Graffiti Love

The following emails were exchanged between me and my Mom, a couple weeks back, regarding a birthday gift for her husband, Randy…

Three days later, I received one of Randy’s train cars…

…along with a little note from my Mom…

So I printed out some letters from to use as a guide…

…and (nervously) began to draw…

…and paint…

…and sent the train car back to her as soon as it was dry.

Thanks to all the Mom’s out there that continue to encourage their children to create and color outside the lines. Us kids really, really appreciate it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS- I’m happy to report that Randy loved the train car (whew!)…

“We hooked it up during happy hour, and smiled every time it went by. We named it ‘The Love Train’. We have a little guy in one of the open doorways in another car on that same train, and we like to envision that it’s his Valentine from whomever he’s leaving behind, too. Hope you two have a great day!
Love, Mom”

(Me, my Mom, and Randy…watching the trains go ’round, a couple years back.)

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  1. says

    LOVE THIS!!! you’re good girl!! my papa had trains and we spent lots of special time together setting things up when i was little. thanks for sharing this…makes me want to go buy my sweety his own train!

    • Layla says

      Thank you Leanne! I was so nervous to paint on one of his beloved train cars!
      I’m so glad he was happy with it, and that my Mom still encourages me to do stuff like that! :-)

  2. Delia Sousa says

    Oh my goodness! That is soooo fabulous! What a great idea your mother stumbled upon and you executed flawlessly! I want a toy train now and paints and the talent to do something like this…oh who am I kidding, I”ll just live vicariously creative through you!

  3. says

    Awww how sweet of an idea is that?! Love it- and your mom is right- you did an awesome job! My little boy (3 years old) LOVES trains and I finally convinced my Dad (his Papa) to set up his train set again & show him….now all Little Man can talk about is “Papa’s trains are so cool! They are like REAL trains mama!” :)
    Love that!

  4. Cindy Logan says

    So Cool!!! What a wonderful idea!!!! My husband is a train engineer, and its got me thinking………
    You did a great job Layla, and I would say it was a good colabrative effort. Turned out great and sounds like it was well appreciated.

  5. says

    Your attention to detail is phenomenal – this is really effective. How gorgeous that you can help manifest your mumma’s creative ideas.
    When someone believes in you, the sky is the limit to what you can achieve!

  6. says

    Layla, I love this post on so many levels!! First because you did such a fantastic job, and because this entire idea is original and creative! And second, because of what you said about mamas… I always want to be that kind of mama who encourages my kids in their creativity. Awesome reminder.

    Also… I just posted two kitchen photos of the house we are in the process of buying. My sis in law and I were skyping about it the other night and I asked her what she thought and she said, “I don’t know… ask Layla.” (My sentiments, exactly.) If you had any thoughts, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear them… I know, I shouldn’t ask.. I just can’t help myself. I don’t know what to do with 100 year old houses…


  7. says

    Details details… they can make all the difference no matter what the subject. I think your mom is extra special cute knowing you could do exactly what she was envisioning. I have fond memories of putting my Little Kiddle dolls in the coal cars on my brothers train platform. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories.
    Hope you have a sweet Valentine’s Day.
    My best- Diane

  8. Elaine says

    Layla – you are AWESOME! What a cool idea, and you did such a great job! Thanks for all the inspiration and encouragement that you provide with your blog!!!

  9. Ericka says

    I just had to comment (I’m not sure I ever have, but I’ve been a follower for quite a while)! This idea is totally unique and cute! LOVE it! You did an awesome job! Love your blog and find it interesting and inspiring!

  10. rhonda says

    I don’t know what is cooler…the fact that you can do that…or that your mom ASKED for it! What a wonderfully creative family!!

  11. says

    I ADORE THIS!!!! I’ve always loved trains. What a perfect way to make them personal. You did a fabulous job. My uncle (deceased) used to have an entire barn filled with trains and tracks and I could sit out there for hours watching them go round and round.

  12. says

    This is so cute! We are building a model train set for my six year old who just loves trains. I am so going tag a train car for the inaugural run!

  13. says

    Perfect Valentines Day post in honor of the ‘first’ love we received! You did a great job. What a sweet gift! Hey, come to think of it I saw “TLC was here” sprayed on an overpass. You never told me you were a graffiti artist or that you were in NJ!
    : )

    Your Friend,

  14. says

    You did do an Awesome job, of course! And what a cool, outside the box idea for a gift for your mom’s sweatheart! Creativity must swim laps in your gene pool – I suppose. :-)

  15. says

    So true. Except for me it was my sister and husband pushing me to follow my creative path. My sister did the same thing for me when she was pregnant with my first niece. She told me I HAD to paint the mural in her baby room. I hadn’t even done that before, yet she knew I could do it. Sweet post.

