of the house.

Regretfully, I put my office on hold and worked on other projects. I just couldn't seem to figure out a setup for my portal hub that would work for me. I accumulated portals in the meantime, tossing them into the Everfrost house wherever the mood struck me.

Framed portal "painting" at H&T.
Then in early June of 2012, I revamped the guild hall. Afista had used tiles frame the portals in her portal hub. I used the same idea for the portals in my guild's hall, but tweaked the design a little bit--I included paintings to frame the tile and give it a more finished look, much as she framed tiles in her portal hub to showcase them. The result was a framed "painting" of a portal hub that received quite a few compliments from guildmates and visitors alike.

Not long after that, sometime in mid-June, Hopsalong built her portal hub. She took the idea Afista came up with that I tweaked, and also tweaked it. The result was an elegant portal hub with plenty of room for lots of portals, and a very easy method of expansion.

Hopsalong's portal hub.
I admit that Hops' portal hub made me insanely jealous. It was gorgeous! And if I were the sort of person who bought layouts from other people, I would have snapped up her hub in an instant. But I'm not. Besides, I don't own a Felwithe house, which is what her portal hub is in.

Hopsalong's hub spurred me to start working on my own again. I went through several attempts to build a suitable layout. The first was very similar to both my original hub and Hopsalongs--a hallway that terminated in a round room, then branched off into other rooms. While it was nice, I felt too much like I was copying Hopsalong rather than being inspired by her. It also didn't help that I went exclusively sumac, without the trim and color Hopsalong has in her hub to cut back on the "sumac poisoning."

A baseboard and some crown molding would do a lot to cut back on the overwhelming sumac feel.

I struggled with the hub for several days, popping back and forth between Hopsalong's hub and my own. No matter what I did, I didn't like it.

It was while I was running circles around Hopsalong's hub, trying to think of materials other than black marble building blocks (which I didn't have, and refused to spend SC on) that I really looked at the paintings lining her walls. Gold and sumac, opulent, easily sized--the paintings would make a perfect baseboard!

I immediately crafted several and popped into my portal hub. But no matter how I tried, the shape of the rooms and the paintings meant that they just wouldn't work as baseboards. I couldn't sink the paintings low enough to act as a baseboard. If I angled the painting and hid most of it in the wall, by the time the sides of the painting stopped poking through, the bottom did, too.

The first time I actually liked where the hub was going.
Eventually, I realized I was trying to stay too close to Hopsalong's work. Her work was "safe"--I'd already seen how it turned out, and really liked it. If I wanted the paintings to work with my house, I'd have to do something different.

Luckily, it turned out I didn't have to do too much different. I could keep the front hall that opened up into a large room. However, I went with a square room because of the patterns I wanted for the paintings. I kept the sumac walls, but ditched the sumac floors. And I definitely wasn't going to go with a stained glass ceiling--while I adore Hops' hub, I'm not a rainbow person. I'm also not big on stained glass. I feel that it should be used to accent. With Hops' hub, it works. All that sumac means that the stained glass isn't overwhelming, especially since it's a focal point. That wouldn't work in my house. So I went with a plain white ceiling, and jazzed it up with more gold.

The front hall opening up into the center room.
Confession time: I'm not really a gold person, either. If I were to see something like what I built for my Everfrost hub in real life, I'd look at it and think it's pretty, but much too ornate for me. But in-game, this works. Part of why I enjoy decorating in-game is it allows me to step outside my comfort zone with furnishings and architecture.

Back to my portal hub! I left the hub pretty much undone for the rest of July and August. I'd done the front hall, but was stuck on how I wanted it to transition into the large center room. Plus I was out of town in July, and by the time I came home in August, I'd lost my drive to work on the hub.

But on September 1st, I went back to working on it, and I worked hard. It was like a mental block had cleared, and I had more ideas than I could build! There were some rough patches, and plenty of ideas that I worked on for hours, then scrapped completely. I moved my teleportation objects around the hub several times a day, trying to find a good spot for them.

Eventually I had the layout set up how I wanted it. And then I moved my office from my guild hall to the Everfrost hub. I decided it wasn't fair that my office used over a hundred items, while everyone else was limited to 20. With my office in my Everfrost hub, people would be able to expand their customization of their offices in the guild hall.

Because it was an extension of the guild hall in my mind, I included some similar items, like the circular seating in the center of the large room. I went with a different color scheme, but kept the idea of seats arranged around a planter.

