Get Crafty for Diabetes

October was such an inspiring month for us with all the Think Pink Projects to support those fighting breast cancer, give tribute to those who beat the awful disease and to honor those who fought an amazing fight.  We love how much the industry gets behind this great cause with fundraisers, awareness projects and creative support gifts that mean so much.  As October moves into November, Diabetes takes center stage in the hopes of building awareness, helping those cope with this lifelong disease, finding better treatments and ultimately finding a cure.  There are two main types of Diabetes.  Type 1 Diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, this disease happens when a person’s pancreas ceases to work any longer.  This can happen as early as birth and does not tend to happen often past 40.  Type 2 Diabetes, also know as, adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s important source of fuel.  Type 2 Diabetes differs greatly from Type 1 Diabetes in one major way, Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented.  Type 2 Diabetes can be managed with improved diet, exercise and in some cases medicine.  It can be cured and it can be controlled.  Type 1 on the other hand is a lifelong disease.  While both diseases affect insulin levels and how the body processes them, they are so very different in the treatment and management.  Type 1 Diabetes was once associated with children and Type 2 with adults and the lines are now blurring as the population of overweight children continues to grow.  It is very important to know that weight and food has nothing to do with Type 1 Diabetes.  They do not know the exact cause, but feel it has to do with some combination of genetics and the environment and studies also show that the occurrence of both diseases is on the rise.

Today we are focusing on creative ideas for the Type 1 Diabetic.  Unlike so many diseases, Type 1 Diabetes is with you for life.  Children requiring someone to be their pancreas 24 hours a day and adults having to monitor themselves day and night.  There are so many misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes, so we thought we would take the time to share a few facts that you might not know and then with the help of a few of our Crew Members we will share a few creative projects that build awareness, help decorate everyday life and we hope may just help someone with the disease find creativity as a way to cope when things are not so easy.  

Linda says it two well in her Mixed Media Piece “I may not be perfect, but parts of me are awesome, but with a little help from the INSULIN I’m perfectly awesome”  Linda Svendsen, one of our Crew Members, is a Type 1 Diabetic who lives her creative life to the fullest and that shows up in her colorful art pieces.

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Type 1 Diabetes facts in layman’s terms:

1 – Sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, because the onset of the disease happens more often to children, this disease can strike at any time.

2 – Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating the wrong foods, your weight or not exercising enough, in simple terms your pancreas just stops working.

3 – When your pancreas stops working, the body can no longer make the hormone insulin.  The body requires insulin to live as it monitors your blood sugar levels, so insulin must be taken throughout the day.

4 – Most are diagnosed before the age of 40, but the most common age is around 14

5 – The average person with Type 1 diabetes has their blood checked at least 3000 times a year

6 –  There is no current known cure for Type 1 diabetes, so those with the disease live with the disease the rest of their lives

7 – Type 1 diabetes is hard on the whole body

8 – Those with Type 1 diabetes can do anything in life, as long as they take care of themselves, monitor their blood sugar and take the right amount of insulin

9 – Parents of children diagnosed with the disease in essence become the child’s pancreas, monitoring blood sugar, administering insulin and caring for the well begin of the child. As the child gets older and becomes an adult the job becomes solely their own.

10 – Type 1 diabetics can eat just about anything they want as long as they monitor the number of carbohydrates they take in at each meal and take enough insulin to match the carbs.

11 – When blood sugars are running very low, quickly give a dose of a high sugar food or drink such as juice, regular soda, fruit chews, honey or jelly beans.  These foods will react quickly and help the body regain the needed blood sugar levels.

12 – When levels are too high insulin is administered in hopes of getting the levels under control very quickly.

We hope our facts shed a bit of insight into what life is like every single day for someone with Type 1 Diabetes. But what we also hope you take away is that those with the disease are, as normal as, everyone else, except their pancreas decided to stop working.  The treatment for Type 1 Diabetes was found around 1920 and made it possible for those with the disease to live full lives.  A cure however has not been found, but researches have made major strides with the invention of the artificial pancreas, testing pancreas transplants and other experimental procedures.  We hope we see even more strides made in our lifetime to make the lives of those with Type 1 Diabetes an easier journey.



Type 1 Diabetics must keep track of every single carbohydrate that goes into their body (every day, every meal, every snack – there is no break)  Linda created this helpful board for each day with creativity under glass including the days of the week.  Note your food for the meal on the board to help calculate the carbs.  You can even jot down the actual carb count.  This is a terrific idea for children fighting and coping with the disease, letting them get involved in the process.  Feeling out of control is one of the hardest things anyone with diabetes must overcome and you can imagine how difficult this is for children, so any chance to give them a little control is great.  You can see how Linda created this board on Youtube.



Another aspect of Type 1 Diabetes no one really talks about is the large amount of needles, test strips and alcohol wipes one goes through in month and how you store and dispose of them.