  16. says

    choo choo!
    this is a most awesome post in every way possible …
    full of love and gratitude and creativity …
    you just may be the cutest little goofball ever
    with a momma who adores her through eternity …
    thanks, from a mom …

  17. Kelly says

    OMG! I am TOTALLY gotta do it for my hubby. He works for the NS Railroad and our 5 years old boy is really into trains. Thanks for the grand idea!!! xo

  18. says

    What a sweet idea!! Oh I love it! Super kudos to you too for the creativity and steady hand. I would have been sweating bullets. :)

  19. says

    Awe! You have a wonderful mommy!!! AND you did such a wonderful job!!! Wow!!! It’s really beautiful! And what a sweet idea! Bring on the inspirations!!!!


  20. Lori Allberry says

    Wow, wow, wow, wow, wowzers Layla – you are AMAZING! That is just FABULOUS! I admire the graffiti on train cars all the time – and look at how perfectly you replicated it!

    Way to go girl! =)


  21. Amber says

    My father-in-law loves train cars & has many sets like Randy. Maybe I could hire you in June to bust out another one of these, if you’re up to the idea. LOVE the way it turned out. It can be so hard to find meaningful, personalized gifts for parents these days. This is perfect.

  22. says

    Excellent idea!!!! how come he did not realize one of this cars was missing? (just curious, it´s so difficult to plan surprise gifts with around the house items)

  23. Maureen says

    What a fab idea to personalize the train set! My grandson, growing up in the country, was deprived of the thrill of defacing property. When we redecorated his room, I bought several large art canvases and he coverered them in graffiti for a cool urban look on the walls. His mom didn’t love it but she let us have our fun.

  24. krazgrl says

    I’m with your mom, you are a “goofball” cuz that is one steller train car now! So uniquely Fab-U-Lous!!! Love Love Love it!!

  25. says

    Like many people before me, I just have to tell you, that this is the coolest idea ever! I had a boyfriend when I was 15 who sprayed a lot of trains….not as cool as you did, though. One day he wrote my name on a train. He picked me up to show me. Unfortunantelly I needed to tell him I was leaving Germany for a year to be an exchange student in Louisiana. He added some not so flattering things to my name 2 days later :)


  26. Barbara F. says

    Layla, my husband collects trains too, he must have 100’s and 100’s of them. I showed him this post – he was incredibly impressed – that’s saying something. I loved the graffiti car too, but even more than that, I love the warm, wonderful relationship you have with your mom.

  27. says

    Layla –

    Avid fan delurking to ask a question. Love the train … but is your mother’s name Jude?? (I’m guessing it is since it’s on the train!) I looove that name for a girl! I’ve always thought is was so neat. How has she liked being a woman with that name (since I think it is primarily used for boys/men??) I have always wanted to name a little girl that! Love it – so unique and beautiful. :)

    Thanks for all your home inspiration. My husband and I are going through some of the same things house-wise, though not near as labor-intensive or creative as TLC.

  28. says

    This is hilarious! There is a blooming antique district in Kansas City (where I live) in the West Bottoms district, which is where the stockyards used to be. Anyhow, we were parking the car while a train rumbled by and we were enchanted by the graffiti on the railcars. There is some real talent out there being wasted on boxcars! I love how yours turned out!

  29. Elizabeth B. says

    Very cool!! Awesome idea on your mom’s part!

    I see the paper she wrote to you on says something about Slidell. Don’t know if that’s where your mom lives, but I live 20 minutes away from there!

  30. Lynda says

    Layla, this touches my heart more than I can say. Your immense creativity and talent have always been obvious, but what shines through in this entry is your mom’s confidence and pride in you, and the care you took to live up to it. It all speaks volumes about the love, respect and affection between the three of you, and anytime I see something that special, I feel honored to be in its presence. Bless your hearts.

    • Reba Labat says

      Hi Layla,
      I’ve been following your blog for a long time. You have such great style and southern flourish abounds!! When I saw your train, I almost cried. Too cute…my Grandma lived in Bay st Louis, Ms. right down the road from Slidell. She lived right on the road that the rr tracks passed thru…We used to watch the graffiti trains pass by. What a precious idea–Keep up the great work. You are my shero!!

  31. Melissa says

    I have ALWAYS wanted to paint something in graffiti on my sons wall and every time I ask he says no. I have finally gotten permission from him after we sat and watched the cars go by the other day. Your post makes me want to break out the spray paint this weekend ;)

  32. Kim says

    I love this idea… very creative. I live in California…. Honestly, they should teach “graffiti” as a subject in school it’s so prevalent here!!! I have old 45’s (records…. for the younger set) with grafitti on them from the late 60’s/early ’70’s from “exchanging” records with friends in jr. high. That would be a pretty interesting display piece too… Love this idea.

  33. says

    I love it and have one question: Is there anything that you can’t do? You’re truly an inspiration, you know no boundaries!

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