I actually spent the least amount of time decorating my office in the hub, although it probably looks like I spent a really long time working on it. For the most part, I just transported the layout from the guild hall to the Everfrost hub.

The office desk, transported from the guild hall.
Everything on the blue carpet is exactly as it was in the guild hall. The changes were made to the sides of the room and the fishtank--where in my old office I had a single bookshelf and a small set of shelves on the wall for trophies, I wanted more space in the Everfrost office. I also wanted to make sure that my portal objects didn't look odd displayed around the room. That meant building a set of shelving units to house any portal objects that didn't hang on the walls. I also needed space to display random other items--like the Community Cushion, and the prize for submitting a home to the NotD contest (I'm still sad I didn't win, but not too sad. I got my present and my scare "crow," and that's really the only reason I entered in the first place!).

Shelving unit and portal paintings.
While it's a little bit annoying to not have the portal objects right in the front room when I zone in, it's not bad enough that I'd move them back there. The portal objects being at the front are nice, but this way I get more use out of my office. I have to run back there each time I want to teleport to one of the DoV zones.

The biggest difference between this office and the one in my guild hall is the aquarium.

Yes, I like to do the stereotypical aquarium. There seem to be two types of people--those who like them, and those who don't. In real life, I'm not a fan. The wet, fishy smell irritates me. But I enjoy looking at fish, and I enjoy the artwork that people turn their aquariums into.

Shark tank! Don't go swimming in there...
So in-game, I build them. This one was partially inspired by my own shark tank in my Kelethin home, and partially inspired by Tock's tank in The Spider. I liked how the water in the back with a misty tile turned out for Tock. It's an idea I'd been playing with using since the first time I saw the misty tiles. However, I hadn't had a chance to build an aquarium since they came out. When I saw what Tock had done, and how well it turned out, I decided it was time to put my own attempt into play.

Jazabelle has a thing for sharks. She loves them. It has absolutely nothing to do with an easy way to dispose of evidence, I swear! So that meant another shark tank. But when I put together the tank, I realized that sharks alone are a little bland. So I tossed in a sea turtle and some slugs. Then I added in a few other items to add motion, such as the seafarer's float net, the doomed prisoner, and the new crafted Withering Lands flowers. The spores from the flowers float slowly, and really give the impression of being under water. The tank looks much better in person, with the swaying, the rippling, and the flickering blue light (Thanks for reminding me to put those in, Tock!).

If you'd like to visit, feel free to stop by Jazabelle's Everfrost Summer Home in Qeynos, on the Antonia Bayle server.

For more screenshots of the home that weren't included in the blog, as well as expanded captions on most screenshots, click here to visit the Facebook photo album.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Commission Or Not

The Cathedral -- probably my most well-known project.
On occasion, I'll get a tell out of the blue, asking if I do commissions.

Sometimes the tell starts with flattery. The person contacting me offers praise, and specific examples of their favorite aspects of my work.

Other times, they've heard about me from a friend, or maybe they've seen a single home I've done. They aren't sure how to approach me. House decorating isn't their thing, and while they want a nice looking home, they really don't know what to say to one of those crazy decorators.

People come to me with awesome ideas, ordinary ideas, or no ideas. The one thing that everyone approaching me has in common is that they've decided that I'm the decorator who should work for them.

What do I tell them when they ask to hire me? The short answer to that question is "maybe." As I mentioned in the Cathedral blog post, I'm terrible about doing commissions in a timely manner. If it's not life biting me in the rear, it's me becoming distracted doing something else. I should say no to people, because honestly, it's not fair to make someone wait six months to a year while I hammer out a house. However, I have a hard time saying no when asked.

Do I like doing commissions?

Nope. I really don't. I love the ideas that people come up with, and I love trying to capture those ideas. But I don't like decorating for someone (see note at the end of the article). It's one reason why I had such a great time building my Tudor Farmhouse and then putting the layout up for sale. I got to build what I wanted, when I wanted, with no stress about finishing in a timely manner. Putting it up for sale as a layout like that also means that any time someone wants the layout (with or without modifications), I can easily just pop in to the house and load it up. It means no waiting for either party.

The Tudor Farmhouse -- I should have waited for building blocks!
There's also the issue of the homeowner's vision versus my own. Some homeowners are great to work for. They let me do what I want, and only pop in to say things like, "I'm not really that fond of the centerpiece you built. Do you think you could switch it to something else?" I'm okay with being told that what I've done doesn't mesh with the vision someone has for a project. It's their home, after all. However, I like to be given the freedom to do what I want. Sure, I'll discuss it with the person. I'll ask them what they were hoping for, so that I have an idea of what to aim for.

