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Diabetes Art Day 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Today is Diabetes Art Day!  

Diabetes Art Day was created by the wonderful Lee Ann Thill.  On the Diabetes Art Day website, she describes it as this... "Diabetes Art Day is a web-based initiative for the Diabetes Online Community to “tell a story” about life with diabetes though creative visual expression. It’s a way for us to tell our stories so we can connect and share with each other and with our loved ones. It’s a way to generate diabetes awareness outside of the DOC by sharing artwork on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and community websites. Diabetes Art Day is for people young and old with any type of diabetes and their families, so children, spouses, parents, siblings, or anyone who is affected by diabetes can participate. For this one day, you’re encouraged to break out of your linguistic comfort zone, bust out some art materials, and make a piece of artwork – painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, an installation piece, a mixed media something or other, or whatever you can imagine. Whether you have lots of experience making art or none at all, Diabetes Art Day is for you to show the world what it’s like to live with diabetes in that “a picture is worth 1000 words” kind of way."

I really enjoy D Art day!  I love making art.  I'm probably more crafty than arty but I enjoy both.  Sweets loves creating things as well!  So I knew we would both enjoy a little project!

I had my inspiration.  Test Strips.

We bought some small canvases, dumped out our (used - gross, I know) test strips and got busy making some art!

Sweets decided to create a person out of her strips.  My idea was to do the LOVE thing.  I wanted the O to be blue.  I had blue glitter spray paint and we were going to spray paint the canvases and then remove the strips to leave our design.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!  Right?!?


Two words.  HOT MESS.

This did NOT come out how I envisioned it.

Sweets design worked well.  But mine... the strips would NOT stay in place.  They kept flying all over the place and it wasn't working.  I took the strips off the canvas and thought I would just leave it blue and glue the strips on.  But it was just a disaster.  I tried to spread out the paint... hoping for a cool effect of some kind.  All I got was a mess (see middle picture) and me looking like a Smurf with blue hands.

I was a MESS.  I ended up going to get the adhesive remover we use for sites to get the paint off of me because nothing else was working.  Not cool.

But then it hit me...

This is perfect.

It's JUST like life with diabetes.

It's never the way we envisioned it.  Rarely.  Our plans usually get turned upside down.

Diabetes is often a big mess.  It's not neat and precise.  It gets all over us and it's hard to get off.

But what are we going to do?  Sit and cry over it?

No way.

We pick ourselves up and figure out something else.  We keep trying.  Sure, we may say a few not so nice words along the way... but we keep going.

And in the end... what we get is pretty cool.  It may not be what we first envisioned.  And it may have been a struggle getting there.  But what we end up with just may be better than what we had planned anyway.

Here is Sweets finished design...

And here is mine...

The color in the pictures is off.  The background of hers is a lighter, sparkly blue.  She used markers to complete her design.

Mine is purple around the outside.  I pained A's hand pink.  It's hard to see but there is a little red heart shaped blood drop on her index finger.  I chose pink and purple because... #1 - It matches her room and they are her favorite colors.  #2 - I didn't have blue paint.  

Now for the symbolism... I love me some symbolism!

The little hand represents her little self.  She sometimes seems so grown up to me but she's only 7.  She's still my baby.  The five fingers represent five years (in April) of living with T1D.  And honestly, February was when her symptoms began.  There are 75 white dots around the outside.  Each dot represents 200 finger sticks.  That's 15,000 finger sticks.  That's her five year total (estimate).  At just over 8 tests a day.... we know that's probably on the low side.  

I added her name above the hand.  And I was considering adding her dx date... But, and this is a post for the future... I'm just not sure I want that in her face all the time.  We are working on the balance between living with and advocating for diabetes while not letting it become who we are.  

So, that's our 2014 D Art day submissions!  It's always a fun time!  I encourage you to make some D art and get creative!  Even if you make a big mess and turn yourself into a Smurf... it can still come out ok!  

Head on over to the gallery... and make sure you keep coming back... to see this year's gallery of work!



  1. Way to go. Good attitudes on getting through the messes.

  2. Way to go. Good attitudes on getting through the messes.

  3. This is so beautiful... I'm tearing up. It really turned out so much like life with diabetes. And I learned that adhesive remover takes off spray paint, which, knowing me, is likely going to come in handy someday, lol!

    Thank you so much for your art, and your insightful lesson. Love to you both <3

  4. Such a thoughtful and creative execution of how you're feeling. Nice work, ladies.

  5. Well done, Hallie and Sweets! So true about that being how D-Life so often is, but we plug on and keep painting... and create masterpieces as we're able. Thanks for creating these, and sharing the story of the process, with all of us.

  6. I love love love the art you two made - false start and all. You post and pictures have brought tears to my eyes. Love!!


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