#30 Prepare & Chance

Today is Pres­i­dent Lin­col­n’s birth­day, so of course it’s appro­pri­ate to release my Amper­Art edi­tion #30 fea­tur­ing our 16th pres­i­dent on Feb­ru­ary 12. But this piece of art was actu­al­ly cre­at­ed sev­er­al months ago as a gift for a very spe­cial house­warm­ing for a very spe­cial cou­ple. My friends Tina & Doc built their dream­house from the ground up.

It’s called the Pen­ny Palace. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)

When I say spe­cial friends, how many peo­ple would design a pet entrance with its door­bell a foot off the ground? Or cre­ate a tiny door on the mez­za­nine titled “Elves” — & dur­ing their house­warm­ing Open House week­end have an actu­al live elf inside that door? (Tina & Doc are prac­ti­cal, though — the door leads to the attic. Ever hear nois­es in your attic? Prob­a­bly elves.) Every aspect of this house is spe­cial down to the very last detail. The rooms are themed & a recur­ring theme is pen­nies (more on that, like I promised, in a minute). Even the House­warm­ing Open House was spread over sev­er­al days, with invi­ta­tions for cer­tain groups at cer­tain times, each giv­en a tour com­plete with a map & facts guide (a great souvenir).

I’ve only known Tina & Doc for a few years, but they’re the kind of friends you feel you’ve known all your life. Here’s how it all start­ed (final­ly, about the pennies):

Tina came to me as a client. She has a web­site called Pen​nyFind​ers​.com, & asked me to design a Pen­nyfind­ing Guide as well as a new logo. (Be sure to vis­it her site for fun facts, per­haps dis­cov­er a new hob­by?, lots of smiles & joy – such as the symp­toms check­list to see if you have Pen­ny Fever.)

Through work­ing with Tina I real­ized she has a deep com­mit­ment to doing things right, nev­er giv­ing up, find­ing joy in every new chal­lenge, & shar­ing that joy with every­one — I mean EVERYONE — from clerks to con­trac­tors to strangers & of course to friends. In fact, she had me design a spe­cial card that she hands out to every­one she meets, giv­ing them hope, joy — & even a pen­ny (there’s one glued to every card).

The back of the card states The Pen­nyFind­ers Mis­sion:

  • Trust in a High­er Source
  • Be Grate­ful
  • Encour­age Oth­ers through Acts of Ran­dom Kindness

Design­ing Tina’s mate­ri­als was a tremen­dous amount of fun & joy (as she would want it to be). By the time we were done, she was no longer a client but a true friend, along with her hus­band Doc.

Then I dis­cov­ered an amaz­ing feat of hers and Doc’s: The Pen­ny­tales Blog

You’ll be amazed, as I was, at  this com­pre­hen­sive time­line with com­men­tary, pho­tos & video, from ground­break­ing to house­warm­ing, includ­ing all the tri­als & tribu­la­tions of pen­ny find­ing, build­ing a house, & life in gen­er­al. (There are some great tips if you’re think­ing of build­ing your own house…or just enjoy­ing life.)

The blog reads like this, which was about the time they decid­ed to real­ly make this house happen:

If we are to build this ‘ARK’ [Tina’s acronym for Acts of Ran­dom Kind­ness] then God needs to take charge and be the con­trac­tor.

A Pen­ny would val­i­date that we are head­ing in the right direc­tion. That is when the 100-​day series began.  After the first few CONSECUTIVE days of find­ing coins, this appeared to be a lit­tle more than mere coincidence.”

As a  Pen­ny Palace house­warm­ing gift, I con­cep­tu­al­ized a spe­cial Amper­Art piece fea­tur­ing a cop­per pen­ny. I was ecsta­t­ic to dis­cov­er, on the lat­est US pen­ny, a depic­tion of Abe Lin­coln sit­ting on a log, study­ing a book, after chop­ping a huge log of wood — to build a house? How appro­pri­ate! Then I found the per­fect quote by Abra­ham Lin­coln (com­plete with amper­sand), for it states in a few words how Tina and Doc came about man­i­fest­ing their Pen­ny Palace:

I will pre­pare and some day my chance will come.”