If the house is meant for roleplay, I'll ask what sort of roleplay, and tailor the home to that. When I did the Cathedral, I knew that the home would be used as a venue for speeches. Much like a real life house of worship, the people roleplaying followers of Innoruuk would be gathering there for sermons. That meant that I had to ensure that the benches I used could be sat on, and with as little fiddling around with positioning as possible. Little details like that are what make a good project great, in my opinion.

Menan's Manor. I don't think the homeowner plays anymore.
Unfortunately, for every homeowner I've worked for who has been awesome, I've had a homeowner who insisted on moving things around on me or "helping" me decorate. I don't play nice with others when it comes to decorating a space. If you've asked me to decorate your house, and then you come in behind me and tweak things right and left, I start to feel like I shouldn't even bother. After all, you've shown that you have the ability and the inclination to decorate, so why am I here?

If a homeowner comes in after I'm done and I've been paid, I could care less if they move things around, tear things down, add things in, or just pack up the house (all right, I might be peeved if they packed up the house). I did what was asked, and I've received my compensation. Besides, it's their home. But if a homeowner does this while I'm working on a home, I start to become annoyed.

Occasionally, when someone hires me, they start to feel like they're better than I am. They've hired me to do a job. That means that no matter how much they admire me or my work, they're in a class above me. I'm working for them, after all. It doesn't matter that my $15 a month for my Gold subscription is just as good as their $15 a month. It doesn't matter that decorating is just as valid a play style as combat or raiding. I'm not "really" playing the game as it's meant to be played, so I'm not as good as they are. (Don't get me wrong. I respect all other play styles. Just because it's not my cup of tea doesn't mean that I don't respect it. However, this is the attitude that I've had thrust upon me more than once simply because I prefer the non-combat aspects of the game, and am working for someone.)

Then of course, there's the problem of cost. What do you charge someone who's asking you to build something? Especially something as individual as a house?

My guild's hall, and the only guild hall I'll ever decorate.
It's only recently that I've learned to save my platinum. I've been playing since late 2005, and my platinum amount across my account fluctuated from between no money to maybe, if I was lucky, thirty platinum. At one point, I had to sell some of the gear I'd saved for appearances in order to afford the price of the boat (back when the boat cost money in Freeport and Qeynos) in order to go out questing.

A house one year ago would cost me approximately sixty to eighty platinum to decorate. Today, I can drop sixty platinum on a stable. Not an entire house, just a stable. This doesn't take into account the amount of time a house takes me. Even when I'm obsessed with completing a project and work on it nonstop (and this doesn't happen often), it still takes me upwards of 40 hours of gameplay to finish. It's not that I'm slow at decorating. I'm actually pretty fast about getting the structure up and into place. The problem is that I'm also compulsively detail oriented, and will tweak items until they are lined up to the pixel. Shifting items by 0.0001 units is not uncommon for me.

Back to platinum and gameplay--in 2 hours of gameplay, questing in a level 90 zone I've never been to before, I can make probably 20 platinum. Questing in a zone where I do know the zone and quests, I can make more than that.

So if I were questing rather than decorating, I could make 400 platinum or more in the amount of time it takes to build a house.

The Norrathian Research Library is perhaps one of my favorites.
However, as I said, it's only recently that I've begun to actually save platinum. 400 platinum sounds like an obscene expense to me. And when you do projects, you're supposed to come out ahead, not just break even. That means that to "come out ahead," I'd need to charge more than 400 platinum. I understand that there are people out there who wouldn't blink twice to drop 400 platinum on a house. I wouldn't drop that on a house, and I'm the one building the house!

Then we need to take into consideration reputation. I don't believe I'm that good. Yes, my houses are close to flawless from an alignment standpoint. My textures line up the best I can make them, and if it's a tossup between a wall with varying sizes of building blocks that only takes three items, and a wall of identically sized building blocks of twenty items, I'll go for the twenty items because it looks better. But for the most part, the homes I build are simple homes. The Tudor Farmhouse? It's just a house. My Kelethin cottage? Once again, just a house. The Cathedral isn't, but that one was done on commission. And when you come right down to it, the Cathedral isn't actually that architecturally impressive. It's a rectangle. A pretty rectangle, but still just a rectangle. There are plenty of people out there with the vision to put together architecturally impressive pieces of work that I'd love to have for my own. They may not line things up as nicely as I do, or have flawless textures, but their work is more intricate than mine.

