First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of The Starry Mantle! I want to thank all of you, my most excellent readers, for your interest and encouragement this past year. You know what Hobbits do on their birthdays, right? They give away presents! I’ve got some prizes that I’d like to give away, and if you’d like to receive one, just comment on this post and I’ll enter your name into a draw. I’ll be closing the comments and making the draw on Monday, 3 December, so please make sure to leave a comment before then! Scroll down to the last paragraph for details.

But in the meantime, I can hear someone in the back yelling “Speech!”, so here’s a little retrospective of the past year here at The Starry Mantle!

First Post

What a fun year it’s been! One year ago today, inspired by the creativity of LOTRO cosmetics bloggers like Hymne, Devonna, and Freyjuska, I shared my very first outfit, Cheerful Minstrel. Looking back at that first post, I see that my general post outline hasn’t changed very much since then, but I sure have become a lot wordier over the course of the year! I’m thinking I could probably stand to try to recapture a bit of that old brevity… but who am I kidding, not in this post! Starting the blog was super-exciting and I began with a posting schedule of three outfits each week — Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I have absolutely no idea how I managed that without going crazy. Like Gollum-style crazy. Pretty quickly I learned that blogging is a lot of fun, but it’s also a commitment. For each post, I try to come up with an outfit concept that is hopefully not visually repugnant, assemble the outfit and take screenshots, edit the screenshots, tie the concept to Tokien’s lore in some way, research that lore, and compose and edit the post. It can definitely take some time from beginning to end. What I’m really trying to say is that I have huge admiration for my fellow outfit bloggers, the broader LOTRO blogging and podcasting community, and just bloggers in general! These days I have slowed the pace down to one outfit per week, on Wednesdays, and I find that suits me much better. Oh yeah, about that. I know that back in July I had said the one post per week schedule was going to be just for the summer but, well… Sméagol lied!

Most Lore-heavy Post

As you probably know, “lore” is a big part of my vision for The Starry Mantle. Sometimes, my nerd glands go into overdrive and I end up with a crazy lore-heavy post, where the outfit almost seems to be more of an excuse to discuss the lore. I think of Satrap of Khand as an example of this kind of post. That was probably also the wordiest outfit post I’ve published, at somewhere around 1,000 words (when I started the blog my target word-count was a short and sweet 400!). I’m extremely grateful and relieved to have been told by kind readers that some of these lore-heavy posts are enjoyable and not too pompous-seeming, which is always a
worry. Fortunately for me, LOTRO players
are lore-lovers as well as cosmetics fans!

Most Lore-light Post

On the other hand, some posts that have been really fun for me have had only the most tenuous connection to the lore. I’m thinking of Sandson’s Egg-runner here, centering around a the idea of an egg-courier network (!) which, needless to say, has nothing to do with Tolkien. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Crazed Murderer, which has even less to do with Tolkien than Egg-runner (that is to say, nothing). Granted, it was a Hallowe’en post, but come on, it’s based on Jason from the Friday the 13th films.

Most Flowery Text

I usually try to write the first two paragraphs of my posts (where I talk about the lore and context of the outfit) in a slightly elevated style that suits the subject matter. Sometimes this probably gets a bit out of hand. Two posts in particular come to mind, and by complete coincidence the two posts form a bit of a thematic duo: Dusk-roamer and Dawn-lark. Embarrassing factoid: I was going to compose poetry for Dusk-roamer’s flavour text but fortunately I came to my senses and abandoned that idea. I think you can still see hints of what might have been in the text that did get published.

Favourite Audience Participation

When I wrapped up the third and final post of my Battle of Five Armies collection, readers very justly asked, “Why only three posts in a collection about five armies?” There was a post for the Men, a post for the Elves, and a post for the Dwarves. Where were the Goblins and the Wargs? It was (maybe?) jokingly suggested that I do a post to cover those overlooked armies and I decided to go for it. It was a great suggestion and I’m so glad it was made because the sort of tongue-in-cheek result, Firebomber and Fleshmauler of Bolg, was really fun to put together and share on the blog. Plus I got to write the opening paragraph in an attempt to approximate what Goblin-speech might sound
like, which I really enjoyed!

