Show an Attitude of Gratitude

“Eat, drink and be thankful”: November is the time for a fall harvest celebration and a commemorative t-shirt.

As my family and I prepare for Thanksgiving, we keep in mind that the bounty we enjoy is the product of someone else's labor. 

Field workers and laborers, the "soldiers of the plough", have been crucial in keeping food on our table. While technological advances have allowed agribusiness to increase yields from cultivation, they have also caused negative effects to human lives and disruption to the balance between the economy and ecosystem. Often, field workers are expected to work under hazardous working conditions and without the things we take for granted such as adequate food, water, and housing.

Obviously, one cannot tackle this problem alone or as a whole. We can, however, take part in incremental change and express our gratitude by supporting actions that improve the lives of the people who add value to ours.

November's craft is based on an Aztec-themed image that figures prominently in the United Farm Workers' movement. I will do my best to incorporate the symbolic colors of hope (white), struggle (black) and sacrifice (red) to the project.

Watch the video in the gallery to the right for more on the project.


What you will need:

  • Plain t-shirt (white or light color and logo-free)
  • Piece of plain white paper and thick pencil
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint palette or paper plate
  • Small plastic cups for water
  • Paint brushes in assorted sizes
  • Newspaper
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Rick-rack in your color of choice 
  • Fabric glue or sewing machine with twin needle


  1. Pick a design (simple or complex)
  2. Trace a thick outline of the design on a plain piece of white paper
  3. Put the design under the top layer of the T-shirt and trace, if necessary.
  4. Begin painting the design of your choice.
  5. Follow the directions on the fabric paint bottle for drying and curing directions.
  6. Once the paint is dry and set, begin styling the T-shirt by cutting off the neck ribbing and arm bands.  See video for styling tip.
  7. Sew or glue the rick-rack onto the lower hem of the T-shirt as a special touch.
Jamie White November 14, 2011 at 03:54 PM
What a cool idea, Gabriela! And I love the shirt and the idea behind it, to honor those who help bring us our food for Thanksgiving.
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan November 14, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Thanks, Jamie! It was fun to have the family shout out what their favorite fruits and vegetables were. Then we started talking about the work it takes to get this food to us and how grateful we are for it. One of our favorite documentaries that goes into the topic of the food supply as seen from a child's perspective is "What's On Your Plate?": http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/woyp.html


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