“Reuse & Recycle” reminds us to do what’s necessary to save our planet & keep it clean & green for future generations of people, animals & all living creatures – not just on Earth Day, but everyday. Read More
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 PennyFinders.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).
- 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.
Fonts: Stempel Garamond, Berkeley (ampersand, modified)
Penny image: U.S. Mint
Photography: rouakcz, graphicleftovers.com
Quote: Abraham Lincoln
AmperArt #22 Mother & Child
I can still feel my soft yellow baby blanket with the satin embroidery and pastel colors, cradling me so lovingly in my mother’s arms.
This AmperArt piece, “Mother & Child,” honors that very special woman who brought each and every one of us into this world.
If you are a mother yourself, I wish you a Very Happy Mother’s Day.
My amazing mother
I am proud to tell you how blessed I am to have been born into the arms of such a wonderful mother as Leona L. DeSimone, 1916 – 2001.
Though I felt her love as an infant, as a child I favored my dad who spoiled me (being the firstborn) while Mom tried to instill some discipline. Daddy would buy me toys and bring home goodies for me all the time, and I resented my mom for being the strict one.
Not until after our dad died when I was 10, did I realize what a tremendous job our mother had trying to keep us all in line. I gained the deepest respect and love for my mom, especially since we were rather poor and she somehow kept us fed, clothed, and the house in order. I remember her crying when she was short of money, counting pennies to pay the bills, and walking miles to work when the buses went on strike. She did an amazing job raising four kids all by herself, including an especially spoiled brat who drew all over the walls with Crayolas (guess who).
Mom always had a smile for everyone, and she proved to be more popular and loved than any of her children knew, when over 200 people showed up for her funeral. We were blown away! We had the organist play the lullaby she used to sing to us, “All Through the Night,” which you can listen to here.
I admire, respect, and love you, Mom.