My Top 5 Distractions and Why They’re Good for Me

My Top 5 Distractions and Why They’re Good for Me

Once upon a time, I was happily distracted at my desk, reading a list of blog post ideas when I probably should have been doing just about anything else. So I rather liked the irony that one of the ideas on the list was to write about my top distractions.

I firmly believe that distractions are a necessary evil for creative types. As annoying as it is to get stuck going down a rabbit hole and not actually do anything productive, sometimes it’s just what your brain needs to find its next best idea!

So just for fun, and because I was distracted, here are my top distractions and why I love them.

Instagram

I mean…this one isn’t really a surprise. It’s hands-down the hub of all social activity for this blog. And I can’t even start to tell you how much of a distraction it is for me.

Too often, I catch myself just sitting there and staring at my feed, sifting through what people post and generally envying flatlay skills. And more often than not, it gives me inspiration for my own creations!

Actually, I have a Saved folder called Insta-spiration where I save things from all kinds of niches (#bookstagram is a personal favourite). That’s pretty much the entire purpose of the Saved section for me. Or, well, that and saving workout videos that I never actually try.

Video games

Also not really a surprise. It’s pretty common for me to get myself mildly spun up over how much stuff I have to do, and solve all my problems in life by logging into Final Fantasy XIV or the Sims. And then, when I realize it’s been four hours and I still technically need to do all the things, I start stressing again.

Usually, though, in the time I’m playing, I come up with several more ideas for things to do, or find a beautiful view that inspires a half-dozen screenshots. So it’s absolutely worth it.

Also may or may not be exactly why my crafters are always max level…

Feedly

If you’re not familiar with Feedly, it’s basically a centralized RSS feed where you can follow websites and organize all their posts into fun, easy-to-skim feeds and cards. It’s what I use to find industry news and random things to share on social media.

And my goodness, is it a rabbit hole for me. 

I use it for social media at work, and on that feed, I follow things like Entrepreneur and Fast Company. Which means it’s incredibly easy for me to fall into reading clickbait titles and feeling like I know everything.

Although I never actually do know everything, I do usually end up learning at least one little tidbit! 

My to-do list

I am the queen of to-do lists. Like to the point that I have a main to-do list, with everything I need to do, and what I call a tunnel-vision to-do list, where I write down up to five things that I need to prioritize before I can do the rest of the list.

True story.

I like using lists because I’m a very visual person, and it helps me actually see what I need to get done. Plus, you know, who doesn’t like crossing something off the list?

They’re also a huge source of distraction for me on some days, especially when I have a lot to do. Because what I’ll do is sit there and flip between different little tasks that I think will be easy but never actually finish any of them and then get nothing done.

This one’s maybe not so good for me, but at the very least, it’s a lesson about myself and how I handle overwhelm. Which I can then use to try and, you know, not get so overwhelmed.

Bird videos

Some people get distracted by cat videos. Not me.

Normally, I’m not one to watch videos. I don’t know what it is about them, but sometimes they trigger my anxiety, especially when I don’t know what sounds they’re going to make.

But especially when I know I need to go to bed, or when I’m waiting for a party queue in FFXIV, I love watching bird videos. They don’t do anything for my creativity, but they’re just so pure that I can’t help but smile!

Now it’s your turn. What’s your biggest distraction? Does it help your creativity?

Lofty Business: Should I Use a Troupe Stage or a Wooden Loft?

Lofty Business: Should I Use a Troupe Stage or a Wooden Loft?

I remember the first time I saw a loft in a house in FFXIV. It was one of Alice Lucis’caelum’s designs, and it took me days after that to figure out how she’d done it.

Back then, the only way to build a loft in a house in FFXIV was to use a stomach-churningly precise glitch to float a troupe stage. I spent hours constructing one in Shane’s small house, and told him to stop me if I ever tried to take it down.

