In keeping with our commitment to environment, we offered organic cotton cloth diapers and wool diaper covers in seasonally-appropriate garden themes. Diapers are environmentally responsible. Yes. They are good for Baby’s health. Yes. But, you know what? They can also be astonishing beautiful and very amusing.
Garden, Garden. What’s in the Garden?
It’s a diaper; it’s a garden; it’s diaper art. How silly, you say? Of course, it is. Children love to be silly. Why put a garden on your baby’s bottom? Because (say it with me–I love to say this), it makes you smile at a time when your baby is completely focused on your face. Because it makes diapering fun.
Diaper Garden Gallery: Wheel of the Year
If a little squash diaper here and a lime cover there helps you look at the sky, look and the earth, and think more about the season of the year, it has got to be good.
This Wheel of the Year is a gallery of past Diaper Garden sets. Diaper Garden sets are organic cotton cloth diapers and wool diaper cover sets in seasonal themes and usually available by auction only.
The following sets roll in reverse order. The Watermelon cloth diapers were first, because I was obsessed with the simple, visual appeal of the green and red, and the Cantaloupe came last, available only in our updated fitted diaper pattern. We had hit our Instagram filter stage by then. Now, it’s all nostalgia—cloth diaper art nostalgia.
Cantaloupe Diaper Garden
It’s cold and grey outside, but open this rough, unassuming fruit and you find beautiful, soft, sweet cantaloupe. November, despite the harvest festival we call Thanksgiving, is usually quite late for harvest. This is a last, late harvest—the last Diaper Garden set as we shift to new products. Cushy sherpa inside and stretchy waffle outside give these diapers a nice, comfortably snug fit.
It’s my Instagram outing. Can you tell from the photo?
Kiwi Diaper Garden
Cool Spring. It may be Spring, but in the North where I am, my toes are still COLD. Only the bravest of bulbs are ready to show their green in my garden. In a cool Spring, who wouldn’t welcome the unlikely growth of a Kiwi vine across a waking garden? It’s a Diaper Garden. If we imagine it, it may grow.
Kiwi cloth diapers
To create this pattern we oh-so carefully created accordion-folded circles, tied them loosely, bagged the top, then painted dark green down the outer most edges of the folds. We untied the dark green area and made one black dot on each fold. Then overdye in light green. At that point we unbagged the center to fix the whole pattern. The inside and doublers were slightly different shades of green to give dimension to the whole.
Kiwi wool diaper covers
The brown is kiwi-like, but our wool does not hold blue well. We could not get that nice mint green with the colors we had at the time (a problem solved). So, this particular kiwi had a chartreuse trim that was admittedly sharper in color from the fruit.
Slice of Kiwi Baby Doll
Look at that kiwi attitude! Kiwi baby has an organic cotton head and bottom with a fuzzy wool body, a bit like a fuzzy kiwi fruit. The body is oval, which wasn’t the easiest shape to recreate. I topstitched the body seams to help smooth the shape. This is not a whole kiwi, but a half. Look underneath and the kiwi (mildly) resembles a slice of kiwi.
Winter Frost Diaper Garden
Our noses are still cold but some days it smells like Spring is just around the corner. When the sun shines brightly on a late winter day, the snow over the garden sparkles like a bed of diamonds. The garden isn’t green, but the garden is alive and active under its blanket of white.
Even though, as my daughter tells me, “It smells like Spring,” our garden is still covered with snow and it is nippy out there. We have been reading Elsa Beskow’s Ollie’s Ski Trip lately at bedtime, and we talk about the frost flowers blooming on windows. In my garden you would find a bloom of Winter Frost.
Garden themes are often rich, fertile greens and bright gem tones. I took the opportunity during winter to create a cool color collection.
The tie-dye is very simple. I made random circles about 1.5″ across. Tied with rubber bands. Then dyed. Result: frost bloom. The inner layer of the Winter Frost diapers is a thick knit terry (often called burly knit terry). This terry is the same as sherpa before brushing and teasing. This thick layer gives extra absorbency as well as warm cushiness for a cozy winter diaper.
Color plays well against a natural wool body. Wool and cotton require different dyes and dye methods to get similar colors. We played with the wool knit trim until we reached colors closely matching the those on the organic cotton diapers.
Rainbow Chili Pepper Diaper Garden
In High Summer, we’re harvesting the fruits of the vine and the tree. The garden demands more hard work. If you are lucky, your chili peppers have been stressed enough by your weather to yield mad heat. Oh, yum. Watch out for those seeds.
