Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Costumes for your Omnipod

Put a Costume on Your Omnipod Insulin Pump!

We've had a lot of fun this month making Halloween costumes for Eleanor's Omnipod, and we wanted to share them with you.  However, one caveat. Costume your pod at your own risk.  I cannot guarantee your safety or the efficacy of your Pod if you put a costume on it.  I can only tell you that we had a lot of fun with these and did not have any trouble, but I'm not responsible for your pod or your safety.  Get an adult's supervision and use caution.

"How can you put a costume on a Pod?" you ask! "It's just so… well… Pod shaped!" I know! I know! I thought the same thing, until I looked at it one day and it occurred to me that if you turned it a certain way, the blocky end looks a lot like Frankenstein's head, and thus Frankenpod was born.

Party with Your Omnipod

Eleanor made a mask at the hospital party
We attended a party for kids with diabetes hosted by the Dallas Children's Medical Center, and Count Podula made his debut there. He had a swarm of fans.  The folks working at the Insulet table seemed especially fond of him. (Gee? I wonder why?) They even photographed him! They were like the Paparazzi. They said to me, "This is going out in a text right now!"

I wondered, "Cool! to who?!" Maybe it was to an agent in Hollywood.  I'm pretty sure it must have been, because I'm pretty sure all those Hollywood agents are always looking for great ideas for new ways to decorate insulin pumps at Halloween and other holidays.  They should be.

Sweet Halloween Fun For Kids with Diabetes

So Frankenpod, was first and Eleanor liked him so much that she cried when he had to come off, which is kind of great, because it means she really really liked him, but kind of horrible, because, she was crying.  So, I was super pumped (no pun intended) to get super creative all over again, and thus Count Podula was born.  You should see the results you get when you Google search for "cute vampire," I'm not talking about Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

Pod Cover - download my template! the template
Even before we made Frankenpod and Count Podula we started the Halloween theme with full pod covers made out of Halloween fabric.  I made a pattern, which you can download here cut it out of fabric and covered the whole Pod with Mod Podge.  You could do that with any fabric, any time of year.  Eleanor's Pod sported a fabric Jack O'Lantern costume and some candy corn attire as well.  Finally just this morning, Tutan-POD-un rose from the tomb wrapped in bandages and spooked us.

Patterns to help you make your Own Omnipod Halloween Costumes

I've provided a pattern to download for Count Podula's hair and cape/wings.  I've also included the pattern to make full pod covers on the same pdf file, I used fabric and Mod Podge.  So far we've only tried original Mod Podge, but I recently purchased a bottle of Outdoor Mod Podge. We are curious to know if it will stand up to a bath.  I doubt it, but we'll keep you posted. Or, if you try it first, let us know!  We've made up our minds to apply our decorations right after a bath, and simply re-do them if we need to.


Frankenpod held up to bathing, I began by painting the entire pod with acrylic paint.  His mouth and nose are also acrylic paint.  I used a tiny dot of glue from a hot glue gun to attach, his eyes, his "hair," and the bolts (pony beads) to the side of his "neck." I was extremely careful to apply the glue to each item far away from Eleanor and then bring it over to the pod, rather than putting the glue directly onto the pod while she was already wearing it, which would mean getting too close to her skin with the hot glue gun.  I also used as little hot glue as possible, because I had some concern that the heat from the hot glue might compromise the insulin in her pod, so again, do this at your own risk. We didn't have any problems.

Count Podula
Count Podula

Count Podula was probably the trickiest to design, but I've done the hard part for you.  I made his cape out of stiff black felt (ours had glitter on it, because that's what we had on hand.)  I liked that the stiffness made the felt hold it's shape.   You need to tuck his cape between the adhesive and the pod  again, at your own risk.  I used Mod Podge to glue the cape to the back side of the Pod itself, and that worked for me, you could try other glue.  You could use black paper or painted cardboard for the cape too. Use what you have.  If you look at the pattern I've provided for download, you can see there are two little tabs that stick up to tuck behind the pod, that's where you put the glue.  Have fun! I made his hair from vinyl stick-on letters I got from Office Depot.  I just looked for a section large enough and cut out the shape. His hair is part of the pattern. His mouth is just a scrap piece of vinyl lettering.  You could also use black fabric, flexible felt, tissue paper and Mod Podge, paint, or even Sharpie for his hair.   The fangs are felt, but they kept falling off.  I'd use paint if I did it again.  His bow tie is felt and stayed on with hot glue. His eyes are stuck on with hot glue, just like Frank's.


This little guy is probably the easiest one.  The only trick to him is that I actually put one layer of bandages on him underneath his eyes.  That's just because I didn't want any of the pod surface to show through the gaps.  Also, you can't really wrap the strips around and around the pod, so, the bandages are cut into short strips and then layed across, and glued down so the wrapped look is all an illusion.  The eyes are glued on, just like before. 