Tina and Doc’s house­warm­ing week­end was full of beau­ty, hap­pi­ness & love — not just from the new house, but from all the won­der­ful friends that came to vis­it, giv­ing back the joy that this spe­cial cou­ple is con­stant­ly extend­ing to oth­ers. Tina’s blog elab­o­rates on all the ups & downs they went through in its con­struc­tion, per­mits & fur­nish­ing. It’s an uplift­ing read when one needs encour­age­ment, with many humor­ous moments & a strong reminder that Pen­ny Angels are always watch­ing over us. You’ll enjoy read­ing Tina’s blog.

I have always admired Abra­ham Lin­coln, & now he has some very spe­cial com­pa­ny to share his cop­per coin with.

Hap­py Birth­day, Hon­est Abe. 

May the Pen­ny Angels bless you, Tina & Doc & your beau­ti­ful, enchant­i­ng Pen­ny Palace.

 

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Pro­gram: Photoshop
Fonts: Stem­pel Gara­mond, Berke­ley (amper­sand, modified)
Pen­ny image: U.S. Mint
Pho­tog­ra­phy: rouakcz, graph​i​cleft​overs​.com
Quote: Abra­ham Lincoln

 

#34 Kettles & Mittens

Amper­Art #34 is the sec­ond line of lyrics that contains “and” in the song My Favorite Things from the 1960 musi­cal and the 1965 film, The Sound of Music:
 

Rain­drops on ros­es & whiskers on kittens
Bright cop­per ket­tles & warm woolen mittens
Brown paper pack­ages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things


Cream col­ored ponies & crisp apple streudels

Door­bells & sleigh bells & schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things


Girls in white dress­es with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Sil­ver white win­ters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things


When the dog bites

When the bee stings

When I’m feel­ing sad

I sim­ply remem­ber my favorite things

& then I don’t feel so bad

 

This is a col­lec­tion of four edi­tions, each fea­tur­ing a line from the song that includes the word “and” which of course we replace with our favorite charac­ter, the ampersand.

Each edi­tion in this series will be released a week apart. You must sub­scribe to receive high-​resolution pdf files so you can cre­ate beau­ti­ful prints (11×17 or 8.5×11 inch­es). Sub­scrip­tions are free & you will receive your print down­loads by email. You’ll find sug­ges­tions on print­ing and fram­ing here.

Con­cept & design notes:

In research­ing the style to use for this art­work I found one of the orig­i­nal movie posters, sam­pled the col­ors from which I chose a lim­it­ed palette (I did not use blue as that would be your per­fect mat in a nice frame), select­ed the appro­pri­ate type­styles & hand-​drew the amper­sand, styl­iz­ing it to resem­ble the main title in the poster.

Pink & yel­low kettles?

Have you ever seen a shiny new pen­ny in the sun­shine? It alter­nates between a gold­en yel­low and a bril­liant pink. Togeth­er, or when not direct­ly reflect­ing the sun­shine, it’s a bright cop­per. That’s why this edi­tion sug­gests cop­per through pink and yellow. 
 
If that does­n’t make sense, let’s just say the left­over mit­tens right after Black Fri­day were yel­low with pink pol­ka dots.

The amper­sand not only con­nects rain­drops and kit­tens and ket­tles and ponies and door­knobs, it also links the last two lines of the song, which appear on all four lay­outs at very top and very bottom.

To fur­ther research this piece, I real­ly enjoyed watch­ing the movie! If you ever need a joy­ful lift & a lit­tle humor, this is the movie to see. It’s won­der­ful & timeless.

If you love the amper­sand sub­scribe to Amper­Art here to receive future Amper­Art edi­tions. They’re always fun & fab­u­lous & free. Sub­scribers also receive spe­cial bonus­es.