Fun With Animals

I occasionally have these bright ideas to do outfits that involve using in-game animals as props. It always seems genius at the time but usually ends up with a lot of gnashing of teeth (hint: mine, not the animals’). We’ve had a wolf, a stag, chickensa (dead) elk, and various livestock including a sheep, a cow, and even a goat (and a little dog too). This doesn’t even count all the critters my toons have been attacked by while screenshotting over the course of the year (but that’s a story for Fool-of-a-Took Day 2013!). Each time I swear never to take screenshots with critters again but I know I’ll be back like a Hobbit to the larder. What kind of animal should I exploit work with next?

Reader Favourites

So which posts have been “reader favourites”? Well, it’s actually pretty hard to tell with the tools WordPress gives us. Readers can rate posts using the star widget, but the number of ratings each post receives can vary pretty widely. Also, since the results of these ratings are simple averages, a post that gets one 5-star vote counts as better-received than a post that gets ninety-nine 5-star ratings and one 4-star rating.

That said, according to the star-rating widget, the audience favourite has been Satrap of Khand, which has a perfect 5-star
rating with ten votes. I’m actually surprised
that Satrap was so popular since of all the
posts I’ve presented it’s not among my
favourites in terms of the outfit. Maybe some
of the votes were more for the lore content
than for the outfit itself. Easterlings are a
pretty intriguing subject after all, so that
could explain it.

Compare the vote situation for Satrap of Khand with my portrait of Gandalf the Grey, which received nineteen votes in total (by far the most of any of my posts). The votes were mostly 5-star, but there was at least one 4-star or lower vote in there, so Gandalf ends up being ranked significantly lower by the star widget even though it received significantly more votes. Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards though, because if we take post “Likes” as an indicator of popularity, Gandalf comes out on top, with five “Likes”.

Another way to guage a reader fave is by raw
number of page views. In that case, the winner
by a wide margin is Knight of Dol Amroth.
This one remains one of my favourite outfits
as well! Interestingly, it seems to me that
posts with “Knight” or “Captain” in the title
seem to be more popular on average than
other posts.

Reader Not-So-Favourites

Then there are the “what not to wear”-type outfits, the crimes against Middle-earth fashion as it were. The lowest-rated outfit according to the star widget was Bow-master of Thranduil. Okay, guilty as charged. Looking at that outfit in hindsight, I can agree that this was perhaps not my best offering, although some very kind readers did leave mercy-comments.

Or, if we go by page views (or lack thereof), and taking into account the age of the post, there was a distinct lack of love for Dwarven War-skald. Again, I can kind of see why. I mean, looking at it, I recognize what I was
going for, but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.
Also, he looks like he’s playing the saxophone.
Then again a sweet sax solo could only have
improved that post!

Another way to judge outfits that readers might not have liked very much is of course the comments section. Citing gaudiness, lore-inappropriateness, and just general alien-faced-cloakness, you guys let me know in the comments of Watcher at the Bounds that this was not a favourite post. Another post in which reader disapproval was voiced was Wandering Sage (featuring THE HAT), in which we learned that not everyone shares my love for bizarre headwear. On the other hand, LOTRO hats be cray-cray. That’s a well-known truth, and I have learned to embrace the madness!

There was an outfit that garnered some positive comments but also actually inspired at least one emailed “what the hell Starry”, and that was Lindon Dart-hurler. Truth be told I’m really fond of that outfit (I still wear it on my warden!) and in a weird way sort of proud that it resulted in some head-scratching. I feel like those outfits, the ones that are maybe a little borderline, are the ones where I’ve done some cosmetic risk-taking and while they might not be universally enjoyed, they sometimes really speak to some people.

Bonus Deleted Outfits!

I wouldn’t say there are any outfits I’ve presented that I really don’t like (though in hindsight I see why readers didn’t really like some of them), but there were two outfits I put together that never made it to the blog… until now! (It’s like the extended director’s cut of The Starry Mantle!)

The first, which was meant to be an Elvish warrior with supporting lore about the consequences of bodily death to the Elves, was kiboshed due to the ultimate fashion crime: that of being hideously boring. Fascinating lore, dire outfit. I can kind of see what I was trying to go for with the get-up, but at the time I simply didn’t have access to suitable pieces that would have made this one pop visually. Because of the great lore, this is a concept I’m definitely going to revisit someday, hopefully in a more interesting way cosmetically.

