Saturday, February 14, 2015

Melody of the West - A Fond Farewell

My grey ship has arrived and it's time I sail into the west, away from LOTRO's shore and towards Valinor.

Four years ago, I started dabbling in cosmetics. Three and a half years ago, I began to share outfits with some close friends, embarrassed to admit I played "virtual dress-up," as I had once put it. Three years ago, I began sharing them with all of you...and it's been a glorious three years.

It's with a heavy heart I make my final cosmetic entry here at Material Middle-earth. I thought it appropriate to end on an outfit using the same location and similar colors as my very first--sea blue and the elven homesteads in Falathlorn--which can be viewed here.  Even though this blog opened with a cosmetic contest I held for Forgottten Darkness in April 2012, it wasn't until June that I mustered the courage to post my own creation.

There have been 150+ posts here, ninety percent of which have been outfits. The other ten has been about beta previews and updates regarding cosmetic additions to the skirmish camps. I honestly never expected to reach that number. From June to December of 2012, I was an outfitting machine. I had a new outfit every two to four days (some of which I think are absolutely ugly...and it's not because I was new to this) and I quickly burned myself out after making fifty-something outfits. I returned in April 2013, just in time for a server fashion contest and the release of the Wildermore zone...and then a computer hardware failure left this blog suspended until September. I returned again and managed to ahdere to a weekly posting regiment on Saturdays, which has worked very well. I've never felt any pressure to make an outfit or haphazardly throw one together under that system.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hobbit-skald - Pennycandy of Gladden

This here is the final outfit request I'll be honoring. As you know, Saturday will be my final day updating this blog. I understand that there are other creations that some of you would have liked me to make, but I'm out of time. It's taking all of my willpower to stick to my guns and retire, as planned, this weekend. Thank you for strongly encouraging me to continue, but the longer I stay, the harder it will be to leave. Let's get back to the outfit, shall we?

I had a brief conversation with Lilyrose, the leader of Rangers of the West on the Gladden server. Some of you may recall that I've had the pleasure judging two server fashion events hosted by her wonderful kinship between 2013 and 2014. Anyway, she was wondering if I could make some sort of warrior-skald outfit. Usually she dons her Draigoch set and charges headfirst into battle on her hobbit mini. I'm hoping this gives her (and other similar halfling characters) another combat-ready option.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Revisiting the Early Days of MME

As promised in late November, I've gone back in time to 2012, taken old outfits from this blog, and reposted them here in bigger, brighter pictures with much improved graphical quality. It was difficult to choose from over fifty outfits, but I narrowed that list down to eight. With each picture, I've included the name of the outfit (most sound soooo corny!) and a link back to the original post for the dyes and skins. I almost changed some of the pieces, but decided to leave them as is.

Normally I post new outfits on Saturday, but I thought this would be a refreshing change of pace.

You might be wondering what was my reasoning for doing this? Here's my first reason. I never had the followers in 2012 that I have nowadays. When Material Middle-earth was in its infancy, I was lucky to get a hundred views a month. Nowadays, it nets at least several thousand. By not establishing myself on Facebook until late 2013 and Twitter in 2014, many LOTRO players didn't have the chance to see my early work as it was posted. I am hoping, today, that you'll join me on a sentimental journey and see where it all began. And for the second reason, this week's entry allowed me to exhaust whatever marks, medallions, and dyes remained simply by recreating these.

Also, don't forget that next Saturday I'll be posting my farewell entry with a new outfit! Before then, I'll be honoring one last outfit concept from a follower. If all goes well, that ensemble will appear here on Wednesday morning.

The War-forged Defender

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Purveyors of Pie

Mid-January, when I had asked for outfit ideas on Twitter, Fredelas posted the following on my wall: "Could you help me with some LOTRO outfit ideas befitting my position as Certified Pie Inspector?" This was a tall order for me, as I am dreadful when it comes to outfitting hobbits. I never bothered with dwarves during the three year run of Material Middle-earth, but I certainly tried my hand at a few hobbits. For the first week, whenever I applied the term "Pie Inspector" to our adorable halflings, I couldn't think of anything. It was absolutely frustrating. Halfway through a second week of drawing blanks, a blizzard swept through and buried me under 3-4 four feet of snow. Dealing with that gave me a chance to distance myself from LOTRO. This past weekend, when I sat back down, I had a couple of ideas:

  • A Certified Pie Inspector that understands the process of making quality pies from scratch. This inspector holds everybody else's to the same lofty standards that he holds his.
  • A Certified Pie Inspector who has never baked, but eaten enough of them to know the combinations of fillings and mixings that make a superb pie. (Considering hobbits also appreciate good ale, I tossed this into the mix as a side hobby. This explains the robe I chose below.)

Brainstorming was only the first step. Finding the right attire? That was going to be tricky. Other than the Bounder Shirriff's Cap and the tunic out of the Mathom House, I knew of no signature hobbit clothing. In fact, I don't think I've seen anything other than attire that's designed for dwarves, elves, or men (though men and hobbits seemed to share the same or similar styles). Thus began my search to find clothing with justifiable hobbit-like appearances or origins. What you see below is my final product. These outfits might not exactly feel hobbit-like, though they do stand out enough to give our Certified Pie Inspectors the proper air of respect and authority!

Beneath each picture, I've included short captions. I've decided to do a little storytelling for this entry, something that I haven't done in a very long time. Also, you're in for a small surprise. I've featured my first male hobbit!

Naturally, the hardest thing about baking apple pies is reaching those pesky apples first. Everything else is easy for little Pennycandy.

Of course, you can't be an official Pie Inspector if you can't bake your own to perfection! 
Those crusts must be golden brown and just thick enough to not collapse when cutting that first delicious slice...
Head: Plumed Hat (Red, introductory quest reward)
Chest: Arth-crus (White, Fangorn's Edge instance reward)
Hands: Oven Mitts (Red, skirm camp cosmetics vendor)**
Legs: Balanced Leggings of Might (Red, world drop)***

**These mitts are only necessary when putting in or taking out that delicious pie from the oven.
***The Rhuvel-socas leggings from Pits of Isengard would make the ideal pairing with the shirt. I've been trying to get them for a long time, but to no avail. If I had them, they would have been pictured instead.

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