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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back to Basics

A few of the free things acquired at the “Back to Basics” workshop put on by Happy Dancing Turtle, Saturday, January 28, 2012.

This year the theme was “From Me to We” Building Community.  Keynote speakers: Jamie Lee in the AM and Brett Olsen in the PM.  Lots of varied and interesting small sessions, of which any one person could choose 4.  A nice showing of vendors, also with varied focus.  Check out the Happy Dancing Turtle facebook page to get an idea of who was there and what was covered.

I had a really good time, interesting, informative sessions, great lunch; and carpooled to and from the event with two Bemidji friends, Tammy and Dave.

The highlight for me was meeting and listening to Kathy Connell talk about seeds.  Kathy is engaging, passionate, knowledgeable and grounded.  She knows seeds and explains them with clarity.  If you have a chance to hear her speak, grasp it.

Today, I took the goodies in the photo to share with the teachers and students of Apple Blossom Child Care Center.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Upcycling an Oatmeal tub into a Faux Birch Container

What's for breakfast at A Tranquil Nook?  Usually oatmeal.  We eat lots of oatmeal, purchased in cardboard tubs.  Oh how hard it is to toss those tubs.  I save them, they take up space.  Finally figured out a renovation project to turn them into Faux Birch Containers.

Some glue, paper scraps, a gray pen and a little time resulted in a faux birch container.  This week, I'll take a number of tubs and paper scraps to a friend's child care center along with one finished tub as inspiration.  A faux birch container or some take off on this seems like a fun craft project for pre-schoolers and beyond.

1. Dust out the inside of the empty tub or vacuum out the oat dust. 

2. Cut scrap paper in strips, ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide.

3. Sponge glue on the used side of the paper and lay it glue side down onto the tub.  Just keep going round and round the tub.  Birch trees have frayed bark so no worries if the ends of a strip lift up.

4. Let dry.

5. Draw in lines and branch squiggles.

Viola, a pretty container to store crayons, more scrap paper, or what have you.  Why one could even use it as a house for toy stuffed mice or squirrels.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pecka Kucha Bemidji #10

poster by Eric Evensen of Evensen Creative

Last night I went to Pecha Kucha to listen and to learn. While not a main presenter was please to be invited to show in ‘artist row’ and share a story about one particular piece of art.  Took a large piece, created for the “Orchid Show.” A look into many types of felt, industrial to hand made.

Here is the piece, and here is me plus a little bit about us.
Orchids in Wool, artist Jane Carlstrom
Media: Mixed felt: this piece contains a range of felt types:
backing of commercial 100% wool felt; flowers combination of needle felting and traditional wet felting; branch entirely wet felted; sky scape, needle felt into a fabric base.

Hand felted pieces made from sheep fleece, some dyed, some natural color, some merino, some icelandic, some corriedale.*There is no knitting or crochet in this work. No yarn.  It is straight from fiber to felt.

Work created for the August 2011 Patricia Grimes group show:
 “How do We love thee...”  aka The Orchid Show
works in various media based upon an original photo by Patricia Grimes
(a reprint of Pat’s orchid photo is displayed with my work)

Artist:  Jane Carlstrom
A fabric and fiber fiddler, inspired by past, present, future - the land, sky and water, people, animals, plants... Things  read, things seen... Looking at and feeling fibers and fabrics.  Being mindful of the environment,  Jane mostly works in natural fibers and fabrics; and in recycled/upcycled fabrics.  Her goods range from fun and whimsical mustaches to elegant chapeaus to wall art.  Jane lives and creates on a farm near Bemidji, Minnesota.


The Artist Showcase is relatively new, the artist role in Pecha Kucha minimal, yet meaningful.  Great exposure and an opportunity to talk one one one to people about one's work, before the presentations begin and during a brief intermission.

The people up in front telling their stories, sharing their passion are the focus.  And while it was wonderful to participate in the Artist Showcase, the main reason I go to Pecha Kucha is to hear the presentations. Last night there were 6, all different all special, to quote  Pecha Kucha Bemidji
The presentations last night had everything! Courage, inspiration,bear encounters humor (so much humor) tears, intrigue, adventure, beautiful scenery, puppies, love stories, some weird cats and fishing. Name one movie that has all of that. 
 You can view some examples of presentations from previous Pecha Kucha Bemidji's on the official website.  They are neat to see online, but for the real and full impact get yourself to a Pecha Kucha. 

The next Pecha Kucha Bemidji will be on Feb 23, 2012, in the New City Ballroom (Hungry Bear) at 6:30 pm.  Come a little early if you want to take in the Artist Showcase and still have time to chat with the up front presenters at intermission.