The second “deleted outfit” is maybe a little less mundane, but there was just something about it I didn’t like. I don’t know… maybe I should have shared it as more of a risk-taking venture than anything else. On the other hand, whenever I see the screenshots for that outfit I get what I imagine is a slightly pained look on my face. I actually can’t put my finger on what I don’t like about this visually. This outfit was going to be entitled Wolfsbane and the idea was that she had lost her eye to some wolf-pack leader which she was now hunting mercilessly, hence the eyepatch. Now that I type that, it seems pretty hokey, like some Middle-earth version of The Grey, uuugh.

Starry’s Favourites

You might be curious about what my favourite outfits have been. It’s hard to pick, but I’ve put together a little gallery below of some of my favourites, in no particular order.

Do you have an oufit or post that you particularly enjoyed from the past year? Or any that were an affront to your eyeballs? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading, everyone! Please remember to comment before Monday, 3 December for a chance to win some Turbine Points. Until next week, happy outfitting!

– Starry

Prizes: There are three prizes up for grabs: two 1,550 Turbine Point codes and a LOTRO Expansion Triple Pack key. The Expansion Triple Pack includes Mines of Moria, Siege of Mirkwood, and Rise of Isengard. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the draw, which will take place on Monday, 3 December 2012. If you do not want to be entered for the Expansion Triple Pack (i.e., because you already own the expansions), please let me know in your comment. Make sure you use the email address you would like me to send your prize to. Good luck!

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57 Responses to First Anniversary

  1. daveandtammy says:

    I love your sense of lore and outfits, and truthfully I love both deleted outfits. They are both excellent because they are different for you and are something your are passionate about even if you aren’t quite sure why. For me, an outfit doesn’t always have to pop visually to be compelling and the Elven outfit isn’t bright and colorful but it is Elven appropriate in every other respect.

    Keep up the great work and Happy Anniversary!

  2. shipwreck says:

    Congrats on your one-year, Starry! All your posts are well done, informative, and stylish. I admire your consistency!

  3. Baranwen says:

    A year already! I think I can say I follow this blog almost from its beggining, and I’ve always admired your creativity and your attention to MIddle Earth lore. Oh, I love so many outfits that were born in here! And you know that I’ve copied more than once ;)
    Congratulations on your anniversary, and keep the good work!

  4. Baranwen says:

    Oh, I forgot to add, the second from the beggining of your list of favorites, is a big fav of mine too. Calawen, my elf minstrel in Crickhollow server, wears it in her travels.
    Other two in which I have “inspired on” are the Sage of the Sunken City and the Elven-wise (I have a thing for scholars, hehe). Those are the ones I managed to reenact, but in fact I love many others, like the Herb-Woman, the Bread-giver, your Gandalf is really spot on, the Wandering Sage (I have to copy that one), the Wise-Woman, the Dusk-roamer, the Merry Wood-elf is just adorable, and of course the Eglan-provider, which you kidly create after a request of a silly reader ;).

  5. I love seeing all your fashion ideas and all this inspiration means I need more TPs! (I have the expansions) Happy 1st! Here’s to another year of creative couture.

  6. Baranwen says:

    I have to comment again, because I must confess I usually start reading, then I stop and comment, then I reanude reading, I stop again, maybe I go to get coffee, I go back to reading… well, sort of chaotic style.
    And I like to add two more things:
    – Your pics are always excellent. That had to be said.
    – What?! The Wandering Sage is one of the less liked outfits?! What is happening to the world?!

    Ok, I’ll stop posting now.

  7. Happy Anniversary! One year already? Looking forward to many more.

    Your blog along with several cosmetic blogs are a great inspiration for me. I still go back to several favorite outfits with the intention of copying or creating similar outfits. Also a good excuse for me to roll and level up a new alt so I can pick up some quest reward items!

    Looking forward to your future outfits, even deleted outfits.

  8. Happy First Anniversary Starry! Your blog is one of my favorite outfitting blogs and I truly admire the way you always present your outfits. Much thought and creativity goes into them, especially since you always place them in the context of Middle-earth lore. Your outfits are always unique and original, sometimes even highly unusual in a good way. :)
    I always look forward to a new post every week and I am never disappointed. That doesn’t mean I necessarily like every outfit equally, but the creativity of your posts is always incredibly inspiring.
    Thank you for taking us through an overview of the year. However, my personal favorite outfit is missing: Raft-elf http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/raft-elf/ . No it’s not the outfit itself that I love, it’s the screenshots and how you managed to capture the moment. A rare quality that is one of your great talents.
    Thank you for sharing a year of your outfits with us and just like everyone else I’m really looking forward to more in the next year!
    /hugs ~Hymne

    PS: I LOVE that white (second) deleted outfit. Truly I don’t know why you discarded it, it’s wonderful!

