Meet Maisy! She is an English Bred Labrador Retriever, who will have a very special job to do when she grows up. Maisy will be trained to be a diabetes alert dog!
You see, 8 years ago, at age 4, my little sister was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes. This means that her pancreas stopped producing insulin. Insulin is the hormone the body produces that converts the food we eat into energy. Without it, our bodies can't use the food we eat, thus we would essentially starve to death. Thankfully, diabetes can be managed by daily insulin injections and blood sugar checks every few hours to make sure the correct amount of insulin is being given and enough food is being eaten. If my sister's blood sugar is too high (over 200) it means she needs more insulin, she has not been given enough for her body to be able to use all the food she has eaten. If her blood sugar is too low (under 70) it means she needs to eat more food! Her blood sugar level should be between 80 and 150 at all times, and, it's a constant balancing act to keep it there. (For non-diabetics the blood sugar should be between 80 and 120.)
As my sister continues to grow the amount of insulin and food she needs changes. This is where Maisy comes in! She will be trained to sense, and then alert us, when my sister's blood sugar goes too high or too low. This service will be invaluable to keeping my sister healthy!
Of course, my sister was thrilled beyond words to get Maisy for Christmas!
She was quite disappointed to have to leave her home this morning while we went to church, but she put on her Christmas dress, told Maisy she'd be back soon, and came along.
Now, I am pretty darned pleased with how my sister's Christmas dress turned out! It's pretty but not too fancy for sitting on the floor to play with Maisy.
About a month ago I was reading some sewing blogs where I came across this pattern and fell in love. The piping, the pockets, the full skirt, they were just perfect. I had to make it for my sister! I was all ready to buy the pattern when I discovered there was just one little problem, a very common one for me I'm afraid, the pattern didn't come in my sister's size. Gahh!
Well, I was making that dress, pattern or no, so I bought this festive, colorful fabric at Joann's black friday sale. Being part of Joann's Christmas line, the fabric was 75% off that day! The black background of the fabric is covered in green slashes and metallic gold, white, and pink dots. After considering each of those colors, I decided to make the piping pink and found the perfect colored cotton to do that.
Design settled on, fabric found, I was all ready to make the dress, except I still needed a pattern. I decided to use Simplicity 8026 because it came in the right size and featured the princess seams that would be embellished with piping. I cut the shift dress pieces off at the waistline, drafted the pocket, skirt, and epaulet pieces myself, changed the back neckline into a shallow "v", and split the center front piece in two to accommodate the piping across the upper chest.
An invisible zipper down the back and shiny gold buttons on the shoulder epaulets completed the dress. It turned out just as I'd envisioned!
Of course, Maisy makes it cuter, but then, puppies always do that!
Maisy loved coming outside with us to take pictures, and as soon as we came back inside she fell asleep curled up in between my sister's boots! Apparently she didn't want to be forgotten the next time my sister went outside. This Christmas puppy will truly be that girl's best friend!