So should I be charging what I feel I'm worth, or what other people feel I'm worth? Especially when the amount I feel I'm worth is very different from the amount that other people seem to be willing to pay?

But not all people think my work is worth much. In quiet times, I've had people request houses. We discussed the house they were interested in very seriously, right up until we got to price.

There are people who think they're doing me a favor by offering me an empty house to decorate, and expect that I should do it for free. Of course they'll cover the fuel costs. They're keeping the house, after all. But I should be honored that they're offering me an empty house to indulge in my silly decorating pastime!

I've never had so much traffic during construction as I did with the Cathedral.
Then there are the people who would like a house, but don't have a lot of platinum. For them, a couple of hundred platinum for a house is outside the bounds of reasonable. They'd have to save for a year or two to see it.

And then, I've been offered upwards of 4000 platinum to build a home.

I turned them down.


When it comes right down to it--stress.

I decorate in EQ2 for a variety of reasons. I play because I love decorating--I've done it everywhere from The Sims to SWG. I decorate because it's a form of art, and the fastest and easiest method I've found to express my artistic side in a method that people can interact with and enjoy. I decorate because it's stress relief. I become absorbed in the numbers of the editor, in the placement of items, in trying to get reality to match my vision. Yes, there can be times when it's frustrating, especially if something isn't working out, but overall it's much less stressful than anything else life can throw at me.

Stress is a big problem for me. In Homeshow, I've mentioned a few times (all right, probably more often than I should--I do tend to whine about it) that I suffer from food allergies. I've mentioned that the foods trigger migraines for me.

What I haven't mentioned is that the food triggers are only one set of triggers. Stress, weather, sudden exposure to light--the list goes on. And I don't just get migraines. I have what one neurologist likes to call "intractable chronic debilitating migraines." In layman's terms, that means that I come down with migraines so bad, I'm put out of commission for days or weeks at a time. And it happens a lot. And they don't respond to medication.

Did I mention that stress is a big problem for me? I think I did. Even thinking about being stressed causes me minor migraines. Actually stressing out can send me to bed with the curtains drawn and the covers over my head.

Decorating is a sort of meditation for me. You don't need to use (much) math with the layout editor, but to get things lined up precisely, it helps to know how to do it. Math is also a form of meditation for me. It keeps me calm, even when the numbers aren't adding up right. I use more math than the average decorator because of that. Not only do I use it to ensure that things line up perfectly, but it's soothing for me.

It's one of the few things I can do even with a migraine. And while it doesn't help the pain, it allows me to mostly ignore it.

The real answer to "to commission or not?" is "I really shouldn't." I'll do it, especially if I really like an idea that someone has, but I shouldn't.

Note: Thank you to Niami for reminding me of this. I wanted to add it on, but forgot to before I posted.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that this is mostly about people I don't know approaching me with commission projects. When people I know approach me, it's a different story. This is especially true when they understand chronic conditions.

I like to do projects for friends and close acquaintances. Strangers are different. Strangers may say they understand chronic issues, but chances are that they'll become frustrated if their home isn't done within a month. I've had it happen time and again. I tell people that it'll be a while before I can start on their project, and once I do, they may not see a lot of progress. I tell them they can expect the project to take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year from when I start. They say they're okay with it, and then they become pushier and pushier if it's not completed quickly once work starts.

Friends understand that I've had periods of time where I disappear from the game for a month or more, and that when I do, I'm probably flat on my back in bed, desperately wishing for a migraine cure. Close acquaintances have the potential to become friends, and oftentimes it's a decorating project that does it. I enjoy those sorts of projects. It's much less stressful for me when a friend and I can negotiate a price, instead of the onus being on me.

So feel free to approach me about a project, but understand that I may say no. And if I say yes, please understand that I will take my time. It's not that I don't like you. It's not that I'd rather work on other projects. It's that I do what's best for my stress levels at the moment, and if I'm not feeling like your project is one I can handle at the moment, I may work on others, or I may not decorate at all.

Happy decorating!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zhadowsee's Birthday Stables

Yes, I'm still around. Life just caught up with me (I took a trip out to visit Z, and coming home has been an adjustment. Then migraines and other facets of life hit, and gaming took a backburner to everything else). But I'm here now.

Just in time for Zhadowsee's birthday, in fact.