  9. Celonglir says:

    Congrats on one year! I’ve certainly enjoyed your blog, and I’m a lover of chartreuse so those are among my favorites.
    I like your second deleted post, with the eyepatch. I just started running a lil champ (up to 44 now!) and I dressed her in an eyepatch. Her story isn’t very interesting, she’s just this crazy little champion who sometimes gets into more trouble than she can handle, and lost an eye to it. LOL
    That said, she is always smiling and loves her battles. .Her favorite book is The Joy of Battle which she is furiously hunting lost pages for. :-)
    Sometimes I think about starting a blog for my outfits…. nah, I’ll just read.

  10. Iris Joris says:

    You inspire me with each and every outfit you create, and I cannot thank you enough for that! Happy anniversary!

  11. Ben says:

    I’ve often viewed your site for inspiration for outfits (this site and the lotro stylist are my favorites) and though I hate to take any suggestions “word-for-word” there have been a few outfits my characters are wearing that took inspiration from the Starry Mantle (one of which is a red version of the knight of Dol Amroth, with a few pieces of gear swapped because of availability or personal preference). I think it is a lot of fun how your outfits also have lore and story behind them (despite the fact that I choose my outfits solely based on my personal aesthetic preference). Anyways, keep up the good work! Definitely appreciate your site!

  12. Wow! Happy anniversary! Your outfits and dedication to the lore are an inspiration. I think my favorite is the Satrap; I used a modified version of it for my Easterling outfit in the latest BBB moving picture. It works quite well on female characters too. :)

    Ely

    (I have the triple-pack, no need for it here!)

  13. Happy Anniversary! It’s fun to get a little overview of all the beautiful outfits you’ve created, as well as the fun places you’ve shown them off in… you always pick the perfect locations. Good luck on your next 52 outfits… or more if you decide to give us some bonus ones. :)

    I have no need of the triple pack… and no /need/ of the Turbine Points, but I want them anyway. :)

  14. Iaksones says:

    Ah, you mentioned Brodda and the Hill-kern as some of your favorites… I like those too. The rough, hillman look is not the easiest to pull off. I still count the Hill-kern as one of your masterpieces.

    You know, I like the Housecarl of Dale too, though I never commented. Not real keen on the ranger green, but the the overall crude simplicity of his armor is great.

    PS I have all xpacs already.

  15. Tomrica says:

    Congratulations! Your anniversary outfit and screenshot is just the cutest thing ever!

  16. Mirmo says:

    Happy Anniversary! I LOVE your blog. Definitely one of my favorite LOTRO fashion blogs. The outfits are great and the lore just adds so much.

    Tough to pick a favorite, but the Captains of the Last Alliance series was strong work. Durin IV was, in my opinion, amazing. http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/captains-of-the-last-alliance-durin-iv/

    Thank you for inspired work. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad you do. Thank you.

    PS I own all expansions.

  17. Nathrien says:

    Happy Anniversary, Starry! I may have not commented on all your outifts, but I love all of them! I love the lore-based ones, the quirky ones, the deleted ones, the themed collections…each has been an incredible inspiration! I love the crisp, flawless pictures and the locales you’ve chosen to compliment each outfit as well!

    I don’t know why you deleted those last two outfits when they’re wonderful to look at…with all the fancy outfits out there, sometimes it’s great to be reminded that the mundane, as you put it, can be just as beautiful :)

    Keep another spectacular year coming!

    ~Nathrien

  18. Leandir of Gladden says:

    Congratulations on your one year anniversary! I love the Sons of Elrond outfit(s)!!

  19. Lasswen says:

    Well done on you Anniversary of blogging cosmetics! I do always love to see your blog, for pics and the lore. Don’t know that I could pic a fav, there are so many good ones :)
    As to what animal to work with next, I hear there’s some level 85 avancs who find their way far from home (not suggesting you let one loose of course) that could need some rounding up or at least keeping in check in their own environment.
    Looking forward to all of your outfits to come in the next year!

    (I have all the expansions, but who can say no to TP?)