High Summer is high time for a mass of Hot Chili & Lime–the ingredients of our favorite hot sauce. Chilies are one of the great foods from the Americas. Mix chili with a little bit of tropical lime, and it’s enough to make you want to sit under an umbrella on the beach sipping a lime-drenched drink and munching on something crunchy and spicy.
Most of the seven diaper colors were new, inspired by one of my favorite chili plants: The Bolivian Rainbow Chili. We grow this often, but didn’t this particular year because the seeds were hard to come by that season. When going so far as to make seven colors of diapers, why not add dolls, T-shirts and socks? It was a crazy big bunch of diapers.
The inside of the diapers and doublers was an abstract chili seed pattern in a dark green-grey dye we mixed with a clever foam block Marc created. All doublers were green with chili seeds on the front.
The covers were very bright, neon green–not all all the rich, adult colors we usually produced. It was hot. It was summer. Why not the brightest lime green ever?
The Babies were Bubble Babies made for us in our colors of hemp/cotton by the original manufacturer, Gentle Beginnings. The bodies are loose and the heads, hands, and feet are stuffed (with organic wool) just enough to make them baby chew toys.
A lot of our customers put their babies in nothing but a diaper and a T-shirt most of the summer. Why not match? Shirts and socks from Maggie’s Organics dyed by us to match.
Strawberry Diaper Garden
The garden is alive with bright, sunny flowers and abundant greens. Have you noticed the festival season has started among agricultural towns? Strawberry are often the first fruits for the first festivals. They will be followed in other areas and climates by peaches, apples, oranges, and other fruits. Where we are, in New York, ripened strawberries mark midsummer for the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois. What is ripe where you are?
- It is crazy to sew individual wool strawberry seeds all over a diaper cover.
- It is far too crazy to sew seeds on dozens and dozens of diaper covers.
- I liked it. I just like fine, detailed work. I wrapped myself up in a big chair under a bright lamp and listened to movie after movie for about two weeks.
You must see a close up of strawberry seeds.
We had planned to have only the cover for June because I chose such a time-intensive cover design. People really wanted a diaper, though, so I had the contractors for our sister company Firefly Diapers make a strawberry red diaper with fluffy organic cotton sherpa inside.
I used to make “Quiet Books” as a child, and I’ve made a few wool books for my own children, so I decided a simple book might be a nice something extra. Count to four with 1 Strawberry, 2 Raspberries, 3 Cherries, and 4 Blueberries. OK, cherries aren’t berries and they grow on trees, but they are red and ripe and beautiful fruit. Is your mouth watering?
May Flowers Diaper Garden
The animals have awakened. The air feels different, and the sun smiles down on the soil. The first signs of abundant life in the garden are buds and flowers from bulbs, from seedlings, and all over the trees. Wear a daisy chain or toss a few flowers into your picnic salad. Climb the tree and look out over the growing green.
For a couple of years, I held Fuzbaby to specific colorways of rich gem tones. I broke out of that pattern with these ice cream colors: peachy orange and pistachio green. To make the flowers, we cut one large foam circle, dip in dye, print, then wash. Then we used our five-circle foam block to print the darker color. Over dyes are quite light.
Let’s face it. The green pattern is a flower. I couldn’t just SAY that though because many of my customers would not dream of putting flowers on a boy, even abstract circle flowers. The tree is the cover. But, if it helps people to get past a little reluctance, I can call a green flower a tree, too. I like the eye-jiggling effect of brighter colors inside against gentler colors outside and around the edge.
Hawthorn wool diaper cover. Early May is the time for Hawthorn. I individually cut each leaf in a reasonable resemblance of a hawthorn. I sewed them by machine to give the leaves faint veins. Eventually, I figured out that there are only so many colors of green to make a cover, and I would have to branch out more.
Flower Rice Bag Kits. I was concerned about the issue of stuffed children’s toys, so I decided to leave that decision up to parents and make this something extra a kit rather than a finished item. Beans, rice, buckwheat hulls, or wool. We stuffed ours with rice and the kids still use them to practice throwing.
Blue Skies & Burning Sun Diaper Garden
You’ve heard it; your children may chant it: “April showers bring May flowers.” The abundant life of the garden depends on all of the elements coming together: clear air and fiery sun warm up the cool earth and let the water flow. Seedlings are sprouting, and, if you are in the south, you can work with the soil. Soon, the garden will be green again and full of buzzing, buggy life with colorful flowers and the first tender leaf vegetables.