When Shadowbringers came out, I could have sworn Square Enix had heard the cries of designers everywhere, because instead of yet again patching the loft glitch so it wouldn’t work, they created an item that actually made the loft glitch much, much easier.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect, and still needed glitches if you were to get any furniture onto it. But in general, here’s what you need to know about each of these loft techniques.

 

The troupe stage loft

This is the traditional approach, and requires you to work with the existing geometry in your house by floating the stage on top of windows or doors.

Advantages: It’s technically considered a table, so it’s typically much easier to place certain items on top of a troupe stage. It’s also a really good height for splitting a room vertically, and has a nice grain in the wood.

Disadvantages: It’s a tricky glitch, and it’s limited to certain parts of your home. Troupe stages are also very expensive on the market, and require three different level 70+ crafters to make yourself. Oh, and the glitch to float them gets patched and changed nearly every release.

How to make a loft with a troupe stage


The wooden loft

This is the new approach, and is much more flexible in terms of where you can put it.

Advantages: It’s considered a wall-mounted item, so placing a wooden loft is the easiest thing ever. You don’t need any glitches. It’s also a low-level crafting item, so it’s easy to make yourself and typically much more affordable on the market.

Disadvantages: Because it’s a wall-mounted item, you need to plan ahead to place items on it, and use the loft glitch to furnish it. It’s also thinner than the troupe stage, but it can make up for that when you pair it with the wooden beam.

How to make a loft with a wooden loft

 

Overall, the wooden loft approach is by far my favourite. It’s easier, less time-consuming, and more flexible in what you can build!

Ready for more housing fun?

Check out House Therapy, my all-new section for all things FFXIV!

How I Plan Housing Designs in FFXIV

How I Plan Housing Designs in FFXIV

When I first started trying my hand at the more complicated side of home design in FFXIV, it did not take me long to figure out that it really wasn’t the kind of thing that you could just…wing.

After all, there’s nothing worse than spending a couple of hours on a build, and then deciding that you really don’t like it, or that you don’t know what to do with it from here.

So now, I always like to have a vague idea of what I’m doing before I start a project.

Here’s what I do to plan before I start designing a house in FFXIV.

 

Step 1: Pinterest.

Unsurprisingly, home design in FFXIV is a big thing. Like people commission other people with real money to design their homes big. Which means that there’s a lot on Pinterest to serve as inspiration!

I keep a board on my Pinterest account to save tutorials and inspiring designs, then organize them by what rooms I’d want those designs in so I have an idea of what I’m building before I get started.

Obviously I always add my own flair, and it never ends up looking just like the photos. But it still saves so much time and wasted effort in the long run!

 

Step 2: Preview housing items.

With the Shadowbringers release, FFXIV introduced an option to preview furnishings in your house before you buy them off the market. It’s my favourite thing.

It’s pretty rare for a housing item in FFXIV to be used for its actual purpose; most designers use parts of items to create a certain look within another design. I use the preview feature to figure out which furnishings match the designs I pick out, and then I can make a list of what I need to buy and craft to bring my design to life!

 

Step 3: Build grocery lists on Garland Tools.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this site before, but it’s an absolute lifesaver for any crafter and house designer. I always create a grocery list of the things I need to craft, and then I create a separate list (which doesn’t end up being a list so much as a collection of cards) of things that I can buy from various vendors so I don’t overspend on the market.

Then, I use my list to go on a spree of creating my housing items, and I stockpile them in the house’s storage if I don’t have enough room in my inventory.

 

Step 4: Decide on in-house placements.

Before I start creating, I like to have a general idea in my brain of where in a house a certain design is going to go. Because as much of a pain as it is, there will always be limitations! Depending on the size of house, you’ll need to work around pillars, stairs, openings, and other fixtures. 

I don’t really use a tool for this, because I’ve always had a knack for spatial awareness. But I imagine even sketching it out would be a good strategy for this part.

 

Step 5: Design!

