2011 Calendar Swap – Behind the Scenes

In Handcrafting, Shop by Jaclynn Seah8 Comments

One thing The Occasional Traveller has done for me, is allow me to interact with a whole group of people I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to. I’ve made several new friends just by setting up this site, and for that I am grateful! So one of the things I did was to take part in the Design Crush/Greedy Girl Calendar Swap 2011! Basically, everyone who signs up is assigned a partner to swap calendars with. Why? Just because!

Now I’m a fan of doing up my own journals, and have done one annually since 2001. It was something I did for myself and friends, but I got lazy, and I haven’t figured out how to make it profitable. Hand drawing an entire book is pretty time consuming!)

So somewhat in commemoration of the 10th year of journal designing, and mostly because I just got myself a spiffy new L Letterpress set, I set about designing a 2011 calendar for my swap buddy, Caroline!

Now Caroline wanted a calendar to spice up her corporate cubicle, and she wanted something pretty and girly, so hey… look at all my new floral letterpress plates, let’s test them out! Granted, it’s nothing fancy – I’m not even designing the plates on my own (see how the professionals really do it at Paper Tiger Press, a local Letterpress studio that makes the most beautiful stationery), but baby steps! First I had to get the hang of using the letterpress.

This, my friends, is my workspace.

If you think this is bad, you should see my table/workspace at my actual work place…

Yes, I plonk myself on my porch, the only place in my house with enough sunlight, breeze and a solid floor I can use the press on without blocking the thoroughfare with all my barang-barang (that’s Knick-Knacks, for the non-Singaporean). I’ve since upgraded to the ledge/chairs just behind where I have less backache, but only when it doesn’t rain.

I then got down to work. No pictures of me working, because I was way too busy, and doing letterpress is actually quite fiddly – setting the plates, inking the plates, keeping everything tidy, rolling the plates, removing and repeat… but here’s what I came up with:

All letterpressed! Love the debossed texture… which is your favourite?

Quite pretty, yeah? And all just using the various plates that I had bought (and I had to buy a few sets though, one set is just not enough). I opted to keep it pretty neat and clean – letterpress usually looks better when it’s less fussy. It’s not so apparent here, but if you look closely, you can see the improvement from Jan to Dec as I figure out how to work it~

Then I set about handwriting in the dates.

That’s my handwriting – it’s not the fanciest, but it’s legible!

I wanted to keep it crafty – I have hand-drawn all my previous journals, and also because I don’t have a decent printer on hand. The printer would have made it look more professional definitely, and the estimation of width and placement would have been a whole lot neater, but I’m kinda fond of my handwritten months~

And here’s the final product!

Trivia: I had to reprint one of the pages because I had written the dates in the wrong order and miscalculated the spacing horrifically. Can you tell which month has been replaced from the previous photo?

So how to spice it up some more for Caroline? For one, I did up some pretty packaging so she could unwrap something pretty…

Letterpressed 2 pieces of card and wrapped it around the front and back like a corset, tied together with gold ribbon to form a bellyband of sorts

And how would she display it?

Red paper bunting on white string

Here is a little homemade bunting I created that she could pin up on her board at work to hang the calendar’s from, or just act as a little decoration overall. I didn’t have any glue on hand, so it was double-sided taped, which unfortunately didn’t stick that well. Definitely needs improvement, sorry Caroline! I was trying to get it out by the deadline..

In the meantime, here’s what Caroline sent me in return!

I got a package yesterday… exciting!

Caroline got me a pretty letterpress and silkscreened calendar from Ilee! It’s absolutely beautiful and I love it! This is how the professionals do it, and I feel a little bad mine is so… handmade~ but it’s definitely inspiration to improve my own skills!

My present!

For people who’ve received packages from me, you’ll also notice that I’ve been practicing my letterpress technique on things from the Thank You notes to the Envelopes… I’ve also been doing up my own namecards too! If anyone’s interested in small quantities of invites/namecards/cards or a 2011 calendar, do drop me a note! I’m always keen to practice =) I have plates for Weddings and Thank Yous and Birthday and Flowers!

My latest cards… Maybe you’ll be seeing one in your order too


  1. where do you get the letter press machine? i wanna try it too!
    your designs are pretty! i love Jan, Feb, Mar, Jun, Aug.. haha

    1. Author

      Thanks Rachel! There’s a 2012 version btw

      the machine is the L Letterpress by Lifestyle Crafts. You’ll need the Epic Six machine and the L Letterpress platform (Find out more from Lifestyle Crafts)

      in Singapore you can get the machine from Spotlight or at Junior de Artist at Velocity!

  2. Pingback: 2012 Calendar Swap – More Letterpressing! | The Occasional Traveller

  3. If you want to try your hand at a more professional-looking hand-crafted version, you can order a DIY calendar kit (with only the months printed) from Paper Source.

    1. Oh, I don’t mean to suggest that yours needs improvement — I think yours is absolutely lovely!!

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