Welcome to A Tranquil Nook Blog

We welcome you to follow along on our crafty adventures. Frank is a farmer by day, jewelry and hand braided cord-maker by night. Jane simply fiddles with fabric and fiber any time she can. We share things about what we make, how we make it, where you can get it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Moving on

 Blogspot has been a great home to my crafty and farm ramblings for almost 10 years now.  Last year as our business grew and we wished to tell our story in more depth we developed a business site.

The time has come to move formally this blog as well.  You will now find blog articles about farm, garden, craft, and making at


If you choose to follow me there,

or keep up with me via A Tranquil Nook on facebook 

 it would be awesome.

Thank you for the time you spent here, the comments you shared.

With great appreciation,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Want to Make It Yourself learn Sewing Basics

Learning to sew is so much more than pressing your foot on a pedal and steering fabric under a machine.

Especially if you one day wish to take off and sew anything you can dream up.  Do you want to learn the techniques or just make a few projects.  Can we do both?  The joy of making stuff, of holding up a finished project you wanted. The development of skills that transcend many types and styles of fabric projects.

In setting up a learn to sew program, the skills to develop might be:

Make friends with your sewing machine.  Learn how to take care of the machine so it runs smoothly.

Learn to drive the machine.

Choose and prepare fabric.

Make sense of patterns.

Discover a range of helpful sewing tools including shears, scissors, rulers, turners and the very important iron. 

My approach to achieving that balance is for the novice seamstress to choose a making theme and sally forth into projects that develop useful skills along the way.

Working to create things highly desirable is motivating.  It does take time and effort from both teacher and student to develop an individualized plan.  To facilitate the process, I've developed several themed options for helping people (children and/or adults) with Sewing Basics.

Theme 1 -  Spa Accessories.

Theme 2 -  Kitchen and Table Decor.

Theme 3 -  Creative Play Doll Stuff.

Interested in how each of these develops?  Stay tuned.  Each theme will be highlighted in a separate blog post before years end.

Sharing traditional making skills is a joy.

       Wishing you a peaceful and happy day,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sharing and Connecting through Farmers Market

Frank and I have always dug in the dirt, cooked from raw, made things.  In our "senior" years, those activities continue.  To have more contact with people and wanting to share some of the bounty from our activities we joined farmers market.

We like to talk, we like to listen, we like to help.  We especially enjoy people who come by routinely, checking out our garden grown vegetables, sharing what they plan to make.  Some old marrieds similar to ourselves, some professionals in the peak of active careers, some young families, some young people in college or just out.  Some experienced in cooking with fresh produce to others exploring the possibilities and learning with each purchase.  Recipe sharing naturally occurs. 

One of the couples we look forward to seeing on market day is Amy and her beau, Chris.  Refreshing, delightful, friendly young people, who never fail to brighten our day.

This fall talk turned to pumpkins. We shared a family recipe from Frank's mom, Susie.  Here is what happened.


 Pie ready for baking. Oh YES, Amy and Chris did Susie proud.

 Amy said:
 So I sent you that email before the pie was done cooking. I have since brought it to Chris' (the strapping young fellow that I love to call my boyfriend) mother's house and we shared it with everyone. They melted with the deliciousness. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the recipe! It was so wonderful to know that going through all that work would pay off :)
Through farmers market, we touch lives and lives touch us. 

From our home to your home we wish you a day of sharing, connecting and fellowship.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Drawing Mandalas with Shami Orkibi

A session in Mandala making with Shami Orkibi, Mandala Artist, leading the group. Saying little, drawing along with the group, Shami teaches by example and with quietness.

Making art with friends. Sitting quietly, listening to the sound of pens, markers, crayons, pencils move on paper.  Chatting occasionally. Absorbed and focused on the colors and movements and design appearing on the paper in front of you. 

 Influenced and stretched by the techniques, styles, shapes and way others create their designs.  This is one way that art styles, methods are shared and spread.  

Useful, bonding, peaceful.  A beautiful time and way to be present together.

My wish for you today is that you too may experience the joy of making art with friends.

Thanks for stopping in for a read.


Monday, November 4, 2013

A Thank YOU for those who Enjoyed Vegetables from Our Garden in 2013

It seems like only yesterday,
That we were planting seeds,
It took so long for them to sprout,
Slowly did they grow.

Blossoms one day did appear,
Bees worked mightily.
Veggies ripened fair and fine,
We picked, we ate, we sold.

The season has been bountiful,
We enjoyed bringing goods to you.
Our goal to offer an easy way
To put fresh vegetables on your table.

