Monday, January 12, 2009

It's VSN Time Again!

Introducing the VSN – Virtual Stamp Night

The next VSN, What’s Love Got to do With It, is set for the weekend after Valentine’s Day (February 20th and 21st) with the “mini” VSN, the Crush, scheduled for this Saturday. In addition, the creative coordinators of this Love Fest have added an additional “teaser” event to this VSN. The excitement begins with a “flirtation” this Friday at 7 PM, so be sure to tune in (log in to SplitCoast Stampers) for this extra little bit of fun on Friday evening.

If you’ve ever been able to go away to one, Stamping Retreat Weekends are a lot of fun and a real treat. Generally, you go away to a resort or a hotel where you can totally immerse yourself in crafting projects from breakfast to bed. Your food is cooked for you and someone does the dishes, makes your bed, and brings your morning and afternoon coffee. There’s no one barking or meowing, no one to cook for, no housework, no phone, no one asking what’s for dinner, no one calling “Honey, I need you!” or “Mom, I can’t find my [fill in the blank]???”

A Virtual Stamp Night is essentially a virtual retreat weekend, “virtual” being the operative word. We immerse ourselves in card challenges and crafting. We all work together on projects that often have tutorials associated with them that introduce us to new techniques. But while we do it as a group, we all work alone in our own space, in our own homes, and we interact with each other on-line via chat threads. (And no, I have no clue why it’s called a Virtual Stamping Night, since it’s actually two nights plus a mini event a few weeks ahead of the main course. My guess is that it started out as a single night and has just grown and evolved from there.)

VSN can be for anyone. You don’t HAVE to do it all. You can make VSN as much or as little as works for you. At any time during the VSN weekend, you can take the time to do one or a few of the challenges. You don’t need a reservation… all you need to do is log on if and when it works for you.

But for those of us who want to immerse ourselves in a VSN, we usually have to work doubly hard to manage all of the potential distractions around us since we are still at home, still the “Mom,” still chief cook and bottle washer, still the “go to” person in our family. It takes some advance planning to organize our family and our work space in order to be able to “host” a “retreat for one" at home, with “family” going on around us.

Even if you are blessed as I am with a room or a space in your home that is dedicated to crafting, it helps to prepare your work space to maximize your efficiency for the timed challenges which are the hallmark of the VSN. If you don’t have a space set aside just for crafting, you can easily turn any area of your home into a temporary “studio” for the duration of the VSN.

Preparing for a VSN

Preparing for a VSN means preparing both your family and your work area. The “Crush” event this weekend will be a perfect opportunity to test your plan and see what changes you need to make in terms of your family and your physical set up. I have changed how I manage myself and my family with each VSN I’ve participated in.

First, decide how much of the VSN you want to participate in. The key to successful pre-planning is to anticipate and prevent distractions and interruptions during that block of time. Plan ahead to have meals in the crock pot or already cooked and in the refrigerator, or settle on take-out. Decide who is going to be responsible for child care, pet duties, cooking, and clean-up. If young children are part of the equation and you want to try to do the entire VSN, you might consider arranging for a sleep-over at Grandma’s or for a babysitter to come in and help.

If you haven’t already done it, right now is a good time to check over your supplies and make a shopping list so you can restock things you’re low on and that you know you’ll need no matter what the challenges might be, such as adhesives, embossing powder, plain old cardstock, and watercolor paper. A “shopping list” has already been posted on the VSN Forum for this weekend’s challenges, so be sure to check that out and see if there is anything on the list that you don’t already have on hand.

Negotiate an area in your home that will be off-limits to everyone else for the duration of the VSN, a work area where you can spread out your craft supplies and leave them set up for the full two days of the VSN. Check out tomorrow’s blog post for some ideas for setting up an efficient work area in your kitchen or living room.


Christi said...

Wow! Thanks for all that info! I have never participated in a VSN but I think I just might have to do this!

Neestamp said...

Thank you for the info. Have thought of trying one of the VSN events. But, the thought of putting out the supplies is UH!... Well need to do one in the near future. May be the next one.

One question though, have you done one with your stampin' friends? How do you organize one if you have?