I bought Zhadowsee a mount for his birthday. Meet Compass, the drake. However, it seemed a little cheap of me just to get Z a mount for his birthday. Your birthday is only once a year, and unlike the grandfather clock and sweet note he gave me, I couldn't be sure that he'd like the drake. After all, I'd raved about how much I adore grandfather clocks, and built several in-game before they came out with the station cash one. Plus, the station cash one has a dragon on it! Anyone who's spent a bit of time with me knows that I'm dragon crazy.

Then I decided that I would build him some stables to go with the mount. I've never actually decorated a full house for Z. I've done rooms, partial homes, partially completed homes, but I've never finished anything for him. Part of it is that he likes to decorate on his own. Part of it is that out of the two of us, he's the storyteller. Decorating is telling stories with scenery, but it's a very slow method of storytelling, and I'm better at vingettes than telling a full story. His decorating is more organic--he once did an RP scene for me, in which objects in the house kept moving. He had several layouts, plus what he moved by hand. Depending on what I noticed, what happened next changed. So I've never done a house for him, leaving him to set them up himself.

The first thing I did was to sneak onto his account. Unlike me, Z doesn't have a ton of empty houses waiting for use. He had exactly three houses, and all three of them are already in use.

Well, that was no good for my purposes. I immediately tabbed back to Jazabelle and started touring prestige houses. I knew I wanted the house to be a prestige house, for the portals. The stable was going to connect to his home in Neriak, whether he wanted it to or not!

It was as I was browsing houses that I realized that the Secluded Sanctum has an item count of 800, and costs only 1000 SC! All other 800 item count houses cost 1350 or so. Plus the Secluded Sanctum has a very wide open front room, which was perfect for my purposes.

I added the Secluded Sanctum to Zhadowsee's gift, tabbed back to Zhadowsee, and claimed the house. Then I snagged the mount out of the mail, dumped it in the house, and set Jazabelle trustee. Carefully, I positioned Zhadowsee exactly back where I found him, and logged him out.

Then I feverishly set to work.

The front doors, minus the door frames. Those came later.
I had seven hours to complete the house, not counting the time off I would have to take for food and housework, if I wanted to finish it up before Zhadowsee got home and logged on.

The first step was to build the walls of the stable. The Secluded Sanctum is rotated 22.5 degrees off of the cardinal directions, so I had to figure out how I was going to cover the existing ground in the Sanctum, while keeping to the shape of the stables that I wanted. Luckily, it wasn't too hard. The center pathway of the Sanctum is 12 units wide--exactly the width I wanted the stable's main hallway to be. And with the rotate group around point tool, it was a simple matter to build the stable on a straight East/West axis, then rotate everything around the first tile to line it up to the house. With that figured out, I really got down to business.

Unfortunately, I didn't reach my self-imposed goal of finishing before Zhadowsee got home.

I gave him some very firm instructions. I'd done my best to ensure that he wouldn't be able to find the house, except that I'd gone ahead and dropped a portal into his Neriak house, so that I wouldn't have to do it later. He was very good about not sneaking into the work in progress.
The final view of the stable doors.

Happily, he had plans away from the keyboard (I know you're not supposed to say that about your significant other, but sometimes you just need that privacy to get things done! I didn't want to feel like I was ignoring him in order to finish up his present, so the fact that he had things to do was perfect). So, given another couple of hours to get things done, I went to work even harder!

Originally, I'd set up the stable with 8 stalls. I had five mounts on me that I wouldn't mind missing or were easy to replace (The Gorowyn, Neriak, and Kelethin destriers, the quested Gryphon from DoV, and the Winter Wolf mount). That left two empty stalls--stalls which Zhadowsee could put any of his own spare mounts into.

View from the front of the stable.
I divided the stalls up into meat eaters on one side, grain eaters on the other. Yes, normally that would be a bad idea. Having the poor horses face predators would probably stress the animals unduly. However, this is a fantasy game, and horses stand around calmly next to predators all the time. (I really do put that much thought into layout and position.)

The stable itself was very easy to build, once I'd decided on how I wanted to do it. The stall doors are taller than I'd like, but we don't have any half dividers. If we ever do get half dividers, I'll switch them out and make things a bit more realistic in there. As it is, Zhadowsee's stable has really tall walls.

I built one stall, then duplicated it three times. I'd made sure that the stall was 7.5 units long, so it was a simple matter of moving each new stall 7.5 units further down the line than the stall before it.