  20. A year eh? Wow.. that is certainly a milestone. Congratulations on all fronts, on making it this far, for having the talent to make such amazing outfits and most of all congratulations for staying true to what you wanted to do, not getting shouted down by public opinion.
    You have made some fantastic outfits over the last twelve months, some of my Favorites have been: “The Savant of Gondor”, “Honor Guard of the Seeing Stone”, “Elendil” and “The Sons of Elrond”.
    So a fantastic cry of congratulations and appreciation for you Starry!
    Happy Birthday! :D

    P.S: Also I would like to bow out of the contests for the Tripple Pack. I recently bought this along with RoR and am now the proud owner of all the expansions in LOTRO :D Even though my main and highest character isn’t even up to Moria! :)
    Anyway, well done on a great year and I hope the next is even better!

  21. Rhodo says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary :D
    I love your outfits and would have a difficult time choosing my favorite but I like the Stoorish Bard and the clever-little-dawvery much.
    I also like it how you include parts of the lore with most outfits, keeping going like this :)

  22. cennwyn says:

    What are those pants in the Wolfsbane outfit, the “deleted scene” as it were? Love ‘em!

    Also, please don’t enter me for the expansion packs (but the turbine points are so tasty!)

    I’d have a hard time choosing a favorite of all the outfits on this blog, but I’ve always loved the Moria series (outfits dwarves might have worn when Khazard Dum was at its peak). Brilliant work there, that really highlights my favorite part of this blog: the lore!

  23. Rurir says:

    Ever since I stumbled on your site (I might have been led to it by Casual Stroll; I don’t remember now), I’ve been enthralled by your work. If I had an unlimited supply of TP, I would buy every single piece of clothing the store has to offer. As it is, I have to content myself with living vicariously through you.

    Personally, I’m a Dwarf at heart, so all of the Moria series were awesome for me. I’m also a fan of your Rohan work, too, though. If I could make a suggestion for a new outfit, though, could you maybe do an outfit for someone out of Far Harad? You have the Easterling, but no Southrons yet. This error needs rectified!

    That said, I’d like the TPs so I can add to my wardrobe, please.

  24. Thank so much, everyone, for your lovely comments so far! I wish I could reply to each of you individually, but it would make it too hard to sort out the draw. :)

    If anyone’s reading and hasn’t thrown your hat in for the prizes yet, please don’t be shy! I’d love to hear from you!

  25. Laikos says:

    Wow, hard to believe that I’ve been enjoying your outfits for a year! I scroll through a lot of outfit blogs and yours is by far my favorite.

    Keep up the good work!

  26. Moraiwë says:

    *throws hat* Me please! Are we allowed to transfer prizes? Because I’d really love to win the TP for myself, but the expansions would be for my 10-year-old nephew, who started a f2p account this summer and whose allowance doesn’t cover quite all the expansion packs he’ll end up needing. (He’s also very stubborn about letting me pay for things… he wouldn’t even take 500 silver for his first horse… but if I explain that I won it, rather than paying for it, I can take him to Moria and show him the Gardens at Jazargund when we level him that far!)

    Many congratulations. This is an amazing blog. :)

  27. Moraiwë says:

    Also, for obvious reasons, I’m fond of the Clever-daw (and in fact have it in an outfit slot on the character it was meant for). I think what’s striking me wrong about your second deleted outfit is the complete lack of action between the quilted white clothing and the cloak. It’s a great cloak and I applaud trying to use it in a way that’s not just “same Yule cloak with same Yule dress or tunic-and-pants onesie,” but it doesn’t look like a thick enough cloak for the situation, nor is there any brown that might pick up the practical leather touches in the rest of the outfit. (Or, looked at another way, there isn’t any bluish-gray on the outfit that picks up what’s on the cloak.)

  28. Diamint says:

    Starry, you’re such an inspiration, and please, never worry about having to holding back on your lore enthusiasm! Between you and the Tolkien Professor I’ve ended up learning about (and then researching) all sorts of good stuff I’d never heard of before. The Lossoth Shaman had me chasing down the Kalevala, looking at Sámi culture, I even found a site with traditional Sámi songs on it for me to listen to. It was a wonderful rabbit hole of learning I fell down that day, thanks to you. (And it’s still one of my favorite outfits.) If some of your outfits are unpopular well, so what? Such is the price for doing what you want. Your unique point of view and distinct voice are what make this my very favorite of the cosmetic blogs. Viva la Mantle!