The blue skies fabric varied from partly to mostly cloudy. The undyed fabric was spread wet on a tarp then crumpled to have deep crevices. Marc then sprayed a concentrated solution of bright blue dye over the highest fabric peaks. The tarp was folded to keep the fabric wet–like a giant plastic bag. Then rinse and fix. Simple.
Marc tied and hand painted every sun. That was the biggest job of the Diaper Garden set. First he tied the circles, then he painted dark red in the center and bright orange to the base of the tied circle. Next, bag the circles and over dye medium orange for a corona that gives the sun definition. (The suns were swimming in a fiery sea without it.) Finally, untied it all and overdye the whole thing soft orange. See burning sun close up.
I love the curve of the Almost-in-one contour diapers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again a couple of times. The grey was, of course, the silver lining inside the cloud diaper. I liked this particular diaper so much that I brought it back as one of our Elemental Diapers.
You might guess that I like this pattern because I put it on so many items this month. I did. I liked the results very much, and I also like how easy it was to create. The wool was saturated with vinegar at the bottom of a plastic garbage bag, artfully crumpled up. Marc then sprayed vivid blue along the highest ridges. The bag was sealed to sit overnight, then the wool was washed and fixed. This was our first month with new, lighter weight wool. It took the dye very well. We needed an easy dye project because we made a ridiculous number of these diapers and covers.
For something big after the tiny puppets, we offered play cloths both square and long in cotton or silk. The Blue Skies pattern was created as on the diapers and covers; the Burning Sun was a large, tie-dye circle with darker red toward the center then overdyed soft orange.
Easy Wool diaper covers use the same dye techniques on wool knit. Toddler dresses use the same dye techniques on hemp/cotton jersey.
Speckled Egg Diaper Garden
The soil is waking, night and day are equal, and the garden is preparing for its rebirth. Eggs are a symbol of birth and rebirth in many cultures, in colors new and sweet. In some places, we hide eggs in the garden and send the children off to look for their treasures while we hold the first big picnic of the year. If it is still cool where you are, plant your February seeds for sprouts—a pot of wheatgrass for your cat, perhaps? If it is warm where you are, maybe the children are ready to dig in the dirt and prepare for planting. Spring has come, just as you suspected it would.
Gather ’round. Let us tell you the tale of the 25 wives of Dwayne the Rooster. They live in a little house on the edge of the woods and roam in a big open backyard in hilly western New York. Their humans (good friends of the Fuz family) live, work, and homeschool next door. These black, orange, speckled, and grey chickens eat flax seed and lay green, orange, and brown eggs. They are the cleanest living chickens around. Probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to these chickens was the recent visit of our photographer and chicken tamer, Marc, along with tripods, flash, camera and laptop computer, standing knee deep in chickens to find just the right ambiance for the speckled egg diapers of the March Diaper Garden.
Yolk. That was my joke. I thought it was funny to put a big yellow spot on the inside of a diaper. Yolks were placed to be one in each diaper in the same general area in the inside back. We painted these to make their roundness random.
To create the speckled outside fabric, I did a Jackson Pollack dance over the canvas. I didn’t want the colors to be evenly spaced but clustered in interesting ways. I used about 8 colors, some neutral and some not necessarily found on the average egg.
The colorful doublers really brought out the bright speckles in the outside of these diaper sets.
Covers were quite plain, but warn grey with multi-colored snaps made them a nice companion to a very busy diaper.
Chick-in-Egg Finger Puppet. Each chick is constructed like the finger on a glove. The egg is turned inside out, and chick is sewn to the hole in the egg, hiding the seam inside the finished egg.
Organic cotton terry Chick can hid inside the wool egg then pop out to surprise baby. The chick remains the same, with little bits of wool beak and feathers. Wool egg colors vary: Raspberry, Turquoise, Gold, Brown, Natural, or Periwinkle. All match the speckled diaper.
Turnip Diaper Garden
Ewes are lambing. That’s a sure sign of the earliest Spring. Are you planning your garden? Planting seeds that need a warm start? While the garden is waking up, we’re still eating from last year’s bounty, digging through the root cellar to find turnips, still solid and beautiful.
This was the first Diaper Garden set available only to those with prior reservations. I wanted to keep these sets available to all who wanted them, but the volume was just overwhelming. We had to adjust in order to strike a balance between production and demand.
Maybe the color fade looks simple. I hope it does. The final fabric used for the turnips must have been attempt 12 or more. The prototypes were much easier than the rest of the production. We tried dipping and various methods of painting. I think the problem was in the dye mix. The blue tried to separate. We ended up painting the diaper fabric dry, which makes a nice rough color edge on the finished fabric.