Once you know what you’re doing and where it’s going, it’s time to design! You may need to reiterate your design depending on whether it worked the way you expected, and you may need to cycle back to Pinterest and Garland Tools a few times to get it just right.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to prep for a build?

Ready for more housing fun?

Check out House Therapy, my all-new section for all things FFXIV!

Housing Design in 5.1: 6 New Furnishings and Where to Find Them

Housing Design in 5.1: 6 New Furnishings and Where to Find Them

Last week’s update to 5.1 kicked off some big things for FFXIV, with lots of new content of all varieties and the promise of the Ishgard Restoration and new housing areas to come.

One of those pieces of new content was a range of new housing items.

Ordinarily, that alone would be exciting enough for me, but 5.1 also brought us new wards—and because I was lucky enough to snag a large for my boyfriend, who has no interest in designing, naturally I needed to investigate and start creating with the new items!

So here are my favourites so far, where to get them, and how I use them. 

 

The leather sofa

IRL, I’m not one for a leather sofa. My parents had one when I was growing up, and it didn’t take long for me to discover that they’re shockingly cold in the winter, and too hot (and sticky) in the summer. And you have to take good care of them for them to age well.

But a virtual leather sofa? That I don’t have to take care of. And it’s my second-favourite furnishing in the latest release.

It looks funny on its own—it has no arms or anything, so it looks like a squishy bench. But its real charm is that the team managed to design it with perfectly level seats and with a perfect grid, so with the snap grid, it’s incredibly easy to turn it into a sectional sofa or an L-shaped sofa that A) looks like it was made that way and B) doesn’t make the cushion texture look weird.

So long, forever frustrating and rather one-sided oasis couch and south seas couch, which were previously a staple in my designs.

Where to get it: Crafted by a level 78 leatherworker

 

The ale tap

Maybe this is super stereotypically Canadian of me, but how could you not love the idea of having your own beer tap in your house? I know I would be all for it. 

While I probably have to wait a little while before I can have a real beer tap in my house, I love the idea of this little virtual furnishing. It’s understated enough to be classy, and a nice nod to all the players who build basement bars and lounges for friends and FC members to socialize in.

It’s just a bonus in my books that it’s designed in a Crystarium style, because I love the look of that area and really, really hope it’s where the new housing area ends up being.

Where to get it: Crafted by a level 78 blacksmith

 

The necklace display stand

I have a feeling this item will be a little niche, as will its matching hat stand. And it definitely feels like it’s meant for retail, which has been showing up more and more in FFXIV’s housing ever since it introduced mannequins and their ability to do private sales. 

But I absolutely adore this furnishing, because as a little-known fun fact about me, I am what my family calls a magpie—super obsessed with shinies and especially jewellery—and once tried to start a homemade wire-wrapped jewellery business. Obviously it did super well.

Where to get it: Crafted by a level 78 goldsmith

 

The flooring mat

Hands down my favourite of the new furnishings. I’ve always been a little irked with the lack of flooring options in FFXIV, and the fact that if I want a particular flooring style, the whole level is going to be exactly the same. 

This new item, which is technically a rug, makes overall design in FFXIV feel a lot more like the Sims. I can choose exactly where I want hardwood flooring, and it can even be dyed, so I can finally get that gorgeous mid-tone ashy grey look I’ve always wanted.

Where to get it: Any housing merchant

 

The Crystarium table set

 

Table set, chairs not included.

This point is going to show you exactly how much of an interior design nerd I am.

I’m not sure yet if I’ll use this new set in any of my designs, because it isn’t really my style, but I do love how it looks. It actually reminds me rather strongly of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs (you may know him for Fallingwater) and it just has that classic retro modernist look to it!

If they bring out any more items like this, I may just have to try my hand at creating my own take on a Usonian design.

Where to get it: Crafted by a level 78 carpenter

 

The log partition

I won’t lie to you, I’m not totally in love with this furnishing.