  29. Rosline says:

    Oh Hullo Starry and big congratulations on your First Anniversary! ^_^
    I’ve been a reader and huge fan of your blog for quite some time now, but I’ve always been too shy to leave a comment *blushes red as tomato* but today I desided to be brave! :D

    So, I wanna start with saying: I love your blog! The outfits and screenshots are always amazing, and the way you manage to make great outfits of any items, specially those I find extremely hard to make outfits of, always amaze me! And I’ve learned so many new things thanks to all lore you’re including in the posts! :D

    Picking a favorite of your outfits is incredible hard, but I must say I really loved the Mathom-seeker. Its so adorable, cute and cheerful and I really really love the colours! ^_^

    • Hi Rosline! It’s so hard not to reply to each and everyone’s comments as I usually do (but as I said it makes it a bit awkward to get everything sorted out for the draw). But! I love your adorable outfits on the forums so I had to reply to yours to say thank you and welcome, and I’m glad you decided to say hello! :)

      And, for anyone else reading who is maybe a little bit shy to comment — I would love to hear from you, and everyone who posts here at the Starry Mantle is so awesome and friendly. I really love every comment I get! :)

  30. Lórinel says:

    Happy anniversary, Starry!

    When I discovered Lotro (only half of a year ago – I’m still a newbie comparing to most other players :)), I just wanted to see how Turbine created my favourite places and characters from Tolkien’s books; I thought I will explore this virtual world for a few days and then never log in again. I was so naive! All these possibilities with creating outfits and desire to bring to life these which popped in my head accidentally during reading cosmetic blogs, became one of the reasons I wanted to do quests, level up and gain reputation for much longer than I originally supposed. Your blog was one of the first I discovered and it was the greatest inspiration for me from the beggining.
    I love the way how lore inspire you to create lotro outfits, I love your taste and style, I love your screenshots. I visit you daily, in case you would change your schedule, and always find something fresh and interesting in your older posts. And every new one makes me amazed.

    It’s really hard to point which of your outfits are my favourites- I would have to past too many links here. But maybe I’ll pick few of them:

    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/fellowship-of-the-ring-legolas/ – It’s just perfect and very elvish. I’m using very similar outfit on my main huntress :)
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/gwend-nestadren/ – just an ideal outfit for any healer.
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/360/ – the whole Fornost series is wonderful, but I love this one particularly. Combination of violets and turquoises here is fantastic.
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/eglan-provider/ – I even wanted to create new character, Eglan woman, just to RP in Lone-lands and wear this wonderful outfit ;)
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/grey-elf/ – love the colors here. I would never think of putting together these pieces, very well done!
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/the-sons-of-elrond/ – because I’m fascinated by half-elven too ;) colours are great, as always. Wonderful combination of shoulders and cloak.
    * http://starrymantle.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/dunlending-goatherd/ – I just love the culture-tagged outfits and Dunlending goatherd is probably my favourite from this series. And maybe Golden Mallorn-sentry, and Gil-galad, and Spaewife of Dale of course, and… Oh no, really, too many to mention…

    It’s really hard to find words to express how much I admire your work. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us!

  31. lotroadventurer says:

    Congratulations on 1st anniversary! You’ve posted so many great outfits that I really can’t decide on a favorite:) But the lore is interesting, and I admire your devotion to it, I’m far too lazy to do research…

    And in case I win, I already have the expansions.

  32. Congratulations!! I have to say, this post is an amazing summary of the past year and I’ve enjoyed hearing about the experience (and seeing the outfits I missed along the way!) Hearing about the behind-the-scenes of your blog was an excellent way to end the year :) Thank you so much for all the work you do to keep us entertained and inspired!

  33. Thank you for sharing so many incredible outfits. All are a marvel to behold, you’ve inspired me to look past the mundane and seek out the individualism of my characters. Much appreciation and Happy Anniversary!

  34. Elinnea says:

    Happy anniversary! I loved reading this post, especially looking at some of your past posts through a few different lenses – most flowery text, most audience participation, most lore-heavy, outfits including animals. And it’s fun to get a glimpse of what goes into making each of these outfit posts. It’s this kind of thing that gives a blog its life, and makes it different from just reading through a static catalog book of outfit pictures. Your site is always fun and creative, and I hope you will be able to keep it up for a long time – at whatever posting schedule is good for you, of course!