The boys really wanted him to be a Tummy Mummy, but Eleanor thought more of her fans would get to see him if she wore him on her arm.  I'm not sure if she meant fans or all those Hollywood agents who have been lined up outside waiting to see if they could catch a glimpse of the latest Pod costume.

And that's it!  Happy Costuming! Have a safe and Happy Halloween from all of us a Girl Glycosylated! If you put a costume on your pod, don't forget to send us a picture or post it on the Girl Glycosylated Facebook Page! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Converting a Mini Backpack Into a Kid's Diabetes Kit

Commercial Kits

We looked at a lot of the commercially available kits out there for kids with diabetes to carry their gear. and we just weren't happy with any of them.  The main objective for us, is to meet Eleanor's needs in homeschool science class at the Heard Museum here in McKinney. Each week they go on a hike.  She needs to be able to carry her gear with her on the trail.  She also needs to be able to test while standing up out on the trail.  There's not a neat little table out there on which to set her meter.  That would be nice, but it just isn't so!

First We Tried The Free Eli Lilly Diabetes Kit 

So, the first couple of weeks back in class she carried everything in the ubiquitous pink camouflage bag that every girl with diabetes gets at the hospital when first diagnosed.  Eli Lilly gives them out to new patients.  We've seen them in dozens of diabetes YouTube videos and we've seen our diabuddies carrying them at JDRF functions.  It works great as long as you're hanging around inside, or at the park where there's a bench or something where you can open out the bag on a flat surface, but if you try to open it while you're standing out on the hiking path, everything will come tumbling out the minute you unzip it.

A Cool Rockin' Orange Diabetes Tool Belt!

Next we bought her a tool bag from Zoro tools.
She liked it because it was orange, her favorite color, and because it was designed to be worn around her waist, so her hands would be free.  She could unzip it, nothing would spill, and she could reach in and still get what she needs while she's testing.  That worked pretty well, but since it was built for a construction worker, it was a little big for a petite 7 year old girl.  Honestly she still loves it, and I think she'll still use it some, but the current favorite is a converted mini Hello Kitty Backpack.  It began life as an ordinary mini backpack I bought from Zulily. I bought it with using it as a diabetes kit in mind.  But I doctored it up a bit.

How We Doctored Up The Backpack

The trouble with a plain ordinary backpack is that it's one single cavernous opening, and everything just falls to the bottom, and it's difficult to find what you need to test quickly, which can be quite a challenge if you're feeling low.  So, we wanted her to have quick access to the items she needed most often.

I added Stretchy Pockets 

First I added a stretchy pocket on the inside of each side panel.  I used two pair of never-been-worn Hello Kitty print panties. We had an entire package that she outgrew before she could wear them when she gained weight quickly after her diagnosis - but you could make side pockets out of any stretchy knit.  I was just trying to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Besides! It was fun that the Hello Kitty print coordinated with the back pack.

Then I added Elastic Loops

Second, on the back panel, (the side that goes against her back when she's wearing it, so the stitching won't show) I sewed a length of elastic with loops in it to hold all the accessories she needs for testing, and anything else that rattles around loose in the bottom of the bag. First I used a quilting ruler and a pencil to draw a perpendicular line across the inside of the pack, to be sure my elastic strip would be level when I was done. Then, I took a piece of ¾ inch elastic and sewed one end of it into the  existing seam of the pack.  I sewed a bit of the elastic flat down onto the back of the pack, to leave a gap between the seam and the test strip bottle, then I held her test strip bottle in place with elastic wrapped around it, and eyeballed the length of the elastic to measure the distance around the test strips. Again, I sewed a few stitches flat across the elastic to leave a gap
between each loop, then I measured a similar loop for her lancing device.  I repeated this process, leaving a small gap between each item, until I had a loop for her test strips, her lancing device, her insulin bottle, her *stingeze, a couple of syringes (which she keeps for emergencies even though she wears a pump), and her control solution.

*Stingeze is just benzocaine in a dauber tube, it's meant for insect bites, but it works great for soothing an occasional "bad" or painful finger stick.

There Was  A Place for Everything

When it was finished, we put alcohol swabs in one side pocket, Smarties in the other, and down in the bottom were, a juice box, a spare pod, tissues, Glucagon, Glucagel, a couple of "Sleek Sleeves"- lycra cuffs she wears if her Omnipod starts coming loose, and on top of all that her PDM for her Omnipod.  It's working out great!  Today was the first day she wore to it science class and I'd say it was a big success on the trail!

She's Ready to Hit The Trail!
Here's what it looks like with all her gear loaded up.
Her PDM, "Pumpie" has eyes, of course!