If the fabric for the diapers was difficult, the wool was double-difficult. Blood, sweat and tears (well, maybe no blood except bleeding blue dye). I ended up selling a pile of blue-bled striped wool just to get rid up it and never see it again. I love how the finished diaper and cover look, though.
Organic Seed Packets. I wonder how many turnip diaper owner actually planted their seeds? We tried to keep the extras seasonal as well as the diapers, so organic turnip seeds with an organic cotton diaper made sense.
The set includes all certified organic seeds from Botanical Interests. Turnip, Seven Top–greens are a great source of calcium; Cilantro (foliage) / Coriander (seeds), Slow Bolting–good for cool season planting; and Wheatgrass, Liquid Sunshine–good for sprouts, juice, or a cat snack in a pot in the house.
Floppy Turnip Baby. The turnip baby is made from two squares of fabric, each folded corner to corner to make a triangle. The body of the baby is inside the pointy end of the chartreuse triangle, while the purple triangle drapes over the body like a loose poncho. The hands and feet are just tight knots. The hair was hand dyes several subtle dark green colors then sewn into the head to cover up the finishing details.
Ice Star Diaper Garden
Around the world, in the dark half of the year, people celebrate midwinter festivals of lights. They are Diwali, Hannukah, Lucina, Saturnalia, Yule, Christmas, Candlemas. Lamps, candles, bonfires, and stars light the dark nights when the garden lies dormant. If you were to go out into your garden with a hot cup of tea on a cold winter night and lie in the snow, would you see an icy star?
This was our first attempt at printing fabric. First, on undyed fabric we painted yellow circles. After fixing the yellow, we tied and bagged the small circles and overdyed the fabric light blue. There is some overlap around the edges. The last step was an orange star printed with a foam block we cut ourselves, to make sure it wasn’t too perfect.
The Ice Star itself. I used to work at the Smithsonian Institution, and my husband points out to me that this resembles the Smithsonian logo. It wasn’t deliberate, but I certainly see the resemblance. Maybe I hadn’t yet purged that image. I just started out wanting a sharp, 8-pointed sun and added color from there. I thought the blue rays made the points stand out more. Each of the blue rays was individually cut, so there are no two alike in any of the dozens of covers in circulation. Want to see an Ice Star close up?
Candle Sets. More great hand-poured votives from Crystal Journeys as a something extra. We chose several favorites for this set: dark blue is Good Health (clove, nutmeg, lemon balm, poppy seed, cedar, honeysuckle, juniper); yellow is Positive Energy (frankincense, dragon’s blood, sandalwood, saffron); light blue is Dreams (lavender, rosemary, ylang ylang); and light orange is Compassion (orange blossom, vanilla, chamomile).
The Star Image. One of our customers, printed the actual-size image of the popular Ice Star cover appliqué and left it by her computer for years. For her we include the star-only image. The other star image is my (then 5-year-old) daughter’s interpretation of the Ice Star cover. As I was working day after day creating and recreating this pattern, she became very familiar with it.
Later on. Owners of Ice Star diaper covers found that these sell well used at auction. The top price I know of was $154 for a used Fuzbaby Diaper Garden Ice Star wool cover. In order to let those circulating covers keep their value, I did not make more covers available.
I did, however, add a big Ice Star to a great little wool coat.
Retro Ice Star wool coat. We haven’t made a lot of matching clothing for Fuzbaby diapers and diaper covers, but the coat in the middle of winter seemed a natural. The icicles behind the Ice Star are longer than on the cover. Colors are reversed on icicles and background from the original.
I drafted this pattern to fit a two year old, but I always leave growing room. It not only fit my then 3-year old with the sleeves rolled up, but my then 6-year old fit the coat with just a bit too much wrist showing. The curves and lines match my original, ambitious drawings for Fuzbaby clothing. The finishing is much like the wool covers with a bound edge. The zipper is hidden where two bound edges come together.
Inside the pocked is a secret pocket of curvy wool felt. My children love extras and secrets like this in their clothes. I figured they weren’t alone.
Holly Diaper Garden
Where you are, is it downright chilly? As the days get shorter, there isn’t much in the garden to remind us of the green spring. But the thorny holly sticks it out with its fiery red berries. Many of us bring holly, holly berries, and their colors indoors with us in the middle of the winter to celebrate our Holidays. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
We gave customers a lot of choices for these holiday diapers. Choose color on the outside and solid or hand-painted stripe binding. This makes for a wild production line. I don’t necessarily recommend so many choices, but I liked the results with the candy-cane trim on the solid colors.
