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.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Gear from Worn Sweatshirts

It started with one old sweat jacket with a broken zipper, quite worn, too worn to fix and wear. Plus after wearing it for years, a desire for change. A cotton-polyester blend, in a land fill the poly portion would take eons to degrade, so could it be usefully salvaged? Could it be reclaimed with zero waste?

Thus began the adventure. Clean it, reduce it to parts, put it back together making useful items.

Clean It -- whether the used/worn/old shirt is from your own wardrobe or garnered at a garage sale or thrift shop. Cleaning is a good idea. Check pockets, seams for dirt, dust, lint, bugs. Often vacuum cleaning of seams and pockets is helpful. Washing may be done before deconstruction or after reducing it to parts.

Reduce it to parts --Look at it for size of pieces in sleeves, front, back, pockets, hood, ribbing. Are there ways to create an item with keeping some seams intact? If so, leave those, and just remove and save thread from other seams. The thread goes into the freezer or gets hand washed. Both methods can work for refreshing/cleaning. (the cold kills bugs and lifts dirt to surface.)
Cut, shape, sew -- For the gloves, I use a pattern, lay it on the salvaged fabric parts and cut. For most of the bibs, turbans, bags/totes, I draw a pattern using chalk and cut on the lines. For flowers: cut gradated size square or circle shapes, cut again to create a petal shaped edge, stack and sew. Petal shapes are freehand cut from any irregular pieces left over after cutting other bits. Thread becomes fun flower centers. Ribbing may become glove cuffs, ruffles or rolled for flower. Zippers can be rolled for flower shapes or used as bling decoration in other ways. The few remaining scraps get chopped up for use as stuffing in softies (stuffed toys.)
And there you have it - zero waste, some new usable items, some practical, some fun.

Use and Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,


*Glove pattern from 1920s

*Some of the goods I keep and use myself, others are available for purchase year round at Bad Cat Creations a Unique Boutique in Bemidji and others directly from our stall in Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market on most Saturdays during the summer.

*At farmers market this past weekend, a person stopping by to chat, mentioned that her sister make capes for kids, the same way I make the bibs for eating in the car. She puts super hero emblems in the center and the cape flies high when the children run and jump. What fun.

* The jewelry glistening in the photos was not made from the sweat shirts :P -- Just some of Frank's work that fit in with the color scheme and made the pictures prettier. Thanks to Alyssa Hod for taking those photographs. She came over one day to help with product shots. What a good friend!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Special Event by Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market

Celebrate Spring, kick up your heels and have some fun. Come on down to the Bemidji Waterfront for-----

Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market
Spring Fling
Kick Off & Plant Sale
Saturday, May 21, 2011
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m
just past Paul & Babe in the South Parking Lot

Live Music in the Jaycees Pavilion

As always Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market features

Locally grown
Produce, Plants, Vegetables, Fruit

Locally raised
Bison, Poultry, Eggs;

Locally Made
Home baked goods; Jams, Jellies;
Maple syrup, Honey
Art; Hand Crafted goods.

Natural growing & production methods,
eco friendly methods and materials.

Did you find some tasty herbs or vegetables at market last year? Want to try growing your own? A nice variety of seedling plants will be available from our gardners.

Grow your own--

--Heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and celery, possibly more from Kroeger & Rixen Farms.

--Herbs from The Matilla & Full Moon Farm, basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme. Along with tomato, hot & sweet peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash.

Stock up the pantry---

-- Those hungry for Bison will be happy to learn that "Buffalo Man," as many people call Duane of Paradise Valley Buffalo Ranch, will be present with his truck well stocked.

--The Matilla & Full Moon Farm (Greg) (Matthew) are expecting to offer some early spring eatables: lettuce, radishes, pacchoi, spinach, rhubarb, herbs, baby greens for salad, green onions as well as maple syrup. Thanks to their use of earth friendly high tunnel technology, they are able to warm the ground and plant early.

Score new products and old favorites--

-- Northern Wind Creations (Jeana & Bert): soaps, soap bags, jams and jellies, breads in a jar, potato bags and bag holders. Special items new for 2011 include a salt soap (great for exfoliation) and a soap made with beer (great for the skin) both have great lather. Plus handmade bags in fun new styles and in several sizes, each is one of a kind.

--Frank from A Tranquil Nook has been experimenting all winter with Gluten free sweets. The tastiest ones will be offered at market this season. Look for gluten free cakes, cookies, bars - what he brings each time will vary. New from Jane is Garden gear: totes, gloves, turbans. Whimsical and practical handmade accessories and jewelry.

--Kroeger & Rixen Farms (Gail) will have honey products, maple syrup, jams & jellies, some arts/crafts, rustic birdhouses.

*More vendors will be attending, the above is simply a sampling of what to expect.

*For those experiencing palpitations at not seeing Chill Creek Ridge listed, rest assured, Dale and Cheryl will be back by June for sure, and possibly for the second in our opening events on May 28

Members of Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market strive to make your time at market a fun, family friendly, and wholesome experience.

You are invited to stop by, browse our wares and enjoy music from local musicians
in an open air market setting.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Back, Dreaming Forward

Do you find both remembrance and anticipation stimulating? History, looking back has always been significant in my family. The first thing I do when preparing for something is to first look back. What happened, who was involved, rekindling fond memories; then wondering how it will change, how it will present the next time around.

So with early market only 20 days away, my mind and heart wander the back paths recalling the neat people, the good stuff we found, the fun we enjoyed at last years Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market.

Jeana and Bert of Northern Wind Creations

Jeana just posted on BNCFM facebook page that she has been busy making soap for early market on Sat May 21. Oh, brought colors and lovely scents to mind. Indeed, have found myself inhaling deeply trying to get a whiff of the bouquet scent that quaffed on the breeze between our stalls last summer. By gosh, it is reaching the ol brain. :D

Here are a few shots from last year late summer through winter market.
Oh this has me looking forward to the new scents and sensations and to hanging out in the open air with Jeana and Bert.