    (P.S. I don’t need the triple pack either. Thanks for the contest!)

    • Elinnea says:

      Oh, P.P.S. I find it amusing that you link to your least-viewed blog post, because I immediately went to look at what it was, and I’m sure other people must have too. Soon it won’t be your least-viewed any more… it’s the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of blog statistics!

  35. Ariel says:

    I must say I love almost all of your outfits, but my absolute favorite would be Mathom Seeker. I love the colors and the inclusion of that hat – so cute! I can’t believe that the Wandering Sage wasn’t well-received – I LOVE that outfit! You incorporate that hat so well! But oh well, there’s no accounting for taste I suppose!

    Keep up the lovely and gorgeous work!

  36. nfrodrigues says:

    I just started following your blog recently, well I just started playing LOTRO recently, but I’m loving the outfits you place here. I’m a newb so I drool over these cosmetics. I have a blog of my own (nothing LOTRO related) so I know the amount of work needed to keep it updated, Having said this, keep up your great inspiring posts!

  37. Felanduil says:

    Thanks for all the great posts Starry! Even though I’ve been busy outside of middle-earth, I still make sure to check your site for new outfit ideas to try whenever I manage to find some time.

  38. Tuiliel says:

    Happy anniversary Starry! My personal favorites are the Stag-rider and the Savant of Gondor, but truth be told I love them all! One of these days I hope to learn how to take screenshots as amazing as these.

    (and no need for expansions here)

  39. Lanark says:

    Happy anniversary! I have a lot of cosmetic blogs bookmarked, but this is one of my favorites :) I’m not a big Dwarf fan, I don’t have any in my stable of alts, but the finest outfit I’ve found on this blog is the Runecarver Dwarf. The colors are great, they’re so bright but they all work. The detail and lines have a natural sweep to them and it’s not often that something looks so good on a Dwarf over any other race. Thanks for the artistic inspirations and I hope you continue to dress Middle Earth :)

  40. Tsedon says:

    Happy anniversary! Thank you for so many inspiring ideas, keep up the good work :)

  41. Carol Dunstan says:

    Congrats on your anniversary! You’ve definitely put in a lot of hard work, and you know that there’s always some good come out of a dodgy outfit – experience!

    (have RoI, so the expansion code would be a bit of a waste for me)

  42. Rosalie says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary! It somehow seems that you’ve been around longer than that, because yours has truly become one of the very best blogs in all of Lotro. Your work has inspired me to think more about what I’m wearing, and now I show up to my kin’s band practice in a new outfit every week! It’s always a pleasure to visit this blog and find out what you’ve come up with this time around. Here’s to another year of The Starry Mantle!

    (I should add that I don’t need the expansion pack myself, but I do know of some kinmates that could use it if you have no issue with me transferring it to someone else should I win–it would definitely make quite a wonderful prize for some of the newer players in our kinship. If it is not something that you’d want me to transfer, I’d be happy to only enter in the TP drawing. Thanks for putting this together, and thanks for your devotion to this wonderful blog.)

  43. Faunne says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for all your effort- your posts are inspirational and a joy to read!

  44. Gildyr says:

    Happy Birthday! I love how all your outfits are lore inspired.

    (I already have the triple pack)

  45. beorneoth says:

    Congrats Starry! You continue to impress!

  46. Caenel says:

    Happy Anniversary and a big Thank you for a year of wonderful storytime :)
    Favourite outfits of 3 of the 4 races would be *Dusk-roamer* In each of the screenshots you’ve captured that quiet, graceful elegance of the female Elves. Screenshots work so well with the storyline.
    Hobbit choice can be none other than the *Mathom-seeker*. Bubbly, fun-loving. Started doing skirmishes just so I could acquire the leggings for this outfit lol
    Both *Gimli* and *Rune-carver* have my vote for the Cosmetic side of best Dwarf favourites. Very well done!!
    Looking forward to the 2nd year of your creative postings. Thank you again for this wonderful site Starry. Have a very Happy Christmas!!

  47. Ellohir says:

    Congrats! I think that the deleted outfits were not that bad, I liked them!

    PS: I already have Mirkwood, count me out of that :)

  48. Gildyr says:

    I love the Hill-kern of Angmar., especially the helmet.

    (Already have triple pack)

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