Holly wool covers. All wool covers included wool holly leaves and berries. The leaves were sewn so they had holly-leaf texture while still holding close enough to the body of the cover to leave it washable. The red was a bit too pink for some parents of boys. Personally, I’ve never had a problem putting a boy in pink.
Candle Sets. OK, we all know we didn’t make these candles, but they were a really nice something extra. Great hand-poured votives from Crystal Journey.
Wool / Cotton Blankets. Cozy blankets had wool on one side and cotton or hemp/cotton on the other side. Customers chose colors for each side and for trim as well as crib-size or just big enough to haul around as a blanket buddy.
Eggplant Diaper Garden
Rake the leaves. Air out the woolly sweaters and mittens. There will be a bite on the air soon. The harvest is over and the garden is resting.
It’s time for grateful harvest celebrations. If you are lucky, it is still warm and you are clearing out the last of the garden. Or perhaps you have a little treat in the root cellar. Eggplant! Lovely, versatile eggplant and mushrooms for a hearty meal.
I realize looking at these photos that the beautiful, rich reddish purple on the outside of the eggplant diapers doesn’t show at all. The green-grey circle pattern of the inside doesn’t show all that well, either. The idea behind the pattern was to show the greyish rings we see when we cut straight across the eggplant.
Eggplant diaper covers were a deep purple color with a simple leave pattern appliqué in 100% wool felt. This set the stage for more ambitious wool appliqué.
Mushroom Finger Puppet. The little something extra with eggplant was a mushroom. It seems they most often go together in my kitchen. The finger puppet was made to fit a variety of finger sizes by tapering the hollow stem. The caps atop the happy little faces were inspired by ballet costumes for Baba Yaga, in which the younger girls were mushrooms. My daughter was one of these mushrooms in the 2005 performance.
Squash Diaper Garden
Winter is definitely on the air. The dark half of the year is beginning. Winter vegetables are ripe, which is good because the frosts and snow are upon the north. Cheeks are rosy. Time for squash soup.
To create the Squash set, we accordion-folded an undyed piece of knit fleece then painted deep orange stripes. The looseness of the folds left the edges of the stripes quite soft. This fabric was overdyed with a softer orange. The inside layer was solid soft orange, and the binding was avocado green.
The covers for the squash sets were solid undyed or solid black. This was an early set, and I didn’t yet have a sense of how far I could take the covers.
Squash Baby. The squash baby body fabric was accordion folded in a circle then loosely tied for dyeing. The same deep orange was used to create stripes. The effect was slightly tie-dye, but careful folding held the stripe apart enough that they almost looked like the ribs on a squash. Each squash baby started as a giant circle, gathered around the edge for the neck, then a simple body was stuffed inside with a big wad of organic wool. The cap also rolled down so the baby could hide.
Watermelon Diaper Garden
The wheel is turning. If you’re lucky it is getting a little cooler and you are harvesting many of the summer vegetables. The weather is just right for wearing a sweater to a picnic or a party just so you can eat a bunch of watermelon.
Watermelon photos taken in our own backyard. There were big piles of diapers surrounded by watermelons both cut and uncut. This was the first Diaper Garden set, and we hadn’t yet figured out that people wanted multiple views. The visual details are sparse.
The sense of watermelon was created simply by the juxtaposition of visually arresting colors: chartreuse outside, hot watermelon pink inside, and avocado binding. There were no extra fabric tricks for the watermelon diapers.
Watermelon wool diaper covers. For the watermelon wool, we painted thin, deliberately uneven stripes down the length of the wool. What a nightmare. The dye kept soaking into the center of the wool and wouldn’t sit on the surface. When it dried, it looked like nothing was there. We ended up with piles of unusable wool as we experimented to get this just right. In the end, Marc soaked the wool in vinegar before painting the stripes. Very stinky.
When I first made each Diaper Garden set, I saved at least one of each item. That may just be the archivist in me. It turned out well. By the time the anniversary came around I was ready to let go of the former Diaper Garden diapers and covers, so I began to auction Diaper Garden Preserves–just a few items I’d put up for the season when they would be needed again. These Retro Diaper Garden items were usually the same as the original, but I occasionally added a new item as below.
Watermelon Easy Wool Cover. I find watermelon diapers irresistible. I can’t explain it. Since we were selling a lot of Firefly Easy Wool covers by this time, I naturally put the ideas together. Customers loved these. A peek inside gives more of the watermelon effect.
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