Suddenly the frost came on,
Market days were or’ e.
We kindly thank you and appreciate
Your commitment to fresh and local.

We work harder because we know
Our garden serves you too.
Now bidding you a fond adieu,
We look forward to seeing you next year.

Until then enjoy A Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy

Of course you can find me here blogging or contact me via my website.

Just the vegetables and farmers market are gone for now.  Hopefully to return next spring.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How the Art Studio Cruise and On the Road: Photographer proves strangers are friends you haven't met yet are similiar.

This video on “Touching Strangers” project by Richard Renaldi  aptly gives the sense of feelings generated this past week during the Art Studio Cruise.  Brief encounters of sharing, engaging, feeling the connectedness between hosts and guests.  

So much good energy flowed into my work space, some people will never come this way again, yet they left a positive impression.  Others, we may connect again and grow the contact further.  Some already known are now know to a fuller extent with deeper spirit and connection.  It seems the feeling flow in both directions.

As an artist with a very private studio it was a scary and big step to open it to strangers.  To allow unknowns into my sheltered place.  A place that has perhaps seen 15 outsiders in three years, hosted almost 200 people in the last 3 days.  All at once exhilarating and exhausting.

Many strangers coming to see, to learn, to experience AND to share.  In most cases the engagement was multi-directional.  Whether visitors were strangers, acquaintances, or old friends they brought with them great energy and spirit.

Some were fleeting encounters and we’ll never meet again.  Some may repeat and grow over time.  Some will bring reconnection or deepening.  All were meaningful.  Somehow helping to fill the “healthy emotional bucket” we all need as cushion to soften the blows of hard times.  That was the greatest joy of the cruise experience, finding the richness and sharing of spirit that flowed many ways:  stranger to stranger, visitor to visitor, visitor to artist, friend to friend...

It also got me thinking of how a third party - in this video, the photographer; in my studio a friend, vivacious and more socially skilled, facilitated the coming together of strangers.  Her belief in me, my work and her openness to engaging with strangers, her ability to welcome and engage them to share about themselves created such an open atmosphere for sharing.  It led to faster connections and fun experiences.  Many of those, fleeting moments within a life, and yet perhaps by many of us, feelings stored which fill us up with good.

It was a very difficult decision for me to step up to apply for and then accept a spot in the Art Cruise. It was a risk well worth taking.  Yes, it did allow some monetary income which was much appreciated, not just for the dollars, more for knowledge that people liked my work enough to take some home with them.

More than that, far more indeed the reward was experiencing the feeling of connectedness, the touching of lives in both directions, the sharing of feelings that enriches spirit and fuels us all. 

Bottom Line:  

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
 to all who came my way this weekend.

-to those who sailed the orange route and came to port at A Tranquil Nook, for bringing positive energy, enthusiasm and good will.

-to Kathryn for her belief, support, and facilitation.

-to Lin who brought dinner to be reheated so I did not need to cook.  

-to Tammy for an orderly studio, plus last minute shine and polish.

-to Frank for taking on my usual farm duties.

-to neighbor and artist Melissa for prompting me to apply.  

-to the steering committee, artists and sponsors who make the Art Cruise a yearly event.

The  energy and spirit YOU shared will flow into my work. 


Friday, July 19, 2013

No Time to Do it All Yourself? Find a local Farmer, Gardener, Baker, Maker

Working a full time job, managing family, keeping a home, enjoying a little social life takes lots of time and attention. Like the idea of sustainable, natural, fresh from the garden produce, home made, home canned, yet, overwhelmed with the time required, the energy needed, even if you have the know how to garden, make and bake.  Finding a local source for all or one of the "would likes" may be a way to have it all, and stay sane.
It does take upfront investigation to find  a local source  that matches your desires and fits your specific belief of what is sustainable, fresh, home made.  Just because a local gardener, baker, maker creates at home, does not mean it fits your needs/wants/expectations.  Decide what you want; find sources, research, meet, ask, try. 
Look for compatibility of definitions.  What does organic, natural, sustainable mean to you.  How does the provider define those.  If you are looking for jelly, pickles, breads, cookies just like your mom made, look at ingredients and compare if you know what mom used. Then buy it and try it.  Most of us are looking more for the taste than the ingredients.  Still, vetting the ingredients and methods may help you reach your goal faster.

Thanks to technology lots of people offer information online.  For those of us in Minnesota. MNGrown is a great place to start.  Find a farm or farmers market in your area, read up, select options, then make a live visit.
View online or Request a printed copy at MN Grown
Frank and I welcome you to find more details about us on our website and our A Tranquil Nook page on facebook. 

Thanks for stopping by,
  Enjoy your day,