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Find Your Way to Personalized Gift Giving, Courtesy of Mr. G

7 years ago


Keith Gatling, also known as our tech expert Mr. G, shows off his personalized sweatshirt at his Drop In Tech Help station in the LPL main room.

Our on-the-spot Tech guy does much more than teach significant sessions to make sure the community can stay ahead of the curve in the world of gadgets and sit patrol in his customary spot in the main room to answer any and all questions during his Drop In Tech Help hours.

Mr G is a doer, too.

He practices more than what he preaches, in fact.

So in the spirit of sharing, our Keith Gatling now presents his Internet Gift Project.

What follows is a primer, a how-to, an instructional path of websites he's used to produce custom-made products for himself and his family.

Mr. G thinks you’ll find satisfaction if you tailor any of these items for your world.

Ready for your visit into the world of Mr G?

Take it away, Keith Gatling.


Essenbag2When my wife and I go out to dinner, we know we're not gonna finish everything. In fact, we often go with the intent of filling up on the appetizers and bringing the entrees home.

Restaurant clamshells aren't always the most secure things, and we've had things leak or spill more than once, so we started bringing our own round Ziploc containers with us; but walking into a restaurant with a Wegmans bag full of Ziploc containers looked a little tacky.

Enter the Essen Bag. We decided to create our own classy-looking doggie bag to carry home our doggie bags in. This one was a small zip-top canvas bag from Lands' End (, but you could order something similar from L.L. Bean (

Why "Essen," you wonder? Because it's Yiddish for "food" or "to eat," and it's so much classier than having "Leftovers" or "Doggie Bag" monogrammed on it.

Plus anyone who knows Yiddish or German will get a good laugh when they see it!


 KeithBikeHelmetBag3Our bike helmets were all over the place, and we could never find them when we needed them for riding. One would be in the back of the van, one would be in the back hall closet, and one would inexplicably be in someone's bedroom. The solution to this was a custom-made duffel bag from Spreadshirt ( that has "Bike Helmets" written on it. (Yeah ... they don't just make shirts.) Now all helmets go in the bag, and the bag goes from the back hall closet to the van, and from the van back to the back hall closet.

Of course, you could use this for skates, soccer equipment, or anything else that needs to stay together … and doesn't.


Family Shirt1Used to be very hard to get a custom shirt made for yourself. That was because things just weren't set up for a batch of one or two. The whole custom-shirt printing industry was set up for large batches ...f or teams or choirs. But that changed with Spreadshirt ( I've been using them for quite some time to create all kinds of custom shirts for myself and my family and friends. 

Their user interface is fairly simple, and they give you a lot of fonts and graphics to choose from. You can even upload your own graphics and use them.

One of my favorite ideas for a shirt was one for a grandparent that listed the birth dates of the children and grandchildren.


Elora Plate1My sister has a very unusual name. So when we were kids, she could never get one of those mass-produced personalized license plates for her bike. A few years ago, when I ran across a kiosk that would create a tiny customized license plate to put on your keychain, it occurred to me that maybe someone out there made them in a slightly larger size for bikes.

After doing a little searching around, I found, and they can not only do bicycle plates, but full-size lookalikes too. They even have both the white and the gold New York state plates! Once I discovered them, I immediately placed an order, and for the first time in her life, even though she doesn't have a bike anymore, my sister had her very own personalized plate.


KeithFridgeMagnet3We started doing these when our clumsy daughter (who we did not name Grace) kept knocking photos off the wall on the way up to her room. We figured that we'd scan the pictures in, have magnets made out of them, and put them on the fridge, where she was less likely to knock them off.

We also figured that we'd be able to put all of the magnets on our fridge when they moved us into the old age home.

And then we realized that these made great gifts for others, too!

We've been going to CafePress, and the link for magnets is