#181 Small Cheer & Great Welcome

181 Small Cheer & Great Welcome
#181 Small Cheer & Great Welcome
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Shakespeare said it best

Small cheer & great welcome make a merry feast.

This quote from William Shake­speare seems to be a per­fect Amper­Art phrase for Thanks­giv­ing. I’m not so sure it has such a rel­e­vant mean­ing in its orig­i­nal con­text (“The Com­e­dy of Errors”, Act 3 scene 1) but it sure does fit nice­ly as a piece of typo­graph­ic art with the amper­sand turkey as part of the quote.

Colorful words inspire colorful illustration

Wild turkey

As for “great wel­come,” that term inspired the col­or­ful feath­ers on the “amper­turkey.” The orig­i­nal illus­tra­tion (of which I used only the feath­ers) had a sub­dued palette of browns and grays. I start­ed adding col­ors to the feath­ers, then real­ized “great wel­come” should be just that: great! Inclu­sive of every­one — all col­ors, all sex­es, all shapes & sizes. All reli­gions as well, as Thanks­giv­ing is non-​denominational; that’s one rea­son I like this hol­i­day (besides the food). So I did a lit­tle research & start­ed over with the col­ors, includ­ing as many of the world’s skin tones as I could find & hope­ful­ly all the var­i­ous sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion flag col­ors. Feath­ers are all dif­fer­ent sizes to begin with, so that part was easy. 

Small cheer” in the play’s dia­logue refers to the food & bev­er­age being served at the gath­er­ing, only to be upstaged by the cama­raderie of the peo­ple present. But let’s be hon­est: there’s no small spread & lack of liba­tion at Thanksgiving! 

Thankfulness cards for your table & other uses

Table setting with AmperArt Thankfulness Cards

My friend Jo has told me sev­er­al times that she enjoys print­ing & mak­ing Amper­Art place set­ting cards for the din­ner table. That inspired me to cre­ate a new design this year (pre­vi­ous cards were issued in 2011 & 2015), & it’s one where you can write your own Amper­Art phrase (see ideas below). 

These can be placed as tra­di­tion­al din­ner table set­tings & made into oth­er things such as greet­ing cards (with some cre­ative cut­ting & glu­ing) & gift tags.

There are two styles you can down­load: one bright & col­or­ful, sym­bol­iz­ing the inclu­sion of all col­ors & ori­en­ta­tions of the world’s peo­ples; & a sub­tle col­or scheme clos­er to a wild turkey. (I pre­fer the bright & col­or­ful ver­sion.) There’s an instruc­tion sheet you can down­load as well, detail­ing how to cut & fold the cards. 

Choose your style & download

There are four cards to a sheet. Print on stan­dard letter-​size or A4 sheets of card­stock (or reg­u­lar heavy paper).


  1. Down­load the pdf file in your choice of design: full spec­trum col­or or sub­tle color.
  2. You can also down­load the cut­ting & fold­ing guide or just refer to image below.
  3. Cut along the red dashed lines. The ver­ti­cal & hor­i­zon­tal lines sep­a­rate the sheet into 4 cards. The curved cut lines allow the turkey feath­ers to pop out above the fold. You can cut along the arc as shown below, or for more detail, cut along the feath­er shapes, as shown in the pho­to above. An X‑acto knife works best.
  4. Score to make fold­ing easy & clean. Score along the blue dot­ted lines as shown in the guide. This is where the sol­id pur­ple meets the sol­id white on the print­ed cards. Do not score through the turkey feath­ers — you don’t want to fold these. A blunt instru­ment works best for scor­ing, such as a wood­en stir stick or paper clip. You can use any­thing that is not sharp enough to cut through the card.
  5. Fold the card over only along the blue dot­ted lines. Do not fold the feath­ers; leave them flat to extend above the fold. 
  6. Pinch the fold to keep it in place. Addi­tion­al­ly, you can use tape or string under­neath to keep the card from unfolding.
  7. Write your text to the left & right of the amper­sand. See some ideas below.

You can use these cards for oth­er things too, besides seat­ing place hold­ers. Place them around your liv­ing & work spaces to remind your­self and oth­ers of what we can be thank­ful for. Place one on your boss’s or co-​worker’s desk. Or on your teacher’s desk. Use them as note cards (write some­thing inside), or use just the front to paste onto a larg­er fold­ed card as a greet­ing card. Use them as gift tags. Car­ry some with you to fill in & hand out.

