• The Most Amazing Calendar of 2015

    I wrote this blog post for two groups of people: those who like our Wilderness calendar and want the story behind it, and those who might be inspired into pursuing their own creative collaboration! Whether you fall into one or both of those groups, I hope you enjoy both the calendar and the blog post.

    4"x6" Desk Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    I’ll sum up this blog post succinctly: Inkstruck Studio and I collaborated to create a calendar, and it is awesome. The purpose of this post is not for me to go into slimy salesman mode, though. The real reason I am writing it is I want to give my mom a break from receiving {numerous} photos of the calendar over iMessage; photos that, as a mom, she is obligated to respond to with: “Wow, honey, that’s so great!” I love talking about this thing, and I don’t feel so bad talking to you about it because I figure you can leave this blog post at any point; you’re not a captive audience like my mom!

    6"x9" 2015 Desk Calendars | The Postman's Knock

    If we were to go to coffee at this very moment, this is exactly what I would tell you about the story behind the calendar. So, settle in and imagine we’re in a cool coffee shop — and I’m chattering non-stop, but you don’t care because you have some deliciously fattening, whipped-cream-topped drink.

    I met Qatar-based artist Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio through this blog. She began as a reader; then we emailed a couple of times, exchanged guest posts, and a friendship developed. One day in mid-October, she asked if I would be interested in making a calendar with her.

    2015 Hanging Calendars | The Postman's Knock

    It did sound like a fun idea, so I said yes. We arranged a Skype meeting — which is no small feat when you live 10 timezones apart! — and haphazardly figured out logistics. Eventually, we hammered out main details: the theme would be “Wilderness”, she would create the illustrations, I would create calligraphy and layout, and printing … well, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. {As artists, I think we’re always much more gung-ho about the design than the technicals behind getting the design on some sort of medium.}

    6"x9" Hanging Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    So, we got started — both of us believing the project couldn’t take more than a couple of weeks to execute, especially with two people. How wrong we were! Zakkiya puts care and love into each one of her illustrations, so of course she could only create a couple per week. I got a good deal with the calligraphy, though, and had it done within 30 minutes.

    Calligraphy for 2015 Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    Unable to believe my good fortune in the small contribution I was making to this big, beautiful project, I immediately emailed my friend Rodger {you know him from Rodger’s Pen Box!} to ask a favor. “Could you make us calendar stands?” I asked/begged. “I need two. One for a 4″x6″ and one for a 6″x9″.” And, wouldn’t you know it, despite the fact that Rodger was on vacation in Italy, I received an email back within two hours with a “Yes!” I gave myself a pat on the back for “giving” more to the project by way of roping Rodger into it.

    4"x6" 2015 Desk Calendar Stand | The Postman's Knock

    I was on a roll with contributing to the project without lifting much of a finger. I knew that Zakkiya was in Qatar feverishly working on illustrations — and here I was not doing much of anything. So, I decided to be even more proactive and hash things out with the local printing company that I generally use. I’ll be transparent with you: good printing is expensive! And the thing is, we didn’t want to get calendars printed in advance because calendars aren’t exactly something you can deplete your stock of throughout the year. Once you hit February, a calendar starts to really lose its magic. So: I told the printer we’d order in waves, as we get orders in. Of course, that complicated pricing a lot — but this is our first calendar rodeo, so that’s how we decided to do it.

    6"x9" Hanging Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    Satisfied in my dealings with the printer, I decided to tackle layout. And that’s when I really started feeling it — all of a sudden, I was working just as hard as Zakkiya had been. I’ll spare you the boring, specific details; but essentially, I needed to make four different versions of each different calendar page {one for each of the four versions of our calendar}. I also discovered late in the game that I needed to use Adobe Illustrator to make the calligraphy for the calendar into vector images; otherwise it was raggedy and unprofessional-looking. If you’ve ever made calligraphy into vector art, you know how tedious it can be. Suffice it to say: when I began the layouts, I started watching the pilot of Californication. Now I’m halfway through season four.

    2015 Calendar Preview | The Postman's Knock

    Then, something amazing happened. After weeks of work, Zakkiya finished the illustrations, and I finished the layouts. Rodger sent me a batch of meticulously-created, beautifully simple stands {I just have to say: they even smell good}; and the printer had samples ready for me. Granted, this all happened a week after the original deadline Zakkiya and I had envisioned — but, eh, you win some, you lose some. Zakkiya and I had agreed that I would take the product photos — which is a lot of pressure when you know that two other artisans have so many hours in a product! I had to take good, descriptive photos … or else.

    4"x6" Stand Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    I quite literally tore up the house in a quest for ways to make our product photos interesting. I shattered our kitchen shears trying to saw a small-ish branch off a tree {it really did seem like a good idea at the time}. When that didn’t work, I decided my houseplants needed to take one for the team. I ripped several leaves off of my healthiest plant and used them to make a leaf collage for one of the photos. What can I say … I’m resourceful.

    6"x9" 2015 Hanging Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    After all was said and done, we were able to use these photos for a landing page, and we have been pleased at the amount of orders thus far {thank you!!}. The most fun part about this project for me was combining powers with two other artists to make something amazing. I am so used to doing things alone that at first it was difficult to figure out how to communicate. But: Zakkiya and I resolved to give each other honest feedback, and if we didn’t like some element of the design, we spoke up — usually through long, fun chats on Whatsapp {an international texting service}. As for Rodger, well, he’s always such a good sport. He’s whipping up stands for me on a per-order basis, which is just amazing … especially since he’s technically “retired”.

    4"x6" Hanging Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    Anyway, so here’s what happens if you order a calendar now {by Saturday, Dec. 13th}: I put your order into a live spreadsheet, shared with Zakkiya and Rodger. That way, if you ordered a stand, Rodger can create it tout de suite in his New Mexico workshop. On the 14th, all orders will be submitted to the printer here in Boulder; and Rodger will ship the needed stands to me here in Colorado. On the 16th, I will receive the stands, and on the 17th and 18th I will be shipping out calendars to reach you by Christmas {but they’ll only reach you by then if you’re in the US … sorry}! I am offering gift-wrapping with custom calligraphy for a nominal fee, so you can send a calendar or two straight to a family member or friend.

    Gift-Wrapped Calendar | The Postman's Knock


    The next round of calendars will ship out on Tuesday, December 23rd — those orders are due on the 19th. All orders placed after December 19th will ship out on January 6th, and then the calendar will no longer be available. You can buy the calendar(s) of your choice here. If you’re in the Middle East, we recommend that you order from Zakkiya’s Etsy shop. Other international orders may be placed on the TPK website.

    4"x6" Hanging Calendar | The Postman's Knock

    I wanted to create this blog post because, well, normally you see a product like this and that’s all it is. It’s hard to think about how much passion and hard work went into it — because a lot of designers want you to think the process is seamless. If you like the calendar, I do hope you get one. We would love that, and we know you will, too! If you aren’t a big fan, I still hope it was interesting for you to learn about our process and how the project unfolded. Maybe it will even inspire you to tackle a collaboration of your own? At any rate, I know I say this every time: but thank you, truly, for reading this blog. I have a lot of fun writing it, so it’s incredibly satisfying that you {seem to!} like reading it.

    Warmest of wishes,

    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock