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, December 25, 2010

Upcycling Wrapping paper - A Holiday Activity to Share

One of my fondest childhood memories is crafting with cousins at Grandma's house. Back in those days there was only one TV, used by adults, so after the presents, meal and dishes were done on Christmas day, we young ones retreated upstairs to "make things."

We did not make these stars, but oh, we would have if we knew about them. :D The idea comes via Janice of Aubrey's Beads in a blog post on Star Ornaments
and here is her how to video

Before you get to the stars, you may want to make the beads from wrapping paper.

Here is one quick method from Threadbanger

What do you think? Are there stars and beads in your today?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Preparing for Market Dec 18

Last day of Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market 2010 season is Dec 18, 11am to 3pm. The former Burger King Bldg across from Paul & Babe has been an admirable indoor location. Good acoustics for the music and just the right amount of space to fit us all.

Getting ready to bring goods to market is always an adventure. This Friday Frank has been busy in the kitchen. First some traditional Swedish Stollen - made the way his Mom always did for winter holidays
Stollen the Carlstrom way is a sweet yeast bread, packed with candied fruit, topped with a light powdered sugar frosting and slivered Almonds. A new fudge recipe he is trying is also cooling in the background.
Separating eggs - yep, Farm Fresh: green and brown shell eggs from our own hens.

Next up, with a whole new set of bowls and equipment was Gluten-free Angle food Cake. Separate sifters, separate bowls - no pans or utensils that had wheat flour are used in making the Gluten free foods. While there are some great and tasty choices for gluten free baked goods at market, Frank has been listening to the people who are asking for more gluten-free foods and plans to provide more choices in the cake and pie arenas. One of his specialties is Angle food Cake -- this is the first recipe he is converting to a gluten-free offering.
Here it is cooling in the pan. It will come out and be cut into 1/2; 1/4; and slices when he wakes up Sat am. If one of the slices passes the taste test - then the 1/2; 1/4 and 2 slices will be available at market.
Through out the week, Frank has been stranding stone bead necklaces and making more semi-precious stone earrings. Last night he was working on peyote beading.

And what have I been up to - making felt swirls in red and white. Most became ornaments. Some with bells.
Some with buttons:
And three became a statement necklace:
And now the home fires are stoked, the cat has had his middle of the night feeding, I'll post this out and head back to bed for a few hours before the second waking, morning chores and heading out to market. Except for baked goods, car was packed yesterday. So no last minute scurrying about.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bemidji Natural Choice Farmer's Market - Dec 11, 2010

It is happening

Bemidji Natural Choice Farmers Market

Saturday Dec 11, 2010 11am to 3 pm

inside the old Burger King Building
(Paul Bunyan Drive and 2nd St. - across from Paul & Babe)

Vendors for Dec 11 include:

Kroeger & Rixen Farm - Choose from a variety of honey/bee products and fruit preserves. Garlic bulbs from this summers garden will add a tasty kick to many dishes. Plus special for winter market - Gail if offering matts, doilies, bowls hand knit with yarn she spins from her flock of sheep. As one of the editors of Loon Feather Press, she is also bringing books by local authors.

Terry Honstead with original art, prints, and cards, handmade glass necklaces and earrings, as well as handmade Christmas ornaments that are made from found objects.

Northern Wind Creations. Along with a wide variety of soaps, Jeana and Bert will have tasty baked goods, bread in a jar, aprons, and their all cotton bags for baking potatoes in the microwave.

Paradise Valley Buffalo Ranch with their full range of Bison products. Think lunch meats for party platters, roast bison for Christmas dinner, jerky for stocking stuffers, and chew bones for the family dog. Mary also has available for purchase a few tee shirts with the Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market Emblem. Profits from the tee shirts help fund the market (rent, etc.).

A Tranquil Nook offers Semi-precious Stone necklaces and earrings hand strung by Frank naturally compliment neck and ears. For stocking stuffers or small gifts that let buyer or recipient add their own personal twist "Kits & Bits" check out the DIY hand braiding cord kits, and pre cut felt shapes. And especially for the winter season, Jane has created sets of felt holly napkin rings to brighter the table setting.

Guthrie Gator Farm & Gardens offers baked goods: breads and cookies. A fine watercolor artist, Angela will also have cards printed from her paintings.

Ode and Company brings warm homey goods. Larry’s loom woven rugs, place mats, mug mats. Plus goodies from Heather's Kitchen and Rocky's Kitchen that will include Breads, Pastries and Fancy Christmas Cookie Platters

Chill Creek Ridge features a variety of baked goods most gluten free, some not; sugar free and low glycemic a specialty; luscious chocolate in the form of fudge and truffles. Jam and Jelly preserves for eating yourself or gifting. And for banquet table pick up some potatoes and squash.

Music for this Saturday is by Smoke from 11am to 1pm.

We invite you to come on out, listen to good music and enjoy a cup of coffee or cider on us as you browse our home grown produce and home made foods and hand crafted goods.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Works in Wool art show Opening Reception

Ho Wah! My first solo art show opens tonight. Here is a little preview with an artist statement. For those who would like to join us, the reception is at The Cabin Coffeehouse, 3rd St Bemijdi, MN, USA 5pm to 7pm Friday Dec 3, 2010

For those who would like to come but cannot, I'll be posting photos of the show after the opening. The work is rather primative and tactile, will be interesting to get comments and see responses to it this evening. Thanks so much for reading. J

Works in Wool

Presented at The Cabin Coffeehouse - Back Room
December 2010

Artist: Jane Carlstrom

Artist Statement:
My inspirations include past, present and future - the land, sky and water around me, people, animals and plants - what ever comes into my ken. Things I’ve read, things I’ve seen. Looking at, and feeling fibers and fabrics and vintage patterns. These all roil and boil together ruminating in my mind until an urge to make something specific comes to the fore...... and if energy comes with it a hat or other creation comes into being.

My focused and serious foray into hat making and art began in the late 1990s after retiring from a 33 year career in nursing. The path began with a desire to clean, restore and wear vintage hats. Soon, I began adding my own touches, reshaping and refashioning vintage hats; then onto needle felting hats and sewing original hats. Along with hat making, I create other wearable accessories, clothing; and more recently, home decoration pieces.

My goals are:
1. To create joyful, beautiful, wearable hats & head gear that let a person’s spirit sing. Wearing a hat makes me comfortable and lifts my spirits; I want to share that comfort and joy with others.
2. To develop patterns and kits that allow people of different skill levels to explore handiwork, to take a basic idea and make it their own.

Being mindful of the environment, I mostly work in natural fibers and fabrics and in recycled/upcycled fabrics. For developing patterns and kits I explore use of die cuts mixed with hand cuts. Precut kits allow the user to focus on sewing and embellishing the piece.

Many thanks to Noemi for hosting this show.

Fall Leaves

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hand Braided Cord - Simple, basic, 7 Strand Method

This is an overview of the braiding tutorial we have posted on flickr.

We first learned this method back in 2007 when attending the annual Shepards Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival we picked up a small Kumihimo kit from the Weaver's Guild of Minnesota We went to learn nalbinding - but were fascinated by the Kumihimo and found it faster to learn.

Frank remembers his grandfather making steel cord cables using a similar technique in the late 1940s. The family business was construction and his Granddad was one of a few cable makers in Nebraska at that time. Most of the cables he made were used in grain elevators. When his Granddad became too frail to move the reels of wire, Frank would move the reels under his grandfather's tutelage. The similarities peaked Frank's interest and enthusiasm. He has been braiding ever sense.

While one can obtain very fancy and expensive stands to make kumihimo braids - simple braids can also be created with an easily cut form and perle cotton threads. We have made up two types of DIY (do it yourself) kits and have been offering those for sale at local shows and in one of our Etsy shops for several years now. Our goal is to help others get started with ease. We are happy for people to make their own disks - out of cardboard or foam. We offer the kits, because it does take some time and planning to collect materials and get started. Watching us work on a disk, and taking one home ready to go, simply increases the likelihood of someone actually making their own cord. It gets people to the crafting stage faster.

Frank has moved on to one of the large disks using more thread strands and creating more complex designs and higher quality cord than can be achieved with the 7 strand disk. As for me, the more complex weaving in the round is beyond my abstract mind and takes a type of focus and consistency that is beyond me. The repetition of the 7 cord method works for me and is actually rather soothing. A nice change up from my usual creative style.

So I simply make bookmarks and drawstrings.

Frank makes elegant cords for necklaces.

If you have questions on hand braided cord and are in the Bemidji area, we will be at Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market two more time this year (October 23 and 30.) Or just ask here in the comments or in the comments area on our flickr album.

Wondering how to say --- Kumihimo --- sound it out like this----- koo-me-he-mo.
from the Japanese
Kumi, meaning to plait and Himo, meaning string or cord.

Together it becomes Kumihimo, meaning plaited cords, therefore braids

You might also like:

Video on disk braiding a 7 strand Friendship Bracelet using wool yarn

PDF - instructions by A. G. Lindsey Happy Endings: Turning Kumi Braids Into Necklaces and Bracelets describes in photos and words how to finish braid ends with jewelry findings .

BraidersHand - for information, large
disks, plates, and other supplies.

Nordic Needle, Inc.
- "What is Kumihimo" article from their newletter archive, Nordic Needle is a day trip away - in Fargo, ND


Thanks for visiting and reading,
Enjoy your day,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chef Day at Farmers Market

Photo story of Chef Demo Sept 14, 2010

Reed Olson, Chef; Wild Hare Bistro, Bemidji, MN. Demo performed at Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market.
*click on show info to get word description of what and how to accompany each slide. Enjoy!

So neat to be there, Reed does so much more than "give a recipe". He really inspires one to rethink ways to cook, how to cook and how to use a variety of fresh vegetables in healthy ways that taste delicious. He noted that the dish he prepared today could be done with only 4 vegetables or different vegetables. It is so worth the time and effort to make it to one of his demos, to be able to ask questions, to watch how he handles the produce, and how he cuts and cooks and puts it all together.

Thanks Reed for a grand afternoon in the crisp fall air.

Friday, September 10, 2010

DIY - Sewing a Felt Sunflower Brooch

Imagine a Blazing trumpet Fanfare, please, and thank you!

Introducing a first from me -
a Pre-cut Sunflower Brooch for others to sew. Maybe, even YOU!

In talking with people who came into our "A Tranquil Nook" stall the days we set up at Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market, I realized that there are a number of people who enjoy handwork and would like to do it; but with so many things happening in their lives, by the time they get a project ready to sew up, there is no time left to sew it. A big portion of my time in creating items is - choosing fabric, buying it, processing it ( I wash wool for accessories 2 to 5 times to get the texture and thickness I desire), then finding or making the pattern, cutting it all out, figuring out how to put it together. There is still more after that - getting together the thread, needles, findings.

To help others cut down on some of that preparation time have spent the last few weeks thinking, planning, preparing a DIY (do it yourself) Sunflower Brooch pattern and a kit. Plus, the real biggie, making a set of videos showing how I actually sew it up.

The pattern and the kits are ready to go, and will be available at our "A Tranquil Nook" stall at Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market on Sep 11, 2010.

Here are the videos, yes, it took me several stops and starts. Have not figured out how to add them all together yet. Though perhaps it is better to leave it in parts so you don't have to watch the whole dang thing to find just one bit of information. (If you have thoughts or preferences regarding that, am open to comment and suggestion.) So without further ado -

Part 1 - Getting Started

Part 2. a. Sewing it together .

Part 2. b. Sewing it together .

Part 3. Attaching the pinback
-- well some glitch here - could not get this one to upload -- it is also on flickr

Part 4. Wear and Enjoy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

About Us

We live, raise beef cattle, keep hens, garden and make handcrafted goods, on our farm: Tranquility Pastures, near the Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota.

A Tranquil Nook is what we call our small home based handicraft and antique business. Our different skills combine and collide to produce a variety of handmade goods: Hats, Accessories, Stone and Fiber Jewelry. We also refresh, restore and recycle select vintage goods.

Prior to life “on the farm,” Frank was career Air Force, Jane worked as a nurse following Frank around base to base. Currently, we live a pretty basic life-style, growing most of our own food.

Frank spends much time with his farm equipment, managing crops, cattle; watching deer, making maple syrup, and baking. Frank also creates jewelry from polished semiprecious gemstones such as tiger eye, jasper, agate, et cetera. Some is stranded on flexible wire with a variety of metal findings. He also makes pendant necklaces on cotton cord which hand braids/weaves.

Jane helps out some with the animals and garden but spends most of her time sewing and felt making. Jane creates a variety of wearables - hats, totes, accessories; mostly from natural fiber/fabrics and from recycled clothing. She also creates some home decor type items- such as napkin rings and soap in a wool coat.

We like to share the joy of making it yourself. And have developed some kits and craft supplies. Kits we have done to date include: Kumihimo braiding kits and How to make Soap in a Coat Kits. Supplies we prepare include handmade wool felt beads, and cut felt shapes

A Tranquil Nook is not a brick and mortar store.

If you wish to get up close and personal with our goods visit:

Bad Cat Creations
315 Irvine Ave NW in Downtown Bemidji, MN 56601 USA
Hours: Monday - Saturday:10am to 6pm (year round)
Sunday: 11am to 4pm (only open Sundays during the summer months between Memorial Day & Labor Day weekend)
Bad Cat web site
Bad Cat facebook fan page
Bad Cat Creations is a unique boutique specializing in handmade local art and fine crafts, and an eclectic mix of gifts and accessories. Frank and I are so pleased to be two of Christina’s local artist/craftors.

GRANDMA'S ATTIC - Antiques and Collectibles Mall
502 3rd Street, Bemidji, MN, 56601 USA
Hours: Mon. through Sat 10a.m. to 5p.m..
There among a bounty of Antiques, Collectibles and Gifts, you will find fabulous vintage from us: hats, accessories, clothing, vinyl records, sewing equipment and supplies. If it is too good to repurpose we refresh it and offer it in “The Hat Box,” Booth #21.

From May thru October you can find us live at:

Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market
Union Square Parking Lot, 2nd St. and Beltrami Ave., Bemidji, MN, USA
General Hours: Tues. and Sat. 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thurs. 12n to 7 p.m.
BNCFM web site
BNCFM facebook fan page

For 2010 A Tranquil Nook will set up on the following dates.

Sat. Sep. 11 8:30 am to 3 pm

Thurs. Sep 16 12 n to7 pm

Sat. Oct 23 8:30 am to 3 pm

In the 2011 season we plan to set up at market the 1st and 3rd Sat; one Tues. and one Thus each month.

Web Presence-


Glorious Hats

Felt Sew Crafty

A Tranquil Nook

News and Information:

A Tranquil Nook Facebook Fan Page

Glorious Hats Blog - Jane's personal blog

Glorious Hats Flickr - Jane's photo albums

A Tranquil Nook Blog