I love the idea of it—I was raised in a very outdoorsy, went-camping-every-summer kind of family, so I appreciate the natural beauty of a log cabin, and I love that we’re finally starting to get some new textures in partitions and walls that don’t involve way, way too many blank partitions.

What would make this item better for me, at least, as a person who loves shiplap more than logs, would be if we could dye the partition, or at least if it came in different wood styles.

Where to get it: Any housing merchant

Ready for more housing fun?

Check out House Therapy, my all-new section for all things FFXIV!

Crafting in 5.1: What I Think of FFXIV’s Changes

Crafting in 5.1: What I Think of FFXIV’s Changes

Before 5.1 hit earlier this week, I knew that there were going to be changes to crafters. However, sometimes I can be the kind of person who deals with things they don’t like by pretending they’re not there, so I just…didn’t read up on what was going to happen.

I’m both glad and sad I did that. Glad because I know I would have freaked out over it all, and sad because I wasn’t prepared.

When I opened up the game on Tuesday morning, I was flabbergasted to see the state of my poor crafters’ hotbars. See, I use a grand total of four PC hotbars for my crafting abilities, because I do tend to use a fair chunk of them if a craft ever goes awry. Which it just will sometimes when you’re also trying to watch Netflix.

After the patch, this is what my specialist armorer’s hotbars looked like.

I then spent a good three hours reading through the actual descriptions to see what I could learn. And here’s what I’ve learned so far.

The changes are going to make most high-quality macros obsolete.

A few months ago, I met a fellow crafter who was nice enough to share her macros with me, because at that point I was doing most of my crafting manually. Two of her macros were designed to make anything basically below level 66 a guaranteed HQ.

Each of those macros had several steps, and relied heavily on abilities like Steady Hand, which don’t exactly exist anymore. And at least for max-level crafters, they don’t need to.

Instead, level 80 crafters gain something called Trained Eye, which was introduced in Shadowbringers to help with low-level crafts. On any craft at or below level 70, you could give up 250 of your CP in exchange for an automatic 30 to 100% HQ without using up any of your craft’s durability. It was both a little broken, and a gamble.

Now, with 5.1, that ability has been changed to a guaranteed 100% HQ on anything 10 or more levels below.

That’s right.

One button that lets you skip the RNG entirely with no chance of failure.

It’s certainly going to make my life easier, especially now that if I really wanted to make a macro, it would only need two or three steps. But I’m a little wary about what it means for people working to level up their crafters to take away things like Steady Hand and Comfort Zone, which were necessities for me below 70 to level myself up.

Quick synthesis is now so much less of a pain in my butt.

I used to hate quick synthesis because by the time it processed a craft, I could have probably loaded the crafting screen, hit the buttons, and made the thing myself.

With the changes in 5.1, the time to actually process a quick synthesis has been significantly reduced—which makes it much easier and less tedious to do mass crafting either for the market or for your own use.

As a bonus, from what I can tell they’ve also significantly improved the chances of getting high-quality items from quick synthesis, which isn’t a big deal for me because I mostly make housing items but will be a huge deal for mats crafters and gear crafters.

It’s much easier to be a weaver.

Obviously, with only a week to really dig around in the changes, I haven’t discovered everything. But one thing I did discover is that my favourite crafter, the weaver, got a major change that I am very much in favour of.

See, one of my favourite things about the culinarian, and the reason why it was the first one I leveled, was that it gives me multiples for everything I craft. Which really makes life easy for things like leves.

With the recent patch, they introduced that for the weaver, too. It’s not everything, but so far, it looks to be most of the crafts that are most painful for me—things like bloodhempen yarn, a staple for Hingan sofas and chairs, and yarns that require mob drops.

I like it so far, and while I don’t necessarily want it to be a thing for every crafter, I do hope it becomes a thing for the leatherworker as well, which is easily my least favourite crafter because of its complete reliance on mob drops.

Have you spent any time on crafters since 5.1? What do you think?