Thankful for ampersands & more ampersands 

Here are some ideas for your amper­sand “Thank­ful for…” phrases:

  • Peo­ple’s names & their out­stand­ing virtues: Uncle Gil & always will­ing to help out
  • Cou­ple’s names: Mike & Vio­la
  • Things that make you hap­py: my dog & cats, books & danc­ing, flow­ers & but­ter­flies
  • The neces­si­ties: food & shel­ter, friends & fam­i­ly, love & light
  • I per­son­al­ly am thank­ful for: artis­tic tal­ent & loy­al subscribers

Have a very happy Thanksgiving
full of small magnificent cheer
& great welcome. 

(Sorry for the edit, Bill.)

Production notes for #181 Small Cheer & Great Welcome:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font: Garamond
Ampersand: Garamond
Illustration: deposit​pho​tos​.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
Background: deposit​pho​tos​.com
Quote: Shakespeare
Other credits as noted
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Chaz DeS­i­mone is the cre­ator of Amper­Art and own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing results. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...

Who banned the ampersand?

Whoever thought up the syntax for Universal Resource Locators (URLs) was 100% coder & 0% copywriter. No foresight whatsoever. We can’t even use common punctuation in a URL except for the hyphen & underscore. It sure makes all the AmperArt URLs ugly & hard to understand—no ampersands allowed!
This is just one of the rants on my blog, chaz sez.
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:

Desimone Design
Desimone Design

#132 Peas & Carrots

132 Peas & Carrots
#132 Peas & Carrots
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.


Well, that’s what hap­pened to those ear­ly TV din­ners after you took them out of the oven: the veg­eta­bles & mashed pota­toes (or what­ev­er that white stuff was) were hard­ly sep­a­rat­ed by the com­part­ments in the alu­minum trays, and would inad­ver­tant­ly cross over to mix with each oth­er. The gravy would also get into the act some­times, too. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner was Swanson’s original TV Dinner, 1953

Sumptuous, and how! Have you ever seen such a Thanksgiving spread? See how ultra-​white those potatoes look? They really were that color! Notice how the package resembles a TV screen. From the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, January 20, 1957.

To me, that was the sec­ond best part of the TV din­ner fla­vor, where the dif­fer­ent foods would inter­min­gle. (It’s prob­a­bly why I like peas & mashed pota­toes mixed togeth­er.) But my favorite sen­sa­tion was the smoky fla­vor of the mashed pota­toes that always got burned on top, cre­at­ing a tasty, crispy crust. Of course, that meant that the veg­eta­bles got singed too, giv­ing them the fla­vor of today’s trendy roast­ed veg­eta­bles. (Were TV din­ners ahead of their time?) Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it also meant that in selec­tions such as “Roast­ed Turkey with Stuff­ing” the “stuff­ing” was more like toast where it got burnt, espe­cial­ly when it did­n’t even get mixed with the gravy in the pro­duc­tion line. (Is that why I also like my toast and Eng­lish muffins charred all the way to black?)

Named & marketed for an entertainment phenomenon

from Wikipedia:

The first Swanson-​brand TV Din­ner was pro­duced in the Unit­ed States and con­sist­ed of a Thanks­giv­ing meal of turkey, corn­bread dress­ing, frozen peas and sweet pota­toes[3] pack­aged in a tray like those used at the time for air­line food ser­vice. Each item was placed in its own com­part­ment. The trays proved to be use­ful: the entire din­ner could be removed from the out­er pack­ag­ing as a unit, the tray with its alu­minum foil cov­er­ing could be heat­ed direct­ly in the oven with­out any extra dish­es, and one could eat the meal direct­ly from the tray. The prod­uct was cooked for 25 min­utes at 425 °F (218 °C) and fit nice­ly on a TV tray table. The orig­i­nal TV Din­ner sold for 98 cents, and had a pro­duc­tion esti­mate of 5,000 din­ners for the first year.

The name “TV din­ner” was coined by Ger­ry Thomas, its inven­tor. At the time it was intro­duced, tele­vi­sions were sta­tus sym­bols and a grow­ing medi­um. Thomas thought the name “TV Din­ner” sound­ed like the prod­uct was made for con­ve­nience (which it was), and the Swan­son exec­u­tives agreed.

Wikipedia arti­cle (ver­ba­tim)

New & exciting: dessert!

Dessert was introduced in 1960. Note the 99¢ price. What’s interesting, is you can still find TV dinners on sale for 88¢, over 50 years later. 

In 1960 a small com­part­ment was added between the veg­eta­bles and pota­toes which con­tained anoth­er course: dessert! It was usu­al­ly some­thing like a choco­late brown­ie or fruit cob­bler. I always looked for­ward to the dessert, but some­times it was a total fail­ure when, unlike the deli­cious acci­den­tal com­bi­na­tion of peas & car­rots & pota­toes, it turned out to be peas & car­rots & apple crisp & mashed pota­toes. (The apple crisp was nev­er crisp, either — always mushy or down­right burnt.)

