#56 Lose Weight & Feel Great

#56 Lose Weight & Feel Great

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My friend Crys­tal got me back into shape last year. I’ve giv­en her a lit­tle plug after my main sto­ry. She real­ly helped me lose weight & feel great!
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LOSE WEIGHT & FEEL GREATBack around 1978 I lost $400 in one day wear­ing that phrase! (or some­thing that sound­ed just like it)

That was back in the ’70s when a com­pa­ny that sold herbal sup­ple­ments via your typ­i­cal pyra­mid multi-​level mar­ket­ing scheme recruit­ed (by means of over-​the-​top “rah-​rah” meet­ings & con­ven­tions) any­one who want­ed to get rich quick & stay healthy at the same time. I bought into the dream­scheme, stocked my liv­ing room full of every type of sup­ple­ment, ton­ic & snake oil the com­pa­ny had to offer, & head­ed out on my first day, wear­ing my shiny new Lose Weight — Feel Great lapel but­ton near­ly the size of a hock­ey puck, to make an overnight killing. After all, I was in top shape, toned & tan, & fig­ured any­one would assume a few sup­ple­ments a day took me from a fat slob to an Atlas in just a few weeks. (In actu­al­i­ty, I had been work­ing out for years.)

I did­n’t get a sin­gle nib­ble. Instead, I lost over $400 in one day. I was so excit­ed about wear­ing that damn badge & mak­ing my easy for­tune that I for­got all about my reg­u­lar job, my loy­al clients & dead­lines for designs. (It was my fault, not the MLM’s. Just not for me.)

I tore that but­ton off that evening & nev­er did anoth­er MLM again. But at least the phrase, a slo­gan of the era, prompt­ed this edi­tion of Amper­Art. (This com­pletes the first Adver­tis­ing Slo­gan series, one slo­gan per month through­out 2013. You can see the entire list here.) Read More

#52 Quality & Dependability

Like my Jeep!


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Amper­Art #52, QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY, is from the Amper­Art Adver­tis­ing Slo­gan series. It’s a term that used to be more preva­lent, decades before today’s Cheap & Dis­pos­able mer­chan­dise. Oth­er words that come to mind are: sol­id, reli­able, uncon­di­tion­al­ly guar­an­teed (not just a lim­it­ed war­ran­ty) & ser­vice with a smile.


 

listen up!I remem­ber when prod­ucts were made with qual­i­ty & they were tru­ly depend­able. Not so much any­more (except for Jeeps & iPhones & OXO*). But I am very glad that I have friends who fit the descrip­tion of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. My fam­i­ly & friends are of the high­est integri­ty — hon­est, gen­uine, sin­cere — & they are very depend­able — from help­ing out in a pinch to being on time. Unlike most of today’s prod­ucts, my friends are not disposable!


*My love affair with OXO

(as in hugs & kiss­es, although that’s not what the name was intend­ed to imply)

OXO is an out­stand­ing com­pa­ny, tru­ly the def­i­n­i­tion of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. I love the visu­al & com­fort­able styling of their prod­ucts (which is most­ly kitchen­ware), the care­ful­ly R&D’d use­ful­ness (unlike some gad­gets that are more dif­fi­cult to use than if the task was ren­dered man­u­al­ly), & even the name & logo. Okay, very much the name & logo, even though I’m not a fan of red.

Their absolute­ly no-​questions-​asked guarNow I even enjoy doing my dishes!antee was put to the test recent­ly when my OXO soap-​dispensing dish brush broke (quite sur­pris­ing­ly — although I use it con­stant­ly as it even turns wash­ing dish­es into a like­able task). In search­ing for the instruc­tions to get a replace­ment, I thor­ough­ly enjoyed vis­it­ing sev­er­al pages on the OXO web­site, as each one intro­duced me to anoth­er amaz­ing facet of their com­pa­ny: the ori­gin of the name; how each prod­uct is devel­oped; & the per­son­al­i­ties & hob­bies of their employ­ees. One of those won­der­ful employ­ees, a cheer­ful woman by the name of Brooke, answered my ques­tions about the bro­ken brush & she struck up a con­ver­sa­tion as if we were old friends.

Would you like the same mod­el or the new­er mod­el with added fea­tures?” (New­er, of course — & I do like the added fea­tures, includ­ing the fact that it’s com­plete­ly black, no red, not even the logo.) She asked if I could send a pho­to of the bro­ken part — but it’s okay if I could­n’t. (I did.) She said they’ll send a replace­ment out imme­di­ate­ly. (They did. Imme­di­ate­ly.)

Brooke even sub­scribed to my per­son­al design project (which you’re read­ing now), Amper​Art​.com, which real­ly showed me how kind & con­sid­er­ate the Oxo­ni­ans are (their term, not mine). Hey! “Kind & Considerate”…that’ll be a new Amper­Art creation!

In case you’re won­der­ing…no, this is not a spon­sored endorse­ment. I sim­ply love OXO! (They say it’s pro­nounced “ox-​oh” but I pre­fer “o‑x-​o” & when I told Brooke why, she even not­ed my rea­son.) Some­day I’ll write an amaz­ing tes­ti­mo­ni­al about my ’96 Jeep which just won’t quit, or Apple, which is ahead of any oth­er device by eons, & my lat­est awe-​inspiring dis­cov­ery, Ther­moWorks, design­ers & man­u­fac­tur­ers of pre­cise & styl­ish bar­beque ther­mome­ters (as well as oth­er pro & semi-​pro kitchen & temperature-​related prod­ucts). Their qual­i­ty & styling is matched only by their incred­i­ble cus­tomer ser­vice, includ­ing Jenean Skousen with whom I had the plea­sure of plac­ing an order today. More about this com­pa­ny & their won­der­ful bar­beque “toys” (that kept me from burn­ing the food for the first time ever) in the upcom­ing Amper­Art issue “Low & Slow.” [Ther­moWorks rave review added April 23, 2018.]

You will prob­a­bly enjoy the OXO web­site (oxo​.com), espe­cial­ly the about page for some inter­est­ing facts & fig­ures. Fur­ther down the page, you’ll expe­ri­ence a refresh­ing­ly human expe­ri­ence as you learn about the employ­ees’ favorite hob­bies, pets, lan­guages & inven­tive uses for their prod­ucts (use the spaghet­ti strain­er as a backscratch­er). If you want a per­son­al review of my OXO expe­ri­ence, just email me, or read about my favorite dish­wash­ing tool, even more than the auto­mat­ic dish­wash­er, here.


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QUALITY
of  each Amper­Art design & the
DEPENDABILITY
of one issue per month, guaranteed. 

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HERE 
Thank you.


 

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: InDesign
Fonts: Copperplate, Industria, English Script (ampersand)
Inspiration: Maytag washing machines, Craftsman tools, Jeeps — all from the 1950s & 60s

#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