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.)

We're Building A Barn Door
Tiny Kitchen - Pick My Presto

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. 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! =)


  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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 :)


  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!!

  12. 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 😉

  13. 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.

  14. 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!