Art Project: Silhouettes to Help Brave Maeve

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Just about two years ago, one of my childhood / high school friends found out through a very harrowing experience that her then 18-month-old daughter, Maeve, had Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It’s very rare for children this young to be diagnosed with T1D, and, as you can imagine, the last two years have been quite a journey for her mom (and family) as they navigate through the diagnosis and do everything they can to keep their daughter (and sister) healthy.

Although I haven’t seen her in so many years, I am so inspired and amazed by my friend Megan. She was always a favorite friend when I was younger – smart and fun and determined. I see now that she’s not changed much – very soon after receiving Maeve’s diagnosis, she went on a serious mission to raise awareness about T1D. She started this amazing Facebook page – Brave Maeve – that has almost 3,000 followers. And for good reason. On her page, Megan shares vignettes about adjusting to life with a child with T1D – sometimes entertaining, sometimes heartbreaking, but always moving. You need to follow her page and follow her journey – she’s a witty writer and that, combined with her stories, make her posts one of the most interesting things on my Facebook feed. It doesn’t hurt that Maeve – and her diabetes service dog, Pumpy – are completey adorable :).  Maeve’s family has established a fund to help support her medical costs, which, I can imagine are great. Details for this are also available on her page.

In addition to generating awareness by sharing Maeve’s ongoing story, Megan has also undertaken a great deal of fundraising efforts to support research for a T1D cure (also promoted on her page). Many of them are local (as in local to Maeve … so Florida 🙂 ), so it’s been a bit hard to support from Oregon. But recently, they did a fundraiser with freelance artist Keith Donaldson who is renown for doing hand-cut silhouettes at Walt Disney World (Here’s a link to his website if you want to check it out.). As you may know, we like vacationing in Walt Disney World, so, I’ve seen these sweet little silhouettes before. I’ve eyed them many times during our visits to the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney, but for one reason or another, we’ve never been able to get them done for the kids. Looking back, I’m glad we never had the chance before because this fundraiser was a perfect opportunity to do them AND help Brave Maeve.

It was pretty cool – I just had to email over a side photo of Gavin and Grace and few weeks later, I received these in the mail:

Pretty cute, right? I opted to do separate silhouettes and skipped the frames because I had a hack in mind. I have been slowly creating a mixed art gallery wall in our play room, and thought these silhouettes – mounted on a colorful canvases – would be a fun addition. (Good part is you get two silhouettes as part of the deal – so I had one to keep as is, and one to play around with.)

I had some 5″ x7″ canvas panels sitting around waiting to be used (because who doesn’t have those lying around their house!?) and painted one blue and one hot pink. Then I snipped around the silhouette with tiny little sewing scissors. Because the silhouettes are mounted on a light card stock, there was a little white “halo” around the edges of the silhouette when I was done snipping them out. I took a black Sharpie and ran it around the edges to help it blend – it worked well! Here they are after I cut them out of the white background and before I mounted them:

I have a handy little 3M glue pen that has a pen tip and a broad tip. On the back of the silhouette, I first traced the edges of the back of the silhouette, then took the broad edge and filled in the rest before pressing them to the painted canvas board. I positioned them in different spots on the canvas board to mix it up a little bit and add visual interest between them when they are hanging. I haven’t yet hung them in the play room, but here’s how they turned out:

To finish the project, I cut out the artist’s signature and glued it on the back. I also wrote the kids’ names and ages so I won’t forget when we did these.

While I am so sorry for everything Maeve and her family have to go through, I am grateful for the opportunity to support Maeve’s cause from so far away – and with such a cute result on top of it! Keep fighting, Maeve! We’re behind you and your cause from literally the opposite corner of the continental U.S. 🙂

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