Kimberly put a little of her mixed media creativity into play and decide to decorate her container.  She was not sure what the rules where for covering it completely, so she made sure the pieces could be removed, we will have to do a bit of investigating on what the law requires, but what a fun idea especially when there are kids involved.  Let them create a decoration for their container and update all the time.


Linda found the perfect layout for a photo that represents her life – test strips, needle and tester.  These items must go everywhere with the person who has diabetes.  Some have an Insulin Pump they can adjust their insulin with the touch of a few buttons and others carry insulin and syringes to administer just the right amount.  Here is a video of Linda’s layout.

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Linda used the 7gypsies Gypsy Moments Collection that is filled with fun inspirational sayings to help her say what she wanted to say.  These sayings are great for layouts, ATC’s, cards and more.  Gypsy Moments is about capturing those special moments in time even if they are every day.  The beautiful papers from the collection mixed with fun cards and sentiments create a great look that can be vintage, shabby, fun or even modern depending on the color you choose.  We are loving this pastel version with soft Tattered Angels paint colors, so pretty.


Unlike some other diseases, diabetes no matter the type has a focus on food, what goes in, tracking it, eating the right things at the right time and coordinating it all with blood sugar counts and insulin when that is required.  Many people keep a record of their daily stats including the foods their eat, the carb count, blood glucose, ketones, insulin administered, timeline and other details of the day.  We thought it would be fun to make a creative journal for a little Type 1 diabetic we know who loves pink.  This simple journal is so easy to make and is a great project you can do together with your child or make one for you.  Not only to keep the important details in one place, by there are places to add little thoughts, notes and reminders.


What you will need:

Tools:  paper cutter, scissors, hole punch

Step 1:  We decided to make this book with a page for each day in the month.   This gives you plenty of space to write and document.  We made sure we have 16 6″x6″ cardstock pieces.  Choose your favorite 4-5 papers and trim them to 6″x”6″


Step 2: cut up 31 4″x6″ cards, little pages or recipe cards.  These are added to the pages giving you a place to journal, document or write notes.  You can write recipes on them if you want or just use the space to write the notes of the day.


Step 3: the baby girl alpha paper is perfect for adding the days of the week to your journal.  Spell the days out, abbreviate them or use the first letter and finish the day with stamps or your handwritten letters.


Step 4: to create the front cover, cut up or make letters for your  journal month, clothespin them to black jute and glue them to a piece of natural canvas.  Then glue that entire piece to a 6×6 piece and it becomes the front cover to your journal.


Step 5: mix and match the papers, 4×6 cards and letters to create one page for each day in the month.  We used both sides of the cardstock, but you can choose to make one for each day, in this case 31 for March.  When you are done, with your hole punch punch, punch 2 holes at the top of the paper, repeating in the same spot for each page.

So if you have diabetes in your life personally, a family member or friend battles the disease or if you ever come across someone struggling with blood sugar levels, we hope our little set of facts and our creative ideas might just make a difference.  Research time and time again shows that creativity heals.  We know there is currently not a cure to heal Type 1 Diabetes, but we do know that creating relaxes you, helps take your mind off of the issues and is therapeutic.  So try a few of these projects or simply create for you.

This article was written from personal experience and first hand accounts.  While it may not be scientific it is the reality that over 371 million people worldwide are battling diabetes and the numbers are growing.  It is time for us to come together and help spread the awareness of these awful diseases.  Both types of diabetes are so different, but the one thing they have in common is a person with the disease has difficulty or cannot process Insulin.  To find out all the details on both types of Diabetes we recommend jumping over to or  Both sites are a wealth of knowledge and also have ways you can get involved in helping to find a cure.  JDRF challenged everyone in the month of November and every month to show the world what diabetes is like, we hope we did so in a creative way.

The goal for all those with the disease, those fundraising for the disease and those researching for the disease is to create a world without diabetes as we know it today.

Thank you to the Crew for helping us share these personal projects and help us share a bit about diabetes.

Happy Creating!!!!


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'Get Crafty for Diabetes' have 5 comments

  1. November 30, 2015 @ 11:47 am leti

    This post is awesome! Love how you used great craft to do a PSA!


  2. November 30, 2015 @ 2:43 pm Barb Housner

    very informative post on Type 1 Diabetes. Wonderful creative projects. My mother has Typ2 2 which she contracted later in her life so see her struggles. Thanks for sharing this information.


  3. November 30, 2015 @ 3:53 pm Carla Hundley

    I have type 1 Diabetes and my
    husband has type 2. Thank
    you for this fun and informative
    Carla from Utah


  4. November 30, 2015 @ 8:22 pm Dorina D

    Wonderful blog and very informative. With diabetes running in our family, this is great article and a fun way to track carbs, etc. Thanks for sharing.


  5. December 1, 2015 @ 12:14 am susan salyer

    oh this is fabulous! Brilliant and so lifting to the spirit.


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.