December 2005. It was winter in Hong Kong and I was home alone as my husband was away and wouldn’t be back until the first week of January 2006. I was into my third month of designing digital scrapbooking and Ztampf! was basically all I spent my time on then – it was my baby!
My husband and I didn’t exactly do Christmas then, we exchanged New Year’s gifts instead. So I wanted to gift him something handmade that is not only nice and unique but also useful and practical. Then I got this bright idea of making him a desk calendar that can be collapsed into a flat booklet which he can carry with him whenever he travels – which he does quite a lot. I started to make some sketches to design the look and to work out the construction part of it. After some experimentation, I arrived at what would become the basic of all the Ztampf! CraftyCalendar Kits that came after that.
Then the digital works begun: creating the tabbed pages, the dates and months, the backgrounds, etc. Being totally immersed in digital scrapbooking, of course I made use of my own designs. I used my own personal layouts that I have made since I first started digiscrapping in August 2005 to decorate the calendar pages. I loved how it looked like as if they were actual mini pages stapled or stitched onto the calendars pages! And I was so pleased with myself to come up with the idea of unique Date Markers to mark the important dates in a way that is fun, special and practical! But most of all, I couldn’t wait to see my husband’s face when he saw it later! (Yes, he loved his New Year’s gift; it was such a super special and thoughtful gift. A total surprise too!)
The finished calendar, the first ever calendar I have ever made up to that point – turned out very well! Once I figured out the construction, it was so easy to put together I decided to make another calendar to gift to my parents back in Jakarta. And then it dawn on me that anyone would be able to make their own Crafty Calendars like the ones I just did, totally personalized with their own photos and important dates marked. I just need to provide the materials and the instructions!
So I worked on it, thinking up ways to provide my customers with as many options as possible to create the most personalized, customized calendars while keeping things easy to put together. I photographed the process of making the calendar so I can show how things are done better. The most challenging part for me at that time was to put together a comprehensive instructions, when English is not my first language and I couldn’t ask my husband (who is a native speaker) to help proof-read it as he wasn’t supposed to know about the calendar yet! But I managed to pull it off! The Instructions is in PDF format so people could print it and refer to it easily while creating the calendars. And so the Ztampf! CraftyCalendar Kit was born. It appeared on the first time on Ztampf!Shop on January 5th 2006. Obviously a bit late but perhaps because there was nothing in the market like the Ztampf! CraftyCalendar Kit, people loved it and bought it. Well, it makes a great Valentine’s Day gift… and Anniversary and Birthday – if those happened to be early in the year! So the first ever Ztampf! CraftyCalendar Kit did very well despite its late release!
This is how the first ever Ztampf! CraftyCalendar looks like.
And here is how the first Ztampf! CraftyCalendar appeared in the shops!
The following year in 2006, I made some improvements for the Ztampf! CraftyCalendar 2007 Kit, incorporating some customer inputs. For example, adjusting the size to use Legal size papers instead of A4 size because it is very hard for US customers to find A4 size papers, especially for digital prints while on the other hand, it is easy to re-size down from Legal size to A4. Another thing is to provide two versions: US English with weeks start on Sunday and Global English with weeks start on Monday. Started from this year onward, individual date layers in PNG are also provided to give people greater flexibility in creating their very own calendar pages. I also improved the Folder/Stand part of the calendar; to use thicker material so it is sturdier, and to use the then new Basic Grey magnetic discs for the closure.
Beside the more paper-crafty CraftyCalendars, I also released the Poster Calendar and the QuickCard Calendars that year!
>> To Be Continued