Then I took everything I'd made so far, and I mirrored it around the E/W axis. That gave me all eight stalls with minimal work.

Zhadowsee meeting Compass. I'm not sure they like each other.
Unlike my usual method of construction, where I build the structure first, then go through and add in major structural details, then go through for minor structural details, and finally end with putting in decorative details, I built this stable in phases.

I could have allowed Zhadowsee to peek the minute he got home. The structure was up, the mounts were in their stalls, and it looked vaguely stable-like. But for the most part, it was a bunch of empty boxes with mounts standing in them. Not exactly an awesome birthday present. However, I continued that method of decorating, putting in waves of details, both decorative and structural alike (mounts count as decorative. The rails for the doors to slide on are structural details. The rails showed up in phase three or four of decorating. The stops at the ends of the rails showed up in phase six or seven). I didn't know when he'd be getting home--I had an approximate idea of how many hours I'd have, but not a definite one--so I wanted to be sure that the stable would be ready for viewing the instant he got home. I could go in later and add more details. The idea was to give the appropriate impression of a stable, no matter when he walked in.
Compass in his stall. This was before the rail stops were added in.

Zhadowsee showed up after I'd gotten most of the details down that I wanted to. I still hadn't added flavor (like muck in the muck cart), but I had a lot of the little bits in, like the hay for the animals, the food and water bins, and nests for the drake and gryphon. I'd put in a couple of hay bales in the hay bin, but hadn't yet put in the number I wanted. But once again, it gave the impression that I wanted it to.

The tour of the stables started in Zhadowsee's Neriak house. When he logged in, I demanded that he head directly to the house. There, I'd left a book under three roses. Roses are a thing with Jazabelle--stereotypical, I know, but I personally adore roses, and when roleplay took Jazabelle in that direction, I ran with it. I'm the one playing her, after all.

Click it to read it.
So Zhadowsee found a note in his house. In my head, I'd constructed a story for the appearance of the stables and the mount, and I wanted to share it with Zhadowsee. My idea at first had been that I'd do all of this the night before his birthday, and he'd wake up and log in to find himself standing on the note and flowers. That didn't happen--I fell asleep at the computer while planning what I was going to do. But I liked the idea of the note and flowers.

The idea then changed that he'd get home from work, log in, and find the note and flowers. That didn't happen either. But I really wanted that note and those flowers in there! So when he logged in in the evening after doing his AFK things, I'd set down the note and flowers, tweaking the story I was telling him just a tad to fit the series of events better.

The warg's stall. Z dropped this one himself.
It's not really a long scene, and I didn't even need to be there for it. But sometimes it's fun to see what people do when they look at what you've built. So I followed him through the doors and watched him wander around. He had a fun time avoiding the stall with the drake--at the time, the drake's stall was the only stall with an open door, so it was pretty easy to tell which stall was the focus. He stopped at the stall beside the drake's, and pretended that it was the one he was supposed to be looking at. He really is very silly.

But eventually he did walk over to Compass' stall, and we hung out and chatted for a bit. He was happy with what I'd done for him, and had some story ideas already for the space. He seemed especially pleased by the fact that he could fill it with whatever mounts he chose, and that I could easily extend the space by several more stalls if he wanted.

Yep, I really did put muck in the muck cart.
After he went to bed, I did another two phases of decorating. I added another pair of stalls (mostly to test how easy it actually would be to do--quite easy, as it turns out) and fleshed out the details in the rest of the stable. Muck in the muck cart, for example!

The rail stops were also added in at this point, as were the hitching rings for the halters.

We don't have a large selection of rope, so I wound up using the Othmir Hanging Lamp in order to have some sort of rope hanging from the hitching rings.

Hitching rings with rope hanging, waiting to be tied onto a halter or bridle.

Someone needs to clean this horse's stall.

Finally, right before I went to bed, I popped into Zhadowsee's Neriak house and built a connecting door to the stable. Then I moved the note and roses to the step in front of the stable door, and crashed in bed.

The door to the stable. Don't bring mounts into the house!
I'll probably continue to add details as I think of them, and tweak things until they make me happy. Right now, I'm going to go and fix some of the ropes so that they hang better.

Over all, the stables took me under eight hours of decorating to complete, and most of that time was spent crafting items. The decorating itself went incredibly fast. This is, to date, my fastest project ever. Details will change as I think of them, but for now it's good!

If you'd like to see any updated or added screenshots, or any screenshots that I didn't post in this blog, please click here. This will take you to my Facebook album, which has all of the images.