John and I like making one of a kind gifts to give to friends on birthdays or other occasions. Even if it is just a card, I think people appreciate our taking the time to make something special for them. I think about the person while making their gift; I believe it enriches the item with good intentions.

Our friend Matt’s birthday this year was an auspicious one for him; his favorite number is 17, and he turned 51 this month (3 x 17 = 51).

So we made a t-shirt for him with three 17’s on it. I remembered taking a photo (with Matt in mind) of a number 17 neon sign in Tribecca about 10 months ago. After locating the photo on the computer, I printed 3 copies on special iron-on transfer paper (that I purchased at Staples).

John had washed and ironed the black t-shirt we bought yesterday, so it was ready to receive the graphic images.

I positioned the iron-on labels across the chest area of the shirt…


covered the labels with a protective paper…


and ironed for about 40 seconds.


After allowing the shirt to cool for a few minutes, I peeled away the protective sheets.


The customized t-shirt was ready to give to Matt.


It seemed a natural fit.


Matt’s son Will recently had a birthday also. He turned 5. John and I came up with an idea for a t-shirt design for Will, but thought it would be more fun to make the t-shirt with him. Doing the activity together would be part of the gift. As much as kids want things, it’s been our experience that they really appreciate it when we give them our time and attention. We hope to schedule a t-shirt making session with Will soon.

However, we hadn’t seen Will since his birthday and thought it best not to show up at his house empty handed. John had wisely sourced a construct-a-straw set.


He had a hunch Will would enjoy drinking out of 3 glasses at once.


Will told us he loved it.

live. enjoy. repeat.

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