Innovation & end of a deliciously baked (or burnt) era

Around 1967 the microwave oven forced the TV din­ner tray to switch from alu­minum to plas­tic (unless you want­ed to destroy both your din­ner and your brand new appli­ance) . I miss eat­ing out of a met­al tray (I have no idea why), but the real down­fall for me was how the food tast­ed after it was cooked. No more over­baked pota­toes, no more scorched stuff­ing. Once in awhile I’ll pur­chase a TV din­ner (when they’re on sale for 88¢) and I still missed those fla­vors. (I almost placed a microwave TV din­ner in the oven once to relive that fla­vor but real­ized my dumb idea in time. Burnt pota­toes, yes; burnt plas­tic, no.)

Amana Radarange 1976

Amana Radarange circa 1976.
Image from the​hen​ry​ford​.org

To this day, peas & car­rots is one of my favorite veg­etable side dish­es. Some­times I even make it my main course. In fact, some­times I’ll fin­ish off peas & car­rots & mashed pota­toes in an oven to get that burnt fla­vor and crispy crust. Much as I love fresh & frozen peas, I detest the fla­vor of canned peas. (No, I don’t slice and dice my own like I should.) 

Do you remember the original TV dinners where all the compartments mixed everything together?

Or the excit­ing new dessert com­part­ment? Do you miss the old alu­minum trays like I do? Ever blow up your microwave like I almost did? Share your mem­o­ries with fel­low amper­sand fans & TV din­ner fans.

 Please comment here.

Production notes for #132 Peas & Carrots:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator (main illustrations and typography), Photoshop (to modify background watercolor paper)
Font: Desyrel (duplicate letters slightly modified)

Ampersand: watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com, pea & carrot shapes by Chaz, watercolor paper background by psd​graph​ics​.com
watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com
watercolor paper background psd​graph​ics​.com
Swanson Turkey Dinner package: boing​bo​ing​.net
Swanson Turkey Dinner print ad: thewritelife61​.com
Family with TV dinner tray (and TV): i0​.wp​.com/​w​w​w​.​m​o​r​t​a​l​j​o​u​r​n​e​y​.​com
Amana Radarange: the​hen​ry​ford​.org/​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​a​n​d​-​r​e​s​e​a​r​ch/
Articles about the TV dinner:
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#69 Stuffed & Dressed

Happy Thanksgiving!

#69 Stuffed & Dressed
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Pos­ing for Amper­Art #69 Stuffed & Dressed, Thomas T. Turkey stuffed him­self into his finest tux & got all dressed up for Thanks­giv­ing dinner. 

Is that an amper­tiz­er he’s offer­ing you?

Colorful Thanksgiving Dinner Placeholders

Thanksgiving Placeholder

Here are your place­hold­ers with this year’s Amper­Art #69 Stuffed & Dressed art­work. Col­or­ful and humor­ous — the kids will espe­cial­ly enjoy these. Click here or on the image to down­load the place­hold­ers art­work, which you can print on stan­dard size paper. Full instruc­tions included.

Stuffing or Dressing?

While delib­er­at­ing on the title for this piece, I won­dered what the dif­fer­ence was between stuffed & dressed, or actu­al­ly stuff­ing & dress­ing. Inter­est­ing­ly, it’s the same stuff (no pun intend­ed) but called one or the oth­er name in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. Also, stuff­ing is usu­al­ly cooked inside the turkey, while dress­ing is pre­pared sep­a­rate­ly. Here’s a map show­ing the region­al preferences.

Stuffing vs Dressing regional prefs

There are many tips for cook­ing your Thanks­giv­ing turkey & a great-​sounding recipe for corn­bread stuff­ing & dress­ing at the But­ter­ball web­site. (These links are not spon­sored. I’m just shar­ing what I’ve come across.)

Turkey Trivia Question:

What are those fan­cy lit­tle paper things called that are placed on turkey drum­sticks (& on amper­sands, at least in this mon­th’s Stuffed & Dressed piece)? If you know, write it in the com­ments area. I was always intrigued by them as a kid, as they came in all dif­fer­ent pas­tel col­ors (like pas­tel toi­let paper — remem­ber that?). My mom would put them on leg of lamb (the fan­cy paper things, not the toi­let paper).

Happy Thanksgiving

to you & your fam­i­ly & friends, includ­ing the fur­ry ones. (You will slip them some turkey under the table, won’t you?)

Production notes for #69 Stuffed & Dressed:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Fonts: Parisian, Kalinga
Ampersand: Kalinga
Credits for #69 Stuffed & Dressed:
Turkey: Dream​stime​.com
Patterns: Adobe Illustrator

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!